PROTECT YOUR DEBIT/CREDIT CARD INFORMATION

  1. Sign the back of a new debit or credit card immediately upon receiving it.

  2. Do not give your account or pin numbers over the phone unless you initiated the call.

  3. Memorize your personal identification number (PIN) if possible. If you have to write it down, don't write it on the card itself or leave it in your purse or wallet.

  4. Never leave your cards unattended. Be especially careful at gyms, at work and while shopping. Also, don't put your cards in your car's glove compartment. An alarmingly high proportion of all credit-card thefts are from car glove compartments.

  5. Use your card only for yourself. Do not lend the card to relatives or friends.

  6. Always check your card when you get it back in a store or restaurant. It's easy for you to forget your card when you're in a hurry, and it's easy for waiters or salespeople to give you the wrong card when they're in a hurry.

  7. Make a comprehensive list of all your cards and their numbers. Include the expiration dates and the phone numbers to call if there is a problem. Keep the list in a safe place (not your wallet or purse).

  8. Always take your charge slips and destroy any carbons.

  9. Check your monthly statement and match all charges to your receipts. If there are any discrepancies, call the bank or credit card company immediately.  If you have Internet Banking, look at your account activity frequently and utilize our Notify Me service.

  10. Before you throw away any mail or other papers that contain personal information and/or account numbers, shred or tear them up.

 

FRAUD SCENARIOS

 

If you receive an email telling you to cash or deposit checks sent to you and you can keep some and wire the rest, do not respond or get involved until you are able to check things out thoroughly with consumer organizations and authorities.  If you get these checks in the mail, don't cash them until you check with someone (other than the person who sent them to you) to be sure they are legitimate.  Have your bank verify the authenticity of the items.   NO legitimate business asks you to wire excess funds anywhere.  It's simply not done for the basic reason that no legitimate business person is about to trust an absolute stranger with their money. Usually these types of scams are used for money laundering by drug dealers or criminals,  and YOU are helping them to launder money if you participate!!

 

Counterfeit Travelers' Checks     If you receive an email asking for help cashing travelers' checks, watch out! This is an attempt to scam you.  Someone claims to be in a foreign country and are unable to use their travelers' checks, and needs your help cashing the checks and wiring the money back to them - usually through Western Union.  In exchange for your help, they will give you a percentage of the proceeds (usually 10%).  Once you agree, they overnight the checks in amounts that have typically been from $500 to $5,000. After you cash the checks and wire the money to the scam artist, a few days later the traveler's checks are returned as counterfeit. And of course, you cannot contact the person who sent you the checks and if they cannot be found they cannot be legally held accountable. You are responsible for the checks you deposit or cash, so you are going to be liable for the thousands of dollars in returned counterfeit checks.

 

Excess of Purchase Price    The customer sells goods over the Internet on various auction sites.  The buyer sends the customer a cashier's check for much more than the purchase price and asks the customer to wire the excess to a third party, often in a foreign country.

 

Unexpected Windfall    The customer receives a letter or email stating that he or she will receive a substantial sum of money, either by being the beneficiary of a stranger's estate or having won a foreign lottery he or she has never entered. The letter will explain that the customer must pay a rather large processing fee or transfer tax before receiving the money, but that a cashier's check will be enclosed to cover the fee or tax.  The letter will ask the customer to deposit the check into a checking account and wire the fee to a third party in a foreign country.

 

Mystery Shopping    The customer receives a letter stating that he or she has been chosen to act as a mystery shopper.  The letter includes a money order or cashier's check for a few hundred or thousands of dollars, and the customer is told to deposit the check, and to use a portion of the funds to purchase merchandise at designated merchants and to transfer the remainder of the funds to a third party. (Some mystery shopper businesses are legitimate, and will not pay up front in large amounts and request you wire excess funds.)

 

Money Transfer Agent    The customer is told that he or she will receive rather large cashier's checks to deposit into his or her bank account.  The customer is then told to wire specific amounts to various persons or accounts in other countries.  The customer will retain a portion of the checks for his or her trouble. 

 

In each of these cases, the customer believes that the check is valid and deposits the check into his or her account.  After the depositing bank makes the funds available, the customer sends the goods or funds to the third party.  Some time later the cashier's check is returned unpaid by the paying back because the check is fraudulent.  The depositing bank then charges the fraudulent cashier's check to the customer, and the customer suffers a loss of not only the amount of the check but also the amount of the goods sold or the funds wired.

 

Customers must be aware that if or when a hold is placed on the check that is being deposited, just because the hold time has expired does not mean the check is good, has been paid, and will not be returned.  Banks are required  to make funds available within certain times allowed by law.  The fraudulent check can be returned any time after the hold has expired and funds from the check have been made available to the customer.  And unfortunately the customer will absorb any losses due to the fact that the sender of the check is nowhere to be found and cannot be contacted in order to return the funds.

 

 

EXAMPLES OF SCAMS

 

Scams seem to be growing on the Internet and through e-mail.  Scam messages appear to come from a legitimate person or company but are really from a scammer out to get your money or steal your identity.

