Identity Theft, Frauds, and Scams Basics
Identity theft involves a crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data to open fraudulent credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, withdraw funds from deposit accounts, or obtain new loans. A victim's losses may include not only out-of-pocket financial losses but also substantial costs to restore credit history and to correct erroneous information in their credit reports.
Frauds and scams defraud millions of people every year, often starting with an e-mail, text message, or phone message that appears to be from a legitimate, trusted organization. The message typically asks consumers to verify or update personal information. Similarly, criminals create bogus websites for such things as credit repair services in the hopes that consumers will enter personal information.
Reporting fraud promptly improves your chances of recovering what you have lost and helps law enforcement authorities stop scams before others are victimized. If you are the victim of a scam and you suspect a law has been violated, contact your state, local, or federal consumer protection agency. The agency you contact first may take action directly or refer you to another agency better positioned to protect you. Also, a local law enforcement officer may be able to provide advice and assistance.
Violations of federal laws should be reported to the federal agency responsible for enforcement. Complaints are used to document patterns of abuse, allowing the agency to take action against a company.
People who have no intention of delivering what is sold, who misrepresent items, send counterfeit goods or otherwise try to trick you out of your money are committing fraud. If you suspect fraud, there are some additional steps to take.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
- Scams that used the mail or interstate delivery service should also be reported to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is illegal to use the mail to misrepresent or steal money.
How to Avoid Identity Theft
The best protection against identity theft is to carefully protect your personal information, for example:
- Do not share personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you initiated the contact or know the person you are dealing with;
- Store personal information in a safe place;
- Shred old receipts, account statements, and unused credit card offers;
- Choose PINs and passwords that would be difficult to guess and avoid using easily identifiable information such as your mother’s maiden name, birth dates, the last four digits of your social security number, or phone numbers;
- Pay attention to billing cycles and account statements and contact your bank if you don’t receive a monthly bill or statement since identity thieves often divert account documentation;
- Review account statements thoroughly to ensure all transactions are authorized;
- Guard your mail from theft, promptly remove incoming mail, and do not leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox with the flag up for pick up by mail carrier;
- Obtain your free credit report annually and review your credit history to ensure it is accurate;
- Use an updated security program to protect your computer; and
- Be careful about where and how you conduct financial transactions, for example don’t use an unsecured Wi-Fi network because someone might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing.
How to Avoid Frauds & Scams
There are numerous scams presented daily to consumers so you must always exercise caution when it comes to your personal and financial information. The following tips may help prevent you from becoming a fraud victim.
- Be aware of incoming e-mail or text messages that ask you to click on a link because the link may install malware that allows thieves to spy on your computer and gain access to your information;
- Be suspicious of any e-mail or phone requests to update or verify your personal information because a legitimate organization would not solicit updates in an unsecured manner for information it already has;
- Confirm a message is legitimate by contacting the sender (it is best to look up the sender’s contact information yourself instead of using contact information in the message);
- Assume any offer that seems too good to be true, is probably a fraud;
- Be on guard against fraudulent checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or electronic fund transfers sent to you with requests for you to wire back part of the money;
- Be wary of unsolicited offers that require you to act fast;
- Be careful when using social networking sites;
- Research any “apps” before downloading and don’t assume an “app” is legitimate just because it resembles the name of your bank or other company you are familiar with;
- Be leery of any offers that pressure you to send funds quickly by wire transfer or involve another party who insists on secrecy; and
- Beware of Disaster-Related Financial Scams. Con artists take advantage of people after catastrophic events by claiming to be from legitimate charitable organizations when, in fact, they are attempting to steal money or valuable personal information.
Phishing & Spoofing
While State National Bank works to protect your banking privacy, you also play an important role in protecting your information. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your identity:
Phishing scams target consumers by “spoofing” emails and websites. Here’s how it works:
· You receive an email message, asking you to click on a link in order to update some sensitive personal information.
· The link will redirect you to a "spoofed" website, which is designed to look like a legitimate website.
· The website will ask you to input personal information such as your account numbers, PIN s, or a social security number.
How to protect yourself
To protect yourself from going to a spoofed website, always type: www.snbwest.com into your browser when you login to your State National Bank Online Banking Account, instead of clicking a link in an email.
Email protection tips
· Do not click links in Emails to log in, or to update or confirm your sensitive information
· Do not fill out forms in Emails
· Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files, regardless of who sent them
· 'Spam', or mass email messages, often contain links to phishing websites and other unsavory websites.
· Many phishing scams originate outside of the United States. Be wary of emails from people or sources you don't know or trust.
· Poor grammar and misspelled words from unknown sources asking you for personal information are clear warning signs of a phishing scam being operated outside of the United States.
· Legitimate companies or organizations will never ask you to divulge any personal information over email.
· Phishing emails may also be fake contests or offerings, asking you to input personal information.
· If an offer or email you receive is too good to be true, it most likely is.
Bank Error Messages
One of the newest schemes by fraudsters involves spoofing bank error messages. Here's how it works:
· Fraudsters will send you an email message about a data or site maintenance error at State National Bank or any of your banks.
· The email will ask you to click on a link, which will redirect you to a site and will install malware on your computer.
· This malware allows scammers to intercept your password and bypass the dual authentication system many financial institutions use.
· The next time you attempt to log in to your online banking service, scammers attempt to steal your password and may quickly drain your account.
Emails from State National Bank
For your protection, we will not send you an email to update or confirm your sensitive information by clicking a link or replying.
Emails to State National Bank
Please do not send personal information in un-secure email. Secure email may be sent from the Secure Feedback form from within our Online Banking’s Support Tab.
Check your credit report annually! www.annualcreditreport.com
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1 (800) 525-6285
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
1 (888) EXPERIAN
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
1 (800) 680-7289
Computer Security Tips
- Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
- Ensure your computer operating system, software, browser version and plug-ins are current. Before downloading an update to your computer program, first go to the company’s website to confirm the update is legitimate.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer and keep anti-virus software installed and updated.
- Be wary of conducting online banking activities on computers that are shared by others. Public computers should be used with caution. Online banking activities and viewing or downloading documents (statements, etc.) should be conducted, when possible, on a computer you know to be safe and secure.
- Configure your devices to prevent unauthorized users from remotely accessing your devices or home network. For example, if you use a home wireless router for your home internet connection, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to configure the router with appropriate security settings.
The State National Bank maintains a current website certificate for its secured Internet Banking System. We are also dedicated to insure that our system properly authenticates customers login credentials by implementing the Multi-Factor Authentification (MFA) Solution. If communication with our provider is down users are unable to login and will log out users already in the system.