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Fraud Education Center
Welcome to the American Bank of Commerce Fraud Education Center, a resource to help educate our employees and customers to protect themselves from fraud and scams that are common in today’s world. Click on the subject below to learn more.
ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE
Elder financial abuse has been a growing problem over the past decade. Seniors are being exploited by strangers, professionals who deal with their assets, and even trusted family members or friends. Unfortunately, this type of abuse not only affects the finances of the victim, but also their mental and physical well-being. People of all ages need to be informed so the proper measures can be taken in hopes of preventing the issue. There is no shame in reporting abuse.
Tips to keeping your finances and identity safe:
Destroy your documents:
Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
Keep your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information in a safe, hidden place.
Never give personal information, including your Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
Think before you sign:
Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion. Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
Get to know your banker and don’t hesitate to ask questions. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
Check credentials before hiring anyone:
Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances. Ask for references and follow up with them.
Avoid paying in cash when possible:
Pay with checks and credit cards that will keep a paper trail.
Feel free to say “no.” After all, it’s your money.
Trust your instincts:
Exploiters and abusers often are very skilled. They can be charming and forceful in their effort to convince you to give up control of your finances. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
ATM and Debit Card Security
ATM fraud is on the rise, law enforcement officials say, because thieves are becoming more and more sophisticated. Criminals have become very clever at finding new ways to access your funds so consumers need to pay careful attention to their bank statements in case there are unauthorized withdrawls. This holiday season, ABC has you covered with the following ATM and debit card security tips.
At the ATM:
When you’re by yourself, avoid using an ATM in isolated areas. Only use ATMs in well-lit, public areas. If it looks like someone has tampered with the ATM, don’t use it. This could mean that a criminal has attached a “skimmer” to the ATM with the purpose of stealing your financial information. Always verify that the amount you withdrew or deposited matches the amount printed on your receipt. Make sure to shred or destroy your ATM receipts before you throw them away.
Report loss or theft!:
If you suspect your card is lost or has been stolen, inform the company that issued you the card and contact your bank immediately. Treat cards like cash: Never let your cards get out of your possession or control. Don’t lend your cards — credit, debit, or ATM — to anyone. You are responsible for their use.
Never tell anyone your PIN. No one from a financial institution, the police, or a merchant should ask for your PIN. You are the only person who needs to know it. When selecting a PIN, avoid picking a number that is easy for others to guess — for example, your name, telephone number, date of birth, or any simple combination of these. When typing in your PIN at the ATM or when making a point-of-sale purchase, cover the number pad so no one near you can see your PIN. Make sure you change your current PIN from time to time.
Always be sure that you get your card back after every purchase and check that sales vouchers are for the correct purchase amount before you sign them. Keep copies of your sales vouchers and ATM, debit or credit card receipts in a secure place.
Keep your cards away from things with magnets, which can erase the information stored on the card’s magnetic strip.
Home Computer Safety
FRAUD UPDATE CYBER SECURITY: HOME COMPUTER SAFETY
Today, we are more dependent on computers and the information that they store than ever before. From spyware, viruses, and Trojans to identity theft and computer hardware malfunctions, any disruption can have a huge impact on our lives. No matter how savvy the user, safe computing practices are a combination of physical protections using computer software, security settings and the secure actions of the user.
Tips to keep your Home Computer safe and secure
Check your firewall: Checking your firewall sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Go to your control panel and type “firewall” in the search box. If your firewall is “on” or “connected,” then you’re good to go. Making sure you have a firewall in place can go a long way toward keeping criminals out. Make sure that you share some of your folders only on the home network. If you don’t really need your files to be visible to other machines, disable file and media sharing completely.
Back up your data: Backing up your data protects you in the event of a computer crash or electrical outage or surge, like a lightning storm might produce. It also helps if you fall prey to the newer type of ransomware, which encrypts your sensitive data.
Stay away from rogue websites: Spotting a rogue website can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to hone your skills. Look for a green lock in the address bar and the code prefix “https://” at the beginning of the URL while entering your credit card data or accessing your web mail.
Avoid deals that are too good to be true: Some websites are known to lure customers in with an amazing deal, and once they have your credit card information they’re never to be heard from again – your identity may be compromised.
