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Current Alerts

December 13, 2017

IRS Warning

The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers and tax professionals of a new email scam targeting Hotmail users that is being used to steal personal and financial information.

The phishing email subject line reads: “Internal Revenue Service Email No. XXXX | We’re processing your request soon | TXXXXXX-XXXXXXXX”. The email leads taxpayers to sign in to a fake Microsoft page and then asks for personal and financial information.

The IRS has received over 900 complaints about this new phishing scheme that seems to exclusively target Hotmail users. The suspect websites associated with this scam have been shut down, but taxpayers should be on the lookout for similar schemes. To read the full message please visit the IRS website link: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/consumer-alert-irs-warns-taxpayers-tax-pros-of-new-email-scam-targeting-hotmail-users

Additionally, remember the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Past Alerts:

Shop Safely This Holiday Season

November 1, 2017

Shop Safely This Holiday Season

It's the season for fraud! Beware of these scams especially during the holiday season:

  • Be cautious before giving. Charity scams exist throughout the year, but peak during the holidays.  Many fake charities will pitch you through email or social networks. Always check out the legitimacy of a charity first before making a contribution.
  • Watch out for seasonal employment scams. If you're looking to make some extra cash during the holiday season be wary of offers that require money upfront, especially when accompanied with enticing phrases such as, "no experience necessary" and "work from home".
  • Use social media wisely. Consumers are being targeted with malicious links and posts. Think twice before clicking on messages and posts especially if it's from someone you don't know.
  • Fake retail apps can be used to steal information. Fraudsters are creating apps to resemble official shopping apps. Once downloaded on smart devices, malware is installed and personal information can be stolen or ransomware can lock a user's phone until they pay up. Always verify the legitimacy of an app before downloading it or go directly to the store's website to get the official download.
  • Do business with reputable vendors. Verify the legitimacy of the online merchant before supplying any information. Try to buy gift cards in-store to avoid bogus ones.
  • Make sure your information is being encrypted. Look for URLs that begin with "https:" instead of "http:" and ensure the padlock icon is in the appropriate location for your browser.
  • Be wary of emails requesting information. Legitimate businesses will not ask you to reconfirm your purchase or account information. If you receive an unsolicited email from a business, instead of clicking on the provided link, directly log on to the authentic website by typing the address yourself.
  • Secure your internet connection. If shopping online, make sure you do so from a password protected Wi-Fi network. Never access online banking from a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Monitor your account. Use online and mobile banking to keep an eye on your transactions. Notify the bank right away if there’s any fraudulent activity.
  • Beware of popular product scams. Sites may mention Apple product giveaways in phony contests and phishing emails as a way to grab computer users’ personal information. If you see an ad that says “free iPad,” it’s most likely fake.
  • Look out for SMiShing: “SMiSishing” is phishing via text message. Just like with email phishing, the scammer may try to lure you in to reveal personal information, especially under the guise of holiday specials.

Equifax breach

September 19, 2017

Equifax breach

Earlier this month, Equifax credit bureau announced that the records of approximately 143 million Americans were breached between May & July of this year.  

  • Those records contained names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver’s license numbers. At this time, it appears hackers did not gain access to full credit reports.
  • In addition to the personal information accessed, 209,000 credit card numbers were obtained.
  • Equifax has indicated that debit cards were not exposed – therefore criminals are unlikely to have the ability to withdraw funds from a checking account.
  • The biggest risk posed by this breach is the threat of identity theft.

We encourage you to visit Equifax’s website to determine whether your information was compromised and consider enrolling in its free credit monitoring program, TrustedID Premier.

Monitoring your accounts and credit report for unauthorized transactions is critical.

  • We strongly encourage monitoring your accounts with Online Banking.
  • We employ numerous safeguards to protect your information, such as employee training, strict privacy policies, rigorous security standards and encryption systems.
  • In addition to using Equifax’s TrustedID Premier, consumers can check their credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for free by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Unfamiliar accounts or activity could indicate identity theft. 
  • If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, you should alert your bank right away.

Additionally, criminals often take advantage of breaches and craft sophisticated attacks related to the current event.  Be careful of the following:

  • Phishing e-mails that encourage you to provide personal information.  Be especially wary of emails with links and instead visit sites by searching for the official site in your browser's search engine. 
  • Unsolicited phone calls that request personal information.
  • Fake websites that claim to assist those affected by the current compromise. 

