Ways to Protect Yourself From Fraud

Ways to Protect Yourself From Fraud

Common online scams.

Key Logging – Key logging software can be deployed on computers to record every key stroke. There are legitimate uses for such software, for example, when companies need to audit the use of their computers or parents want to monitor their children’s internet usage. However, it can also be placed on an unsuspecting computer through a virus and used by fraudsters to collect information, including login IDs and passwords.

Spoofing – This is a term that means to deceive. In the case of email spoofing, fraudsters change the “sender” information of an email to make it appear as though it came from a trusted source. Website spoofing is when a fraudulent site is created to be an exact replica of a legitimate website.

Phishing – This kind of “phishing” refers to tricking people into divulging account information. The most common form of phishing is for fraudsters to send a spoof email to unsuspecting victims. These spoof emails look very much like an email from a financial institution, merchant, credit card company or other legitimate business. The spoof email will try to get you to click on a link that goes to a fake website. The fake website can look surprisingly like the legitimate business and ask for your account information.

Protect yourself from online scams.

  • Remember, in the case of spoofing and phishing, no legitimate business, including Androscoggin Bank, will ever ask you for such information as user IDs or passwords, unless you initiate the contact first.
  • Never click on a link embedded in an email that claims to direct you to the website of a business requesting account information. If you are suspicious, call that business, confirm their web address (URL) and type it directly into your browser window.
  • Never enter account information online unless you are sure you are on a reputable site. If you are not sure, call that business and type the web address or URL into the browser.
  • Be aware and be knowledgeable.

Safe computing practices.

Your computer is your gateway to the Internet. In order to browse or conduct business online, you have to open a window to the outside world. Following these safe computing tips will greatly increase the security of your computer and reduce the chance of becoming a victim of fraud. Above all, keep in mind that awareness is your best protection. So take the time to fully educate yourself and your staff on the methods used by thieves and fraudsters to gain unauthorized access – and become familiar with the steps your organization can take to help prevent account fraud.

Passwords – Whether for online banking or any other online service, passwords are the frontline defense against an unauthorized person gaining access to your account information. Your online passwords should be as strong as possible so no one can easily guess what they are. Use the following guidelines when creating a password for Androscoggin Bank online services:

  • Must consist of 8-17 letters and numbers.
  • Must contain at least 1 letter and 1 number.
  • We also recommend using Upper and lower case letters, as well as a special character such as !@#$%^&.
  • We recommend you change your password every 45-90 days.

Account Review– Review your transaction activity and bank accounts frequently. Online Banking and Cash Management provide 24/7 access.

Software Updates – Keep your operating system and other software up to date. It’s especially important to be sure your Microsoft Windows environment is kept current. Microsoft issues new security patches each month. Security patches are updates to fix vulnerabilities that have been discovered in the software since it was originally released. These vulnerabilities can be exploited to compromise the security of your computer. It is recommended that all Windows systems should be configured to automatically check for new updates. Typically Apple computers and tablets are set up to check for new updates, but Apple users can also launch the software updater software to check for recent updates.

Antivirus Software – Any computer browsing or doing business on the Internet should have an up-to-date antivirus application installed. Antivirus software will help protect your computer from viruses, worms and Trojan horses designed to exploit the vulnerabilities referenced above. The software will scan files that are downloaded, received by email and read from a floppy, compact or USB disk. The software must be kept current in order to be effective since new viruses are discovered every day. Virus definitions should be updated weekly. A full system scan should be performed immediately after virus definitions are updated. Anti-virus software should be running continuously in the background.

Anti Spyware Software – Like viruses and Trojans, spyware is software that can infect your computer and transmit information such as user IDs, passwords and account information back to criminals. Be sure your computer has up-to-date spyware software installed.

Firewalls – We recommend that you install or activate a firewall on your computer. A firewall is one important step you can take to help block unauthorized traffic to and from your computer.

Most Internet Service Providers (ISP) will provide antivirus, anti spyware and firewall software free of charge. Check with your ISP for details.

Other fraud.

Text-based (SMS) Scams

Nationwide, fraudulent text messages are being sent to consumers in an effort to steal personally identifiable information. This is done by broadcasting automated texts that warn consumers to call certain numbers to reactivate their payment cards. An example of this is “Federal Credit Union ALERT: Your CheckCard has been temporarily LOCKED. Please call Card Services line (407) 555-5555″. These text messages do not reference a particular brand, but they may vaguely refer to a credit union or bank.

Do not respond to these texts! It is against Androscoggin Bank (and most other reputable banks’) procedures to send out texts in this way.