Never divulge sensitiv e information: No matter what website you’re on, be careful of the sensitive information you reveal; you should be just as careful with your social media profiles as well. Revealing information as innocent as your pet’s name or mother’s maiden name could lead to identity theft, because you probably use the same data as the security question on some other website.
Avoid opening unknown emails: Never open an email from an unknown or suspicious source, and definitely never open any attachments contained in them. You have to be careful of emails coming from people on your contact list as well, especially if the sender’s account has been hacked.
Identity theft is among the fastest growing crimes in the country. The results can be financially and psychologically devastating to the victim. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information without your permission. This information may include your name, address, driver’s license number, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, birth date, or financial information.
If you are a victim of identity theft, there are a few precautions you should take as soon as possible.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit report by contacting:
Then, follow these steps:
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit report by contacting one the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). You’ll only need to contact one, and all three will be alerted.
- Contact the bank and close your accounts that you know have been tampered with.
- File a police report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
In addition to the steps above, it may also be a worthwhile to enroll in a paid identity theft protection service such as Deluxe Provent.
With so many recent cyber security breaches, it has become increasingly necessary to become secure online. With so many access points (via smart home devices, fitness trackers, etc.), it’s easier than ever to fall prey to a potential hack. Hackers have sophisticated ways of stealing your identity and accessing your accounts.
Unlike a house break-in where there is often evidence of a crime, it is a lot easier for digital theft to go unnoticed.
Are you leaving the door wide open for cyber criminals? ABC Bank is committed to educating our employee and customers, so they know how to protect themselves from fraud and scams that are common in today’s world.
Cyber Security Awareness Tips
Put a lock on your (smart) home – your router is the primary entrance into your residence for cyber criminals. At a minimum, you should have a password that is unique and secure. To take it a few steps further, you can also enable multi-factor login or better yet get a firewall for your smart home hub that acts as a shield to protect anything that’s connected to your WiFi.
Consider using an encrypted password manager to store your private login credentials. In most, you can also easily generate secure passwords, and protect sensitive notes and credit card information.
Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family but, unfortunately, it's also a great way for scammers to gain personal information about you. Be cautious of what you share online and always check your privacy settings for each social media account you have.
Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it’s suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it. Also remember, ABC Bank will never ask for private account information via email, social media or online; nor should you share this information publicly. If you receive a communication from us requesting these details, give us a call immediately at 1-888-902-2552 so we can ensure your data is safe.
Ensuring your virus protection software is functioning and up-to-date is extremely important! Consider configuring your system to install automatic updates to keep your system protected against all known viruses, malware, and ransomware.
EMV CHIP CARD FAQ
EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard & Visa. It is a technology designed to reduce card-cloning fraud, and is the global standard for payment processing with credit cards and debit cards. The impact of EMV adoption to the entire payments infrastructure is significant, from terminals to ATMs, from card issuers to merchants. The first generation of new cards and readers are ‘dual-interface,’ meaning that they can process both magnetic stripe and chip transactions to avoid any acceptance issues.
What are the benefits of chip technology?
The embedded microchip provides dynamic transaction security features and other capabilities not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards. Since chip cards support dynamic authentication, they are very difficult to counterfeit.
How is this card different from a magnetic stripe card?
Unlike a magnetic stripe card that carries fixed data, chip cards carry security credentials that make each transaction unique when used at a chip-enabled terminal.
How does chip technology work?
Every in-person transaction with a chip card has unique data in it. Chip transactions are dynamic, not static like magnetic stripe cards. That is why if someone were able to intercept one of your chip transactions they would not be able to use that information again. This stops criminals from being able to create counterfeit chip cards.
Will my chip card be accepted outside of the United States?
Chip technology is already used in over 130 countries around the world, including Canada, Mexico and in the United Kingdom, so you’ll enjoy greater acceptance when traveling internationally. Your chip card will still work at terminals where only magnetic stripe transactions are accepted.
CAN I still swipe my card at a terminal?
Most card readers will accept and process both magnetic stripe and chip card transactions for some time to avoid any acceptance issues. If chip enabled, the card reader will recognize the chip and the card must be inserted into the terminal instead of swiped. This process is referred to as ‘dipping’ the card. The card must remain in the terminal for the duration of the transaction until the terminal indicates that the card can be removed.
debit card alerts with My Card Rules
MyCardRules™ is a service that allows you to control your ABC MasterCard™ debit card or credit card anywhere, anytime from your smartphone. With this free service from American Bank of Commerce, you will have access to these great features:
- Instantly turn a card OFF if it has been lost, stolen or being misused
- Set transactions to have a specific spending limit
- Get an alert every time your card is used
- Decline in-store or on-line transactions based upon your settings
- Restrict purchases at specific types of stores and/or merchants
- Activate settings to allow card to be used only when your mobile device is nearby
HOW TO ENROLL
Download the MyCardRules™ APP on the App Store® or Google Play™ on your smartphone. After the app has been downloaded, select "New User" and enter your card information to register. This will include the card number, card expiration date and security code. Then create a username and password. Once your account is created, you can log in to the "Card Details" screen. Then you will be able to turn card controls On or Off, set controls, manage alert preferences, view recent transactions and more.
Notice of smsGuardian service termination: smsGuardian fraud alert service is now discontinued. If you were utilizing this service, we recommend switching to MyCardRules™ for continued alerts and a greater variety of options for handling your debit card.
abc Debit card Fraud center
One of the ways we keep your account secure is via our Debit Card Fraud Center, and the primary tool they use to protect you is temporarily blocking your card when suspicious transactions occur. If this happens, we will immediately begin trying to contact you to verify the activity. Here is how the process works:
- When suspicious transactions are detected, you will first receive an email from the Fraud Center listing a few of your most recent transactions, including links to mark the activity as authorized or not.
- If a response to the email isn’t received promptly, the system will begin sending text messages to your text eligible phone numbers from.
- Finally, the system will attempt to reach you by calling each phone number on file for your account.
At any point in this process, you can respond and let us know whether the transactions were authorized by you. If the transactions are valid, your card will work immediately after you respond, and no further action is required. If the transactions are fraudulent, your card will remain blocked, and you should receive a call from a Fraud Analyst shortly after you respond to review your case and advise you on what to do next.
Because your card will remain blocked until we receive a response, it’s crucial to keep your contact information up to date. In online banking, you can update your address and contact information by clicking Settings>Address Change. You can also update your information by visiting a branch or via phone toll free at 888-902-2552.
debit card compromise FAQ
What is a compromised card?
A compromised card is a card that is at risk of being used fraudulently. Cards can be compromised in many ways, but some common compromise points include merchant breaches, phishing scams, skimmers, and malware.
How does ABC Bank react to compromise notifications?
ABC Bank takes every compromise seriously and affected customers will receive notification if their card information has been potentially compromised. Notifications will be in the form of a mailed letter. The notification will provide information on the compromise and information on replacement card(s).
Does this mean that I have fraud on my account?
No. It only means that your card information has potentially been compromised.
What do I need to do if I discover fraud on my account?
If you ever detect fraud on your account, contact us immediately at (806) 775‐5000 or call your local banking center.
Can this information be used to steal my identity?
The information encoded on the compromised card pertains strictly to the card, potentially including the card number and expiration date. Confidential information such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses and dates of birth are not stored on the card.
annual free credit report
Periodically reviewing your credit history is a great way help identify and mitigate identity theft. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act allows all individuals the right to check their credit report once a year, free of charge. Annualcreditreport.com is the only authorized source for consumers to access their credit reports online for free. This central site allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The site’s security protocols are designed to protect your personally identifiable information from unauthorized access or alteration.
Toll Free: call 877-322-8228
online banking security
We are committed to providing you a secure Internet banking environment. Our Online Banking services use industry‐leading and approved technology to help protect your personal information. You can help protect your online banking services by following our security checklist.
Protect your personal information:
- Never provide any personal information over the phone, mail or internet to an unknown or untrusted party.
- Use strong passwords to protect your online account access.
Protect your login credentials:
- Never give your login ID, password, or PIN to anybody, including family or friends.
- Don’t write your login ID and password anywhere.
- Change your password regularly.
- Never store your credentials in your browser or in toolbars, as malicious programs can retrieve and harvest these credentials.
Protect your computer:
- Verify the computer you use to access online banking has the most current firewall, antivirus and anti‐spyware software. Update and run these programs regularly.
- Apply all security updates for your supported operating system or browser. Register for auto‐updates from your software providers to ensure that your system is always up‐to‐date.
- Never leave your computer unattended while in online banking.
Review your account information regularly:
- Review your account information at least monthly. Notify us immediately of any discrepancy on unauthorized activity.
