Be alert for phishing scams in all types of forms. Take five minutes to become a pro by taking the #BANKSNEVERASKTHAT quiz at BANKSNEVERASKTHAT.COM
Thousands of people fall victim to scammers pretending to be their bank every day. As online banking has grown as technology advances, so have the ways that scammers try to get your information.
The Federal Trade Commission's report on fraud shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, which is an increase of more than 70 percent from the previous year.
Online scammers are getting smarter with the ways they try to get your information. Scams are easier to point out when you know what to look for, and Oxford Bank is committed to helping you spot them and protect your accounts. Together with the American Bankers Association, we are here to help you fight phishing and cyber crimes.
Top 3 Phishing Scams to Watch Out For:
- Phone Calls: Your bank would never call to verify account information. Banks never ask that. Scammers can make any number or name appear on caller ID. If you are unsure if it is a scammer or your bank, hang up and call a number you trust.
- Text Messages: If a text message is claiming to be your bank and asking you to sign in or provide personal information, it's a scam. Banks never ask that. To prevent the possibility of accidentally replying or saving the fraudulent text message it is best to delete it right away.
- E-mail: If you receive an e-mail asking you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information by someone claiming to be from your bank, it's spam. Banks never ask that. Your bank will never send attachments in an unexpected email. Misspellings and poor grammar are also warning signs of a phishing scam.
You may have seen these scams before, but that doesn't stop scammers from trying. Visit BanksNeverAskThat.com for more tips and information on how to avoid phishing schemes.
Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the country, according to the Federal Trade Commission. As the ability to feel safe becomes more difficult, the USA Patriot Act gives us hope. This act requires financial institutions to obtain more information from an individual or legal entity to help establish identity. This has helped financial institutions prevent fraud, identity theft, and the spread of terrorism.
When opening an account or requesting a loan, you may be asked more questions to help establish and confirm your identity. You will be required to provide one or more of the following types of identification:
- Driver's License
- Passport and country of issuance
- US taxpayer identification (ID) number
- Alien ID car
- Any other government-issued document identifying nationality or residence
To download the American Bankers Association phishing scams infographic click here.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
Key Terms to recognize the risks:
Hacker, attacker, or intruder - These terms apply to individuals, sometimes groups, that seek to exploit weaknesses in software and computer systems for their own gain.
Malicious code (malware) - This term refers to unwanted files or programs that can cause harm to a computer or compromise the data stored on a computer.
Vulnerabilities - Vulnerabilities are flaws in software, firmware, or hardware that can be exploited by an attacker to perform unauthorized actions in a system.
Cybersecurity Best Practices:
- Keep software up to date.
- Run up-to-date antivirus software.
- Use strong passwords.
- Change default usernames and passwords.
- Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- Install a firewall.
- Be suspicious of unexpected emails.
For more information on Cybersecurity visit www.cisa.gov.
Oxford Bank is committed to providing you with the proper information to arm yourself against fraud. Below are various resources for you to use to help protect your account information.
If you think your accounts are compromised or have fraudulent activity please let us know immediately by calling (248) 628-2533 or (800) 237-8990.
How to Prevent Fraud
Secure you Computer
- Be sure to keep your web browser up-to-date. Updates are provided with your security in mind.
- Operating system and software patches should be installed within 30 days of its release.
- Anti-spyware and snit-virus software help to detect and remove "bad" software.
- A firewall will prevent unauthorized users from being able to access your computer or monitor transfers of information to and from your computer.
- When setting up and connecting to wireless networks, be sure to use the highest level of security possible.
- Never send sensitive information over an unencrypted wireless network.
Guard your Social Security Number
- Never carry your Social Security card and know your surroundings when disclosing your Social Security number.
- Unless you have initiated contact and confirmed the person or business identity, never provide your Social Security number.
- Never record your Social Security number on a check, traveler check, gift certificate, etc., unless required by law.
- Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) should never consist of any part of your Social Security number.
- When prompted to provide your Social Security number in an email or website, be sure that it is encrypted and that the recipient will protect it.
