Help protect your accounts and avoid scams! Check out the tips and information below. Remember to never give out your password, PIN, or any login credentials to anyone!
- Set your phone to require a password to power on the device or unlock it.
- Whether you’re using the mobile web or a mobile app, don’t let it automatically log you into your bank account. If your phone is lost or stolen, someone will have free access to your money.
- Avoid sharing your password, account number, PIN, answers to secret questions or other such information with anyone. Don’t save this information anywhere on your mobile device.
- Immediately tell your bank or mobile operator if you lose your phone.
- Your account information
- Online banking credentials
- PIN numbers
- Security question answers
If you ever do receive a call from someone you believe to be First Colorado National Bank asking for this information, please hang up and contact us directly at 970-527-4141.
Phishing is a scam that uses email, texts, social media messages, or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), phishers will send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you are familiar with or do business with--for example, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information. It might threaten some dire consequence if you don't respond. The message directs you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization's site, but it isn't. The purpose of the bogus site is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
The FTC suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
- If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new internet browser session and type in the company's correct web address. In any case, don't cut and paste the link from the message.
- Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- Use anti-virus/malware software and keep it up-to-date. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the internet without your knowledge. Antivirus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Antivirus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically. A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It's especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Finally, your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software "patches" to close holes in the system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from email you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. If you believe you've been scammed, you can file a complaint and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft website at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft.
- To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues , visit http://www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.
- Visit www.ftc.gov/spam to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.
With each transaction, you share your personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers, your income, your social security number, your name, address and phone number.
In 1998, Congress passed a law making identity theft a federal crime. The U.S. Secret Service, FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate violations of the Act. Persons accused of identity theft are then prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
It may not be possible to completely prevent your personal information from being stolen, but you can help minimize the risks of this crime happening to you by following these suggestions:
- Never divulge information about your social security number, credit card number, account passwords and other personal information unless you initiate contact with a person or company you know and trust.
- Don't carry around more checks, credit cards and other bank items than you really need. Don't carry your social security number in your wallet, and be sure to pick passwords and PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) that will be tough for someone to figure out. Also, don't write your social security number on your checks.
- Protect your incoming and outgoing mail, especially envelopes that may contain checks, credit card applications or other information valuable to a fraudster. Deposit outgoing mail, especially something containing personal financial information in the official Post Office collection boxes, hand it to the mail carrier, or take it to the local post office instead of leaving it in your home mailbox.
- Before discarding credit card applications, cancelled checks, bank statements or other information useful to an identity thief, tear them up as best you can, or preferably, use a paper shredder.
- Safely store extra checks, credit cards and documents that list your social security number.
- Contact your financial institution immediately if you lose your checkbook or bank credit card, if there is a discrepancy in your records, or if you notice something suspicious such as a missing payment or unauthorized withdrawals.
- If your credit card bill doesn't arrive on time, contact your credit card company. This could be a sign that someone has stolen your account information, changed your address and is making large charges in your name from another location.
- Check your credit report with the three major credit bureaus annually. The following are toll-free numbers for the three major credit bureaus: Equifax: 800-685-1111 Experian: 888-397-3742 Trans Union: 800-888-4213
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus and request a "fraud alert" be placed on your file and no new credit be granted without your approval.
- Close any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened.
- File a local police report and get a copy of the report to your bank, credit card company or others that may need proof of the crime.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, it can assist victims by providing information to help resolve problems that can result from identity theft. Should you find yourself a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by calling toll-free 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
Most of us assume that thieves are only interested in the cash in our wallet or purse, when in many cases, they are more interested in accessing sensitive information that can be used to steal our identity. Use caution and don't be the next victim of identity theft or other financial fraud!
In 2022 alone, American consumers lost almost $8.8 Billion to scams and fraud. Some of the most common scams include:
- Imposter scams
- Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries scams
- Investment-related scams
- Job opportunities scams
Keep in mind some tips that may help you spot a scam:
- Be very suspicious of any email or message you’re not expecting that requires some action on your part, and don’t open any attachments from senders you don’t know.
- Never click on a link in a suspicious email or text. Instead, go to the source using trusted contact methods. For example, if you think your credit card company needs to alert you to do something, search for the company in Google, then visit their legitimate website to find their phone number. Never rely on contact information or web links included in an email message.
- Never give out your password or login credentials to anyone. A legitimate company or financial institution will never ask you for your password.
- Delete suspicious emails, messages, or texts. You can also report them so that you don’t receive messages from that sender anymore. Don’t respond to or engage with scammers. They want to engage so that they can get what they want.
- Make sure the communication is expected before responding. Scammers will try to make you think you owe on an outstanding bill or invoice. If you’ve paid the bill or never interacted with that vendor, it is likely a scam. If you receive an email from what looks to be Amazon or a shipping company, do not respond to or click a link in the email. Instead, go directly to their website and log in to see if you have notifications there.
- Never “send the difference” to someone who has sent you a check, cashiers’ check, or other form of payment. Wait 10 business days to make sure the form of payment has cleared. Once payment clears, you can then determine whether the overage is legitimate.
- Never use gift cards or bitcoin as a form of payment. These are untraceable and therefore preferred by scammers.
- Be very cautious of sending money to someone you don’t know.
- If someone is pressuring you to make a payment immediately or rushing you into something, stop, think, and research.
- Have trusted individuals you can reach out to and ask if something sounds fishy. Call a family member, friend, and even reach out to your local banker. They will be more than happy to provide advice to keep you safe from scammers!
Be aware of identity theft and how to help prevent it. If you suspect your identity has been compromised, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov to report the incident and get a recovery plan.