At no time will you be contacted by McClave State Bank via email or telephone and asked for your Access ID and Passcode. If you are contacted via email or telephone and asked for this information, DO NOT reply with the requested information and contact us immediately. This is called “phishing” and is an attempt by an unauthorized individual to gain access to your account(s) and other personal information.
Avoiding Financial Fraud
Think of fraud perpetrators as predators. They do not normally just wait around passively for the victim to happen by and become ensnared in their web. Instead, they will actively seek out a victim. Sometimes contact with a potential victim is random and other times likely candidates are selected after moderate research has identified a particularly choice target.
So, in thinking of these criminals as predators, it is then your job to avoid becoming the poor unsuspecting antelope on the savannah, pounced on by the prowling lioness. Antelope tend to run into trouble by losing sight of millions of years of learned instinct – don’t stray from the herd, stay away from the tall grass, pay attention!
But what are the simple cautions we should observe in avoiding financial predators? While today’s con artists may or may not be hiding in the tall grass, the final note of caution listed above – pay attention – is just as apt a warning in our own modern day environment. Con artists relish the opportunity offered up by an unsuspecting victim.
Another caution is to maintain a healthy skepticism. Beyond simply noticing what is transpiring around you, it is important to apply logic. When confronted by an unexpected offer, ask some basic questions… “How could I win a lottery I never played?” “Why would a Nigerian or some disposed royalty contact me, of all people, to ‘help’ him in a financial transaction?” Why would I be sought out to be a “secret shopper” for a company I’ve never done business with?”
The sheer number and variety of scams in circulation is simply stunning and the Bank literally receives word of new scams on a daily basis. We cannot possibly warn you of all of them, so in our monthly newsletter, we periodically pick and choose distinctive scams to mention in hopes that you will become well versed in the types of situations to be cautions of. It is less important to know the details of every scam than to hone your “scam detection radar”.
Politicians are famous for winning voter support by appealing to emotion rather than the facts. They often “frame” an issue in emotional terms realizing that winning hearts is more profitable than winning minds. Coincidentally or not, con artists often use similar emotional hooks to bring the intended victim to view the world in terms that support their cause. If they can get the unwary to dream of how to spend that $5,000, then they have a better shot at reeling in the prize. It is important to keep logic rather than emotion or wishful thinking in control of your decision making.
Finally, avoid inviting a bad situation by controlling your environment. This advice is multi-faceted but does require active effort. Whether a thief has designs on your money or on making off with your identity, the less you give a thief to work with, the better protected you will be. Examples of controlling your environment include simple actions such as shredding sensitive documents when no longer needed, locking or closely monitoring your mailbox, keeping important information secured – even in your own home, keeping passwords and PIN numbers secret, registering with the “national Do Not Call Registry”, periodically monitoring your credit report, installing updated security software and password access on your home computer, and refusing to respond to unsolicited email.
All of these actions reduce your exposure to risk. And while criminals may be ethically challenged, they are not all lazy. Most are willing to expend some effort if the payoff is worthwhile. Your mission is to become an unattractive target. If the criminal realizes you are just too much trouble, then most are likely to pass you over.