The safety and security of your financial information is of primary importance to us. This page includes important information about fraud as well as links to several resources where you can learn more about the many different types of fraud and things you can do to minimize your risk.
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Identity theft is the theft or misuse of any type of personally identifying information such as name, telephone number, Social Security Number, date of birth, credit card number, bank account number, etc.
Tips to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Never share personal information with someone you don't know or for unnecessary reasons. Never give your passwords, PIN, checking account and credit card numbers of Social Security number to anyone unless you know the person or the organization. Talbot State Bank will never ask you for this type of sensitive information via email or phone call that we initiate without your request.
- Never place outgoing mail in your curbside mailbox. Use a Postal Service collection box instead.
- Don't have your Social Security number or driver's license printed on your checks.
- Shred any sensitive documents with personal information before disposing of them.
- Notify Talbot State Bank immediately if you have lost or stolen checks or cards. You can call the bank directly Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm at 770-692-0900 or you can report lost or stolen cards after-hours at 1-800-500-1044.
- Check your bank statements regularly and contact your bank if you notice any unauthorized activity.
- Check your credit report at least annually. You are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus (www.annualcreditreport.com).
- Use e-statements when available to reduce the chance of paper statements being stolen.
If you suspect that you have become a victim of identity theft:
- Immediately file a police report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the report in case you need to show proof of the crime.
- Contact the fraud departments at each of the three major credit bureaus.
- Equifax - 1-800-685-1111
- Experian - 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with, or opened fraudulently. While our professionals will assist you with your Talbot State Bank accounts, you also contact, in writing, the security or fraud department of institutions at which you maintain credit or bank accounts.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Contact the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline:
By phone1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
Online at www.identitytheft.gov
Phone Scam - how to recognize one
Phone scams come in many forms, but they tend to make similar promises and threats, or ask you to pay certain ways. Here's how to recognize a phone scam.
- There is no prize - The caller might say you were "selected" for an offer or that you've won a lottery. But if you have to pay to get a prize, it's not a prize
- You won't be arrested - Scammers might pretend to be law enforcement or a federal agency. They might say you'll be arrested or fined if you don't pay taxes or some other debt right away. The goal is to scare you into paying. But real law enforcement and federal agencies won't call and threaten you.
- You don't need to decide now - Most legitimate businesses will give you time to think their offer over and get written information about it before asking you to commit. Take your time. Don't get pressured into making a decision on the spot.
- There's never a good reason to send cash or pay with a gift card - Scammers will often ask you to pay in a way that makes it hard for you to get your money back - by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app. Anyone who asks you to pay that way is scammer.
- Government agencies aren't calling to confirm your sensitive information - It's never a good idea to give out sensitive information like your Social Security number to someone who calls you unexpectedly, even if they say they're with the Social Security Administration or IRS.
- You shouldn't be getting all those calls - If a company is selling something, it needs your written permission to call you with a robocall. And if you're on the National Do Not Call Registry, you shouldn't get live sales calls from companies you haven't done business with before. Those calls are illegal. If someone is already breaking the law calling you, there's a good chance it's a scam. At the very least, it's a company you don't want to do business with.
Examples of Common Phone Scams
Any scam can happen over the phone. But here are some common tactics phone scammers like to use:
- Imposter scams - A scammer pretends to be someone you trust - a government agency like the Social Security Administration or the IRS, a family member, a love interest, or someone claiming there's a problem with your computer. The scammer can even have a fake name or number show up on your caller ID to convince you.
- Debt relief and credit repair scams - Scammers will offer to lower your credit card interest rates, fix your credit, or your student loans forgiven if you pay their company a fee first. But you could end up losing your money and ruining your credit.
- Charity scams - Scammers like to pose as charities. Scams requesting donations for disaster relief efforts are especially common on the phone. Always check out a charity before you give, and don't feel pressured to give immediately over the phone before you do.
- Extended car warranties - Scammers find out what kind of car you drive and when you bought it so they can urge you to buy overpriced - or worthless - service contracts.
- "Free" trials - A caller might promise a free trial but then sign you up for products - sometimes lots of products - that you're billed for every month until you cancel.
- Loan scams - Loan scams include advance fee loan scams, where scammers target people with a poor credit history and guarantee loans or credit cards for an up-front fee. Legitimate lenders don't make guarantees like that, especially if you have bad credit, no credit, or a bankruptcy.
- Prize and lottery scams - In a typical prize scam, the caller will say you've won a prize, but then say you need to pay a registration or shipping fee to get it. But after you pay, you find out there is no prize.
How to Stop Calls from Scammers
- Hang up - Even if it's not a scammer calling, if a company is calling you illegally, it's not a company you want to do business with. When you get a robocall, don't press any numbers. Instead of letting you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, it might lead to more robocalls.
- Consider call blocking or call labeling - Scammers can use the internet to make calls from all over the world. They don't care if you're on the National Do Not Call Registry. That's why your best defense against unwanted calls is call blocking. See what services your phone carrier offers, and look online for expert reviews. For mobile phones, you can also check out the reviews for different call-blocking apps in your online app store.
- Don't trust your caller ID - Scammers can make any name or number show up on your caller ID. That's called spoofing. So even if it looks like it's a government agency like the Social Security Administration calling, or like the call is from a local number, it could be a scammer calling from anywhere in the world.
What to Do If You Already Paid a Scammer
Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it though to get your money back. If you've paid a scammer, the sooner you act, the better!
