Fraud and Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Below are some simple steps you can take to prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. More information on identity theft can also be found at: www.ftc.gov and www.identitytheft.gov.

Some tips to keep you and your information safe: 

  • Do not disclose personal information (including your Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, personal identification numbers or passwords) to anyone who should not have access to your accounts.
  • Do not select a PIN that uses information readily found in your wallet or purse, such as your birthdate or house number.
  • Do not print your driver’s license number or Social Security number on your checks.
  • Do not routinely carry important documents such as your Social Security card or passport.
  • Sign new bank cards or credit cards immediately.
  • Report lost or stolen credit cards or bank cards immediately.
  • Review monthly statements promptly, and immediately report any transactions or charges that appear suspicious. Keep all receipts until you receive your statement.
  • Call the company if you stop receiving regular bills or statements, to be sure no one fraudulently changed your address.
  • Shred unneeded financial documents, such as old bank statements, and destroy cards you no longer use.
  • Question any emails or phone inquiries that seem suspicious, especially if they request account information so they can “award a prize.” 
Debit Card Security

Protect your Norry Bank debit card with the SecurLOCK Equip app. You can turn your card ON and OFF, set alerts and view recent transactions.

To report a lost or stolen Norry Bank ATM or Debit Card, please call 570-473-3531. To report a lost or stolen Norry Bank Visa Credit Card, please call Cardmember Services 24-hours-a-day at 800-558-3424. If you detect an unauthorized debit card transaction on your account, you must visit one of our branches to file a dispute form.

Online and Mobile Banking Security             

To ensure security in online banking transactions and personal information, please be advised of the following responsibilities as a consumer.

Password reminders

  • Choose a strong password
  • Do not disclose login ID and password
  • Do not store login ID and password on the computer
  • Passwords do not expire, but we highly recommend that you change your password on a regular basis for your protection
  • Password must be a combination of letters (uppercase and/or lowercase), numbers, and special characters
  • Password must be at least 8 characters in length

Are you using the correct website?

  • Check for the correct and secure website
  • Verify correct website with correct URL address
  • Verify secure website by the URL beginning with https://
  • Beware of pharming websites that are “look-alike” websites to deceive consumers

Protect your computer from hackers and viruses

  • Install a firewall and reputable anti-virus software
  • Keep anti-virus software up to date
  • Keep your operating system and web browser up to date
  • Never download any file or software that you are not familiar with
  • Always remember to log off the site when transactions have been completed
  • Clear the cache to remove stored information entered into the site
 
Scams

Scammers need access to your personal information (such as social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name) to fuel their financial crimes. Here are some common tactics used by scammers to fool victims:

  • Scammers pretend to be someone you trust. They make themselves seem believable by pretending to be connected with a company or person you know, or a government agency. 
  • Scammers create a sense of urgency. They rush you into making a quick decision before you have time to look into it. 
  • Scammers use intimidation and fear. They tell you that something terrible is about to happen to get you to send a payment before you have a chance to check out their claims. 
  • Scammers use untraceable payment methods. They often want payment through wire transfer, reloadable cards, or gift cards that are nearly impossible to reverse or track. 

Fake Check Scams
Most scams take advantage of the fact that the bank often must make deposited funds available to you before the deposited check is known to be fraudulent. Keep in mind that when you deposit or cash a check, you are acknowledging that you believe in good faith that it is a good check, and that it will be paid by the person who wrote it. If the check returns, you will be responsible to pay back the bank for the full amount. Con artists increasingly use counterfeit cashier’s checks, money orders and other official bank checks because people trust them. If you receive a questionable check, our bank staff can help you verify whether it is a fraud. Be aware of scams like the ones listed below. Additional information can also be found at www.fakechecks.org. If you receive a similar offer, remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

COVID-19 Fraud and Scams
With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in fraud and scams. The Internal Revenue Service urges you to be on the lookout for calls and email phishing attempts about Coronavirus, or COVID-19. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft. You should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

Work from Home Scams
You’re promised easy money for working at home. All you have to do is process payments: your employer will send you checks which you deposit into your account. You then wire them the money minus your “pay.” You’re responsible for the full amount when the check returns. Legitimate businesses don’t work this way; they deposit payments into their own account.

Peer-to-Peer Payment (P2P) Application Scams
Peer-to-peer payment (P2P) apps like Venmo, CashApp, PayPal and Zelle make paying for things a breeze. You can transfer money from your bank account or from one payment account to another in real time. Unfortunately, P2P payments are also becoming popular to scammers. Scams are increasingly coming from an individual impersonating a financial institution via text and/or phone. Here are some tips on how to stay safe using P2P apps:

  • Do not use P2P service to purchase products online. If the retailer requires payment via P2P payment service, it is likely a scam.
  • Only pay with P2P services you know. P2P payments are meant to be used between friends and family or someone you know well, and not someone you recently met online. 
  • Double- and triple-check the address, username, or phone number of the person you are trying to send money to.
  • Opt-in for stronger security such as a personal identification number.

