Fight back against fraud and identity theft!
Cyber security is a huge problem for both businesses and consumers. The Internet has become the modern day Wild Wild West. Today, the largest and most popular form of data mining (gathering identifying information via malware or spyware placed on computers) is through the use of the Zeus virus, or a variation of it. The criminal who purchases this program – or any of assorted similar programs – uses links or websites that, on the surface, look completely safe and legitimate. However, the virus actually embeds tracking malware that looks for keystrokes that the user types – including user IDs and passwords, as well as account numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, websites visited and a host of other information that can be used against the individual or company being hacked. This is why it is critical to have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on any computer that is connected to the Internet, and firewalls for extra protection.
Many computer users know there is a threat out there, but believe it could never happen to them. Links forwarded by our friends that we think are safe, often times end up containing malware. And that’s how a virus is spread. Extreme caution needs to be taken when on-line. In addition to infected websites, social networking sites also carry a risk of malware or spyware being placed on your computer via links posted by other users. Many companies have drafted Acceptable Use Policies to set guidelines for employees, that outline the risks and expected behavior when “surfing the web”.
Criminals also still use “old school” methods of defrauding the public. Scams such as Canadian lottery winnings that the person never entered; checks that show up in the mail where the person is asked to deposit to their account, keep part of the funds as their commission, and forward the balance in a cashier’s check or wire transfer; and the old Nigerian Scam. Most of these scams are originated in foreign countries and it’s very difficult to find the perpetrators.
You may wish to explore the benefits of an identity theft and credit fraud monitoring service. In addition, there are many Internet sites that provide a host of protection ideas and information on fraud and scams. The Federal Trade Commission suggests a 3-part defense to avoid ID theft: 1. Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information. 2. Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements. 3. Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it. Details of the FTC’s Avoid ID Theft program, as well as additional information, are available at their website – ftc.gov/idtheft.
The Monitor Bank takes security issues for our customers very seriously. If you believe that you may have a situation that involves the possible breach of your deposit or loan accounts with us, please do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.