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 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 800.867.2265 to verify the legitimacy of the e-mail.
- Bank Midwest does not request personal information from clients 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 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 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.