- If you paid a scammer with a credit or debit card - you may be able to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company or bank right away. Tell them what happened, and ask for a "chargeback" to reverse the charges.
- If you paid a scammer with a gift card, prepaid card, or cash reload card - contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the card, and ask if they can refund your money. The sooner you contact them, the better the chance they'll be able to get your money back.
- If you paid a scammer with a wire transfer - call the money transfer company immediately to report the fraud and file a complaint. Call the complaint department:
- MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947) or
- Western Union at 1-800-325-6000
Ask for the money transfer to be reversed. It's unlikely to happen, but it's important to ask.
- If you paid a scammer using a money transfer app - contact the company behind the app. If the app is linked to a credit card or debit card, contact your credit card company or bank first.
- If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer - update your computer's security software. Then run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem.
- If you gave your username and password to a scammer - change your password right away. If you use the same password for other accounts or sites, change it there, too. Create a new password that is strong.
- If you gave a scammer your Social Security number (SSN) - visit identitytheft.gov to learn how to monitor your credit report to see if your SSN is being misused.
- If someone calls and offers to "help" you recover money you have already lost - don't give them money or personal information. You're probably dealing with a fake refund scam.
Phishing – what it is and how it works:
- Typically, you will receive an email that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and do business with, such as your financial institution. In some cases, the email may appear to come from a government agency, including one of the federal financial institution regulatory agencies.
- The email will probably warn you of a serious problem that requires your immediate attention. It may use phrases such as "Immediate attention required" or "Please contact us immediately about your account." The email will then encourage you to click on a button to go the institution's website.
- You could be redirected to a phony website that may look exactly like the real website. It may also be an attempt to infiltrate your computer with malicious software or a virus used to spy on your internet transactions. You may be asked to update your account information or to provide information for verification purposesyour Social Security Number, your account number, your password or the information you use to verify your identity when speaking to a real financial institution. If you provide the information, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft.
- Telephone phishing also known as vishing is a phishing attempt made through a telephone call or voice message. If you are suspicious of a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up or ask for the purpose of the call. Contact the company using phone numbers from legitimate sources such as the company's website or your bank statements.
- A phishing attempt made by text message is known as smishing. Use caution if you receive a text message expressing an urgent need for you to update your information, activate an account, or verify your identity by calling a phone number or submitting information on a website.
- While Talbot State Bank may send you email communications from time to time, we will never ask you to send your account number, password or social security via email, text message or a phone call you did not initiate.
The keys to identification of fraudulent emails or text messages include:
- The message asks you to follow a link to a website
- The website asks you to confirm personally identifying and confidential information
- The message asks you to call a toll-free number, and a recording prompts you to key in personal account information such as your account number and PIN
- Some fraudsters will actually man the phone number with a live person to solicit personal information. Oftentimes the person will speak with a foreign accent
Tips to avoid phishing scams:
- Be suspicious of any email with an urgent request for personal financial information. Phishers have been known to include upsetting or enticing false statements to get people to react immediately. The email typically asks for information such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, etc.
- Be careful of emails that are not personalized and/or may contain spelling errors and/or awkward syntax and phrasing.
- Do not click on links in an email to send you to a web page. You may be diverted to a fraudulent website. Call the bank to confirm the address or log on to the website directly by typing in the official web address in your browser.
- Do not open emails or attachments that you did not request or from senders you do not recognize. Be aware of phishing schemes.
- At Talbot State Bank, we will never ask you to send your account number, password or social security via email.
- We will never email you and ask you to go to another site to "verify information". This is called "Phishing" and it deceives customers into providing personal information with deceptive emails.
- Never respond to or click on a link in a suspicious email. Opening or clicking on a link could place a virus on your computer which can later capture your personal information.
- Inspect the company logo used in emails and compare it to that used on the legitimate website of that company. Look for any discoloration or disfiguration of the logo.
- If you receive an email that warns you that an account will be closed or online access will be terminated unless you reconfirm your billing information, contact the company cited in the email using a telephone number or Web site address you know to be genuine.
- Take the time to ask whether this is the type of action the bank would ask you to take. Talbot State Bank will never ask you for personal financial information via email. We will never ask you to provide any personal identifying information, account numbers or PIN numbers online or via email.
- Avoid sending personal financial information over the Internet unless you are sure you are on a secure site. Look for the padlock icon on your browser's status bar.
- You may also wish to contact your Internet Service Provider for support in blocking malicious emails or subscribing to a spam filter.
- Use strong passwords. Choose a password at least eight characters in length with a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers. Do not use words or phrases that can easily be associated with you or your family such as the name of your child, spouse or pet.
- When accessing the internet over a public wireless connection such as a cafe or hotel be aware of the risks before accessing your personal or financial information. Make sure the wireless network is secure and your device's security is active.
- Have a firewall program running anytime your are connected to the internet and keep it up to date by using patches with your software company.
- Be aware of potential spyware on your computer that can be loaded when a user opens an email attachment or clicks on a pop-up advertisement.
- Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches are applied.
- Install an antivirus program and keep it updated. Your antivirus program should be updated whenever a new version is available.
- Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer.
- Do not use a public computer (computers at internet cafes, copy centers, etc.) for online banking activities. They should be used with caution, due to shared use and possible tampering. Online banking activities and viewing or downloading documents (statements, etc.) should only be conducted on a computer you know to be safe and secure.