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Security Tips & Alerts

Scam Alert: Secret Shopper Scam

Grandview Bank has recently seen an increase in fraudulent solicitations via mail, print, text and email, and we want to keep you informed about these scams and help protect your finances.

Secret Shopper scams, sometimes referred to as Mystery Shopper scams, have become more common. There are legitimate secret shopper jobs, but scammers also like to use this potential business opportunity as an avenue to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. A “Secret Shopper” is an individual hired to “act” like a customer, and evaluate services at a business. The individual is essentially paid to shop, and then report on their experience. These “Secret Shopping” scams use fraudulent offers, fake checks and wire transfers to persuade unsuspecting consumers into sending money to fraudsters. The “job” isn’t real and isn’t associated with an actual store. You’re dealing with a scammer, and the check you receive is fraudulent. AND, if you cash the fraudulent check you will be responsible for the money that is withdrawn- putting you out of cash and enabling these fraudsters even further.

Consumers need to know that a LEGITIMATE COMPANY  will never send you a check out of the blue or require you to send money to someone you have never met. The scam artists use realistic looking documents, the “secret” nature of the job, and usually a 48-hour deadline to pressure consumers into cashing the check and wiring the money quickly before the bank or consumer can determine that it was a fake check. By then, it’s too late.

Fake check scams come in many forms

· Do not depend on the funds from a check from a source you do not know.

· There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask for money to be wired  or sent back.

· Do not rely on the fact that the check was accepted for deposit as evidence of the check’s authenticity. It can take up to a week or longer for your financial institution to determine whether a check is good.

· Consumers are responsible for the deposited fake check, even if it was a cashier’s check. When the check is returned, the amount that was credited from the fake check is deducted from your account.

Follow these tips to help you avoid falling prey to a secret shopping scam:

· Do your research. Most legitimate secret shopper jobs are posted online by reputable marketing research or merchandising companies. A quick Internet search can help you verify the company’s reputation and legitimacy. Scammers like to use the names of well-known companies to gain your trust, but they are often branded incorrectly- so keep your eye out for anything that looks off.

· Be cautious with wire transfers. This is a very popular way scammers seek funds, so as a rule of thumb never send a wire transfer to someone you do not know.

· Never deposit a check from someone you don’t know. If the check turns out to be fraudulent and is returned, you will be responsible for the money you withdrew, since you’re responsible for the account.

· Never give your personal or financial information out online. Guard your personal information. Never enter your Social Security number, bank account, online credentials or credit card numbers online or by phone to someone who gets in touch with you. No REAL company should ever ask you for information like this.

Technology Topic of the Month

Online Fraud Prevention Tips

The best way to help prevent fraud is to make sure you know what threats you're facing. Here are a few tips to keep on mind as you make transactions online.

Don't Be Fooled by an Imposter

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a type of criminal activity that uses fraudulent techniques to gather sensitive personal information, such as Passwords, account numbers, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), Social Security Numbers and other account information. By pretending to be a trustworthy person or business in a seemingly official electronic communication like an email, a criminal can use sophisticated lures to "fish" for users' Passwords and personal or account information.

However, scammers may use other contact methods to obtain your personal or account information, such as text messages (also known as voice phishing or "vishing"). With these methods, you could receive a text message, phone call or voice mail directing you to a fake website or phone number that appears to be legitimate, where you would be asked to provide your personal or account information.

For example, you could receive a text message from an unusual number that says your bank account will be closed, frozen or terminated unless you call a telephone number or go to a website. Often, these messages will imply or state that there will be negative consequences if you don't respond. This is an attempt to scare you and convince you to provide your personal or account information.

Don't respond or reply to an email, phone call, or text message that:

  • Requires you to supply personal or account information directly in the email.

  • Threatens to close or suspend your account if you do not take immediate action.

  • Invites you to answer a survey that asks you to enter personal or account information.

  • States that your account has been compromised or that there has been third-party activity on your account, then asks you to enter or confirm your personal or account information.

  • States that there are unauthorized charges on your account, then asks you to provide your personal or account information.

  • Asks you to enter your User ID, Password or account numbers, PIN or card expiration dates into an email, non-secure webpage or text message.

  • Asks you to confirm, verify or refresh your account, credit card, or billing information.

Stay Away from the Hard Sell

It's almost always a scam to see an email that:

  • Asks you to provide your account information because someone wants to send you money.

  • Claims you have a refund coming to you.

  • Says you have won a contest.

Email scams often try to create a feeling of urgency so you'll respond before you can think. These messages typically threaten to cut off a service or close your account if you don't "update" or "verify" your personal or account information. Or they may pretend to be helpful, like offering a security update, but require you to enter your personal or account information first. These are red flags and such tactics should alert you that the request may not be legitimate.

Another more recent example is a scam involving an email that appears to come from one of your friends urgently asking you to send them money because they've lost their wallet or they are stuck in a foreign country. Never respond; call your friend to verify first.

Don't Delay

If you think you've given out personal information about your Grandview Bank accounts (like your account number, Password or PIN), or you've typed it into a website that many not be legitimate, please immediately call Grandview Bank. We will take steps to help you secure your account.

