Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Tips
|Ways to Prevent Fraud
Safeguard Your Social Security Number
- Never provide your Social Security number unless you have initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person's identity
- Do not use your full or partial Social Security number as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a password
- If you must provide your Social Security number in an email or on a Website ensure that it is encrypted, and you know how the recipient will protect it
- Do not record your Social Security number on a check, traveler's check, gift certificates, etc., unless required by law
- Don't carry your Social Security card and be cautious of your surroundings when disclosing your Social Security number
Secure Your Computer
- Reduce the amount of mail and paper with your personal information printed on it to reduce the chance of criminals stealing it
- Stop receiving paper account statements and canceled checks. View and download them online instead. You can sign up for BOTJ eStatements through Online Banking
- Sign up for direct deposit to have your funds put directly in your account without paper checks.
Types of Online Fraud
- Anti-spyware and anti-virus protection detects and removes viruses and spyware, which can steal vital information
- A firewall prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to a computer, or monitoring transfers of information to and from the computer
- Operating system and software updates, sometimes called "patches" or "service packs," should be installed as soon as possible
- Web browser updates are deployed with your security in mind so keep them current
Phishing and Spoofing
Sometimes criminals may send you email that looks like it has come from Bank of the James. These phony emails ask you to go to a Website that also looks like Bank of the James and to provide your personal account information. These emails may even ask you to call a phone number and provide account information. But the Website is a fake.
- Asking for personal information should raise a flag since Bank of the James emails will never ask you to reply in an email with any personal information, such as your Social Security number, ATM or Debit Card PIN
- Urgent appeals claim that your account may be closed if you fail to confirm, verify or authenticate your personal information. Bank of the James will not ask you to verify information in this way
- Messages about system and security updates claim that the Bank needs to confirm important information due to upgrades and state that you must update your information online. Bank of the James will not ask you to verify information in this way
- Offers that sound too good to be true often are. You may be asked to fill out a short customer service survey in exchange for money being credited to your account, and you are then asked to provide your account number for proper routing of the supposed credit. Bank of the James will not request your information in this way
- Typos and other errors are often the mark of fraudulent emails or websites. Be on the lookout for typos or grammatical errors, awkward writing and poor visual design
To protect against phishing and spoofing:
- Always look for your Passmark picture and passphrase when you sign in to Online Banking
- Make sure you are at Bank of the James's Website when you sign in to Online Banking. The Passmark information helps with this, but you can also type www.bankofthejames.com in your browser
- If you receive a suspicious email, do not click on any links or reply to it. Simply delete it. To report a suspicious email that uses Bank of James’ name, you can forward it to email@example.com
Money mules are unsuspecting victims who become middlemen for criminals trying to launder stolen funds. Victims are lured by the promise of a new career opportunity making large sums of money for minimal work. Criminals recruit money mules, send them stolen money and then ask the money mules to wire or transfer the money unwittingly to the criminals. Using the money mule masks the criminal's identity. The money mule may keep a commission for performing the transfer or wire. The victims of these scams may not only have their bank accounts closed and financial reputation ruined, but are often left financially responsible for returning the stolen funds.
Common signs of a money mule scam:
- Overseas companies requesting money transfer agents in the US
- Opening new bank accounts to receive money from someone you don't know
- Accepting large sums of money into your personal bank account for a new job
- Transferring or wiring funds out of your personal bank account to people you do not know
Malware, short for "malicious software," includes viruses, spyware and trojans that are designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system. Malware is often used to steal personal information and commit fraud. There are several easy ways to minimize the risk of malware:
- Downloads from file sharing and social networking sites can be distributions points for malware
- Attachments and free software from unknown sources shouldn’t be opened or installed
- Pop-up advertisements asking for personal or financial information are likely fraudulent, so it's better to close them
- Updated security and system software can protect your computer from malware threats
Vishing uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to call, leaving an automated recording. It alerts the consumer that their account has experienced unusual activity. The message instructs the consumer to call the same phone number shown in the spoofed caller ID with the same name as the financial company they are pretending to represent. And sometimes, criminals who try to get consumers to turn over personal data send emails and text messages containing fraudulent phone numbers.
Rather than provide any information, you should contact Bank of the James at the customer service number you normally use to verify the validity of the message.
Types of Mobile Fraud
Fake Mobile Banking Apps
Criminals may develop and publish fake mobile banking applications attempting to steal your Online Banking credentials. Here are tips for recognizing an unofficial Bank of the James application:
To help protect your accounts and information, don't download or install a Bank of the James Mobile Banking App if you spot any of these warning signs.
- The application is not labeled TouchBanking
- The application is being promoted on a third party site, somewhere other than the official application store for your mobile device
- There is a charge for downloading the application—Bank of the James does not currently charge for mobile application downloads
SMShing is phishing that happens via SMS text message. A criminal sends a text messages tricking you into replying with financial or personal information or clicking on links that will sneak viruses onto your mobile device.
To guard against these scams:
- Don't respond to a text message that requests personal or financial information. Bank of the James will never ask you to respond in this way
- Verify the phone numbers that appear in a text message. Store Bank of the James phone numbers in your mobile contacts for a quick cross-check. Or, you can go to the Our Locations web page
Mobile phones and tablets offer convenience, but they’re also easy to lose or steal, which can put your information at risk.
The Bank of the James Mobile Banking Apps still require you to enter your Password along with presenting you the Passmark information before accessing your financial information.
- Password-protect your device so it can’t be accessed unless the password is entered
- Enable an automatic screen-locking mechanism to lock the device when it’s not actively being used
- Consider using a remote wipe program, this will give you the ability to send a command to your device that will delete any data
- Keep a record of the device's make, model and serial number in case it's stolen
Traditional Online Threats
Viruses, malware and other programs that steal your personal information or financial details are also able to infect some mobile devices.
Stay vigilant about security when taking advantage of the convenience these devices offer.
- Some tablets may support traditional anti-virus products. Consider installing the type of prodcuct if supported on your device
- Back-up the device's data. This will allow you to restore the data if you need to wipe the memory to remove a harmful software threat
Using Cards Safely
Protecting Aganist Card Fraud
Following are some tips for making your Bank of the James Credit or Debit Card usage as secure as possible. If you suspect that you're the victim of fraud, you should report it immediately 434-846-2000.
Using ATM's Safely
- Sign immediately. Sign the signature panel on your Credit and Debit Cards as soon as you receive them
- Shut off paper statements. Choose instead to view your statements online rather than receive them by mail
- Check your receipts. Check receipts against your online monthly billing or account statements to verify all of your transactions. Report any unauthorized transactions immediately. Once you have reconciled your billing statements, shred up all receipts and discard them at home
- Check your statements and watch your charges. View your statements to verify that they properly reflect the amounts you have authorized. Also, watch for multiple charges
- Keep a list of all your card account numbers, as well as of telephone numbers to call if your cards are ever lost or stolen. Make sure they're in a separate, secure place
- Be cautious when giving out your card number. Never provide account information to anyone who called you
- Use ATMs with surveillance cameras. Bank of the James ATMs are monitored by surveillance cameras, which record activity in the area of the ATM
- Be aware of people and your surroundings. When you enter or exit from an ATM area, be sure no one is immediately around you and that you can see your surroundings
- Put away your card and cash. After completing your transaction, secure your card and cash immediately, before exiting the ATM area. Count your cash later, in the safety of your locked car or home. Your ATM card is like cash, so keep it in a safe place
- Protect your privacy. Shield the ATM keypad with your hand or body while entering your PIN