Beware of increased “Phishing” events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep your information secure and do not share it.
There has been an increase in phishing events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phishing events occur when a fraudster attempts to steal a person’s data, mainly login credentials and account or card information. The fraudster then uses this information to process fraudulent account or card transactions or ATM withdrawals. Fraudsters often utilize social media or information bought on the Dark Web to initiate scams.
An example of how a cardholder Phishing Scam works:
- The fraudster gathers information from social media to make the fraud more believable.
- Cardholder receives a phone call from the fraudster posing as a financial institution employee.
- Fraudsters often spoof phone numbers from the financial institution when contacting the victim, making it seem legitimate.
- Fraudster advises cardholder that they have fraud attempts on their card and they will receive a text with a case number.
- While on the phone, the fraudster will perform a transaction they know will generate a fraud alert.
- When the cardholder receives the case number, the fraudster asks for the case number over the phone so the card can be permanently blocked. Instead, the fraudster is using the case number to call into the Fraud Department and validate the activity as valid, so they can continue to use the card fraudulently.
- The fraudster may suggest the cardholder transfer money into their checking account from savings to make it “safer,” thereby giving the fraudster access to more money.
- The cardholder thinks the fraud was caught and stopped, while the fraudster is busy committing more fraudulent transactions and stealing more money.
As a reminder, Security State Bank will never contact our customers to ask for the following:
- Account Number/Card Number
- Social Security Number
- Online Banking Credentials
Security State Bank will never advise a cardholder to transfer money or withdraw money. If any information concerning suspicious activity is texted to the cardholder, our customers are not called and asked for information. When cardholders call into the Fraud Department to validate suspicious transactions, the Fraud Department will request the case number to authenticate them. The cardholder should always reply NO if they are unaware of the transactions in question received via a text or email, no matter what direction has been given to them.
If you are concerned about the validity of an email, text, or phone call you receive concerning your Security State Bank account or card information, please contact your local branch or call our Customer Care Center at 360.736.0763 or 800.242.2036 for assistance.
Beware of ATM Skimming Devices
Thieves are installing high-tech tools called “skimmers” on ATM machines in order to capture a person’s account information and steal their money. The scam involves attaching devices to ATM machines that read the debit and credit card information when the card is swiped. A camera may also be installed nearby to capture the person’s PIN, giving thieves everything they need to access that person’s account. Skimming devices are usually only left in place for a short period of time and thus are not even securely fastened to the targeted ATM machine. According to the FBI, criminals have become adept at creating skimming devices that look as if they are an original part of the ATM.
While ATMs in airports, gas stations, convenience stores and other well-traveled public places are most vulnerable to these devices, ATM skimming did just happen locally here in Lewis County and throughout the northwest.
What you can do to avoid becoming a victim of skimming:
- Notice Your Surroundings. ATM users should check machines for anything that looks out of place before inserting/swiping their card. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue. Walk away from an ATM that looks suspicious or if you notice someone watching you. Report this to the ATM operator or nearby law enforcement.
- Cover Your PIN. When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent a possible hidden camera from recording your number.
- If Your Card Isn’t Returned. If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel”, immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.
- Review Your Account Statements. Regularly review your account statements and report unauthorized withdrawals or purchases right away to your bank or credit card company.
Scams are on the rise and it is important to be aware of what is happening that may affect you. Use the following links for more information on current consumer alerts and scams.
FDIC Consumer Alerts
FDIC Consumer News and Information
FDIC Consumer Protection
Health Insurance Marketplace Fraud
IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
Federal Trade Commision Scam Alerts
Washington State Department of Financial Institutions