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Scam & Fraud Prevention Strategies

Staying safe and secure from fraud and online crime has become a vital aspect of life today. There are many ways for criminals to steal your personal information, banking information, and even your identity. Vision Bank wants to prevent this from happening, so we have some helpful tips and information about what and what not to do to protect yourself.

Password Security
One of the first steps in protecting your personal and banking information is to keep your usernames and passwords private and to also have a strong password. Some tips for making a strong password include:

  • Make your password a sentence
  • For every unique account, have a unique password
  • Keep a list of your passwords, but keep them in a safe and secure place
Personal Information Protection
Secondly, always keep your personal information safe and secure by doing the following:
  • Never keep a copy of PIN numbers, passwords, or your Social Security card in your purse or wallet
  • Use multiple usernames and passwords
  • Do not use personal information in your passwords
  • Shred unneeded documents containing personal information
  • Review your credit report annually
  • Review credit card statements monthly
  • Review bank statements monthly
  • Be aware of the information you are receiving and sending through emails, and do not click on links inside an email if you are unsure they are safe or if you do not know the sender
  • If in doubt, always verify and never give personal information or confidential information to just anyone

Mobile Device Security
In an age of technology and fast-moving innovations, keeping your mobile devices protected is just as important as keeping your personal information protected. Smartphones and tablets contain significant information not only about you but also your family and friends. Such information may be phone numbers, addresses, location, and more. Some tips for keeping your mobile devices safe include:
  • Keep security software current on all devices that connect to the internet
  • Delete apps and other software when you are no longer in need of them
  • Secure your devices with strong passwords, passcodes, or other features
  • Be conscious of giving personal information through apps and websites
  • Use security and privacy settings on websites and apps to manage what is shared about you and who sees it
  • Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use
  • Be aware of Wi-Fi networks you are connecting to; public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure
  • When in doubt, don't respond to texts or calls you are not familiar with

Security Resources
For more information on personal privacy and security please visit these resources:
Digital Security Best Practices

Identity Theft

Identity theft involves the unlawful acquisition and use of someone's identifying information, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Mother's Maiden Name
  • Driver's License
  • Bank or Credit Card Account Number
Criminals then use the information above in an attempt to duplicate your identity to repeatedly commit fraud, which may include opening new accounts, purchasing items, applying for loans, credit cards, and social security benefits, renting or establishing various services. It can have a negative effect on your credit and create a serious financial hassle for you.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

While there are no personal information security guarantees, there are precautions you can take to help safeguard your personal information. Those precautions are listed under "Security Prevention" above.

Scams & Fraud

According to the 2017 FTC Consumer Sentinel Report Data Book, younger people (ages 20-29) reported losing money to fraud more often than those over the age of 70. Another recent survey revealed that millennials were three times more likely to experience a financial loss as the result of a phone scam than baby boomers, and six times more likely to give up personal information over the phone if the caller knew the last four digits of their Social Security number!

And yet, scammers/fraudsters continue to target seniors because they assume older adults may be lonely and more trusting than others. Or, perhaps, they are targeted because they are more "profitable," as the FTC report also noted that when those over age 70 do fall victim to fraud or a scam, their losses are significantly greater.

Scammers sometimes encourage people to transfer/send money. Do not transfer/send money to anyone who asks you to send them money, especially if you have never met them in person. Examples include:
  • For an emergency situation you haven't confirmed.
  • For an online purchase.
  • For anti-virus protection.
  • For a deposit or payment on a rental property.
  • To claim lottery or prize winnings.
  • To pay taxes.
  • For a donation to charity.
  • For a mystery shopping assignment.
  • For a job opportunity.
  • For a credit card or loan fee.
  • To resolve an immigration matter.
  • To pay for something in response to a telemarketing call.
  • For relationship purposes.
  • For home repairs.
Common Scams & Fraud
A little knowledge can go a long way to help anyone avoid becoming a victim of a scam/fraud. Some of the most common scams/fraud includes:
Scam & Fraud Resources