Utility Scams
If you get a call from your utility company threatening to shut off your service unless you pay them immediately, it is probably a scam. The caller may tell you to pay them by wiring money, or to give them the numbers of a reloadable card or gift card. Scammers tell you to pay this way because it’s hard to track that money, and almost impossible to get it back. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission on how to avoid a utility scam:

  • Hang up and call the utility company yourself using the number on your bill or the utility company’s website - even if the person who contacted you left a call-back number.
  • Never wire money or pay with a reloadable card, gift card or cryptocurrency to anyone who demands it. 

Romance/Online Love Scams
You’ve met someone special online, but he or she has a problem. They live in a foreign country and have a check in U.S. dollars that they aren’t able to cash. Or they claim to have a medical or other emergency, and need your help getting a check cashed. Or they promise to come to the U.S. to be with you and need you to cash a check to cover travel expenses. If you agree to cash the check, you will be responsible for the entire amount if the check returns. You should never cash a check for someone unless it is a family member or a person you have known for a long time.

Internet Purchase/Mystery Shopper/Online Shopping Scams

  • You sell an item on the internet, but the buyer sends you a check for an amount greater than the purchase price. The buyer asks you to wire back the extra amount. By the time the check is returned, you have already wired the money from your account. You will be responsible to pay back the full amount of the check. If you sell on the internet, only accept checks for the exact amount of the purchase. Request a cashier’s check rather than a personal check but remember that even a cashier’s check is not a guarantee of authenticity.
  • You are sent a large check to cash, so that you can return the funds to “test” a wire transfer service. Or you are asked to buy a few small items at a store and send back the remaining money. In either case, if the check is returned, you will need to pay the money back.
  • You post something for sale on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or another site, and a scammer posing as a buyer says they want to buy the thing you have for sale. When it comes time to pay, they insist on paying you through a mobile payment app. They send you a fake notification and hope you send the item before you realize it’s a scam, or they say there was an issue and accidentally paid you twice and ask you to refund one of the payments. 
  • A scammer says they want to verify you’re a real person by sending you a text message with a Google Voice verification code and asks you for that code. The scammer then creates a Google Voice number linked to your real phone number and uses that to rip off other people. If someone tracks that Google Voice number, it’ll be linked to your real phone number.  

Lottery Scams
You receive a large check, along with a letter stating that you have won a lottery, usually located in a foreign country. The instructions tell you to deposit the check and wire a portion of it back to cover fees or taxes on your winnings. By the time the check is returned, you have already wired the money from your account. You will be responsible for the total amount of the check. Keep in mind that it is against the laws of the United States to buy or sell lottery tickets across the border, so any letter claiming that you have won a foreign lottery is a scam.

Tech Support Scams
Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. They want you to pay for tech support services you don't need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They often ask you to pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app because they know those types of payments can be hard to reverse.

Gift Card Scams
Someone might ask you to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, like a Google Play or iTunes card, and then giving them the numbers on the back of the card. If they ask you to do this, they’re trying to scam you. No real business or government agency will ever insist you pay them with a gift card. Anyone who demands to be paid with a gift card is a scammer.

Department of Revenue Property Tax/Rent Rebate Scam
A scammer claiming to work for the Department of Revenue calls and says your application for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been approved. The caller then asks if you would like the rebate direct deposited into a bank account, and asks for your personal banking information. The Department of Revenue does not collect banking information over the phone. 

Phishing/Smishing/Vishing

Phishing is a type of online scam that sends you an email that appears to be from a well-known source – an internet service provider, a bank, or a mortgage company, for example. It asks you to provide personal identifying information. Then a scammer uses the information to open new accounts, or invade your existing accounts.

Smishing is a form of phishing in which a scammer sends you a convincing text message to trick you into clicking a link and sending them private information or downloading malicious programs to your smartphone.

Vishing is a type of phone scam when a fraudster calls you and pretends to be a representative from your financial institution and tries to get you to reveal personal information, send them money or both. They might sound like your financial institution, but don’t trust caller ID – calls, texts and emails can be easily spoofed or faked.

Credit Reports

You should periodically check your credit report to be sure the information is accurate, and to protect against potential fraud or identity theft. Once a year you may receive a free copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 877-322-8228. If you discover inconsistencies on your credit report, notify one of the three credit bureaus listed below, and they will share the information with the other two agencies.

Equifax
To report fraud, call: 1-800-525-6285 and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241. For the hearing impaired, call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to dial. For the Auto Disclosure Line, call 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your report.

Experian
To report fraud, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) and write: P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013. TDD: 1-800-972-0322

Transunion
To report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289 and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634. TDD: 1-877-553-7803. You should also report the crime to your local law enforcement agency and to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can contact the FTC at 1-877-438-4338.

Business Scams

Scams can impact every business regardless of location, size or industry. The best way to avoid scams is to educate yourself and your employees. Here are a few common examples of scams that target businesses and non-profit organizations from the FTC. For more tips on protecting your organization from scams, visit the FTC's business guidance page.  

Department of Revenue Impersonation

Scam artists are impersonating the Department of Revenue by sending Pennsylvania business owners fraudulent letters in the mail that direct them to turn over their accounting and financial records. The goal of this scam is to trick unsuspecting businesses into supplying sensitive financial information, which the scammers will then use to conduct illicit activities. If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, please visit the department's webpage for verified phone numbers and contact information here. This will help ensure that you are speaking with a legitimate representative of the department.

Fake Invoices

Scammers create phony invoices that look like they’re for products or services your business uses — maybe office or cleaning supplies or domain name registrations. Scammers hope the person who pays your bills will assume the invoices are for things the company actually ordered. Scammers know that when the invoice is for something critical, like keeping your website up and running, you may pay first and ask questions later. Except it’s all fake, and if you pay, your money may be gone.

Unordered Office Supplies and Other Products

Someone calls to confirm an existing order of office supplies or other merchandise, verify an address, or offer a free catalog or sample. If you say yes, then comes the surprise - unordered merchandise arrives at your doorstep, followed by high-pressure demands to pay for it. If you don’t pay, the scammer may even play back a tape of the earlier call as “proof” that the order was placed. It is against the law to send merchandise without the express request or consent of the recipient and to try to collect payment for it. If this happens to your business, report it to the FTC.

Directory Listing and Advertising Scams

Con artists try to fool you into paying for nonexistent advertising or a listing in a nonexistent directory. They often pretend to be from the Yellow Pages. They may ask you to provide contact information for a “free” listing or say the call is simply to confirm your information for an existing order. Later, you’ll get a big bill, and the scammers may use details or even a recording of the earlier call to pressure you to pay.

Utility Company Imposter Scams

Scammers pretend to call from a gas, electric or water company saying your service is about to be interrupted. They want to scare you into believing a late bill must be paid immediately, often with a wire transfer or a reloadable card or gift card. Their timing is often carefully planned to create the greatest urgency. 

Government Agency Imposter Scams

Scammers impersonate government agents, threatening to suspend business licenses, impose fines, or even take legal action if you don’t pay taxes, renew government licenses or registrations, or other fees. Some businesses have been scared into buying workplace compliance posters that are available for free from the U.S. Department of Labor. Others have been tricked into paying to receive nonexistent business grants from fake government programs. Businesses have received letters, often claiming to be from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, warning that they’ll lose their trademarks if they don’t pay a fee immediately, or saying that they owe money for additional registration services.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams start with a call or an alarming pop-up message pretending to be from a well-known company, telling you there is a problem with your computer security. Their goal is to get your money, access to your computer, or both. They may ask you to pay them to fix a problem you don’t really have, or enroll your business in a nonexistent or useless computer maintenance program. They may even access sensitive data like passwords, customer records, or credit card information.

Social Engineering, Phishing and Ransomware

Cyber scammers can trick employees into giving up confidential or sensitive information, such as passwords or bank information. It often starts with a phishing email, social media contact, or a call that seems to come from a trusted source, such as a supervisor or other senior employee, but creates urgency or fear. Scammers tell employees to wire money or provide access to sensitive company information. Other emails may look like routine password update requests or other automated messages but are actually attempts to steal your information. Scammers also can use malware to lock organizations’ files and hold them for ransom.

Business Promotion and Coaching Scams

Some scammers sell bogus business coaching and internet promotion services. Using fake testimonials, videos, seminar presentations, and telemarketing calls, the scammers falsely promise amazing results and exclusive market research for people who pay their fees. They also may lure you in with low initial costs, only to ask for thousands of dollars later. In reality, the scammers leave a business without the help they sought and with thousands of dollars of debt.

Changing Online Reviews

Some scammers claim they can replace negative reviews of your product or service, or boost your scores on ratings sites. However, posting fake reviews is illegal. FTC guidelines say endorsements - including reviews - must reflect the honest opinions and experiences of the endorser.

Credit Card Processing and Equipment Leasing Scams

Scammers know that small businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs. Some deceptively promise lower rates for processing credit card transactions, or better deals on equipment leasing. These scammers resort to fine print, half-truths, and flat-out lies to get a business owner’s signature on a contract. Some dishonest sales agents ask business owners to sign documents that still have key terms left blank. Don’t do it. Others have been known to change terms after the fact. If a sales person refuses to give you copies of all documents at that moment - or tries to put you off with a promise to send them later - that could be a sign that you’re dealing with a scammer.

Fake Check Scams

Fake check scams happen when a scammer overpays with a check and asks you to wire the extra money to a third party. Scammers always have a good story to explain the overpayment — they’re stuck out of the country, they need you to cover taxes or fees, you’ll need to buy supplies, or something else. By the time the bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money you sent them, and you’re stuck repaying the bank. This can happen even after the funds are made available in your account and the bank has told you the check has “cleared.”