- Please read and comply with all communications we send to you via secure messaging and follow all instruction and communication within online banking.
- Keep your contact information up‐to‐date to ensure we can contact you and you can access our online services.
For many, an email account holds more sensitive information than anywhere else. While it is both fast and convenient, it is also a popular target for cyber-criminals. Here are a few simple precautions we recommend when utilizing email.
- One of the most important steps to avoiding email fraud is never re-using a password from another site. In today’s world, remembering all of our credentials can be a challenge, but taking this small step can prevent the majority of hacked email accounts. Since many websites will use your email account to reset your password, a compromised email address can indirectly give unauthorized access to dozens of other accounts.
- Be cautious responding to any unsolicited emails from someone you don’t know. Some common scams associated with this kind of activity include fake work from home opportunities, lottery winnings for contests you didn’t enter, and even false online banking messages. Never share personal or financial information via email.
- It is best to avoid clicking links or opening attachments received via email unless you’re absolutely sure that the message is genuine. If there’s something you absolutely need to view, contact the originator of the email by phone to verify that the message is legitimate. A popular version of this scam that becomes very dangerous during the holidays is spoofed emails from a shipping company. The message will often state that your package was undeliverable, and that you should click a link to visit their site and rectify the issue. If you receive an email like this and are expecting a delivery, it’s always best to go to the supposed shipper’s site directly rather than clicking a link received via email.
IRS IMPERSONATION SCAMS
With tax season in full swing, American Bank of Commerce reminds you to play it safe and beware of the “IRS Impersonation Scam,” an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers. In this scheme, the victim receives a call from someone posing as an IRS agent who claims that the victim owes money. The caller then asks the victim to either pay their balance immediately or face an arrest. While threats issued by these criminals can sound intimidating, keep in mind that the IRS will never request payment in this way. The IRS site states that they will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
ONLINE CLASSIFIED AD SCAMS
While online classified sites are convenient and affordable, they’re often a prime target for fraudsters. It’s important to remember that the website you use often will not get involved when fraud occurs, and you may be left on the hook for the bill should it happen to you. Here’s a few of the most important things to keep in mind:
- Avoid working with anyone non-local whenever possible. Virtually all of these scams target victims outside their own area.
- If anyone asks you to send funds via wire or Moneygram, it’s almost certainly fraud. Even Craiglist’s site states “Never wire funds…anyone who asks you to is a scammer.”
- If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is. A common tactic involves the scammer vastly overpaying for an item via a (fake) cashier’s check, then requesting the seller to return the overpayment either back to the sender or to a third party “mover”.
- Don’t accept job opportunities that involve accepting and forwarding payments on behalf of someone else. This kind of listing is used to recruit “money mules” who help move illegally obtained funds through the financial system. Meeting a prospective employer or landlord in person before sharing any private information is a must.
“Money mules” are people or businesses who are used to transport and launder stolen money. Individuals being used as money mules may be willing participants, but many are not aware that they are being used to commit fraud. Common money mule scams are disguised as work from home opportunities, secret shopper solicitations, lottery winnings, or even online relationships.
Once an individual agrees to participate, these scams tend to follow a common pattern. First, the victim will receive funds on behalf of the fraudster. Once the funds have been deposited, the victim is then asked to send the majority of the funds to another account and told to keep a portion of the deposit for themselves as a payment or gift. The method for sending the funds back is typically a wire or some other form of immediate payment, since these are often impossible to have returned once the mule has become fully aware of the situation. After the money mule performs his or her role in the transaction they typically won’t hear from the criminal again, and the victim may be the one on the hook for the entire loss of funds.
If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look for common warning signs, and do some research before agreeing to participate. Try to investigate the person or company before doing business with them, and always investigate the source of funds before releasing them.
If you believe that you are participating in a money mule scheme, stop participating immediately and notify us. If you ever have doubts about a transaction or financial relationship, don’t hesitate to give us a call for a second opinion.
Travel Security Tips
Inform your bank
Notify American Bank of Commerce when and where you are traveling, especially if you are traveling out of the state or country. This will keep the bank from suspecting fraudulent activity. Also, be sure all of your contact information, including email, is correct so the bank can contact you if needed.
