Be sure to put safe practices into play, whether you're banking or browsing
Common online scams
Phishing - Tricks people into disclosing their account information. One of the most common forms of phishing is for fraudsters to send their unsuspecting victims a spoof email. These spoof emails look nearly identical to an email from a financial institution, credit card company, merchant or other legitimate business. This email will try to get you to click on a link that takes you to a fake website. The fake website will look surprisingly like the actual business’ website, and will ask for your account information.
Spoofing - This is the act of disguising a communication from an unknown source, so it appears to be coming from a known, trusted source. Spoofing can apply to phone calls, emails and websites. Website spoofing is done by creating a fraudulent site which looks like an exact replica of a legitimate website.
Key Logging - Key logging software can be placed on unsuspecting computer users through a virus, and used by fraudsters to gather confidential information like passwords and login IDs. This key logging software is deployed on the computer and records every keystroke secretly. Meanwhile, the person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored.
Protecting yourself from online scams
- As is the case with phishing and spoofing, remember that no legitimate business, including Brattleboro Savings & Loan, will ever ask you for personal information such as user IDs or passwords, unless you contact them first.
- Do not respond to email solicitations asking for personal or sensitive information.
- Never click on a link that is embedded in an email, even if it looks genuine.
- If you are in doubt as to whether or not an email is legitimate, do not respond to it.
- Never enter account information online, unless you are absolutely sure you are on a reputable website. And if you’re not sure, call the business to verify, and type their web address or URL into your browser.
By following these safe computing practices, you will reduce the chance of becoming a victim of fraud, and you’ll greatly increase the security of your computer. Keep in mind that awareness is the best protection. Take the time to educate yourself and your employees on the methods fraudsters and thieves use to gain unauthorized access. Make sure you’re familiar with these important steps your organization should take to help prevent account fraud.
Passwords - These are used for online banking or any other online service and are the frontline of defense against an unauthorized person getting access to your account information. Passwords should be as strong as possible, so someone cannot easily guess what they are. Be sure not to share them with anyone—most frauds involving hijacked accounts originate with someone the victim knows. Use the following guidelines when creating a password for Brattleboro Savings & Loan online services:
- Security begins with a strong password, which only you, the user, knows.
- Experts recommend a combination of letters and numbers; avoid the names of your pets, spouse, children or birthday.
- Special characters such as 1@#$% as well as upper and lower case letters are recommended.
- Changing your password every 45-90 days is recommended.
Account Review - Be sure to review your transaction activity and bank accounts frequently.
Software Updates - It’s very important to keep your operating system and other software up-to-date. Also be sure to keep your Microsoft Windows environment current. New security patches are issued for Microsoft each month. These security patches are updates which fix vulnerabilities that have been found in the software since its original release. The security of your computer can be compromised by these vulnerabilities. Windows systems should be configured to automatically check for new updates. Apple computers and tablets are usually set up to check for new updates, but Apple users can also launch the update software to check for recent updates.
Anti Spyware Software - Spyware is a software that can infect your computer and transmit information like user IDs, passwords and account information back to criminals.
Firewalls - Installing or activating a firewall on your computer is highly recommended. A firewall is an important step in helping to block unauthorized traffic to and from your computer.
Most Internet Service Providers (ISP) will provide antivirus, anti spyware and firewall software at no charge. Please ask your ISP for details.
Text-based (SMS) Scams - Fraudulent text messages are being sent to customers nationwide, in an effort to steal their personally identifiable information. They are doing this by broadcasting automated texts that warn customers that they need to call certain numbers, in order to reactivate their payment cards. One example of this is “Bank ALERT: Your credit card has been temporarily LOCKED. Please call Card Services at (407) 888-9999”. The text messages don’t reference a specific brand, but may vaguely reference a bank or credit union.
Do not respond to these texts!
Although identity theft can happen to anyone, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Anyone can be affected by identity theft
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, and uses it to open bank accounts, obtain loans or credit cards, or carry out other fraudulent acts. The victim may find that they are no longer able to obtain credit or secure loans because their credit has been damaged. Because of the fraud committed by the criminal, the victim may even find themselves facing legal problems as a result. Correcting all the fraudulent activity and regaining your normal credit history can take months, and sometimes years.
Additional ways to protect yourself from fraud
- Don’t carry your social security card or any documents that have your social security number with you. Be sure to keep it in a safe place that’s separate from other documents that contain your personal information.
- Shred anything containing your Social Security Number, account numbers, or any other important numbers (statements, checks, credit card applications, financial documents, etc.)
- Review monthly statements promptly, and monitor accounts regularly. Ask your bank or credit card provider if a statement doesn’t arrive when expected.
- When signing up for Online Banking, our system will prompt you to create your own personal password. Be sure to use a variety of letters, numbers and symbols to create a secure password.
- Never share your password with anyone. Your bank will not call you to ask for your social security number or your password. If you can’t remember your password after three attempts, the system will lock you out. Brattleboro Savings & Loan will have to reset your account and you will need to create a new password.
- Guard your mail from theft: promptly remove mail from the mailbox, and use a secured box for outgoing mail.
Take immediate action
If you think that your personal information may have been compromised, it is important to act quickly in order to reduce your risk of loss, and to protect your credit rating.
- Notify BS&L by calling our Fraud Center at (866) 546-8273 or by visiting your local branch.
- File a police report with your local police department.
- Call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (877) 438-4338 or visit https://ftc.gov.
- Be sure to review your credit report for accuracy. Each year, you may obtain one free report from each agency by going to annualcreditreport.com.
- Call Experian, the consumer reporting agency used by BS&L at (888) EXPERIAN or (888) 397-3742 and place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports. This alert will stop someone from opening new credit accounts in your name. Experian will automatically contact other nationwide consumer reporting companies.
- Depending on the type of fraud that has been committed, additional steps may need to be taken.