Pick Up a Shield

You should always have up-to-date antivirus software and a personal firewall installed on your computer. Make sure you have antivirus software that scans incoming communications and files for viruses that may cause you trouble. Be cautious about offers for "free" antivirus software and make sure you get your software from a highly reputable company. Also look for an antivirus software that removes or quarantines viruses and that updates automatically on a regular basis.

A firewall is software or hardware designed to block unauthorized access to your computer. It is especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection (such as from a cable modem) because your connection is always open. Most common operating system software (including Windows XP and Vista) often come with built-in firewall functionality but you may have to enable it.

Use Common Sense

We use a variety of technologies and techniques to help ensure that our products and services are secure. You should protect yourself, too, by making an effort to protect yourself when you use your personal computer to conduct business online.

Here are some of the steps you can take:

1. Don't give out financial information such as checking account and credit card numbers- an especially your Social Security Number- on the phone unless you initiate the call and know the person or organization you're dealing with. Don't give that information to any stranger even one claiming to be from Grandview Bank.

2. Don't pre-print your driver's license, telephone or Social Security number on your checks.

3. Report lost or stolen checks immediately. Also, review new checks to make sure none has been stolen in transit.

4. Store new checks in a safe place.

5. Notify Grandview Bank of suspicious phone inquires such as those asking for account information to "verify a statement" or "award a prize".

6. Guard your Personal Identification Numbers (PINS) for your ATM and credit cards, and don't write on or keep your PINs with your cards. You should also guard your ATM and credit card receipts. Thieves can use them to access your accounts.

7. Be creative in selecting Personal Identification Numbers for your ATM and debit cards, and Passwords that enable you to access other accounts. Don't use birth dates, parts of your Social Security or driver's license numbers, address or children's or spouse's names. Remember: If someone has stolen your identity, he or she probably has some or all of this information.

8. If you receive financial solicitations that you're not interested in, tear them up before throwing them away, so thieves can't use them to assume your identity. Destroy any other financial documents, such as bank statements or invoices, before disposing of them.

9. Don't put outgoing mail in or on your mailbox. Drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box. Thieves may use your mail to steal your identity.

10. If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why. Someone may have filed a false change-of address notice to direct your information to his or her address.

11. If your bills include suspicious items, don't ignore them. Instead, investigate immediately to head off any possible fraud before it occurs.

Open With Care

Don't open attachments, even if they appear to have come from a friend or a co-worker, unless you're expecting it or are absolutely sure you know what it contains. One red flag is any email from a friend that doesn't contain a personalized message, and instead contains generic messages such as "check this out" or "thought you'd be interest in this". Don't let curiosity wreak havoc on your computer. Call your friend to make sure the email is legitimate before you open the attachment or click any links in the email.

Activate the Warning Lights

Grandview Bank's Notify Me Alerts Feature allows you to receive email notifications of important account related, security related activities and messages. Using your preferred delivery mode, the system generates and sends three types of alerts, Account Activity alerts, Messaging alerts, and Security alerts.

Account Activity Alerts notify you of online account activity and balances. This feature allows you to actively monitor your account activity, and be notified of unusual activity on your accounts.

Messaging Alerts notify you of a transaction-related or service-related activity with your account. you can also receive notifications when Grandview bank sends personal or general email announcements.

Guard your User ID and Password

If you give out your Grandview bank User ID and Password, you are putting your money at risk.

Some websites and software offer tools to help you with budgeting, managing accounts, investing, or even doing your taxes. But if you're giving them your User ID and Password, you could be responsible for the money you might lose as a result. This could happen because of:

  • Unauthorized activity or fraud in your Grandview accounts, or

  • Misuse of the information by the people or services that you've given it to.

Protect Yourself Online

We use a variety of technologies and techniques to help make sure our products and services are secure. You should protect yourself too by making an effort to protect yourself when you use your personal computer or conduct business on-line.

Take steps to Help Protect Yourself

  • Don't let others use your personal computer.

  • Log off or lock your workstation whenever you leave your computer.

  • Change your Passwords often. Be sure to choose Passwords that are hard for others to guess.

  • Don't give your Passwords to anyone. And don't record your Passwords in an easy-to-find place.

  • If you notice suspicious activity in your accounts, report it immediately to the appropriate parties.

  • Install anti-virus, anti-spyware and other internet security software on your personal computer's security features.

  • Make sure your browser uses the strongest encryption available and be aware of the encryption levels of the sites and applications you use.

Log on Frequently

View your account activity anytime, and even have Account Alerts sent to your email.

Protect Yourself on Mobile

We use advanced technologies and techniques to help ensure our mobile products and services are secure. We also encourage you to exercise safe practices to protect yourself and your mobile device.

Take Steps to Help Protect Yourself

  • Avoid sharing your mobile device with others, especially strangers.

  • Ensure no one is looking over your shoulder in congested public areas and reading information from your device's screen.

  • Log out from your session when you're finished, whether you're using the Grandview Bank app or the Grandview Bank website.

  • Don't store your Password on other apps within your mobile device, such as the Notes app.

  • Avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone.

  • Always use official app stores to download any app.

  • Keep the Grandview Bank app up to date.




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