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FBI Public Service Announcement - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scams

FBI Sees Rise in Fraud Schemes Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits. The FBI advises you to be on the lookout for the following:

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Fake CDC Emails.

Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.

Phishing Emails.

Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:

  • Charitable contributions
  • General financial relief
  • Airline carrier refunds
  • Fake cures and vaccines
  • Fake testing kits
     

Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment.

Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov, and the Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov. Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.

If you are looking for accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, the CDC has posted extensive guidance and information that is updated frequently. The best sources for authoritative information on COVID-19 are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov. You may also consult your primary care physician for guidance.

The FBI is reminding you to always use good cyber hygiene and security measures. By remembering the following tips, you can protect yourself and help stop criminal activity:

  • Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don't recognize.
  • Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
  • Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
  • Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a ".gov" ends in .com" instead).
     

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cyber crime, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

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New Year, New Digital You Tipsheet

StaySafeOnline.org provides simple tips that can greatly impact the safety and security of your online identity.  Click here to access the New Year, New Digital You Tipsheet.

Caller ID Spoofing

According to Federal Communications Commission, spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Scammers often use neighbor spoofing so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency that you may already know and trust. If you answer, they use scam scripts to try to steal your money or valuable personal information, which can be used in fraudulent activity.

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You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be extremely careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information.

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default based on reasonable analytics.  For more information, click here.
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ACH Industry Tips

As part of the ongoing support given to ACH Business customers, The First periodically provides information about security and ACH Rule changes. For a newsletter containing helpful tips and information, including a recap of 2019 ACH rule changes, please click here.

Debit Card - Fraud Protection, Alerts and Notifications

Learn about debit card security at The First!

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The First provides two methods of Debit Card Security.

Debit Card Alerts & Notifications - Get Started by Calling: 620.663.1521 or 800.310.1521! You can also enroll inside Electronic Banking in the services menu.

Each notification may help protect you from fraud as you are able to review transactions made via your Debit Card in real time. Transaction details include: where it occurred, the amount, and the date.

You have a choice of two options – all at no cost to you!

Basic:  Notifications will be sent for the following:

All transactions over $25.00. The First recommends a minimum of all transaction over $25.00. You can choose to have this amount adjusted higher or lower to your preference.
All Fuel Purchases
All transactions made when your card is not physically present, for example: phone orders, Internet purchases and Mail orders. When this occurs, the notification may be classified as:

Card Not Present
Phone Order
Internet Purchase
Mail Order

All International Transactions
All ATM Withdrawals
All Declines. A decline can occur for a number of reasons including processing errors or due to insufficient funds in your account.
Pre-authorizations. A pre-authorization occurs when a merchant puts a temporary hold on your funds before the transaction is processed. This commonly happens when a Debit Card is used to purchase fuel. When you use your card to start the pump, a pre-authorization is made to assure that the funds are available for your purchase. The transaction is not actually processed, however, until you complete the purchase. This is an optimal time to catch potential fraud before the actual transaction is processed on your account.


Special: You also have the option of adding additional alerts for the following:.

All transactions, regardless of amount, where a request for cash back is made
All Credits to your account when you return merchandise
All Reversals. A reversal occurs when a merchant processes your Debit Card more than one time and the extra times are reversed so that your account is not debited more than once for the same transaction. This can also occur accidentally if there is a processing issue of some sort.
 

Steps to take if you receive a notification about a transaction you do not recognize.

Once you have signed up for Debit Card Alerts & Notifications, if you receive a notification about a transaction that you don’t recognize, immediately contact The First.

Additional Text Message Information

Standard text rates may apply if you have a limited texting plan. Text messages will be sent in plain text format. The First recommends you check your mobile device’s compatibility settings to ensure text messages show properly. Please notify a representative of The First of any changes to your mobile phone number(s) and/or carrier(s). Updated and accurate contact information will ensure your text notifications continue to be delivered.

Falcon Fraud System

In addition to the availability of Debit Card Alerts & Notifications, The First uses a fraud monitoring system called Falcon Fraud. It monitors Debit Card transactions over time for unusual patterns or other suspicious activity. It will contact you to verify any questionable transactions that the Falcon Fraud system detects. However, once you have signed up for Debit Card Alerts & Notification, if you receive a notification about a transaction you don’t recognize or you are suspicious of, don’t wait to hear from Falcon Fraud. Contact The First immediately.

