Tips and Definitions

Attachments and Email Links – Use caution with emails that contain attachments or links.  Either one could harm your computer or take you somewhere you don’t want to go!  Only open attachments that you’re expecting.  If you’re not expecting it, verify with the sender that they did send the attachment.  Don’t reply back to the email, give them a call or send a text message to a number you already have.  This eliminates the chances of replying back to an imposter.  If there is a link, hover your mouse over the link, a box will appear showing the actual destination of the link.

  • Examples of what can happen:
    • Ransomware – a virus that puts a password on all of the files on your computer and if you’re connected to a network it can spread to other computers.
    • Key logging malware – programs that install on your computer and record all of your keystrokes. They also record where you go on the internet.  Everything you type in is captured by the program.  The purpose of this type of malware is to gather login information for banking sites, along with personal information. 
    • Other infections – viruses that can cause your computer to run slowly or crash.
    • Links to phishing sites – the website could look like your bank or credit card’s site but it’s actually a copy that wants you to enter your personal information. 

Keep Your Inbox Clean – Permanently delete emails from your inbox and trash folder.  Emails in your folders are a goldmine of information to a hacker.  They can see where you have accounts, who you correspond with, where you shop, and so much more.  Think about it, the hacker looks through your inbox and finds an email from your credit card company.  They go to the credit card company’s site and use the ‘forgot password’ link and the password is sent to your email…the same email they’re watching.  Now the hacker can reset the password to your credit card account and they’re in.

Telephone Fraud – This has been around for many, many years and just keeps changing with the times.  Don’t fall for scams on the phone.  The caller may say that your computer has a virus or that you have unpaid fines and will be arrested for non-payment, or any number of other scenarios to get you to pay.  The payment methods vary too, we’ve seen wire transfers, gift card purchases, check by phone, or credit/debit card payments requested.  Not only will you be out the money sent, you could also be giving out personal information that the caller can use or sell.  Protect yourself by always verifying independently what the caller says, even though they will tell you not to.  

Credit Card Skimmers are placed over the top of an existing terminal to capture card information.  They’re often only in place for up to 24 hours and then they’re moved to another terminal.  Skimmers can be hard to spot, usually you can tug or push on the terminal to see if pieces come off.  This is the newest way that credit and debit card numbers are stolen.  The hackers will sell the card numbers on illegal websites.  Sign up for Shazam Bolt$ for fast alerts of activity on your Lee County Bank debit card. This can help stop fraudulent charges quickly.

Preventing Identity Theft

Here are a few steps that can help you protect your personal information:

  • Don't respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
  • Keep your social security number in a secure location. Don't carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
  • Watch out for "shoulder surfers." Shield the keypad when entering your password on a computer or your PIN in an ATM or point of sale device.
  • Ask the post office to hold your mail when you're away from home. Always collect your mail as soon as possible.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Review your receipts and promptly compare them with your account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions. Using Lee County Bank's online banking or mobile app will give you up to date activity on your account(s).
  • Shred anything that contains your personal information or account numbers. This includes receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit/debit cards. This will prevent "dumpster divers" from getting your personal information.
  • Install firewalls, anti-virus and malware detection software on your home computer.
  • Passwords should be complex and something that a thief could not guess easily. Ex: Hawkeyes are number 1 could be H@wkIsr#1
  • Order your credit report once a year and review it to be certain that it doesn't include accounts that you have not opened.

Are You a Victim of Identity Theft?

If you are a victim of identity theft, report it immediately. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your local police department are critical in filing the complaint.

You may also report specific types of identity theft to other agencies. They are:

  • Long-term Care Identity Theft – Report a claim to the long-term care ombudsman in your state, if the theft was a result of a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
  • Medical Identity Theft – Contact your health insurance company's fraud department or Medicare's fraud office.
  • Tax Identity Theft – Report this type of ID theft to the IRS and your state's Department of Taxation or Revenue.

You should also report any identity theft to the following entities:

  • Credit Reporting Agencies
  • Your financial institution
  • Retailers and other companies where the identity thief created accounts, opened credit accounts, or even applied for jobs.
  • State Consumer Protection Offices or Attorney General