At Farmers Savings Bank & Trust, we believe that education is the most valuable tool in preventing internet fraud. By making our customers aware of potential threats, the likelihood of damage will be lessened. Below you will find important information regarding internet fraud situations. Please read about these situations carefully so that you may protect yourself.
Phishing and Email Scams
What is phishing? Phishing is the use of fraudulent e-mails that have been forged to look like legitimate e-mails from a particular organization. These e-mails often try to extract personal information by asking you to reply directly to the e-mail, or by including a link to a site that tries to get you to disclose personal information. The email and website addresses given may appear almost identical to those of legitimate institutions. In attempt to trick you into supplying sensitive personal data, they will claim that there is a problem with an account and will provide a link to a site that may look authentic. You will be asked to input information such as bank account numbers, PINS and your Social Security Number. This fraudulent practice is often called “phishing" or “spoofing.” If you receive an email that appears to be from Farmers Savings Bank & Trust requesting sensitive personal information, please contact us immediately.
Farmers Savings Bank & Trust will never send you an e-mail asking for your passwords, card numbers, or other sensitive information.
We ask that before you conduct business or give information via the internet, you stop to ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I confident in the identity of the individual with whom I am corresponding?
2. Is the information being requested for a legitimate reason?
If you feel uncomfortable after asking yourself these questions, then we urge you to stop and ask more questions before continuing with the transaction or the correspondence. Keep in mind that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
Up to 500,000 individuals are victims each year of identity theft, a fast-growing form of fraud. Fortunately, a few simple steps can help ensure you stay out of these statistics.
“Identity theft” or “account takeover fraud” involves criminals stealing a person’s personal information. The crooks assume a person’s identity, apply for credit in his or her name, run up huge bills, stiff creditors and generally wreck the victim’s credit record.
You can take these steps to avoid becoming a victim:
Don’t give your Social Security or account numbers to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Don’t give out personal information over the Internet, unless you entered the Web address and are using a secure browser.
Tear up receipts, old bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. Crooks could steal information from your trash and use it to get credit in your name.
Review your bank and credit card statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized transactions.
Protect your PINs and computer passwords; use a combination of letters and numbers and change them often. Never carry this information with you, do not store this information on your computer and never share this information with anyone!
Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy. Call any of the three national credit reporting agencies: Trans Union (800) 888-4213, Equifax (800) 685-1111 and Experian (888) 397-3742.
Report any suspected fraud to your bank and credit card issuers immediately so they can start to close accounts and clear your name right away.
Restoring your identity can be a tremendous inconvenience. It’s worth your while to exercise a little preventative maintenance. Protect yourself against this terrible crime.
If you are a victim of identity theft:
1. Immediately contact us at 319-478-2148 for the Traer location or 319-472-2373 for Vinton if you suspect identity theft or fraud involving any of your Farmers Savings Bank & Trust accounts.
2. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (439-4338), or go to their Web site www.consumer.gov/idtheft and fill out a complaint form, or write to them at:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
The FTC web site offers comprehensive information about identity theft. Topics include: Understanding ID Theft, Protecting Against ID Theft, Filing a Complaint with the FTC, Identity Theft Laws, Recovering from Identity Theft.
Counterfeit Official Check Scam
This scam involves the sale of merchandise over the internet. The purchaser sends an official check to the seller for an amount over the selling price. The purchaser then asks the seller to wire the excess funds for shipping costs. After the funds have been wired, the official check comes back “counterfeit”.
The seller then loses the amount of money wired out. In most cases the money cannot be recovered because it is difficult, if not impossible, to track down the originator of these official checks, as these individuals are usually from overseas.