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It is the policy of HomeTown Bank of Alabama to protect your information to the best of our ability. This information includes but is not limited to your name, address, social security number, phone number, transaction histories, or any other information that would fall under the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA Data). In the unlikely event you fear any of the above mentioned items may have been compromised please contact us immediately at (205) 625‐4434.
Thieves will stop at nothing to get your personal information and card data. Their scams can be clever, but not clever enough, if you know how they work and how to avoid them. We’ve highlighted a few of the ways fraudsters and identity thieves try to get your information.
Thieves are always looking for the latest and greatest way to obtain your information. Here are a couple of scams that are trending now:
FAKE CHECK SCAM: An official‐looking envelope arrives in the mail with a check or money order for $20,000 inside. The letter says you have won $4 million in a sweepstakes or lottery. You just need to wire $3,000 for taxes to claim the rest of your winnings. Is this your lucky day? NO! It is a fake check scam that will cost you thousands.
No matter the story, fake check scams always involve someone giving you a genuine‐looking check or money order and asking you to wire money somewhere in return. After you deposit or cash the check or money order and send the money, you learn that it was phony. Now the crook has the money and you owe it back to your bank. Your bank confirms that the check or money order is legitimate before letting you have the money, right?
Wrong. Federal law allows you to get the cash quickly, usually within 1‐2 days. But your bank cannot tell if there is a problem with a check or money order until it goes through the system to the person or company that supposedly issued it. This can take weeks. YOU are responsible because you are in the best position to know if the person who gave you the check or money order is trustworthy.
ELDER ABUSE: Financial fraud is the fastest growing form of elder abuse. Broadly defined, financial elder abuse is when someone illegally or improperly uses a vulnerable senior’s money or other property. Most states now have laws that make elder financial abuse a crime and provide ways to help the senior and punish the scammer. Elder
financial abuse is tough to combat, in part because it often goes unreported. You can protect yourself or your loved ones from financial elder abuse by becoming familiar with the most common scams and learning what to do if you suspect foul play. Common scams are:
Phishing is when fraudsters pretending to be from well‐known companies, organizations, or government agencies contact consumers and try to trick them into revealing their personal information. That information is then used to commit fraud like opening new accounts in your name or taking over existing accounts like online banking or iTunes. It can happen over the phone, on email or even through text messages. Protect yourself with these quick tips:
If you believe your card data may have been compromised in a data breach, contact HomeTown Bank of Alabama immediately.
HomeTown Bank of Alabama does not contact customers via email requiring you to install software or requesting you provide personal information such as a PIN or passwords.
From spyware to shady merchants, the threat of online fraud is real, but you are the best line of defense. The key to combating online fraud is knowing what threats exist and taking easy steps to beat them. To prevent online fraud:
Business email compromise (BEC) is a type of phishing scheme in which an attacker impersonates a high‐level executive and attempts to trick an employee or customer into transferring money or sensitive data. This crime is particularly stealthy because it employs social engineering techniques to manipulate users.
The scenario often plays out like this: An email arrives that appears to be from a high‐level executive within the company — or even a business partner or company attorney. Since the email address has been spoofed, it appears to be legitimate. A request for a wire transfer is included in the email, which urges the recipient to take immediate action.
To keep these threats at bay, it is important to train all employees how to recognize potentially malicious emails.
Corporate Account Takeover occurs when a criminal obtains electronic access to your bank account and conducts unauthorized transactions. The criminal obtains electronic access by stealing the confidential security credentials of your employees who are authorized to conduct electronic transactions (wire transfers, Automated Clearing
House‐ACH, and others) on your corporate bank account.
There are several methods being employed to steal confidential security credentials. Phishing mimics the look and feel of a legitimate financial institution’s website, e‐mail, or other communication. Users provide their credentials without knowing that a perpetrator is stealing their security credentials through a fictitious representation which appears to be their financial institution. A second method is Malware that infects computer
workstations and laptops via infected e‐mails with links or document attachments. In addition, malware can be downloaded to a user’s workstation or laptop from legitimate websites, especially social networking sites. Clicking on the documents, videos, or photos posted there can activate the download of the malware. The malware installs key‐logging software on the computer, which allows the perpetrator to capture the user’s ID and password as they are entered at the financial institution’s website.
What can business customers do to protect themselves (best practices)?
Contact the Bank if you:
The Bank will NEVER ask for sensitive information, such as Account Numbers, Access IDs, or Passwords via e‐mail.
Incident Response Plans
Since each business is unique, customers should write their own Incident Response Plan. A general template would include:
Don’t let fraud ruin your business or pleasure travels! Take these few easy measures before you leave:
Accepted across the world, more convenient and safer than cash, payment cards have transformed how we shop and bank. But thieves may try to steal your card information and use it for unauthorized charges. Make sure you make these transactions in ways that reduce your risk of fraud. To help stop retail/ATM fraud, remember:
Automated Teller Machine or ATM skimming is a fraud scheme to steal personal information from ATM users. A skimmer is a piece of equipment which is installed by scammers on the ATM or wherever cards are swiped like gas stations to read a cardholder’s electronic account information stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of
the card when the card is inserted into the skimming device.
Below are a few precautions you can take to help prevent you from falling victim to ATM Skimming:
Fraudsters can send official‐looking letters or pose as representatives from HomeTown Bank of Alabama, other financial institutions/credit accounts or even charities. If asked to provide your account number or other personal information in the mail or by phone, be wary of fraud. HomeTown Bank of Alabama never calls or writes account holders for personal account information.
Did you know that half of all identity theft is committed by individuals with legitimate access to your home such as live‐in caregivers, relatives or renovation crews? Home is a safe place, and here are a few tips to help keep it that way:
If thieves obtain your driver’s license or Social Security number, they can pretend to be you and potentially open bank accounts, order credit cards, write bad checks and obtain loans. They can also ruin your credit score and make it hard to obtain credit in the future. Identity thieves use a variety of tactics, even “dumpster diving” through your trash for personal information. To help stop identity theft:
Reporting identity theft/fraud
At HomeTown Bank of Alabama we are committed to helping you protect yourself from fraud. If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft it is important to take immediate action. Contact HomeTown Bank of Alabama immediately at 205‐625‐4434. Contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Response Center at 1‐877‐FTC‐HELP (1‐877‐382‐4357).
Notifying credit bureaus
It is highly recommended that you contact the three national consumer reporting agencies if you believe you have been a victim of identity theft. Ask each agency to place a “fraud alert” on your credit report and to send you a copy of your credit file.
Please be advised that you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of HomeTown Bank's website. We encourage you to read the privacy and security policies of the site you are entering, which may be different than those of HomeTown Bank.