Protecting our customers from identity theft, and other forms of fraud is something PeopleFirstBank takes very seriously. In today’s digital age, even a careful individual can become a victim of fraud. As your financial partner we want to equip you with tips and resources that can help you identify potential fraud situations. Remember we are always here to help if you have a question or concern; don’t hesitate to call us.
Identiy Theft: Protect your personal information
Online and Mobile Security
Password protect your mobile device. Utilize strong passwords, using a mix of Alphanumeric characters, upper and lower case, as well as symbols. This makes it much more difficult for someone else to view your information.
Avoid storing your passwords. Don't store your passwords or other sensitive information on your smartphone or in an app where it could be discovered if your phone is stolen.
Frequently delete texts and emails. Delete texts and emails containing personal information, especially before loaning, discarding, or selling your mobile phone.
Don't share your private/sensitive information. Keep private your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number and date of birth. Never share your personal or financial information in a text message, phone call or email.
Keep your mobile information up to date. If you lose your mobile device or change your cell phone number, please call our retail banking team at 815-207-6200.
Always log off your account. Once you've finished with an app or website, always log off. PeopleFirst Bank’s smartphone apps and mobile banking site will automatically log you off after 10 minutes of inactivity. This reduces the risk of other access your information from your mobile device.
Keep your mobile operating system current. Make sure you have the most recent version to ensure the highest level of protection.
Avoid using public wireless access points. For online banking and other activities involving sensitive information. Open wi-fi networks are prime targets for hackers and identity thieves.
Be wary of suspicious links. Never click on suspicious links in emails, tweets, posts, or online advertising. Links may take you to websites different from what their labels indicate. Typing the address into your browser is a much safer alternative.
Protect sensitive information. Only give sensitive information to websites that are secure and encrypted, so it's protected as it travels across the Internet. Verify the web address begins with "https://" (the "s" is for secure) rather than just "http:''. Some browsers also display a padlock.
Avoid using public computers or public wireless access points. For online banking and other activities involving sensitive information. Open wi-fi networks are prime targets for hackers and identity thieves.
Don't trust sites with certificate warnings or errors. These messages could be caused by your connection being intercepted or the web server misrepresenting its identity.
Always "log off" or "sign out". Once you've finished with an app or website, always log off of password protected websites to prevent unauthorized access. Simply closing the browser window may not actually end your session.
Be Aware of these Common Scams
Screen Share Scam
Attackers have been adapting to the remote working situation and coming up with creative ways to defraud you of your personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank accounts, etc. Amongst them is a new form of social engineering and online fraud that can give attackers admin access to your computing device or mobile phone.
This new scam utilizes screen sharing applications that allow the attacker to view or take control of the victim's device. Fraudsters can call you and pose as bank employees, tech support, or even customer representatives from well-known companies or our own company to trick the victim into thinking their account(s) were flagged for suspicious or fraudulent activity. Once a remote control application is installed, the attacker is given admin access to your computing/phone device(s), they can retrieve your credentials or banking information for their own use.
To protect yourself against this fraud, its recommended not to install any screen sharing applications like Screenshare, Teamviewer, or any other remote control software unless it is from a verified member of a company’s Information Technology Department. Additionally, unless the phone call was made to or from a trusted source, never give any personal information over the phone.
If you feel any of your PeopleFirst Bank accounts have been compromised, we encourage your to visit a banker at one of our two branches. Our caring and compassionate staff members will work through the process to verify account activity and ensure you have not been defrauded. And if you have, they will help navigate the process to prevent any future fraud.
In this scam, an imposter calls a grandparent pretending to be a grandchild in trouble, possibly even knowing the grandchild’s name. The scammer pleads for the grandparent to wire money to them and tells the grandparent not tell any family members for fear of upsetting them. Never let a scammer pressure you into sending money. Hang up the phone, then call your grandchild, or another relative. Use a phone number you know is valid, to find out if the request is legitimate. Remember, you should consider it to be a red flag if the caller insists on secrecy.
Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
Sweepstakes scammers will call or email ‘congratulations’ on winning a lottery or sweepstakes. The scammer asks the “winner” for a payment upfront or will send a “Claim Certificate” or “check” to pay the winnings. Once it’s clear that there are none, the victim may receive a call from an “attorney.” For a fee, the “attorney” offers to collect the winnings on behalf of the victim. The attorney is actually an associate of the original scammer and there is no chance of recovering the original loss or the “attorney” fee.
IRS Telephone Scam
In this scenario, someone calls and tells you that you must immediately pay taxes that are owed to the IRS, and that you face serious consequences if you fail to comply. Scammers sometimes tell victims that money must be paid immediately to the IRS. The caller may even know the last four digits of your Social Security number. Don’t be a victim. If you get called from someone claiming to be from the IRS, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to see if you owe taxes. Real IRS employees never ask for credit card information over the phone.
Computer/Internet Safety Tips
We use passwords for everything from email to doctor/patient portals. While it is tempting to use the same password for various sites, DON’T. Once a cyber-criminal discovers a password, they often attempt to log into other online services and networks using the same credentials. This creates additional, unnecessary, identity theft risk. Second point, create complex passwords even when the site doesn’t require it. Passwords should include a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters.
Phishing scams are designed to trick people into giving out personal information. Scammers use various methods including emails, texts, and fake web pages to gather financial information from victims. Generally scammers attempt to get you to disclose personal non-public information such as credit card details, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, etc. Messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with–such as your favorite retailer. One example is the email that implies an unauthorized transaction is suspected. The message will prompt you to click a link to confirm your identity or verify your personal information. When in doubt, delete the email and then call the actual retailer, or other vendor, at the customer service number that you normally call.
Scammers will also claim to be computer technicians, saying that they’ve detected viruses on your computer. They then trick you into giving them remote access or buying software that allows them to steal passwords and account numbers. Make sure you have installed virus protection on your computer, and that you run updates regularly. Use the phone number you have on file for that vendor, not the phone number the scammer helpfully placed in their fake alert.
If you suspect Identity Theft
If you’re concerned that someone has unauthorized access to your personal information, please call us immediately at (815) 207-6200, so we can take steps to help protect you. You should also consider reporting your concerns to: