Ion Bank is committed to providing its customers with the latest information on preventing Identity Theft, Check Fraud and Internet Scams. For your protection, remember to notify Ion Bank of any travel plans by contacting us at 203.729.4442 or visiting the “Notify Ion of My Travel Plans” link located in the Electronic Services area of the Service Center tab in iBanking.
Safeguard Your Personal and Business Information from Internet Fraud.
Not only do individual consumers fall prey to Internet fraud but businesses can also be vulnerable to unauthorized account activity. Here are a few tips to safeguard your information.
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date by having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system which are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Set strong passwords of at least eight characters in length and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters that don’t include personal information such as your name, birth date or pet names. Change your passwords often and never share passwords.
- Watch out for phishing scams that use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from unfamiliar sources.
- Keep personal information private because hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Secure your Internet connection and always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to secure and encrypt your communications when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
- Be careful in the cloud, while using the cloud makes it easier to store and share large amounts of files, understand that it also opens other avenues for attack.
- Shop safely and make sure the website uses secure technology before shopping online. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https and you see a locked padlock symbol in the address bar at the top of the page.
Use a dedicated computer for Internet Banking only. Do not check email or surf the web with this computer.
- Check your account activity on a daily basis. This will help you detect any fraudulent activity. Report any unauthorized transactions immediately.
For more information view our blog.
What You Should Know about Preventing Check Fraud
Check cashing scams are a very serious and widespread problem. If you receive an offer that appears too good to be true; it probably is. Many innocent people become victims of counterfeit check schemes because they are tempted by false promises and hopes of making a lot of money.
Counterfeit check schemes may appear in many ways such as winning a foreign lottery, check overpayments, work from home scams, Internet classified ad scams or auction merchandise scams. Fake checks can appear as cashier’s checks, money orders, corporate or personal checks.
Although the bank may allow you access to the funds from a cashed or deposited check, it doesn’t necessarily mean the check is valid and will be paid. If the check is not paid the bank has the “Right of Offset” which means they have the right to take that amount from your account and/or collect the amount from you regardless of when the funds were made available to you. Your legal responsibility starts as soon as you sign the back of the check that you are cashing or depositing. If you are concerned about a check you have received, please visit one of our branches or call us at 203.729.4442.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft often occurs when someone steals your personal information, such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, your Social Security number, etc. to commit fraud or theft.
You often don’t know you’ve become a victim until fraudulent activity shows up on your bills or credit reports.
It is recommended that you review your credit report annually. You can do so by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com to order a free credit report.
Safeguard Personal Information from Being Stolen
- Use secure PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and a secure web browser.
- Do not use obvious passwords such as your birth date, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, etc.
- Review all statements upon receipt and shred any unnecessary documents which contain personal information.
- Do not store financial information on a laptop computer which can easily be stolen.
- Beware of solicitors – do not give out information unless you have initiated the contact. This story is an example of a scam attempt that happened in Bridgeport, CT.
- Do not leave outgoing mail in your mailbox and collect your incoming mail daily.
- Be aware of the latest fraud scams.
- Learn how to secure your financial information.
- Be proactive in reviewing your credit history.
- Notify us of your travel plans. We monitor your ATM card and Debit card activity for unusual activity.
For more information view our blog.
If You are a Victim of Identity Theft
- Contact Ion Bank at 203.729.4442 if you suspect any fraudulent account activity.
- Contact each of your creditors to determine if there has been any unauthorized account activity or any new accounts have been opened. Keep records of all communication.
- Immediately file a report with your local police department and keep a copy of the report.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at www.ftc.gov or call 877.IDTHEFT.
- Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies to have a fraud alert placed on your account; creditors will then be instructed to obtain your authorization before opening any new accounts.
The FBI provides a convenient and easy-to-use notification that alerts authorities to suspicious Internet activity. Internet Fraud Complaint Center
OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and technology industry on securing your computer and your personal information against Internet fraud. http://onguardonline.gov
The Better Business Bureau has developed a program that provides information to consumers about protecting identity in the virtual world. BBB Online – In the Virtual World
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a non-profit consumer education, research and advocacy program. Their site provides practical tips on privacy protection. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council provides important facts about your account authentication and online banking. For more information view our blog.
