Security Tips & Fraud Alerts
Fraud Costs Americans BILLIONS each year. Be an Educated Consumer or Business.
As a consumer, you’ve surely seen the stories of identity theft, card fraud and scams that have saturated the news. In an effort to help you avoid becoming a fraud victim, we’re providing our Security Tips and Fraud Alerts page to educate you, our customers. On this page you can access information about recent events and warnings of fraud activity, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you become a victim of fraud.
Types of fraud
For more information, resources, and recent examples, we recommend you visit the below websites and consider registering for notifications about fraud, scams and security best practices.
Here are just some of the common types of fraud you should be aware of:
The 1990's spawned a new variety of criminals called identity thieves. Their stock in trade are your everyday transactions, which usually reveal bits of your personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your Social Security number (SSN); or your name, address, and phone numbers. An identity thief obtains some piece of your sensitive information and uses it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. Click here for more information about identity theft and obtaining a free copy of your credit report.
Use caution with emails requesting information by asking you to click on a link. Fraudulent email often uses threatening language about freezing or terminating your account or asking for your full card number or PIN number. Don't fall for this trick. Never provide your personal, financial, or account information in response to an email request.
If you're not sure, don't click on the links provided in the email. By clicking on false links you may launch a virus that will track your keystrokes. If you know the website address of the company, type it into your internet browser. Never use the one sent in an email. If the email appears suspicious to you, do not interact with the email and notify the company represented in the email to confirm the authenticity of the message.
Technological advances have made it possible for criminals to easily configure electronic devices to capture information from credit and/or debit cards. A skimmer is a small device that scans a card and stores the information contained in the magnetic strip that is typically installed on an ATM, or a point-of-sale terminal such as a gas pump. The customer then swipes their debit or credit card through this improvised device to complete the transaction. The criminal then obtains the personal data stored on the magnetic strip located on the back of the card and can easily create a new card based on the information; or, he or she can use the card number contained in the track information to make transactions over the Internet.
This type of fraud primarily exists on the Internet. Phishing ("fishing" for your personal information) is conducted by an email, text message or phone call asking you to update or confirm their records by responding with your personal information, your account number, full card number, or PIN number.
Spoofing is the practice of setting up a website to make you believe you're on the site you normally use to conduct legitimate business. Once transmitted, your information is then used by the criminal for purchases and other illegal activity.
Text message phishing has also become a tool of the fraudsters. It works the same as email phishing; however a text message is received directing the consumer to call or respond to a purported bank phone number in order to obtain your account information.
Consumers and businesses should be wary of unsolicited e-mails purportedly from financial institutions recently in the news and take the following precautions:
- Do not follow Web links in unsolicited e-mails from apparent financial institutions. Instead, use Web browser bookmarks or type your institution's Web address into the browser address bar when accessing your bank's Web site or online banking services.
- Always use anti-virus software and ensure the virus signatures are automatically updated. Ensure the computer operating system and common software applications are up-to-date with security patches installed.
- Do not open unsolicited or unexpected e-mail attachments claiming to be from a financial institution because of the risk of malicious code or software. As a precaution, call the financial institution using an appropriate telephone number, such as one from an account statement, to validate the e-mail and attached file before opening any attachment.
- Be aware that phishing e-mails frequently use new and innovative ways to trick recipients into providing login credentials and confidential information or into unleashing malicious code.
- Regularly review financial account statements and immediately report any discrepancies to your institution.
- Be mindful that financial institutions generally deliver notices to consumers in writing about changes in account terms and conditions unless the consumer previously agreed to receive the notice electronically.
Again, West Suburban Bank will never ask you to enter personal or account information in an email, or download an attachment from an email. Also, we will never ask you to verify your account number and PIN by phone. Any unsolicited requests for account information you receive through emails or pop-up windows should not be considered a request from West Suburban Bank.
Phone Solicitation Scams:
Sometimes it doesn’t take intricate internet or software tools to perpetuate a fraud. The oldest form of fraud is through one-to-one conversation. Also known as Social Engineering or Pretext Calling, these classic scams include phoning up a consumer who has the required information and posing as a customer service representative requesting information such as access ID’s or passcodes. Another phone scam consists of someone calling you and getting you to reveal the three-digit code on the back of your debit or credit card, known as a CVV code. That is all they need to make fraudulent purchases via the internet. They already have your card number, name, address and phone number.
Another threat is known as "Vishing". This is a combination of “voice” and “phishing,” which refers to the use of Voice over IP to launch attempts to separate unsuspecting customers from their personal information. The callers use social engineering techniques to prey upon consumers’ trust of telephone-based alerts from institutions. And because they are computer-based, the vishing attempts are difficult for legal authorities to monitor or trace. The customer is diverted to a fake call center, complete with a spoofed caller ID name appearing on the telephone's screen.
How to Report Suspicious Activity To Us:
To report suspicious email, Web page, or phone call, forward information about the email or Web page to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to protect yourself from fraud
What can you personally do to protect your WSB cards and prevent fraud? The following list of proactive steps will help keep your personal and financial information secure:
- Check your bank statements immediately. You can catch unauthorized transactions early by verifying that all charges are yours.