Hurricane Season is Upon Us

September 6, 2017

Hurricane Season is Upon Us

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. Taylor Bank encourages you to prepare for Hurricane Season by assessing your home’s risk, and developing an emergency plan to protect you and your family against a potential storm. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Know the details of your insurance policy: Talk with your agent to determine if you have adequate coverage or if you need to reassess your plan.  

Protect your financial documents: In the event of a disaster, you will need identification and financial documents to begin the recovery process. Safeguard important documents in a bank safety deposit box, computer storage devices (USB drive), and/or waterproof storage containers.

Assemble an emergency kit: The kit should include first aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, at least three days of non-perishable food and water, necessary medications, cash and debit or credit cards.

Stay informed:  Review evacuation routes and monitor the storm's path. If you don't have electricity utilize Wireless Emergency Alerts through your mobile carrier or battery-powered radio or TV, if available.

For more information on what to do to prepare for a hurricane, please visit: http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Phone Scams

August 17, 2017

Phone Scams

By now you may be familiar with the terms "phishing" and "smishing".  "Vishing" attacks are yet another popular way fraudsters can get personal information.  With vishing, thieves rely on voice over phone to trick you into providing your personal information, which may be used to gain access to your personal accounts, or open new accounts.  Below are some examples of possible vishing scams:

  • You may get an email or a pop-up that indicates there is a problem with your account or computer and instructs you to call a phone number.

  • You may receive a pre-recorded phone call which takes you through a series of prompts asking for sensitive information.

  • A live person may call you to alert you that your account has been compromised, or that they have information regarding your account, but must verify your information first.  Thieves can even "spoof" or disguise phone numbers to make them appear to be coming from your bank or credit card company.

How can you thwart a vishing attack? Consider these tips:

  • When calling Taylor Bank or other companies, use published phone numbers from statements or websites. Don't use numbers found in unsolicited emails or on websites that were sent as a link in an unsolicited email.

  • Do not provide personal information to anyone over the phone unless you are the one who solicited the call.

  • When in doubt, hang up the phone and contact the company for whom the thief is "pretending" to represent. If the call is found to be a scam, you will be protected and you will have alerted the company about the scam as well.

Smishing Attacks are on the Rise

July 12, 2017

Smishing Attacks are on the Rise

You may already be aware of “phishing” emails which appear to come from legitimate sources, but are actually designed to trick you into clicking on something harmful.  Cell phones are also susceptible to “smishing” named for the text messaging system (SMS) by which they are sent.  Similar to phishing, messages are sent that appear to be from a legitimate source, but contain malicious links.  Examples may include a text alerting you that you’ve won something, your personal information needs to be updated, or there’s a problem with your bank account. Some text messages may just ask you to call a number to verify certain information.

Please be reminded that Taylor Bank may send you alerts letting you know about suspicious activity on your account.  However, these texts never ask for personal information or contain links to click on.

For more information and how you can protect yourself against smishing and other scams please visit the Federal Trade Commission website.

For more information about mobile banking security, please visit our Mobile Banking Security Tips page.

Global Ransomware Attack

May 15, 2017

Global Ransomware Attack

More than 150 countries and major organizations were impacted recently by a ransomware attack in which data on targeted machines were encrypted preventing the owner from accessing until, supposedly, payment was received.  It is very likely that varients of this attack will continue to be a threat. For more information on how to protect yourself or your business against malware and ransomware attacks, please review these tips from the American Bankers Association (ABA).

Recent Tax Scams

January 6, 2017

The IRS website has recently issued warnings to increase the awareness about recent scams targeting taxpayers.  As always, but especially during tax season, you should be on high alert when responding to phone calls, emails and text messages that claim to be from the IRS.  Being able to recognize the red flags associated with tax scams could save you from becoming a victim.

 IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

  • Callers claim to be IRS employees
  • Fake names and badge ID numbers are used
  • Callers may appear to know information about you
  • The caller ID feature is altered to make the call appear to originate from the IRS
  • Threats are used to create a sense of urgency

 It is important to know that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

 Email Phishing Scams

  • Emails appear to be from the IRS or other related organizations such as the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP)
  • A link may be included to direct the user to a fake IRS website
  • Personal and/or financial information is requested
  • Variations of these email scams are also being sent via text messaging

Also, the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

Please visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts for a complete list of recent scams and what to do if you think you have been contacted by someone impersonating the IRS.

 

External Link Disclaimer

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Email Disclaimer

Notice: Because there is a risk that information transmitted via Internet email could fall into the wrong hands, Taylor Bank suggests that confidential information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, not be transmitted via email. Instead, please contact Taylor Bank directly at your nearest bank branch.

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