Cyber Security 3

Safe Banking Practices

Keeping You Informed!

Elder Financial Exploitation: Threat Pattern & Trend Information, June 2022 to June 2023

Click here to read the Financial Trend Analysis 

 

Senior Sues Bank After Losing 700k to Bank Fraud!

Senior lost her life savings to bank fraud, and now she is suing her bank claiming it should have done more to protect her money. 80-year-old Alice Lin lost more than $700,000 after clearing out her retirement and savings accounts for what she thought was a legitimate crypto investment. Now, she is struggling to pay her bills and suing her bank for not protecting its elderly customers. Alice Lin is trying to find comfort in the simple things- after her life was turned upside down by financial scammers.

Click here to read the article
 

Will your bank or investment fund stop a transfer to a scammer?

We expect banks and brokers to keep our money safe. We think they’ll stop or warn us about suspicious transfers out of our accounts. But do they? Scammers are exploiting that trust and getting people to transfer their money and drain their retirement accounts to “protect” or “safeguard” or “legalize” it. The truth? The money gets stolen, and banks and brokers won’t get it back from the scammer.

Click here to read the article
 

The IRS doesn’t send tax refunds by email or text

Got an email or text message about a tax refund? It’s a scam.

IRS impersonators are at it again. This time, the scammers are sending messages about your “tax refund” or “tax refund e-statement.” It might look legit, but it’s an email or text fake, trying to trick you into clicking on links so they can steal from you. How? They tell you to click a link — supposedly to check on your “tax refund e-statement” or “fill out a form to get your refund.” But it’s a scam and if you click that link, the scammer might steal your identity or put malware on your phone or computer.

Click here to read the full article
 

The Latest Scams You Need to Be Aware of in 2024

As in previous years, many of the latest scams in 2024 will likely involve twists on time-tested scams. Scammers and fraudsters are expected to exploit new technology and emotions around major events yet to come to trick and scare people. But scammers will always have the same goal—to get your personal information or money. Learning about these latest developments will hopefully help you stay one step ahead.

Click here to learn the latest scam for 2024
 

IRS Warning: Tax Season Scams

With identity thieves constantly changing tactics to try to steal information from taxpayers and businesses, the Security Summit partners remind people to watch out for a variety of aggressive schemes that can surface on email, by text, over the phone or through the mail.

These threats are present year-round, but the approach of tax season means that identity thieves will intensify efforts trying to impersonate the IRS and others involved in tax and financial work to get sensitive information.

Click here to read the full article

Scams and Your Small Business: A Guide for Business

When scammers go after your business or non-profit organization, it can hurt your reputation and your bottom line. Your best protection? Learn the signs of scams that target businesses. Then tell your employees and colleagues what to look for so they can avoid scams.

Click Here to Learn How to Protect Your Business

The “Pay Yourself” scam is on the rise. Don’t fall for bogus bank fraud alerts, ’cause #BanksNeverAskThat.

Did you know that fake bank messages are the most reported text scam?

Here are 5 clues it’s not really your bank behind the screen:

Wire Fraud in Real Estate: Beware of Criminals Targeting Your Down Payment

A New Jersey couple lost nearly $92,000 to scammers — and they’re not alone

Click here to read the full article

 What to do if you’ve been scammed.

February 2023

Scammers can be very convincing. They call, email, and send us text messages trying to get our money or sensitive personal information — like our Social Security or account numbers. And they’re good at what they do. Here’s what to do if you paid someone you think is a scammer or gave them your personal information or access to your computer or phone. If you paid a scammer, your money might be gone already. No matter how you paid, it’s always worth asking the company you used to send the money if there’s a way to get it back.

Click here to learn more about what to do if you’ve been scammed
 

What to know about romance scams

January 2023

Millions of people use online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the number one way to avoid a romance scam.

Click here to learn more about Romance Scams
 

Medicare Scam Alert

January 2023

We have recently received reports from customers stating they are getting calls claiming they will receive a new Medicare Card which will be black and white with gold trim. The caller already has your name and address. They will ask you to confirm other specific information from your current card. 𝐃𝐎 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐆𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐀𝐍𝐘 𝐈𝐍𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐌𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍. 𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐈𝐒 𝐀 𝐒𝐂𝐀𝐌!

If someone claiming to be from Medicare calls you about replacing your card and requests personal or banking information, you should hang up immediately. If you receive a call requesting your Medicare number, you should contact the U.S. Health and Human Services fraud line at 1-800- HHS-Tips (1-800-447-8477). You can also contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), report the call to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint, or file a complaint with the FCC online.

How To Avoid a Home Improvement Scam

Adding a room, renovating a basement, or doing some much-needed repairs around your home can be a big undertaking. Finding a trustworthy contractor is an important first step. Scammers will promise to do the work, but leave you and your home worse off than when you started. They may do shoddy work, damage your home, overcharge you, or just take your money without performing any services. So how do you tell the difference between a trustworthy contractor and a scammer? Before you hire a contractor, learn how to recognize the signs of a home improvement scam. Check out the link below for more info from the FTC.

How To Avoid a Home Improvement Scam | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

 

The ‘Zelle scam’ is spreading quickly across the U.S.

