Generally these fraudulent requests urge you to provide your ATM or Debit card number along with the Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you would usually use at an ATM. These requests falsely state that you will be "locked out" of or "suspended" from your account with us or a merchant with whom you do business if you do not act quickly.
Individuals that respond to these telephone calls and e-mails generally find that unauthorized ATM withdrawals are made from their accounts shortly after providing this information.
The FTC provides many great tips and suggestions for avoiding the lastest consumer scams & hoaxes:
Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax, or email, no matter how official it may seem.
Do not respond to requests that may warn of dire consequences unless you validate your information immediately. Contact your bank to confirm the e-mail's validity using a telephone number you know to be genuine.
Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Please report discrepancies immediately.
You have an important role in providing for your online security. Below are some industry standard steps on enhancing your online security that you should take:
Check to see that you use a current version of a browser with 128 bit encryption. Encryption helps to protect information by scrambling it so that it cannot be read by anyone else. Upgrade your software to the most recent version.
You should also disable any auto-complete features that your browser may be set to. This will prevent the browser software from automatically completing personal information after one or two keystrokes.
Do not reveal your account number, social security number, ATM or DEBIT card number, PIN, or online banking customer I.D./Password to anyone; especially to unsolicited e-mails or phone calls. Your password will not be secure if you share it with others. Change it immediately if you think it has been obtained by someone else.
First State Bank of Bedias employees will not e-mail you asking for personal information. If someone from the bank calls, use Caller I.D. to verify that the call is from the bank or ask to call them back at First State Bank of Bedias at (936) 395-2141.
Use strong passwords. It is best to memorize your passwords and not write them down. Pick a password that would be difficult for someone to guess, avoiding names, common words, and numbers such as your address. A good way to pick a strong password that is easy to remember is to pick a favorite song or verse and use the first letter of each of the first few words in the song or verse. For example, using “My heroes have always been cowboys” would be a password of Mhhabc. Using this method of choosing a password makes it easier to remember, yet more difficult for someone to guess – note that a combination of upper case and lower case letters are used. Including numbers in the password would also enhance the strength of your password. Remember that longer passwords are more secure than shorter passwords.
Do not leave your computer unattended if you are in the middle of an online banking session. Always sign off and close the browser before visiting other sites on the Internet or leaving the computer.
Clear your browser cache in order to eliminate copies of web pages that have been stored on your hard drive. How you clear your cache will depend on the browser and version you have. This function is generally found in the browser's 'Tools' menu.
Use up to date anti-virus software on the computer where you access your online banking. Two popular antivirus software vendors are Symantec and McAfee. McAfee offers a free virus scan that you can perform online
Install and use a personal firewall to prevent unauthorized access to the computer where you access online banking. The firewall in Windows XP, or from a trusted third party such as Symantec or McAfee should used.
Use a free anti-spyware program such as Ad-Aware, SpyBot Search & Destroy or SpyWare Blaster. Anti-spyware helps detect and remove software on your computer that may log and send your personal information (such as passwords and account information) to a third party).
Be suspicious of e-mails, phone calls, or letters requesting personal information. Do not disclose personal information such as your social security number, bank account numbers, credit or debit card numbers, passwords, or other highly sensitive information. First State Bank of Bedias employees will not call you and ask for this information. If someone from the bank calls, ask to call them back at the bank at (936) 395-2141 in Bedias.
Use caution when opening e-mails. Emails can contain viruses. Be especially wary of e-mails describing certain steps for you to perform on your computer to remove a virus – most of these are hoaxes that actually end up having you delete critical files on your computer.
Look out for suspicious websites. Leave websites that appear suspicious or seem to take control of your computer by popping up multiple windows or starting your e-mail function without interaction from you. If necessary, turn your computer off or disconnect your modem connection if you are unable to break out of the site and are concerned about the security of a site.
Destroy documents, preferably with a cross-cut shredder, that have personal identification information before disposing them. Items with your name, account number, or other information could be pulled from the garbage and used to perpetrate identity theft against you.
Should you receive a phone call that you believe is from someone trying to perpetrate a fraud, hang up and wait ten seconds, then pick up the phone press *57 (or dial 1157 on a rotary phone). The last number that called you will be traced (it won't work if Call Waiting is triggered in the meantime). After you initiate Call Trace, a recording will let you know whether the trace is successful and provide an 800 number you can call to take legal action. Write down the time and date of the call to match up with phone records. The traced number can then be given to a law enforcement agency and the telephone company’s security department. You may need to sign up with the telephone company to make Call Trace available on your line. The phone company may charge a fee for this service.
Check your bank statement promptly each month. Report quickly to the bank if you believe that someone is trying to commit fraud involving your account. Save any e-mails you receive purporting to be from the bank.