- To avoid paper checks, sign up for direct deposit and have funds put into your account electronically.
- Stop receiving statements and canceled checks in the mail. Sign up for e-statements and view them online.
- Reduce the amount of mail and paper with your personal information on it to minimize the possibility of criminals stealing it.
Types of Online Fraud
There are many types of online phishing, but one of the most common is through email. Scammers may send an email that looks like it is from Oxford Bank which asks you to go to a website that looks like Oxford Bank's website and provide personal account information. Below is some things to look out for to determine if the email is really from Oxford Bank.
- If an email is asking you to confirm or verify personal information or else your account will be closed, it is likely phishing. Oxford Bank will never ask you to verify your information this way.
- Any email that asks you to reply with your personal information should raise concern. Oxford Bank will never ask you to reply with personal account information.
- Emails telling you that Oxford Bank needs you to comfirm your personal information due to system upgrade. We will not verfiy your information this way.
- Fraudulent emails or websites often contain typos or grammatical errors, awkward user interface, or poor visual design.
- If you recieve an email about an offer that seems to good to be true. Chances are that it is. If you recieve one of these and are unsure, call a trusted phone number at Oxford Bank.
Malicious software or "Malware" for short includes various types of viruses and spyware that are intended to infect or damage your computer. Malware is often used to steal personal information and commit fraud, however, there are several ways to prepare and minimize the risk of malware.
- It is important to keep your system and security software up to date to protect your computer from malware.
- Never open or download attachements and free software from an unknown source.
- File sharing and social netowrking sites can contain downloads that could be malicious.
- Pop-up ads are everywhere. However, those asking for personal or financial information are likely fraudulent.
Money Mules are victims who are unsuspectly being used to launder stollen funds. These victins are promised a large amounts of money for minimal work and a new career opportunity. Criminals send these victims stolen money and ask them to wire or tranfer the money, using the money mules as a mask to hide their identity.
Below are common signs of a money mule scam:
- Transferring or wiring funds from your account to people you don't know.
- Opening a new account(s) to receive money from someone you don't know.
- Accepting large amounts of money into your account after accepting a new job.
- Overseas companies requestions money transfer agents.
Vishing uses VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol to call using an automated recording. It prompts consumers that their account has expired, asking them to call back to the same number as shown in the caller ID. Vishing criminals often tend to send emails or text messages with fraudulent phone numbers in them to try and get consumers to call and provide personal information.
If you believe you receive a vishing message, please call a trusted Oxford Bank phone number to confirm the message.
Types of Mobile Fraud
Fake Mobile Banking Apps
Fake mobile banking apps may be developed and published by criminals in attempt to steal your online banking credentials. Below are some signs to look at before installing a mobile banking app:
- Be sure that the publisher is no one other than Oxford Bank.
- Do not download the app from a 3rd party store. Only download the app from the official store on your device.
- The Oxford Bank mobile app is free. If you are being charged to download an app, it is a scam.
SMS phishing is done via SMS text messaging. Criminals often will text consumers to trick them into providing financial or personal information, or clicking links that install viruses onto your mobile device.
- A good rule of thumb is to never respond to a text message requestion personal or financial information.
- It is good to store trusted Oxford Bank phone numbers in your phone to differentiate from phishing phone numbers.
Best Practices: Stolen Devices
- Turn on automatic screen lock.
- Password protect your device with a PIN that does not feature any personal or financial information.
- If stolen, wipe the data from your device remotely.
- Keep records of your device information, such as make, model, and serial number.
You are the best detector of fraud or identity theft. The sooner fraud can be detected the lower the financial impact on you. A good practice is to actively monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
Recognize Fraud or Identity Theft
There are many activities that can indicate fraud or identity theft and it is important to know what to look for to beat the criminals.
Fraud occurs when someone makes unauthorized purchases using your account. This usually takes place once your card or account numbers have been stolen. Below are signs of fraudulent activity to look out for:
- Unexpected charges on your account.
- Credit reports contain inaccurate information or false accounts.
- You do not receive an expected bill or statement.
- You are notified that you have been denied credit when you did not apply for credit.
