October is Cybersecurity Month. As more consumers move to online banking in the wake of the pandemic, criminals are looking for ways to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals, particularly older Americans who are often targeted by fraudsters. In fact, older Americans were particularly hard hit with total losses for those 50 and older exceeding $1.8 billion, according to FBI data for 2020.
As financial stewards of our community, Peoples Bank takes great care to protect customers’ sensitive data.
Proactive Measures to Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft & Fraud
- Use strong passwords, install anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-ransomware software to prevent and detect fraudulent activity. Apply software patches.
- Be careful with sensitive information. Do not send bank account passwords or other sensitive information over unencrypted email and try not to use public WiFi when conducting personal business.
- Resist opening email attachments or clicking on links in unsolicited or suspicious looking email. Remember our bank will never email or call you and request login credentials.
Protect Your Account
- Monitor account activity regularly for transaction irregularities and report discrepancies to the bank.
- Back up personal information and store it safely so that in the unfortunate event of ransomware or other cyber threats you can retrieve your data.
- Look for special indicators such as web addresses with https:// that denote extra measures taken to help secure your information. URLS that end in .BANK are assigned for exclusive use by financial institutions.
Phishing & Other Scams to Watch Out For
- Romance scams are evolving into completely fake dating websites. When online dating, make sure you use a reputable site.
- If you own a small business, beware of cold calls, emails or social media offers for low-cost, small business marketing services. They make big promises about new customers but will steal your money.
- Scammers are now using QR codes to appear more official. Be cautious and verify QR codes are legit before scanning.
- The popularity of online food ordering is growing and scammers have taken notice. Only order online from websites you know you can trust.
- Scammers are using payment apps to steal money. If you receive a request from a friend claiming to need emergency financial assistance, contact them directly before sending money. It could be a scam.
- Con artists are spoofing real companies offering refunds or free subscriptions to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you receive an email with such an offer, look carefully to make sure it’s not a phishing scam.
Holiday Shopping Scams to Avoid
- Online shopping is convenient, but it’s also a prime target for fraudsters. Don’t click on links in suspicious emails or get sucked in by too-good-to-be-true offers this holiday season.
- Tis the season for giving and cybercriminals use that to their advantage. Make sure you research any charitable organization carefully to verify its legitimacy before you donate to them.
- Did you know cybercriminals like to spoof real websites and promote them on social media, offering huge discounts on popular items? Do NOT click on links. Visit the company’s website directly to see if the offer is legit.
- Wanna be a secret shopper? Not so fast. If you didn’t apply for it directly, it’s most likely a scam. Never trust emails, calls or direct mailings that offer this opportunity, especially if they require an application fee.
- Gift card phishing scams are common this time of year. Don’t fall for limited time offers of free gift cards even if they appear to be from legitimate retailers.
- There’s no such thing as free money. Beware of any emails this holiday season that claim you won a cash award for a contest you don’t remember entering.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to look for deals on holiday shopping, but be careful. Don’t click on email links or open attachments from retailers. They could be phishing scams.
- Beware of counterfeit goods while bargain hunting this holiday season. If you see a name brand product being sold online for a huge discount, do some research on the retailer before ordering it.
- Holiday cards are a fun way to show someone you care, but cybercriminals use them to rob you. Be careful opening holiday e-cards that may actually be phishing scams.
Together, we can work together to prevent fraud!
Peoples Bank is here to help you stay safe online!
Every year, hackers refine their strategies and grow more sophisticated in their tactics to steal your personal information and money. From browsing social media profiles to find your basic information, to creating convincing websites that look like your favorite online retailers, you have to stay alert to these schemes and be vigilant about putting safety first when you're online. Contact us with any questions you have about protecting your Peoples Bank accounts from fraud.