Unsuspecting consumers are giving criminals access to their bank accounts

Mark Huffman
Consumer Affairs

A new scam has gained momentum with the start of 2022, stealing thousands of dollars from
unsuspecting bank customers.

Scammers are using Zelle, the peer-to-peer payment system offered to consumers through
their financial institution. Zelle works like Venmo and other payment systems, allowing users
to send money from their bank accounts to friends and family.

Unfortunately, security experts say criminals are using Zelle to drain victims’ bank accounts.
Like many scams, this one is based on the claim that the scammer is trying to protect the
victim from fraud.

The target receives a text that appears to be from their bank asking if they attempted a Zelle
transaction. Regardless of how they answer, the target next receives a phone call from the
scammer, who spoofs the number so it shows up as coming from the target’s bank.

The victim will then receive a set of instructions that ultimately winds up compromising their
bank account information. The scammers use the information to withdraw funds and make off
with their ill-gotten gains.

The difference between fraud and scams

One victim of the scam told KGO-TV in San Francisco that she followed a scammer’s
instructions to transfer the money in her Zelle account to her bank account. However, she
was first asked to change some of her account information.

While it appeared the money was transferred into her account, the scammers were waiting to
drain her account. She said she only had $6 left in her account by the end of the ordeal.

Zelle draws sharp distinctions between fraudulent activity and scams. If the victim did not
authorize a transaction, then the theft is fraud and the victim can usually be reimbursed. It’s a
different story if the victim acts on instructions from a scammer.

“Even if you were tricked or persuaded into authorizing a payment for a good or service
someone said they were going to provide, but they didn’t fulfill it, this would be considered a
scam,” Zelle says on its website. “Because you authorized the payment, you may not be able
to get your money back.”

That makes these types of financial scams extremely dangerous. Zelle users should be
aware that they could become targets as the scam continues to spread. Those who respond
to a fraud text and then get a phone call, allegedly from their bank, should hang up
immediately. They should then call their bank’s customer service line directly and ask if the
fraud alert is real.

Tips and Advice To Help Keep You And Your Information Safe

KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE

  • Keep Security Software Current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
  • Automate Software Updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
  • Protect All Devices that Connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smartphones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & Scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

  • Lock Down Your Login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the most robust authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys, or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking, and social media.
  • Make Your Password A Sentence: A strong password is a sentence of at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
  • Unique Account, Unique Password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
  • Write It Down And Keep It Safe: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and ensure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.

CONNECT WITH CARE

  • When In Doubt Throw It Out: Links in emails, social media posts, and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
  • Get Savvy About Wi-Fi Hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
  • Protect Your $$: When banking and shopping, check to ensure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

BE WEB WISE

  • Stay Current: Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest
    information, and share with friends, family, colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
  • Think Before You Act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.
  • Back It Up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

BE A GOOD ONLINE CITIZEN

  • Safer For Me, More Secure For All: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work, and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
  • Post Online About Others As You Have Them Post About You: The Golden Rule applies online as well.
  • Help The Authorities Fight Cyber Crime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

OWN YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

  • Personal Information Is Like Money. Value It. Protect It.: Information about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
  • Be Aware of What’s Being Shared: Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
  • Share With Care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it could be perceived now and in the future.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING

Social engineering is the art of manipulating people, so they give up confidential information. The types of information these criminals are seeking can vary, but when individuals are targeted the criminals are usually trying to trick you into giving them your passwords or bank information, or access your computer to secretly install malicious software–that will give them access to your passwords and bank information as well as giving them control over your computer.

Criminals use social engineering tactics because it is usually easier to exploit your natural inclination to trust than to discover ways to hack your software.  For example, it is much easier to fool someone into giving you their password than for you to try hacking their password (unless the password is weak).

Security is all about knowing who and what to trust. It is essential to understand when and when not to take a person at their word and when the person you are communicating with is who they say they are. The same is true of online interactions and website usage: when do you trust that the website you are using is legitimate or is safe to provide your information?

Ask any security professional, and they will tell you that the weakest link in the security chain is the human who accepts a person or scenario at face value. It doesn’t matter how many locks and deadbolts are on your doors and windows, or if you have guard dogs, alarm systems, floodlights, fences with barbed wire, and armed security personnel. If you trust the person at the gate, who says he is the pizza delivery guy, and you let him in without first checking to see if he is legitimate, you are exposing yourself to whatever risk he represents.

Below are Social Engineering Red Flags To Help Keep You Aware:

social engineering, red flags

Identity Theft Protection

We recommend that you remain vigilant for fraud or identity theft incidents by reviewing your account statements and free credit reports for any unauthorized activity. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To order your annual free credit report, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free at 1-877-322-8228.

Important Links:

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe, your personal information has been misused, immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Attorney General’s Office. Additional information from the FTC about steps you can take to avoid identity theft as well, as information about fraud alerts and security freezes, can be obtained by calling, toll free, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or visiting www.ftc.gov/idtheft. You should also contact your local law enforcement authorities and file a police report. We recommend obtaining a copy of the policy report if asked to provide documents to creditors to correct your records.

Helpful Resources

Better Business Bureau®

Department of Homeland Security

Stay Safe Online