The Financial Education Corporation provides tools to prevent identity theft. For more information view our blog.
Ion Bank provides Identity Theft resources for informational purposes only. As no one can guarantee that you will never become an identity theft victim, being an informed consumer can reduce that possibility.
In light of multiple recent breaches, it is anticipated there will be an increase in phishing scams. We know that customer education is the first line of defense against these scams so we compiled the following tips to help safeguard your personal and sensitive information.
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is an electronic scam that attempts to fraudulently obtain Personally Identifying Information (PII) from you such as your Social Security number, Driver’s License number, credit card or bank account information. It takes the form of a fake message, usually an email, text message or possibly a phone call, which appears to be from a financial institution or service provider. To help you avoid being a victim of fraudulent activity, we would like to share some helpful information that you should keep in mind.
In a typical phishing case, you will receive an email, text message or phone call that appears to come from a reputable company, such as your financial institution, government agency or credit card company, but it is actually not authentic.
An email message usually includes the company name, logo and a link to a look-alike website which instructs you to update your account information by providing your Social Security number, bank account number, PIN, password, birth date, etc. with a dire warning if action isn’t taken. A phisher can then use your personal information to commit fraud.
While some emails are easily identified as fraudulent, including some containing tabloid-style headlines to get the user to open them, others may appear to come from a legitimate address and trusted online source. Do not rely on the name or email address in the “from” field as this is easily forged. A fraudulent email may also include links and/or attachments that contain computer viruses and/or keystroke loggers and should not be clicked on or opened.
The message will describe an urgent reason you must “verify” or “re-submit” personal or confidential information by clicking on a link embedded in the message. Note: with the high volume of mergers within the financial services industry, phishers will often try to get your personal information by insisting they need it in order to transfer your accounts from one institution to another.
Once inside the fraudulent website, you may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, PINs, passwords or other information used to verify your identity such as your mother’s maiden name or place of birth. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the company is real or legitimate just because its website looks professional.
Other typical phishing scams include fake job offers, surveys, bogus prize awards, gift certificate offers or money laundering schemes.
We encourage you to be vigilant. Phone calls or emails from unknown individuals requesting sensitive information should raise suspicion especially in this increasingly criminal environment. We always recommend that you closely monitor your bank account and credit card statements for any fraudulent activity. We can provide assistance to answer any of your questions or concerns about the validity of any requests you may receive.
Ion Bank will never contact you to ask you to confirm your account number, card number, PIN or password via phone or email.
Reporting Identity Theft and Phishing
Ion Bank will never ask you to confirm your account number, PIN, password or any other personal information via email. If you are concerned that you have received a fraudulent email, disclosed confidential information or have questions about online security, please contact Ion Bank at 203.729.4442.
Special Alert from the FDIC
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has been notified that consumers have received emails that appear to the reader to be related to banking activities. The fraudulent emails request that the recipients respond to a notice from their bank to confirm an online payment to be made for products purchased. The link contained within the email serves as a gateway to the fraudulent website. The fraudulent website is designed to look like a page from the FDIC’s authentic web page, where the individual is then directed to provide sensitive financial and personal information, such as bank or credit card account numbers.
The use of this type of email scam, seeking to obtain sensitive information from individuals, is referred to as “phishing.” The FDIC provides information on its web site that explains more about phishing and other types of fraudulent activity targeting customers. This alert is intended to warn consumers that the fraudulent email, which could also possibly contain a computer virus, was not sent by the FDIC. Financial Institutions and consumers are warned NOT to access the link or submit personal information through this site. Additionally, as a reminder to all consumers, the FDIC strongly recommends that individuals safeguard personal information and refrain from responding to any unsolicited request for personal information.
For more details, visit the consumer page on the FDIC website at www.fdic.gov/consumers/