 

*   IRS Tax Refund Scam:  You get an email stating you have twelve days to claim a tax refund and that the necessary forms

      can be found by clicking on a link in the email to the IRS website.  The website address appears legitimate but the site is not

      the IRS website.  Instead of filing for a refund, you are giving scammers your bank account information.  The IRS does not send

      unsolicited emails and will never ask for personal or financial information.

 

*   Foreign Lottery Scams:  You get an e-mail or letter from an official of the lottery you supposedly have won, usually from a foreign country to which you have never been and from a lottery you have never entered.  They tell you that you must keep your winnings completely confidential, and any breach will result in disqualification.  They get your personal information that they can use later to commit fraud, and then tell you that taxes are due before the money can be paid out, or there area customs duties, or an official needs to be bribed before the money can leave the country, or they need money up front to complete the paperwork, you must open an account in the foreign country to claim your winnings, etc.  Never send money in response to messages of this type as these lotteries are not legitimate.  (How can you win a lottery that you have never entered?)

 

*   Internet Sales:  A scammer sends you a message indicating he wants to buy what you have listed on an Internet auction site.  Someone owes him money so that person will send you a cashier’s check for more than the price of your item.  You deposit the cashier’s check, take out what you are owed for your item and forward the difference to him with a new cashier’s check.  After you have forwarded him the cashier’s check with the difference, the original cashier’s check is returned as fraudulent and you are out the amount of the original cashier’s check.  QChex and counterfeit Postal Money Orders may be used in scams of this type also. 

 

*   Nigerian Scam:  This scam takes many forms.  Usually someone in a foreign country (usually Nigeria) has a large amount of money he needs to get into or out of the country  He tells you he has come into an inheritance worth millions, or he is an official of a deposed government.  He wants you to set up a bank account that can be used to transfer millions of dollars into and out of the account.  They offer to let you keep a percentage of the money for your trouble – usually 20 – 40%.  He wants you to put in a few thousand of your own money to get it open, then give him access in which to transfer funds into the account.  As soon as access is given, your funds in the account disappear and funds are never wired into the account.

 

*   Update Account Information Scams:  You get an e-mail (complete with the correct business logos) telling you to update your Pay Pal, eBay, Bank of America, Citibank, Amazon, or other account information.  An email is currently being circulated pretending to be from the Social Security Administration about the 2007 Cost of Living increase and instructs you to update your personal information, with the threat of suspending your account if you do not reply. If you do respond, you will have given access to your account information for scammers to use.  You usually can’t see where the “click here” link is taking you.  You could be going to a website in Russia or anywhere else in the world – anywhere but the authentic website of the business in question.  This bank, along with its vendors and regulatory agencies, will not request your account information through an email or phone call. 

 

*   FDIC Insurance Scam:  This e-mail threatens your access to your bank accounts or termination of FDIC insurance on your accounts.  It wants you to go to the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) website and verify your account information.  If you get a message like this, call your bank – do not connect to the fraudulent web site and give them any information.  Any links on messages of this type will not take you to the legitimate FDIC website.  The FDIC has no knowledge of your account information and will never ask for information of this type.

 

 

FRAUD TIPS

 

*   Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax, e-mail, or text message no matter how official it may seem.  Even though banks may ask questions to verify identity before releasing your financial information over the phone, banks will never call, text, fax, or e-mail you to ask for your account number, social security number, PIN number, or other confidential information because banks already have this information on file with your account information.  Never click on a link to a website in an email; go to the actual website. If you respond to an e-mail of this type, you may be redirected to a fraudulent website that closely resembles a legitimate website whose sole purpose is gain access to passwords, account numbers, PIN numbers and social security numbers.  This type of scam is called phishing.  (Just because it looks real doesn’t mean it is.)

 

*   Do not respond to phone call or e-mails that may warn of dire consequences, such as account closure, suspension of credit, etc., unless you validate your information immediately. Clicking on a link that looks legitimate may direct you to a fraudulent website where crooks will steal your personal information.  Contact the company directly by phone with a phone number you know to be legitimate to confirm the caller’s or e-mail’s validity.

 

*   Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized discrepancies, even small ones.  Some  thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed.  Report discrepancies immediately.

 

*   Closely guard your ATM Personal Identification Number (PIN) and ATM receipts.  Never keep your PIN number with your ATM card.

 

*   Be wary of any online seller of goods that wants you to send checks or money orders to a post office box.

 

*   Shred unused checks, bills, credit card offers, and bank statements before disposing of them.  “Dumpster diving” is another way crooks obtain personal information.

 

*   Keep unused printed checks in an out-of-sight secure location in your home.  Report lost or stolen checks immediately.  Fayette County National Bank can block payment on the check numbers involved.  Also, review new deliveries of checks to make sure none have been lost or stolen during shipment.

 

*   When submitting financial information to a web site, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with “https”.  This signals that your information is secure during transmission.

 

*   Request a copy of your free annual credit report using the link on our main page.  You can request reports from the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union - from this site.  You may request all 3 at one time or each spaced out over a 12-month period.  Review your credit report for any discrepancies.

 

*  Report suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission consumer Response Center or the Internet Fraud Complaint Center using the links on our Fraud and Security main page.