How to Protect Yourself From Email Fraud & "Phishing" Scams
At Bank Midwest, the security of your accounts and personal information is our top priority. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers about "Phishing" scams that use fraudulent e-mails, pop-up advertisements and phony web sites that attempt to trick people into providing confidential personal information.
In a common Phishing scam, individuals receive e-mail messages that appear to come from your bank. These messages may look authentic and may even include the bank's logo. These messages usually describe a situation that requires immediate action and state that your accounts may be terminated unless you verify your account information immediately by clicking on a provided web link.
This kind of fraudulent e-mail activity is increasing. Plus, many of these messages can contain viruses, known as "Trojan horse" programs, designed to record your keystrokes. These e-mails can also direct you to a counterfeit web site that appears to be genuine.
Reporting a suspicious e-mail
If you believe you have received a suspicious e-mail claiming to be affiliated with Bank Midwest, call our Client Services and Solutions specialists at 1.800.867.2265. If you have entered personal information in response to a suspicious e-mail, contact us immediately.
Avoid e-mail fraud
With a few simple steps, you can help protect your Bank Midwest accounts and personal information from fraudulent online activity:
- Delete any e-mail without opening it if you don't recognize the sender.
- Be suspicious of any e-mail that asks for personal information, requests your authentication, or indicates a problem with your Bank Midwest accounts. If you receive an e-mail like this do not reply by e-mail. Instead, call our Client Services and Solutions specialists at 1.800.867.2265 to verify the legitimacy of the e-mail.
- Bank Midwest does not request personal information from customers via e-mail, unless we are responding to a secure request you submit through our web site.
- Do not open attachments. Bank Midwest does not send e-mail attachments, other than in instances where the Bank has deemed that the content of an e-mail message warrants encryption for security purposes.
- Only provide your personal information if you initiated the sign on process to your account at Bank Midwest.
- Use virus protection software and keep the virus lists current.
- Keep your computer operating system and web browser up-to-date.
Protect Yourself from Check Fraud
Check fraud is a growing problem, but you can protect yourself by following a few simple guidelines:
- If you're selling an item on the Internet, like a car or boat, do not accept a check that is for more than your asking price.
- Be wary of checks you receive via an overnight delivery service.
- Verify any check you receive that is connected to communicating with someone via e-mail.
- Be suspicious of any check written on a business account or individual account that is different from the name of the person buying your item.
You should also not respond to scams, either online or from a stranger you meet, like the following:
- Any message informing you that you've won a lottery, such as a Canadian, Australian, El Gordo or El Mundo lottery.
- Messages instructing you to wire, send or ship money to a large U.S. city or foreign country, like Canada, England or Nigeria.
- Requests to pay money to receive a deposit from another country, such as Canada, England or Nigeria.
- Promises of pay or a commission for facilitating money transfers through your account
- Any message asking you to confirm, update or provide your account information.
Remember: If you deposit a fraudulent check or cashiers check and it is returned to the bank unpaid, your account will be charged. Expiration of a hold on a check does not necessarily mean that the check deposited was valid.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
However, there are 10 simple and effective measures you should take to further protect yourself:
- Do not give out financial information
Such as checking account or credit card numbers, or your Social Security Number unless you know and trust the organization that is asking for them.
- Report lost or stolen checks immediately
Notify us immediately if your checks are stolen so we can block payment on them to proect your account.
- Notify us of suspicious phone calls or e-mails
Common scams include calling you or e-mailing you to "verify a statement" or to "award a prize" to you. Some e-mails may even include the bank's logo. Never respond to these and call us at 1.800.867.2265 immediately.
- Guard your Debit Card, ATM Card and PIN numbers
Do not give your cards to anyone you don't know, or to a merchant you do not trust. And never give your PIN to anyone!
- Shred any financial solicitations
Use a paper shredder to destroy any unwanted solicitations or bank statements before disposing of them.
Put outgoing mail in a secure Postal Service Collection Box
- If regular bills fail to reach you:
Call the company that sends them immediately to report the problem.
- Call about questionable charges
If you notice unusual charges on a credit card statement or other bill, don't ignore them. Call the company that sent the bill immediately to investigate and head off any possible fraud.
- Contact the major credit reporting agencies
You can review your credit report and make certain the information contained in it is correct by contacting the three major credit bureaus:
TRANS-UNION — 1.800.888.4213
- Receive a free annual credit report
Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1.877.322.8228 to obtain a free credit report, once a year, from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
If you believe you have been the target of an identity theft scam, you should complete a Fraud Notification & Free Credit Report Request Form immediately. You should also contact the three major credit reporting agencies at the toll-free numbers listed above.