Falcon Fraud uses a fraud scoring system called Falcon Fraud Manager (FFM), to monitor all signature-based personal and business Debit Card transactions for potential fraud. When a transaction is suspicious, the FFM system will notify customers via text or phone call to determine the validity of the transaction.

How does it work?
Each time a signature-based transaction is made with your Debit Card, FFM analyzes it and assigns a score on a risk-based scale; the higher the score, the greater the likelihood of fraud. If the analysis indicates a high risk, FFM will attempt to contact you to determine whether the transaction is legitimate. If FFM cannot make contact, and depending on the severity of the score, a temporary block may be put on your account to prevent fraudulent transactions. Signature-based transactions are monitored 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

FFM will contact customers initially by text, if a mobile number is on record. If a response is not received within 30 minutes, a follow-up call will be made to the mobile, home and business numbers on file.

What do customers need to do to take advantage of this program?
All Debit Cards, both personal and business, are monitored. Customers do not have to do anything for their cards to be monitored. However, the system will only work if phone numbers are up-to-date. Always contact The First every time any of your phone numbers change.

When and how are notifications sent?
Should FFM detect a suspicious transaction and need to contact a customer, it will be either via a text message or an automatic voice dialer on behalf of First National Bank of Hutchinson. The text or call will be an attempt to verify the validity of the transaction. When calling, the automatic FFM system will verify they are talking to the cardholder by asking for date of birth or ZIP code. Note: FFM will never ask for any numbers off of your Debit Card. If the transaction is confirmed to be fraud, customers will be transferred to a live representative for further action.

Text messages will be sent 24/7.
Calls will be placed: 8:00 a.m. to  9:00 p.m.

Text messages will appear similar to the following with the last four digits of the account number affiliated with the Debit Card and the suspicious amount and vendor. 

FreeMsg: First National Bank Fraud Dept: 8003694887: Suspicious txn on acct xxxx: $xxx.xx ABC CO. If authorized reply YES, otherwise reply NO. To Opt Out reply STOP.

Note: A reply of YES indicates the suspicious transaction is a valid Debit Card purchase and authorizes it to process. A reply of NO, stops the transaction from processing. A reply of STOP will cancel all future text notifications. We do not recommend stopping notifications. FFM will continue to contact customers by phone call if texts notifications are stopped.

How does vacation or travel abroad affect FFM?
Usually when customers travel, it is not a part of “normal” purchasing behavior which could result in a higher score for potential fraud. We strongly recommend that before leaving customers contact The First to notify us of your travel plans. Customers may call us during banking hours or login to Electronic Banking to complete the Debit Card Travel Form. We also consider it a best practice to take at least one additional source of payment when traveling (cash, credit card, and/or prepaid debit cards). Failure to notify The First of travel plans could result in Debit Cards being temporarily blocked or suspended if suspicious activity is detected.

If an alert is received, does that automatically mean the account has been blocked from further purchases?
Most suspected fraud accounts will be blocked if there is no response from the customer to the notification. If an alert is sent and the customer confirms it is a legitimate transaction, it and other transactions can be processed usually within 5 to 10 minutes.

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Imposter Scams

According to FTC.gov, imposter scams come in many varieties, but work the same way; a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. Click here to access educational videos from the FTC regarding imposter scams and how to stay safe!

Robocalls

Consumers are getting more and more unsolicited robocalls. As the number of these calls has multiplied, so have the number of complaints reported to the FTC, state and local law enforcement agencies, and consumer organizations across the country. Click here to access the full article! 
Click here to access the full article!

3 Most Popular Scams Targeting Seniors

According to the National Council on Aging, below are the 3 most popular scams for 2019:

  • Social Security spoofing calls
  • The grandparent scam
  • National disaster scams 

Click here to read the full article.

Resource for Identity Theft Victims

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the launch of the website, www.IdentityTheft.gov, a resource that makes it easier for victims to report and recover from identity theft. This website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters, specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, and advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. A Spanish version of the site is also available.

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