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Keep Your Identity and Sensitive Information Safe with These Tricks of the Trade

Rising trends in fraud reflect a shift toward increasing reliance on the internet and mobile device technology for banking. Because of this, Merrimack County Savings Bank urges you to be proactive in securing electronic information and to report any unusual activity.

Below are common types of fraud most popular in banking today. Use the questions following each fraud type as a checklist for keeping your identity and accounts safe.

Social Engineering happens when customers are tricked into providing confidential information such as passwords or account numbers. It includes:

  • Computer viruses.
  • Phishing, the activity of defrauding an online account holder of sensitive information by pretending to be a legitimate company. Phishing can compromise sensitive information like credit card account numbers and passwords.
  • Cracking private emails and chat histories. Cyber criminals could use common editing techniques to extort money by creating distrust among individuals.
  • Cracking web sites of companies or organizations to destroy reputations.
  • Convincing users to run malicious code to allow access to their web account.

Questions to consider for social engineering:

  • Have you received an email or call from what you believed to be your financial institution? Did you respond to the email or phone call with personal details? What were the details? Do you remember the name of the caller?
  • Have you had your computer fixed recently or did you receive a call stating there was malware on your computer? Or for a small fee, the company could remove the malware? Did you provide a debit card to this company? Did you provide remote access to your computer? What was the date? What was the name of the company or person who fixed it?
  • Have you recently provided your credentials or passwords for online banking to someone else, if so, to whom?

Malware or viruses are programs or files that are harmful to a computer and its user, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware. Spyware is programming that gathers information about a computer without the user’s permission.

Questions to consider for malware and viruses:

  • Did you receive any unusual/unsolicited emails? Did you click on a link or open an attachment? What happened after you did?
  • Have you experienced unusual problems or slowness with your computer? If yes, can you provide specifics about the problems? When did the issues start?
  • Did you experience unusual pop-up screens when logging into online banking? Did the pop-up ask for personal information? Did you provide such information? What details were shared?
  • Did you experience unusual activity when logging into online banking such as multiple password prompts?
  • Have you experienced an unusual request for further authentication (such as a token) before initiating any sort of transfer through online banking? Can you describe the details of the transfer you were trying to make?
  • Have you seen unusual “temporarily out of service” messages within online banking? What were the dates and times of the messages?
  • Have you recently downloaded or installed any software? If so, what?

Missing Banking Information can include bank statements, checks ordered but not received and sensitive information stolen from waste receptacles.

Questions to consider in regards to missing banking information:

  • Are you missing any of your paper statements? Did you recently order checks and never received them?
  • Have you noticed any unusual activity with any of your other financial accounts? If yes, can you describe the unusual activity?

If you fall victim to these or other suspicious activity, Contact us immediately at 603-225-2793. Be sure to report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission through www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT. If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name. Here is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:

  • Equifax, P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374, 800-525-6285
  • Experian, P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013, 888-397-3742
  • TransUnion, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634, 800-680-7289

You can also visit our security page for information on cyber security and suggestions on how to best protect yourself.

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