WHAT IS FRAUD AND HOW TO DETECT IT
A. Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. This includes personal identifying information such as your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, user ID/passwords, PIN numbers or account numbers. Identity Theft is a federal crime.
How Identity Theft can affect you
Consumers victimized by Identity Theft can spend hundreds of dollars and hours cleaning up the damages thieves have made of their good name and credit record. They may also lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing, or car loans because of negative information on their credit reports. They could even be arrested for crimes they did not commit. The potential for damages, losses and emotional stress is quite considerable.
How to prevent Identity Theft
- Always keep your personal information private and secure. If you are asked to provide your personal information, make sure that you know the party asking for it. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or on the Internet, unless you initiate the contact or you are sure who you are dealing with.
- Always shred documents containing personal information prior to disposing of them. Examples of these documents are bank or utility statements, checks, and other forms containing personal information. This will deter identity thieves from going through your trash to obtain personal information.
- When creating passwords for bank account access, ATM, or credit cards, avoid using information such as your birth date, Social Security Number, phone number, street address number, mother’s maiden name, which can be easily associated with you.
- Carry only the identification information and credit cards or ATM/debits cards that you actually need when leaving your home or office. Always have the phone numbers of all your credit card companies or banks handy in the event you need to contact them for lost or stolen cards.
- Do not leave outgoing mail inside your home mailbox for pickup by the postman. Instead, drop off your mail at the Post Office, or at designated mail boxes. If you plan to be away for some time, call the US Postal Services to request a vacation hold of your mail.
What is Phishing?
The term “Phishing” is likened to “fishing” for confidential information. It is a form of criminal activity designed to steal your valuable personal or financial information electronically through emails, fraudulent websites, social networking websites, instant message programs, cell phone or other mobile devices.
Oftentimes, Phishing scams rely on placing links in email messages, on web sites, or in instant messages that seem to come from a service that you trust, such as your bank. Phishing mail often includes official-looking logos and other identifying information directly from legitimate web sites, or it may include convincing details about your personal information found on a social networking site. The scam artist may place a link or pop-up window in the email that appears to go to the legitimate web site, but actually takes you to a phony scam site.
How to tell if an Email Message may be an attempt at Phishing
Typically, fraudulent emails appear to be coming from legitimate companies. They could warn you of an urgent problem with your account and trick you into clicking on a link that subsequently opens up your computer to hackers. The following are some phrases that are telltale signs of Phishing:
- “Verify your account” – companies should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security Numbers, or other personal information through email. If you receive an email from a company asking you to update your credit card information, do not respond.
- “If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed” – these seem like urgent messages so that you will respond immediately without thinking. Phishing email might even claim that your response is required because your account might have been compromised.
- “Click the link below to access your account” – once you click on the link, it may take you to a phony site that asks you to complete forms and provide personal information to update your account. You may not be aware of this since the link may include a similar logo or appearance of the legitimate site.
How to avoid Phishing
- If you receive an unexpected email claiming that your account will be shut down unless you confirm your billing information, do not reply or click any links in the email body.
- Before submitting financial information through a website, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar or check if the URL starts with “https”. It means your information is secure during transmission.
- If you unknowingly supplied personal or financial information, contact your bank and credit card company immediately. They may suggest to close your account and open new ones.
- Suspicious emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, and complaints should be filed with the state attorney general’s office or through the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
- Beware of internet fraud. The Bank will never request confidential information through email.
C. Pretext Calling
What is Pretext Calling?
Pretext callers use different ploys to extract information. Callers can pretend to be customers, higher-level employees in the same bank, officials at other banks, government regulators or law enforcement officers. Their approaches can exude intimidation, helplessness and breathless emergency. They can appeal to bank employees’ natural inclination to assist others or browbeat bank officials into complying with supposed official government business. Often, they call employee after employee at a bank until they find one they can manipulate.
Pretext calling was made illegal by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which requires bank regulators to make sure all financial institutions have policies and procedures in place to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of customer financial information and to deter and detect fraudulent access to such information.
How do banks help prevent Fraud from Pretext Callers?
In order to prevent fraud from resulting from Pretext Calling, banks often ask questions which can be answered only by the legitimate customers. This may include “out-of-pocket” questions, or identifiers that were collected from the customers at the time of account opening. We, at Bank of the Orient have developed these additional security measures when transacting business with customers for their own protection and for the protection of their assets at the bank.
If you are unsure about the authenticity of an email or a phone call from Bank of the Orient, or if you want to know why we have adapted new security procedures, please call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-881-2686. We will be happy to assist you with your needs.