It's not a matter of if - it's a matter of when. Stay informed and stay safe.
In today’s world of constantly advancing technology, protecting private information and avoiding scams can seem daunting. Click below for the latest information on personal scams in the financial industry and the simple measures you can follow to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Though ATMs can be a convenient way to access your money, there are still safety precautions to consider when using an ATM. As issuers of ATMs, we want you to be aware of these safety concerns, so please read the following safety precautions.
It’s important to stay up-to-date on how to identify and avoid fraud. Check out some tips from the Texas Department of Banking and the Texas Bankers Association to protect yourself while banking or completing other activities online.
ATM and debit card fraud is becoming increasingly widespread with the high-tech methods employed by criminals. We monitor debit card activity for suspicious transactions and will attempt to contact you. Click to learn more about safely using your debit card.
Crypto comes with many risks and even more scams. For crypto investment fraud, scammers will go to the extent of joining online social media forums or chats to build trust with their target victims and then refer them to invest in crypto. On some occasions, victims have been asked to pay upfront taxes or fees to cash out their crypto investment. However, this money is never returned.
Additionally, consumers should use extreme caution if they receive a request to conduct a transaction through a Bitcoin ATM from someone whom they met online or received a phone call from.
To learn more about crypto scams, check out this FTC blog: https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-know-about-cryptocurrency-and-scams
Criminals take advantage of those looking for companionship. They prey on the emotions of individuals and form long lasting relationships. Once trust is gained they ask for money and often leave the victim penniless.
How does it work?
This type of scam is very organized and carried out by a network of individuals. Victims are contacted via online dating websites, social media platforms or email. The criminals use fictitious identities and online profiles to carry out their scheme. Once contact is established they get the victim to communicate privately outside the dating website or social media platform so that they can continue to gain more victims using that fraudulent profile. Criminals go to great lengths to gain the trust of the victim and maintain the relationship. They shower the victim with loving words, encouragements and at times send gifts. They will take months and often years to form these relationships. They will promise to come and visit but always have a reason why they never show up.
After a period of time and defenses are down they will ask for money. The fraudster will claim they are in the hospital and need assistance paying their bill. They may claim they have an ill family member or a financial hardship due to a failing business. If they promise to visit they will ask for money to cover the cost of the flight. They will ask for funds transfer, money orders, prepaid card or virtual currency. If you do not send the money immediately their messages or phone calls become more desperate. They always have new stories and always need more and more money.
Many criminals will ask the victim to open accounts for them or accept funds into their established accounts at the financial institution. They tell the victim they want to send them money and the victim provides the online banking credentials and debit card information. Once they have access to the account the fraudster will deposit counterfeit checks via mobile deposit. Before the check has time to clear they ask the victim to send funds to someone else via funds transfer, money orders, prepaid cards or virtual currency.
Many times they will use the victims account to funnel stolen funds. They will send checks, wire transfers, ACH credits or cash to the victim. The funds are from others they are actively victimizing. Instructions are received to send the money to someone else believing they are helping their loved one. Eventually the money will make its way out of the country.
How can I protect myself?
Phishing is a form of criminal activity where individuals pose as legitimate entities to try to obtain or "fish" for personal information.
How does it work?
Individuals masquerade as legitimate companies and send what looks to be an official email, instant message, or fax requesting you "update" or "verify" credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and any other sensitive information. They will establish what financial institution you are affiliated with and send an official looking email from your bank to get account information.
"Pharming" - What is it?
Pharming is a criminal activity where a website's information is acquired and traffic on that website is directed to another location in order to obtain personal information.
How does it work?
If an individual wants to obtain information illegally they will set up a fraudulent website that looks like the real web site in almost every aspect. They will then use "phishing" tactics to entice people to the website to divulge personal information such as pin numbers, account numbers and passwords.
Please Note: Southside Bank will NEVER send an unsolicited email requesting you to verify your personal information.
How can I protect myself?
In order to protect our loved ones and ourselves, it’s important to be on guard for scams geared toward older Americans or signs that it has already happened. According to the World Health Organization, as many as six percent of our elderly are targeted, and much of this goes unreported.
Financial scams can be especially devastating as many of our elderly live on fixed incomes. Here are five key tips to avoid being the victim of a senior scam.
Never pay for anything you have no memory of ordering. You should also avoid giving out personal information to unknown third parties.