Similarly, identity theft happens when criminals steal information such as name, date of birth or Social Security number to open financial accounts without you knowing. Below are signs of identity theft:
- You receive credit cards you did not apply for.
- Debt collectors call you for something you did not buy.
- There are accounts on your credit report that are not yours.
Monitor Your Accounts Regularly
A good practice is to actively monitor your accounts and view your online statements to detect fraud before it's too late. If you notice any unusual activity please reach out to Oxford Bank immediately.
- More than 50% of identity fraud is detected by the victim.
- Customers with online or mobile banking access to their accounts detect fraud quicker. Receiving e-statements also helps reduce the risk of mail fraud.
Check Yor Credit Report Annually
Monitoring your credit report helps you verify that no accounts or loans have been approved using stolen information. National credit reporting agencies are required to provide you with a free credit report once every 12 months. To request your free credit report visit www.annualcreditreport.com. Visit the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.org to read your legal rights.
If you would like to report fraudulent activity on your Oxford Bank accounts or Online Banking please call (248) 628-2533 or (800) 237-8990.
If you would rather talk to someone in-person regarding fraud on your accounts, please visit the nearest Oxford Bank branch.
Lost, Stolen, Missing, or Found Debit Card
Please call (248) 628-2533.
If you have received a phishing email pretending to be Oxford Bank do not click on anything or provide any information. It is best to delete the email and inform Oxford Bank of the email.
Current & Ongoing Frauds
While the goal of obtaining personal information or money remains the same, year after year scammers are constantly changing their tactics. Often aiming to attack when people are vulnerable, using scare tactics and crises to their advantage.
Below are some current and ongoing scare tactics to be aware of:
Student Loan Forgiveness Scams
Student loan forgiveness scams opened in 2022 and scammers quickly began to use this to their advantage. These scams may reach out by phone or email asking you to apply for forgiveness on a "phony" website aimed to steal your Social Security number or bank account information.
Applying for student loan forgiveness is a free-of-charge service, so if you are being asked to pay a fee for applying for forgiveness, it is a scam. To safely avoid the possibility of student loan forgiveness scams, visit the Department of Education website for information on applying for forgiveness.
Scammers regularly try to get in contact with you over the phone, often trying to steal personal information or install malware on your device.
Some common phone scam tactics are:
Automated Calls: We have all received an automated call stating that our car's extended warranty is up or threatening us into paying. It is best to never provide personal information over the phone if you do not know who is calling and hang up once you determine the call is a scam.
Text Messaging: You may receive text messages from unknown numbers or email addresses. These texts often contain link's that direct you to scamming websites or apps.
Impersonations: Scammers will sometimes call or text impersonating people or large businesses to threaten you or gain your trust. They tend to use scare tactics before asking for personal, account, or credit card information.
Applications (Apps): Scammers will often try and get you to install a malicious app to steal your information or install viruses on your device. Be sure to check the developer of apps before you install them as scammers also create copycat apps in an attempt to receive personal information.
Online Purchase Scams
One of the riskiest types of scams is online purchase scams. This scam involves the customer purchasing a product or service online and never receiving it.
Scammers often sell goods on various marketplace websites, social media, or sometimes through fake e-commerce stores.
Paying with a credit card can help minimize potential losses by initiating a chargeback if the product or service is never received.
Safe Banking for Seniors
There are always constant reminders of the increasing risk of scammers and identity thieves for older individuals. The vulnerability of seniors is accompanied by issues that coincide with aging. Some seniors tend to be less suspecting of financial arrangements, and less vigilant about protecting their personal information. All of these increase the scammers' want to target the elderly.
Warning Signs of Elder Financial Fraud
- Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices, including unexpected withdrawal of large sums of money.
- Unauthorized withdrawal of an elder's fund using their debit card.
- Sudden changes in a will or other financial documents.
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions.
- Sudden appearance of uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder's property or possessions.
If you believe you or a relative is experiencing elder fraud, please contact your nearest Oxford Bank location.
For more information, view the Identifying and Preventing Elder Financial Abuse document.