- Never give your personal or account information to anyone claiming to be from Visa or West Suburban Bank unless you initiated the call. WSB will never solicit personal information through email, phone or the Internet.
- We will never ask you for your debit/credit card CVV number, the three digit number on the back of your card.
- Regularly check your account balance and transactions by utilizing our FREE Online Banking or Telebank services. Online Banking offers a notification feature that can email you based on a variety of conditions about your accounts, such as your balance being less than a designated amount.
- Contact us immediately if your card is lost, stolen, or you notice unusual activity on your account.
- Memorize your personal identification number (“PIN”) number. Do not use your birth date, address, phone number or social security number as your PIN. Never store your PIN with your card, and do not make it available to others.
- Use a separate login code or access id, along with unique passwords, for financial information websites, such as our Online Banking, from that used for news websites, social networking websites, etc.
- Keep your receipts. You’ll need them to check your statement. If your card number is on them, tear up or shred the receipts before throwing them away.
- Ensure that you get your card back after every purchase.
- Before making purchases online, be sure that the site has a built-in security feature to protect your account information. Look for signs of security, such as a padlock image in the status bar of your browser.
- Use a safe place to keep a record of card numbers, expiration dates and the WSB customer service number 630-652-2000, so you can contact us easily in case of theft.
By taking these precautions, you can help protect yourself from fraud.
Are you about to give out your personal information to someone else? Do you suspect you're about to be scammed? Ask yourself:
- Was the communication initiated by a 3rd party?
- Are you being asked for personal information: such as your name, address, social security number or date of birth?
- Are you being asked for account information: such as your account number, credit/debit card or CVV numbers, online user names, or passwords?
- Is the individual attempting to make the issue sound urgent or threatening?
While there is no way to protect yourself 100%, taking precautions and getting in the habit of asking yourself these questions can improve your chances of being safe from becoming a victim of fraud.
WSB and Visa are committed to protecting your accounts:
You get an extraordinary level of protection with West Suburban Bank’s security measures and Visa’s Zero Liability policy, which guarantees maximum protection against fraud.
Wherever you use your WSB Visa Credit or Debit Card, you can feel confident knowing that you’re protected.
West Suburban Bank will never ask for any personal financial information through email. Our website should never be accessed through a link in an email.
For more information, recourses and recent examples of fraud, we recommend you visit the below websites and consider registering for notifications about fraud, scams and security best practices.
General Internet Website Usage - Ways to Protect Yourself
Many people interact with certain websites on a regular basis, such as sites from their financial institution, investments, tax file, shopping, and a variety of social media sites. Each website is accessed using a web address, also know as a "URL" (Universal Resource Locator). Each website owner registers their web address with authorities that ensure all websites on the internet are reachable at all times.
Unfortunately, fraudsters and hackers attempt to register websites that have very similar web address names to those of official websites. The intent of the fraudsters is to lure or fool you to accessing a look-alike website so they could disseminate viruses to your computer or prompt you to enter your login codes, access ids, user names, and passwords or passcodes. For example, a fraudsters can register a web site using a web address that is almost exactly the same name as an official site, but varies only a single character in the name, thus making the bad website appear to be legitimate.
There are several steps you can take to keep you for mistakenly accessing a fraudulent website:
- Save the official web address in your Favorites of your browser. As you need to access the website, select the website from your Favorites.
- Refrain from typing in the web address. As mentioned above, fraudsters register sites that are very similar in name and if you make a mistake typing in the web address, you can be taken to a site that is malicious in nature.
- When you receive emails that purport to offer information about your account or records, do not click on any website addresses provided in the body of the email. You should access the website using the web address saved in your Favorites.
If you mistakenly log into or provide private information to a fraudulent or suspicious website, you should contact the official owner by either calling their customer service number, or by accessing the official web address saved in your Favorites.
Sometimes preventing fraud is out of your control.
When information is stolen from a retailer, the most you can do is to review your credit & debit card statements for any activity that you do not recognize as your own and if you find purchases or charges that are not yours, report them to your financial institution as soon as possible.
When we are notified of these cases by Visa, we immediately initiate protective steps to ensure that your exposure is limited by replacing your card to protect you from any fraudulent activity.
If you do find that your information or identity has been compromised, there are steps you can take.
The best thing you can do if you have been the victim of Identity Theft is to visit the Federal Trade Commission website or call 1-877-ID-THEFT, the FTC's toll-free Identity Theft hot line. The following are a few of the tips stated:
- Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies through AnnualCreditReport.com. You may want to space your reports out over the year so you are able to see any issues that may arise quicker.
- Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
- File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you.
- For residents of Illinois, there is a hot line designed to provide immediate counseling to victims of identity theft.
The hot line number is (866) 999-5630.
- Both the Federal Trade Commission and the FDIC websites have good information on scams and how to protect yourself. Another excellent website is OnGuardOnline.gov.