Sign up for mobile or online banking
Utilize ABC's mobile banking app or a secure WiFi to view your daily account transaction activity to make it easier to manage your spending while you're away. For Online banking questions - firstname.lastname@example.org
Set up an ABC BANK Automatic Transfer Authorization sweep between your savings account and your checking account so a transfer will automatically happen if an overdraft occurs. Apply for ABC BANK Credit Advantage: a personal line of credit which gives you the advantage of making yourself a loan when you need it most.
Check your cards
Plan ahead! Make sure you have two methods of getting cash when traveling. Lighten your wallet - Only carry the cards you will be using on your trip and leave the rest at home. Take a credit card and a debit card...or a travel card or reloadable card. Use a credit card for major purchases, debit or ATM card for withdrawing cash at ATMs. For your convenience, ABC Bank offers the following cards:
- ABC BANK Platinum MasterCard™ or Business MasterCard™
- ABC BANK MasterMoney™ Debit Card: for use at any merchant displaying the MasterCard™ logo
- ABC BANK Travel Cards: essential for vacationers and people on-the-go
- ABC BANK Reloadable Cards: a card that gives you a safe and convenient way to manage your money
- Most credit card issuers charge foreign usage fees, which inflate the cost of any transaction processed outside the United States.
- There may be exchange rates and fees at different ATMs.
- Withdraw with care: When withdrawing cash at ATM's, be alert of your surroundings.
- Watch out for bogus ATM's. Be sure the cash machine is legit before you insert your card. Stick to ATMs that are inside banks or are on bank property or in airports or hotels.
Photocopy your credit, debit or pre-paid card(s) and passport details, and keep the copies in a separate place to the originals.
In today’s world, keeping your mobile device secure is just as important as protecting your desktop computer. Advances in the capabilities of our phones has given us easier access to our finances than ever, but it also makes your phone a high-value target for criminals. With that in mind, American Bank of Commerce would like to remind you of some ways you can keep your mobile device secure.
Keep your phone secure with the following mobile security tips:
Enable the lock feature on your phone
Without this, anyone can gain access to your email, texts, and more by simply picking up your device. Many new phones even offer biometric features like face or fingerprint recognition, making them fast and simple to unlock.
Be mindful when installing apps
You should avoid installing apps from sources other than the app marketplace that comes with your device. Applications downloaded this way have not been approved by your phone’s manufacturer and are more likely to contain malicious code.
Enable features for locating or disabling your phone in the event that it gets lost or stolen
Your phone probably comes with features for locating or disabling your phone in the event that it gets lost or stolen. This is the sort of feature that doesn’t seem urgent to set up until it’s too late, so take a few minutes today to find out if your phone offers this feature.
Consider waiting until you are connected to a private, secure network
Public wireless internet is convenient, but it’s also a popular target for intrusions. If you need to do something that involves sensitive information, like shopping or banking, it’s always best to do so on your password protected home network or data plan.
Install the latest updates as soon as possible
System updates can patch critical security holes, and not installing them promptly could leave your device unnecessarily exposed to malware.
TOGETHER, WE CAN BANK ON BETTER SECURITY.
Cyber security is always something to be conscious of, but it’s especially important when using public networks. Along with the normal online threats, you also have to be aware that there may be bad actors using, or sometimes even controlling, the access point.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when using public Wi-Fi:
Don’t blindly trust wireless networks
Never trust a wireless network just because it has an official sounding name. A popular tactic among cybercriminals is to set up an access point using the name of a nearby business or the name of a popular mobile carrier. Just because the network name looks official does not mean it is safe!
Be mindful that your computer may be visible to others
Most modern computers have features that allow your devices to be visible to other users on the network. This can be really convenient on your private home network, but you don’t want to give access to other users on a public access point. Usually your computer will ask if a network is at Home, Work, or in Public when you connect, and selecting Public should disable this feature.
HTTP vs HTTPS
You can connect to most websites via either “HTTP” or “HTTPS” exchange. It sounds complicated, but the important thing to know is that if the web address in your browser starts with “HTTPS” it means the traffic, between you and the website is encrypted. If you see that it only says “HTTP”, you should think twice about entering sensitive information like login credentials or payment information.
Consider waiting until you are connected to a private, secure network
It may be obvious, but the best way to avoid the risks associated with public internet access is not using it. If you’re doing something sensitive that isn’t urgent, it may be best to just wait until you have access to mobile data or a private, password protected network