Work with financial institutions that have fraud protections in place. This makes it easier to protect your credit card and banking information.
Never let a stranger in your house. Instead, ask them to leave their business card and say your spouse, child or lawyer will be in touch.
Be wary of family or caregivers with alcohol or drug problems. Unfortunately, the desperation caused by addiction could cause even someone you know and love to victimize you.
Additionally, watch for some of the following signs that a scam has already impacted your elderly family members such as:
Every consumer should be aware that Internet fraud is on the rise and should take precautions when purchasing or selling on the internet. In each of the scenarios counterfeit checks are sent and good money is wired out leaving the customer at a loss. These are current examples of the types of scams that are being played out upon unsuspecting people.
Scenario 1 - Online Sale Scam
The victim has an item for sale on a public forum. A prospective buyer makes contact with the seller claiming they want to purchase the item. The seller receives a check in the mail for more than the asking price. The buyer claims he made the check payable for the wrong amount by mistake or claims the funds are to pay for shipping. The victim is instructed to deposit the check and send the difference via funds transfer, money order or prepaid cards or give to the shipper directly when they pick up the item. Days later the check is returned counterfeit and the seller is out the difference and no longer has possession of the item.
Scenario 2 - Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam
The victim receives a certified mailing with a letter claiming you they are the winner of a lottery or a sweepstakes. Enclosed with the letter is a check to pay taxes or fees on the winnings. The victim is instructed to deposit the check and send the proceeds via funds transfer, money order or prepaid cards. Days later the check is returned counterfeit and the victim is out the amount of the check.
Scenario 3 - Work From Home Scam
The victim is searching the Internet for job opportunities when they come upon a website claiming they can work from home as a "bookkeeper" or a “mystery shopper." To make the job appear more legitimate the business will send employment contracts and other documentation. Shortly after the victim is employed the company sends a check with instructions to deposit the check, keep a percentage of the money, send the remainder via funds transfer, money order or prepaid cards back to them. Days later the check is returned counterfeit and the victim is out the amount of the check.
Scenario 4 - Inheritance Scam
A victim is contacted via social media, email or mail from someone claiming that a relative overseas has left them a large inheritance. In order to get the inheritance they must pay taxes. To assist the victim with the tax payment a check is mailed with instructions to deposit the check and send the funds via funds tranfers, money order or prepaid card. Days later the check is returned counterfeit and the victim is out the amount of the check.
How can I protect myself?
What is it?
It is the act of using someone's personal information illegally and without their knowledge to obtain bank accounts, credit cards, loans, make purchases or file false tax returns. The victim usually does not know this has occurred until they receive a past due or delinquent notice for items that have been purchased in their name or they attempt to file their tax return.
How do they get my information?
These are just a few of the ways thieves can obtain your information.
What can I do to protect myself?
If I become a victim, what should I do?
Ask your customer service representative for information about Southside's Identity Secure product.
Stimulus Relief Scams
Since Congress has passed the COVID-19 relief stimulus package, scammers are using it to target people for personal information or money. Be aware that the IRS will not call you about your stimulus money. Watch out for calls, texts and emails posing as the government and prompting you to enter personal information or pay charges to receive a share of the stimulus. Learn more here.
Watch out for emails or texts claiming to be from national or global health authorities and other organizations. These are made to look official and try to trick victims to provide personal information or open an attachment containing malware. Don’t click on links or attachments in messages that make you skeptical or come from an unknown sender. Learn more here.
Always be wary when someone requests personal information or payment, including charitable donations. Scammers will impersonate government agencies, healthcare organizations and other major organizations to solicit money and steal your personal information. For example, scammers impersonating a healthcare provider may claim a relative of the victim is ill and request payment for medical treatment.
Some companies are selling products making false claims they can treat or prevent COVID-19. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration are issuing warning letters to these companies, and you can learn more here. As you shop online, you should also beware of fraudulent advertisements for health supplies such as facemasks and hand sanitizer.
Scammers are using promotions on the Internet and social media to target investors. These promotions call to invest in publicly-traded companies that they falsely claim can detect, prevent or cure COVID-19. Learn more from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission here.
Click below for information on how to better protect your business and customers from email compromises, corporate identity theft, and internet fraud as well as the measures Southside takes to prevent online crime.