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.
Be Aware of these Common Scams
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: