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Common Sense Defense for Common Scams

Jury Duty Scam

These scams are spreading fast, so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced.
 
Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS. In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty . The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen.
 
This jury duty scam is particularly insidious because the scammer uses intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they're with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their Web sites, warning consumers about the fraud. More details...
 

Lottery/Secret Shopper Scams

In this scam, a consumer receives a letter and check in the mail congratulating them on either being named a winner in a lottery-outside the United States, or being chosen to be a secret shopper to evaluate the Money Gram process.
 
These checks are very similar to a legitimate check and it is almost impossible to detect one just by looking at it. Most fake checks now appear to be issued by reputable United States institutions, not the little-known foreign banks of scams past.
 
You can protect yourself from this scam by paying close attention to the name of the company that sent the letter. Do you recognize this company? Have you entered the lottery or applied for a job as a Secret Shopper with the company? Did they initiate the correspondence?
 
In the event you are victimized by this scam, contact your post office or local law enforcement and call North Shore Bank immediately so we can help you prevent any additional fraud. Keep all the paperwork for evidence and possible tracking.
 

Keylogging

This form of phishing is increasing so people need to take steps to protect themselves from this higher level of intrusion, often downloaded as spyware.
 
"Keylogging" is a simpler, more direct type of fraud where criminals steal usernames, passwords, account and credit card numbers, and other personal information by using software programs that copy computer users' keystrokes.
 
Your best line of defense is to use a firewall, consider using and maintaining anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, avoid opening suspicious e-mail, and use common sense.
 

Phishing

Phishing is an online scam that involves e-mail messages and pop-up window links, made to look like official notices from reputable companies, "baiting" you to reply with personal information. They often appear to come from retail/auction sites like E-Bay or familiar financial institutions. The intent of these messages is to "hook" you into disclosing your personal financial information, Social Security number, and other personal information. The information that has been gathered is then used by the scammer to fraudulently access your personal online accounts.
 
How can you guard yourself against a phishing scam?
  • NEVER give out your PIN (personal identification number) number. North Shore Bank representatives will never ask you for a PIN number or ask you to verify personal financial information in an e-mail message.
  • DO NOT OPEN e-mail messages from any company, person, or email address you don'­t know or don't have an account with. Simply opening and then deleting the wrong e-mail could make you vulnerable to fraud. Other than known addresses of friends and family members, open only those messages from companies or Web sites you were expecting a response.
  • DO NOT DOWNLOAD software from Web sites that you don't completely trust. You may be putting yourself at risk of downloading keylogging or other malicious software along with it.
  • Be aware of e-mail messages with urgent subject lines. These e-mails are attempting to generate a quick emotional reaction from you rather than a rational one. Do not respond.
  • If you receive an e-mail message that asks for account or personal information, and does not appear to have any contact information, such as a phone number or e-mail address, this is most likely a phishing scam. Do not respond. While these messages may look official, they are only clever attempts to retrieve your account information. Take a look at some examples of phishing scams.
  • Question email links and be cautious of downloading software from unknown Web sites. If anyone asks you for an account number or credit card number, do not give it out. Requests for login or personal information should arouse suspicion and be verified as legitimate before responding.
If you suspect that you may have received a phishing-scam message from someone claiming to be North Shore Bank, please call 1-877.672.2265 to inform us or request verification of the message.
 
North Shore Bank cannot stop the act of phishing - but we can alert you to the tactics used. If you fall victim to a phishing scam and willingly provide confidential information, you can be held responsible for losses. North Shore Bank will periodically update our Consumer Tips/Security section with information and links regarding phishing scams, Internet viruses and other financial security issues.
 

Vishing

Identity thieves are also using vishing scams to capture your personal information. Instead of a misdirected Web link, vishing places phone calls or sends a text message to you in attempts to steal your information. The scammers can even manipulate caller id to have it display a legitimate business's name.
 
When you receive the automated vishing message, you are asked to place a call to a company. Only the number does not take you to the intended business, but rather to a device that can recognize your telephone keystrokes. When you place the call a recorded message plays and asks you to verify your account by entering your 16-digit account number. That's when the scammers capture what they need to make you a victim of identity theft.
 
Another twist taking vishing to a new level is the scammers don't even need to e-mail you with the phone number to call. Instead, they use readily available telephone technology to place calls with the recorded message that requests that you call a number immediately because your credit card has been breached. In either case, scammers are able to get the information they need to do serious damage to you identity.
 
North Shore Bank cannot stop the act of vishing - but we can alert you to the tactics used. If you fall victim to a vishing scam and willingly provide confidential information, you can be held responsible for losses. The best defense is to stay informed. You can do this by visiting our Consumer Tips/Security section which is periodically updated with useful information and links regarding scams, Internet viruses and other financial security issues.
 

Common Sense, Best Defense

The best way to fight being taken by these sophisticated hackers is to use common sense. If you receive an email that directs you to place a call, don't use that number. Instead, contact your credit card provider or bank with a verified number that you know is legitimate.
 
If you are ever suspicious of any contact that appears to be from North Shore Bank, we encourage you to contact us directly or stop by your neighborhood office. We are here for you, and understand how important your identity is to you. You can count on us to continually monitor security threats and keep you informed of current scams that can effect you.
 

What to do if you become a victim of fraud.

Bottom line: if you get a call or email from someone asking you to provide or confirm your personal information, hang up immediately and call the company directly using a known number. If it's a real issue, they will be able to help you.
 

Additional Information:

Still have questions?  Email Us  |  Visit your neighborhood branch.  |  877.672.2265
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Routing Number: 275071356    Customer Service: 877.672.2265
Routing Number: 275071356 | Customer Service: 877.672.2265 | Member FDIC | Copyright North Shore Bank