Fraud & Identity Theft
Learn About Online Fraud To Protect Yourself
Online fraud occurs when someone poses as a legitimate company to obtain your sensitive personal data and illegally conducts transactions on your existing accounts. Often called "phishing" or "spoofing," the most current methods of online fraud are fake emails, websites and pop-up windows, or any combination of these.
Remember, First Commons Bank will never send email containing attachments, or require you to send personal information to us via email or pop-up windows. Any unsolicited request for First Commons Bank account information you receive through emails, websites, or pop-up windows should be considered fraudulent and reported to us immediately.
Phishing emails will often:
- Ask you for personal information: Fake emails often contain an overly generic greeting and may claim that your information has been compromised, that your account has been frozen, or ask you to confirm the authenticity of your transactions.
- Appear to be from a legitimate source: While some emails are easy to identify as fraudulent, others may appear to be from a legitimate address and trusted online source. However, you should not rely on the name or address in the "From" field, as this is easily altered.
- Contain fraudulent job offers. Some fake emails appear to be from companies offering jobs. These are often work-at-home accounting positions that are actually schemes that victimize both the job applicant and other customers. Be sure to confirm that the job offer is from a known and trusted company.
- Contain prizes or gift certificate offers: Some fake emails promise a prize or gift certificate in exchange for completing a survey or answering questions. In order to collect the alleged prize or gift certificate you may be directed to provide your personal information. Just like with job offers, be sure to confirm that prize or gift certificate is being issued from a known and trusted company.
- Link to counterfeit Web sites: Fake emails may direct you to counterfeit Web sites carefully designed to look real, but which actually collect personal information for illegal use.
- Link to real Web sites: In addition to links to counterfeit Web sites, some fake emails also include links to legitimate Web sites. The fraudsters do this in an attempt to make a fake email appear real.
- Contain fraudulent phone numbers. Fake emails often contain telephone numbers that are tied to the fraudsters. Never call a number featured on an email you suspect is fraudulent, and be sure to double-check any numbers you do call.
- Contain real phone numbers: Some of the telephone numbers listed in fake emails may be legitimate, connecting to actual companies. Just like with links, fraudsters include the real phone numbers in an effort to make the email appear to be legitimate.
How is my email obtained?
Email addresses can be obtained from publicly available sources or through randomly generated lists. So if you receive a fake email that appears to be from First Commons Bank, this does not mean that your email address, name, or any other information has been taken from First Commons Bank's systems.
Pop-up windows are the small windows or ads that appear suddenly over or under the window you are currently viewing. Fraudulent pop-up windows are a type of online fraud often used to obtain personal information. Online fraud occurs when someone poses as a legitimate company—like a popular shopping site, your bank, or your Internet service provider—to obtain sensitive personal data and illegally conduct transactions on your existing accounts. Often called "phishing" or "spoofing," the most current types of online fraud include fake pop-up windows, emails and Web sites, or any combination of these.
These fake emails may also contain a virus known as a "Trojan horse" that can record your keystrokes. The virus may live in an attachment or be accessed via a link in the email. Don't forget that we do not request personal information via email or send email attachments. Never respond to emails, open attachments, or click on links from suspicious or unknown senders. If you're not sure if a First Commons Bank email is legitimate, report it to us without replying to the email.
Online thieves often direct you to fraudulent Websites via email and pop-up windows and try to collect your personal information. In many cases there is no easy way to determine that you are on a phony Web site because the URL will contain the name of the institution it is spoofing. However, if you type, or cut and paste, the URL into a new Web browser window and it does not take you to a legitimate Website, or you get an error message, it was probably just a cover for a fake Website. Another way to detect a phony Website is to consider how you arrived there. Generally, you were directed by a link in a fake email requesting your account information. Again, First Commons Bank will not request personal information from customers via email and any unsolicited request should be considered fraudulent and reported immediately.
How to report fake "e-mails", websites and pop-up windows
If you receive a deceptive e-mail, such as a message phishing for your information, forward it to the entity wrongfully being impersonated. For First Commons Bank-related phishing emails forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you encounter a fake Web site, or pop-up window, or if you responded to one of these with personal information, call First Commons Bank immediately at 617-243-4400.
Learn About Identity Theft
By understanding exactly what identity theft is, how it happens, and how it affects you, you will be better able to prevent and, if necessary, resolve identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information—such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or other identification—and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. Essentially, they try to become you. For example, someone might do a combination of the following: open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, forge checks and even apply for loans using your name and personal information. This can cause financial loss and damage to your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process. However, even if you think your security has been compromised, it does not automatically mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It might be an incorrect entry or an isolated incident of theft. In every case, the best remedy is to quickly call the Bank at 617-243-4400.
How does identity theft happen?
Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. The good news is that the more information you have about identity theft the better your defense. For more information on identity theft visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.