Potential Local SCAMS & Fraudulent activity
At WMCB we care about the security of your personal information. To help customers better protect themselves, here is a list of common scams you should be aware of. Read on below to find out more about what to look for and what to do if you have fallen victim to one of these scams.
The Federal Trade Commission has reported a scam where computer or mobile device owners receive an email notifying them of a virus on their computer and providing a link for them to click on to fix the problem. If clicked, the link can give access to a predator to take over the device and render it unusable. If you receive a link or unusual email, deleting it right away is the best way to prevent any issues. Similarly, if you receive an email or phone call threatening the loss of control to your device, we suggest shutting off the device and leaving it turned off until it can be cleared by a professional for any potential viruses. Sometimes, the scammers will call back with a fake refund offer to get banking info, and scam victims twice!
Fake Prizes and Contests
It can be very exciting to win a prize or contest, especially when money is involved. However, if you haven't entered any contests you should be suspicious of these unexpected funds. The Federal Trade Commission has reported scammers are using the Publishers Clearing House name to trick unsuspecting parties into sending money to pay for the taxes of the prize but scammers tell other lies to sell this scam, too. More information can be found on the FTC Website.
Millions of consumers are being tricked into accepting genuine-looking checks and money orders and wiring money to fraudsters. Here are two examples:
- Sweepstake, lottery and grant fraud. You receive a check or money order with instructions to wire a portion to pay taxes or administrative fees.
- Overpayment. Scammer sends a check or money order for more than you agreed they’d pay, with instructions to wire the extra back or to someone else for shipping.
Other Potential Scams & Frauds to be aware of
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your address, name, Social Security number, credit card information, bank account number or other personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. With your personal information in their possession, identity thieves can establish credit, purchase items or borrow money in your name.
Your best protection:
- Never give out your personal or account information that is requested over the phone, mail or Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Do not carry your social security number with you.
- Shred confidential papers.
- Check your credit report at least once a year.
Reduce the circulation of your information through the mail by stopping prescreened credit offers. Just call 1-888-5OPTOUT.
Keystroke logging / Keylogging
Keystroke logging (often called keylogging) is the action of tracking/logging the keys struck on a keyboard. Keyloggers are “Trojan” software programs that target your computer’s operating system and are installed via a virus. The fraudster can steal your user ID and password and anything else you have typed while online.
Malware (Malicious Software)
Malware (malicious software) is software that is designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's knowledge or consent. This software is used to steal personal information and illegally obtain funds. Common forms include: Keystroke Loggers and Trojan Horses.
Pharming redirects legitimate domain name requests to fraudulent websites, where users get prompted to enter personal data, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Similar to phishing, fraudulent sites are often made to look like legitimate ones. What differentiates pharming from phishing scams is that the fraudster does not have to rely on having the user follow a link in an email. Even if the user correctly enters a website address into a browser's address bar, the fraudster can still redirect the user to a fraudulent website.
Fraudulent E-mails can often appear to come from a reputable source – this is called spoofing/phishing because the sender's true identity is concealed. Never click on a link in a suspicious e-mail message. The fraudulent e-mails request you to access a website and validate or confirm your personal information. These websites appear to be genuine and may ask you to provide personal information. The site may even direct you to call a provided phone number to verify account information.
It may not always be easy to recognize fraud emails or pop-ups but the following are some precautions to be aware of:
- Urgent Emails
Watch out for e-mails with links, attachments or pop-ups that state an urgent reply is needed.
- General Greetings
Watch out for e-mails or pop-ups that provide a general greeting and don't identify you by name.
- Typos and Errors
Fraudulent e-mails or pop-ups may have typographical or grammatical errors. Watch out for poor visual and design quality.
Social Networking Risks
Online social networking can be a great way to exchange ideas, information, photos and games. However, the more information you provide about yourself, the easier it is for people to use these details to commit fraud.
Your best protection:
Do not reveal too much information on your social networking and only share your page with people you know.Prevention Tips:
Your Best Protection to Prevent Online Fraud from Happening to you.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software as well as a firewall, and keep the software updated.
- Only use a secure wireless network to conduct your banking. If you have a wireless router at home or work, ensure it is locked.
- Never follow a link in an email message that asks you to provide sensitive personal or financial information.
- Never share your internet banking passwords.
- Never give out your personal or account information that is requested over the phone, mail or Internet unless you initiated the contact
- Frequently monitor your account activity – we recommend daily monitoring.
- Reconcile all accounts and statements quickly.
- Never send your personal information via unsecured email.
- Only use your credit card number on Internet sites that have a secure, encrypted system (look for the "HTTPS" in the address line or lock icon).
- Choose passwords and PINs that are difficult to guess, do not write them down and change them – we recommend to change them every 30-60 days.
- When you have completed a bank transaction, be sure to properly log out instead of just closing the browser window.
- When your computer is not in use, disconnect it from the Internet.
- Stay informed.
- Businesses should perform a risk assessment and controls evaluation periodically.
- Use a dedicated PC for conducting financial transactions. Turn it off when you’re done using it. No e-mail, Internet surfing or other applications on this PC. Segregate the PC from the business network.
- Purchase insurance to reduce the risk of loss should fraud occur.
- Businesses should use dual control. If you use our Online Cash Management to originate ACH files, establish procedures that require one individual to input the ACH file information and a different individual to verify, authorize and send the file to West Michigan Community Bank.
Tax season opens the door for scammers to call you posing as the IRS. They'll tell you that you owe tax money and you'll be arrested unless you send money via wire or prepaid debit card. It's possible that when the scammer calls that the caller ID will show it's the IRS and that they may know the last four digits of you Social Security number. More information on this scam can be found on the FTC Website.