You can never be too careful about keeping your cash secure and your information private
Report a lost/stolen debit card
If you notice suspicious activity on your BS&L account or debit card, contact us right away. Call us directly during normal banking hours at (888) 806-6400 or contact our Fraud Center at (800) 237-8990
Protecting yourself from fraud and scams
Never share information about your account number, social security number, credit card number, account passwords or other personal information, unless you initiate contact with a person you know and trust. Contact us immediately if you lose your checkbook or bank credit card, or if there's a discrepancy in your records, or you notice something suspicious such as a missing payment, or unauthorized withdrawals.
It’s an unfortunate reality that anyone with a bank account is a potential victim of identity theft, fraud, and scams. The means by which these thieves connect with victims and convince them to give them money run from threatening phone calls to sophisticated emails. The good news, however, is that there are ways to protect yourself and they start with being aware. Please read on for some things to look out for.
The threat of fraud is rampant. In the U.S. last year, over 5 million people experienced identity theft or fraud attempts. Your best defense is to know what to look for and then what to do.
Here are some common methods used by these criminals:
“If you deposit this check for me, you can keep half”
- This is very common and works by using a fraudulent check that will be cashed and then will come back with insufficient funds. This will leave you, as the person who cashed the check, responsible for the entire amount.
“I love you, I just need some money to come visit”
- Online dating has opened another opportunity for scammers to reach individuals. Scammers will pose as someone showing romantic interest in a victim in order to have them send money as a gift or so that they can meet up.
“This is the IRS and you must pay us money right now”
- Criminals will pose as authority figures such as the IRS, the police, or even your bank in order to have you pay off a debt of some sort. As scary as the threats are, know that the IRS, police, or your bank will never call and threaten you in this way.
“I’m calling from Microsoft and we’ve detected a problem on your computer”
- This is an older method, but it is still common. Microsoft and other tech companies do not have access to your computer to know if it is infected with a virus. This scam is trying to get access to your computer in order to steal your identity and passwords.
“This package is being sent to you, please confirm that it’s the correct address”
- Email phishing is another common way that people infect your computer and can steal your information. If you receive an email asking to confirm a payment or a package that you aren’t expecting, it’s likely a scam.
“I’ll just throw away these old statements and papers”
- Crooks are like crows, they love to go through your garbage. Incredibly, this is still one of the most common ways that identities get stolen. You can invest $30 in a home shredder or join us for Shred Day each summer here at the bank.
As we said, the easiest way to steer clear of these scams is awareness. Don’t be overwhelmed or assume anything, the more insistent someone becomes, the more likely that it is a scam. Keep your wits about you.
- If someone calls you with threats, hang up. If you are truly uncertain about the validity of the call, go to the official website of the organization (IRS, police, bank, Microsoft) and call the number you find there—don’t call back the number that called you!
- For your bank, keep an eye on your accounts by setting up a check-in every few days on your mobile banking app (BS&L has a great one, by the way). If you receive a fraud alert from the bank and are uncertain, call the Fraud Center at (800) 237-8990
- For packages, ask yourself if you’ve ordered something from the company contacting you. These companies will often send confirmation emails, but those shouldn’t require you to click on any attachments.
- Don’t click on emails that you don’t recognize. If you open an email and aren’t
sure if it’s legitimate, click on the sender’s address. If it’s from the company, the
address won’t be “email@example.com.”
Whatever happens, don’t click on any attachments.
There are a lot of ways that criminals will try to get your information and they continue to change and evolve. Again, your best defense is awareness and there are a lot of resources to help you:
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has great information for consumers to protect themselves.
- The federal government has an extensive page of fraud methods and what to do about them that go above and beyond banking and identity theft.
- Or as always, you can simply call us directly at (802) 254-5333