Fraud and Scam Updates for May

Fraud-Blog

Review our most recent fraud alerts and updates to help keep your personal information secure. Want to be automatically updated about recent scams and fraud? Sign up for our Alerts emails here: http://bit.ly/1G1dF0n

Internal Revenue Service Scam

Some of our customers have fallen for a recent scam involving fraudsters posing as employees from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The fraudster will call you – stating to be an Internal Revenue Service employee – and claim you owe back taxes, which can be paid via wire transfer.

The truth is that the IRS does not use phone calls to make personal contacts. If the IRS wants to contact you, they will send a letter first. If you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the IRS, it is a scam. For more information on how and when the IRS might contact you, see these two articles from the Federal Trade Commission:

Check Fraud

Merchants has recently seen an increase in fraudulent checks. Customers have fallen for some “too good to be true” scenarios including being asked to be a secret shopper for a fake business or receiving a winnings check in the mail from a drawing they did not enter. When you receive a check, make sure to consider where it came from.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Did I recently enter any contests or drawings where I could win money?
  • Can I verify the information on the check through a third-party? For example, can you confirm a person’s contact information through the phone book? Or confirm a business’s information through an online directory like the Yellow Pages?
  • Does it sound too good to be true?

Be a skeptic. If the situation doesn’t sound right, it’s time to do some more investigating before depositing that check. For more information, read this article on check fraud from the Federal Trade Commission.

Next Steps If You’ve Experienced Fraud

If you think your bank account information has been compromised or you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local Merchants Bank and ask to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

Earn Cash Now by Switching to eStatements

Merchants Bank eStatements

Did you know that 4% of identity theft victims report stolen mail as the source which fraudsters use to obtain their personal information?* You can help prevent fraud and earn $5 for each Merchants Bank checking or savings account enrolled in eStatements by the end of this month.

Why should I sign up for eStatements?
eStatements are convenient, notice of when they are ready to view is delivered directly to your email inbox and reduce your risk of fraud by helping you monitor your account activity regularly. Plus, you’ll receive an eStatement up to five days sooner than your paper statement.

Which accounts are eligible to earn $5?
All personal and business checking and savings accounts are eligible to earn $5 for each account enrolled in eStatements (payment automatically deposited into your enrolled account). Customer accounts previously enrolled in eStatements are not eligible for this promotion.

How do I enroll in eStatements?
Current Merchants Online Banking users can go to www.merchantsbank.com and log in to your Online Banking account. From the main menu, click Preferences and then eStatements. Click Edit in the bottom left corner of the screen to change your eStatement settings. There is no charge for enrolling in eStatements.

Not currently enrolled in Online Banking? Visit our website for more information on Merchants Online Banking.

Earn your $5 today by signing up for eStatements. Login to your Online Banking account to get started.

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*https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/mailfraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/identitytheft.aspx

Digital Security: Be Deliberate, Be Judicious

eNews-DigitalSecurityBlog

Almost daily we hear of new and troubling attacks, hacks, and loss of key data and information, all taken from the online world by digital thieves. The technical ins and outs of these events are often confusing and complex and it’s easy to feel powerless to do anything about them. Yet, we can reduce risk by being deliberate and judicious in our use of digital resources. Here are two steps we can all take today:

Step 1 – Know who we are doing business with
Review privacy policies, learn about security practices, and apply common sense. Stop visiting or engaging with companies or sites that leave us uncomfortable. According to the Business Insider, there are now more than 644 million active websites on the Internet – so chances are the company you are doing business with is not the only provider. As part of Security Awareness Week (June 1-6), Merchants Bank has provided some quick steps to help you identify if a website is legitimate.

Step 2 – Enjoy the social network but…
The FBI cyber center reports the use of social media by cyber criminals has grown 400% since 2009. Sharing too much online allows thieves to build a near complete picture of who we are and then use that information to outright steal (or con others into revealing) otherwise protected data. Instead of posting everything about our lives, pick up the phone, send a note, or get together with friends. After all, it is those close to us who are most interested in what we have to share.

Some of the best approaches to security do not involve technology. By being more deliberate in how we share information, and more judicious in what we share, we can reduce the risks that, if our online information is compromised, it will have little value to thieves and cannot be used against us.

For more security information, sign up for Merchants Bank security tips and alerts via email.

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