Learn how to protect yourself from scams
August 28, 2017 – Potential Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) warns individuals to remain vigilant for malicious cyber activity seeking to capitalize on interest in Hurricane Harvey. Users are advised to exercise caution in handling any email with subject line, attachments, or hyperlinks related to Hurricane Harvey, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source. Fraudulent emails will often contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites. Emails requesting donations from duplicitous charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters.
US-CERT encourages users and administrators to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns:
- Review the Federal Trade Commission’s information on Wise Giving in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey.
- Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
- Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the US-CERT Tip Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
- Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to-date.
- Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.
- Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.
April 8, 2016 – An Important Reminder Regarding Scams Involving the IRS
According to the Department of Justice, 5 million tax returns were filed using stolen identities in 2013. Of those, more than $24.2 billion in tax refund fraud was prevented or recovered by the IRS – but a staggering $5.8 billion in fraudulent returns was paid out.
The following is a new, widespread scam that is affecting the local area, and is causing hundreds of reports to be sent to the IRS:
W-2 Phishing Scam: Involves a fraudulent email, which is marked as urgent that appears to be sent from “the CEO” of a company to the Human Resources or Accounting Department requesting all the W-2 information of all employees. A response to this email that includes employee information results in a compromise of this data, which has been reported to be utilized to file fraudulent tax returns.
Additional scams that have also been identified by the IRS include:
Return Preparer Fraud – When filing your taxes, ensure that you know and trust your tax preparer with personal information. While the vast majority of tax professionals provide honest high-quality service, there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft, and other scams that hurt taxpayers.
Inflated Refund Claims – Be on the lookout for anyone promising inflated refunds. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund.
Please note: The IRS does not send unsolicited email, text messages or use social media to discuss your personal tax issues. If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be an IRS employee and demanding money, you should consult the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts webpage: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts . If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at http://www.tigta.gov .
March 26, 2014 – Don’t be fooled by this text phishing scam!
People reported receiving text messages on their smart phones warning people that their debit cards have been deactivated. Don’t fall for this scam!
The text messages have been coming from what appears to be a local number: 508-542-8409, with the message: Savings Bank ALERT: your Check Card has been temporarily been “DEACTIVATED”. Please call Card Services 24 hr line 508-439-6600.
The number on caller ID does not accept calls. The number within the message is a live but fraudulent line which is answered by “Card Services 24 Hour Activation Service” and automated prompts guide the customer through steps providing confidential data under the guise of “re-activating” their card.
THIS IS NOT A LEGITIMATE TEXT MESSAGE. It appears to be randomly generated and does not mention Bristol County Savings or any other bank by name. As always, we remind you that Bristol County Savings Bank would never ask our customers to provide their debit card number and PIN under any circumstance.
Please be vigilant and do not respond to these attempts.
January 8, 2014 – Update on Telephone Scam
Within the past hour we have become aware of additional telephone phishing attempts, similar to the ones we reported yesterday. It appears at this point that the affected calling area is Taunton, East Taunton, Raynham, Berkley, and Mattapoisett. This could expand.
Today’s phishing attempt is from someone claiming to be “Client Services from Bristol County Savings Bank” who is stating that the customer’s debit card is frozen and to please enter the card number and PIN to reactivate their card. They are also being told that they won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges.
The caller ID shows the calls were generated from a Florida number 305-974-1381. This is not an accessible number.
Again we just want to reiterate the importance of being vigilant in protecting your personal information and as we’ve said before Bristol County Savings Bank would never ask our customers to provide their debit card number and PIN under any circumstance.
You may be receiving additional calls over the next days or weeks. Again please don’t respond to these attempts by providing any personal information.
January 6, 2014 – Telephone Scam Alert!
We have been made aware of a telephone scam that involves Bristol County Savings Bank. We have received calls from both customers of the bank as well as non-customers informing us of phone calls they received last night claiming to be from Bristol County Savings Bank notifying them that their debit cards have been compromised. We have been informed by local law enforcement that other banks have been named in the scam as well.
This is a phishing scam. The bad guys use an automated calling system to call random phone numbers in local communities, using the names of local banks with the hope that the number called does business with that local bank and has a debit card with that bank. They then try to convince the person called to reveal their debit card number and personal identification number (PIN) in an attempt to gain access to their account.
In this case, caller ID is noting that the calls are being made from Kent, Washington with an automated attendant informing you that your card has either been locked or compromised and to push “1” to unlock or reset your security.
Please do not respond to these calls as your card has not been compromised. Under no circumstances should you ever provide your PIN to any caller. Bristol County Savings Bank will never call or email you requesting your PIN. If you did receive this call and responded by pressing “1” please take one of the steps below immediately:
- Call our customer service line at 508-828-5420 (which is the number on the back of your card); after regular business hours you may press Option #2 to report a lost or stolen card
- Contact our customer service email
- Call your local branch office – click here for all locations
Protecting your personal financial information is a top priority for us at Bristol County Savings Bank. For more information on protecting your personal identity and Phishing scams, please read the information below.
The “Nigerian” Email Scam
The Bait: Con artists claim to be officials, businesspeople, or the surviving spouses of former government honchos in Nigeria or another country whose money is somehow tied up for a limited time. They offer to transfer lots of money into your bank account if you will pay a fee or “taxes” to help them access their money. If you respond to the initial offer, you may receive documents that look “official.” Then they ask you to send money to cover transaction and transfer costs and attorney’s fees, as well as blank letterhead, your bank account numbers, or other information. They may even encourage you to travel to the country in question, or a neighboring country, to complete the transaction. Some fraudsters have even produced trunks of dyed or stamped money to try to verify their claims.
The Catch: The emails are from crooks trying to steal your money or your identity. Inevitably, in this scenario, emergencies come up, requiring more of your money and delaying the “transfer” of funds to your account. In the end, there aren’t any profits for you, and the scam artist vanishes with your money. The harm sometimes can be felt even beyond your pocketbook: according to State Department reports, people who have responded to “pay in advance” solicitations have been beaten, subjected to threats and extortion, and in some cases, murdered.
Your Safety Net: If you receive an email from someone claiming to need your help getting money out of a foreign country, don’t respond. Forward “Nigerian” scams – including all the email addressing information – to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve lost money to one of these schemes, call your local Secret Service field office. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.
Identity theft occurs when a thief steals key pieces of personal identifying information, which may include a name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and mother’s maiden name, to gain access to a person’s financial accounts. Identity thieves will then use your personal information to make illegal purchases, open new credit or financial accounts, or apply for loans using that person’s identity.
Typically, you’ll receive an email that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and may do business with, such as your financial institution. 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 may also state that unless you provide certain confidential information, your account will be deactivated or closed. If you provide the requested information, you may find yourself a victim of identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it’s over the telephone or the Internet.
- If you are unsure whether a contact is legitimate, contact the financial institution.
- Never provide your account information and/or password over the telephone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request. Bristol County Savings Bank will never ask you to verify your account information or confirm a password online.
- Review your account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct.
What to Do if You Fall Victim
- Contact Bristol County Savings Bank immediately at (508) 828-5420 to report the situation.
- Close accounts you think have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission through the internet or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
If you disclose sensitive information in a phishing attack, contact one of the three major credit bureaus listed below and discuss whether to place a fraud alert on your file. A fraud alert will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name:
If you would like more detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft, click here.