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Could You Be the Victim of a Scam

Of course we all think that we would not become a victim, but read about the scams below that have affected customers of First National Bank of Huntsville and its branches over the recent years. Be aware of email, text and phone call scams!

"You've won!" – Lottery winner notification emails are scams. You can't win something you didn't enter. Tantalizing you with a letter stating you are the winner, these lottery winner letters ultimately seek payment for “taxes and fees” from you to get your winnings. You may make the payment, but you will never receive winnings from these con artists.

Nigerian Fraud - In this type of scam, the crook will write an email that describes some tragic situation. Invariably, it states that someone is dead (sometimes claiming they are one of your relatives; in other cases they say you are chosen because you were recommended by a trusted friend) and a huge sum of money is trapped in a foreign country and they need you to help them get it -- for which they say they will handsomely reward you. They appeal to you like you're a superhero who can fly to the rescue, but what they're really after is your bank account information so they can make a withdrawal -- not a deposit. In other instances, they'll string the recipient along, promising millions, but requiring the recipient to come up with cash along the way for various fees and charges. There's no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

We need your help – Another common scheme has been a solicitation for an American contact for a foreign company who will be asked to receive checks (or money orders) in the mail. You, the American contact, then deposit the checks into your bank account and are asked by the foreign company to wire (or Western Union) the money to their associates who could not receive the money directly. Of course, the American contact would be allowed to keep a percentage for your trouble. By the time the check you deposited in your account is returned as fraudulent, the wire you sent is long gone and you are out the money.

Phishing Scam – Phishing emails appear to come from a financial institution or other company with whom the recipient may do business. The message attempts to trick the recipient into clicking a link. The link may take the user to a site with a malicious code, such as a keystroke logger, that will capture confidential information and then email it secretly to the fraudster. In other instances, the link takes the user to a Web site that is an evil clone of the financial institution's or company's Web site, where the user is deceived into believing they are entering information (such as an online banking user name and password, or ATM PIN, for example) in a safe environment when, in fact, it is a site controlled by the criminal. It is not uncommon for the email to threaten dire consequences if you do not immediately click the link to respond. Don't fall for it!

Telephone version of Phishing – You receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be your bank. The person says that they need to verify your account information for quality control or to help in fraud prevention. First National Bank of Huntsville will NEVER call you or email you and ask for your account number or other personal account information. If you are ever concerned about a call or email you receive, write down the information and call the bank’s main phone number yourself.

Vishing Scam – Phone systems are becoming a target for phishing scams. Scam artists are now using the telephone to capture personal financial information. Fraud fighters call it “voice phishing” or “vishing” for short. Both scams start the same way, with a bogus e-mail made to look like it’s from your bank, financial institution or a trusted e-commerce site. The email states there is a problem, your account has been disabled and you need to contact them right away to get it running again. Another example involves an automated message stating, “your debit card from (actual bank’s name) was suspended due to suspicious fraud activity.” Victims are asked to call a phone number, where they are prompted for card number, PIN and expiration date.

Smishing Scam – Mobile systems are becoming a target for phishing scams. Scam artists are now using text-based phishing attacks, targeting mobile users. The text asks the account holder to call a specified number to resolve a possible compromise of their bank account and included the last four digits of the user's debit card, making the text appear legitimate. Another example can include a link to click within the text message.

Malware – Malicious software is any program or file that is intentionally harmful to a computer, network, or server. Types of malware include computer worms, viruses, Trojan horses, spyware and ransomware.  These malicious programs encrypt, steal and delete sensitive data.  
First National Bank of Huntsville wants your accounts to remain secure and keep your personal information private. Therefore, we have prepared a list of suggestions to help you feel secure in all of your online transactions. Please remember that it is our commitment to you to never ask you for personal information via email.

If you receive anything suspicious or feel that you may be the victim of a fraud, please contact your bank representative at (936) 295-5701.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Only carry the identification, credit/debit cards and checks you really need.
  • Keep your social security card in a safe place, not in your wallet.
  • Be careful with personal data if you have housemates, care givers or other workers in your home.
  • Do not pre-print social security number, phone number or driver’s license number on checks.
  • Use online banking and bill pay for secure, immediate access.
  • You have the right to refuse requests for your SSN from merchants and service providers.
  • Don’t click on links that appear in an email.
  • Delete any email messages from banks with an urgent security warning requesting information.
  • Don’t download software from any site you do not know.
  • Install and update software that scans for viruses and spyware on a regular basis.
  • Keep up to date on patches for your computer.
  • Monitor your bank statements, credit card statements and credit report regularly.
  • Use direct deposit and automatic debit services whenever possible.
  • Keep list of all credit card numbers and associated phone numbers in safe place.
  • Opt-out of all pre-approved credit card offers by calling 888-867-8688.
  • Don’t visit peer-to-peer web sites (such as Kazaa) or freeware or shareware sites.
  • Don’t click anywhere on popups or even click “no”. Just close the popup using the X.
  • Beware of fake messages saying your computer has a virus or needs a “tune up”.
  • Stay away from Instant Messaging.
  • Do not share passwords, Ids or PINs with anyone; most people tend to use the same ones over and over (ie) home alarm code same as ATM PIN which is the same as computer
  • Protect your incoming and outgoing mail.
  • Try to reduce the amount of mail containing personal information.
  • Protect yourself from “dumpster divers”. Use a shredder.
  • Use hard passwords that contain special characters, numbers and capitals.
  • Under FACTA, you are allowed one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
  • Do not store passwords on your PC. In other words, if it asks to “remember” a password for you, say no.
  • Don’t just throw out an old computer. Even if you delete personal information, it can still be retrieved
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