Many financial institutions and companies that conduct business on the Internet, including Valley Bank of Commerce, have become the target of a form of online fraud called "phishing"(sounds like "fishing").
Phishers use fraudulent emails or pop-up Web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information. When you respond to these online scams, you jeopardize the security of your accounts and your identity can be stolen. You should never provide your personal or account information in response to unsolicited emails or pop-up Web pages.
How to Identify Online Fraud:
It's often difficult to tell if an email is legitimate. Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in creating fraudulent emails and Web sites that look authentic. These emails and Web sites often appear to be from legitimate companies and include images and logos of these organizations. Following are some common characteristics of fraudulent emails and Web sites:
- They have an urgent tone.
They often have a sense of urgency telling clients that if they fail to update, verify or confirm their personal or account information, access to their accounts will be suspended.
- They request your information.
They typically ask for personal or account information such as:
- Account numbers
- Credit and Check Card numbers
- Social Security Numbers
- Online Banking sign on IDs and passwords
- Mother's maiden name
- Date of birth
- Other sensitive information
- They include links that appear legitimate.
They often include links that include a legitimate company's name or Web address. Always type Web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links.
- They forge sender's email addresses.
The fraudulent emails will disguise or forge the sender's email address so they appear to be from a legitimate company.
- They often have incorrect grammar.
The emails and pop-up Web sites may include misspelled words and incorrect grammar.
Examples of Online Fraud/Latest Alerts:
Most examples of online fraud use images and logos from legitimate web sites that appear authentic. Do NOT respond to emails or pop-up Web pages that ask you to provide, update or verify your personal or account information.
Following are examples of fraudulent emails that we've identified. We've categorized the email scams by their subject matter and content. This page will be updated frequently.
Suspicious Activity/Account at Risk. Some clients have received emails that convey a sense of urgency and warn them that their accounts are at risk. For example, they notify clients that Valley Bank of Commerce suspects fraudulent activities or charges on their accounts. The fraudulent emails often include the name of a fictitious business and dollar amounts of the "suspected" charges and ask clients to respond to the emails to resolve the issue.
"FW: online banking issue"
"Your Valley Bank Payment"
Valley Bank of Commerce System/Technical Updates. Many fraudulent emails mention "system," "technical" or "technology" updates at Valley Bank. For example, one email tells clients that there has been a "regular update and verification" to their online banking accounts and that they need to verify their information. Clients are warned that their access to Online Banking will be limited if they do not respond.
New Valley Bank of Commerce Services/Announcements. Some scammers try to target clients by offering new services or offers. For example, clients have received emails that offer them free Bill Pay with their online banking accounts. They instruct clients to click on links in the email to take advantage of these offers.
If you receive an email that appears to be from Valley Bank of Commerce and it asks you to provide, update or verify personal or account information, do not respond. The email was not authorized by Valley Bank of Commerce and is fraudulent.
How Valley Bank of Commerce Helps Protect You:
We're committed to keeping your accounts safe from unauthorized access and your identity confidential. Learn more about how we help protect your accounts.
Valley Bank of Commerce Client Commitment:
Valley Bank of Commerce will never send emails asking clients to provide, update or verify their personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security Numbers, PINs, credit or Check Card numbers, or other confidential information.
How Scammers Obtain Your Email Address
Many scammers randomly generate email addresses - that's why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They also purchase mailing lists, obtain email addresses online from Web pages, chat rooms, online auctions and directories or from illegitimate sources.
Help Protect Yourself from Online Fraud
There are many things you can do to help secure your identity and your accounts. Here are some tips to follow:
Look beyond the logo.
To make fraudulent emails or Web sites appear real, scammers often include actual logos and images of legitimate companies. They also convey a sense of urgency, stating that if you fail to provide, update or verify your personal or account information, access to your accounts will be suspended. It's important that you look beyond the logo and not give out your information.
Use your spam filter.
Many email services now have spam filters that minimize the amount of spam you receive. The filters can help you minimize the number of fraudulent emails in your inbox.
Type, don't click.
Even if you do open a suspicious email, don't click on any links. By clicking on the links you could unknowingly download a virus or spyware to your computer. Even if you think the email is legitimate, type Web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links. If the email is from an institution you do business with, use a bookmark that you've already created to visit the company's Web site.
Change your online passwords often.
The rule of thumb is to change your password every 30 to 60 days. Be creative with your passwords - stay away from obvious passwords like your zip code, year of birth or sensitive information such as your mother's maiden name or your Social Security Number.
Update your anti-virus and anti-spam software.
By keeping anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date on your computers, you make it more difficult for scammers to access your personal and account information. You can purchase anti-virus and anti-spyware software at major retail stores such as Wal-Mart®, Target and Best Buy as well as on the Internet.
How to Report Online Fraud
To report a suspicious email or Web page or if you believe you have provided personal or account information in response to a fraudulent email or Web site, immediately contact Valley Bank of Commerce at (575) 623-2265.