FTC Consumer Alert
How Not to Get Hooked by a 'Phishing' Scam
Internet scammers casting about for people's financial information have a new way to lure unsuspecting victims: They go "phishing."
Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), phishers send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you deal with - for example, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information. It might threaten some dire consequence if you don't respond. The message directs you to a Web site that looks just like a legitimate organization's site, but it isn't. The purpose of the bogus site? To trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
The FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
- If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address. In any case, don't cut and paste the link in the message.
- Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's Web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Antivirus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Antivirus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically. A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It's especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Finally, your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software "patches" to close holes in the system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft. Visit www.ftc.gov/spam to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit http://www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Think of how many times a day you share your personal information. You may write a check at the local grocery store, apply for a credit card, make a call on your cell phone, charge tickets to a Milwaukee Bucks game, mail your tax return or buy Midwest Express tickets over the Internet.
With each transaction, you share your personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers, your income, your social security number, your name, address and phone number.
In 1998, Congress passed a law making identity theft a federal crime. The U.S. Secret Service, FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate violations of the Act. Persons accused of identity theft are prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
Wisconsin also has passed legislation making identity theft a felony, and criminals here have been convicted of the crime.
Consumer complaints about identity theft continue to grow. More than 40 percent of all complaints filed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year were for identity theft.
Unless you live your life in a bubble, you can't prevent the stealing of your personal information, but you can minimize the risks of this crime happening to you by following these suggestions:
- Never divulge information about your social security number, credit card number, account passwords and other personal information unless you initiate contact with a person or company you know and trust.
- Don't carry around more checks, credit cards and other bank items than you really need. Don't carry your social security number in your wallet, and be sure to pick passwords and PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) that will be tough for someone to figure out. Don't write your social security number on your check.
- Protect your incoming and outgoing mail, especially envelopes that may contain checks, credit card applications or other information valuable to a fraud artist. Deposit outgoing mail, especially something containing personal financial information in the official Post Office collection boxes, hand it to the mail carrier, or take it to the local post office instead of leaving it in your home mailbox.
- Before discarding credit card applications, cancelled checks, bank statements or other information useful to an identity thief, tear them up as best you can, preferably by using a paper shredder.
- Safely store extra checks, credit cards and documents that list your social security number.
- Contact your financial institution immediately if you lose your checkbook or bank credit card, if there is a discrepancy in your records, or if you notice something suspicious such as a missing payment or unauthorized withdrawals.
- If your credit card bill doesn't arrive on time, contact your credit card company. This could be a sign that someone has stolen your account information, changed your address and is making large charges in your name from another location.
- Once a year check your credit record with the three major credit bureaus. To order your report, call the following toll-free numbers; Equifax: 800-685-1111 Experian: 888-397-3742 Trans Union: 800-888-4213
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus and request a "fraud alert" be placed on your file and no new credit be granted without your approval.
- Close any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened.
- File a local police report and get a copy of the report to your bank, credit card company or others that may need proof of the crime.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, it can assist victims by providing information to help resolve problems that can result from identity theft. Should you find yourself a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by calling toll-free 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
Most of us assume that thieves are only interested in the cash in our wallet or purse, when in many cases, they are more interested in access to sensitive information that can be used to steal our identity. Use caution and don't be the next victim of identity theft or other financial fraud.
Purpose of This Disclosure
The information here describes our policy of holding deposited items in an account before funds are made available to you for withdrawal. This is our Funds Availability Policy. In summary our policy is to make your funds available on the first Business Day after the day of deposit. Please refer to the section DETERMINING THE AVAILABILITY OF YOUR DEPOSIT for the complete policy.
For purposes of this disclosure, the terms "you"/"your" refer to the customer and the terms "our"/"we"/"us" refer to Heritage Bank of Schaumburg.
The term "account" includes all consumer and commercial transaction accounts which include checking and Now demand deposit accounts.
Determining the Availability of Your Deposit
The length of the delay varies depending on the type of deposit and is explained below. When we delay your ability to withdraw funds from a deposit, you may not withdraw the funds in cash, and we will not pay checks you have written on your account by using these funds. Even after we have made funds available to you and you have withdrawn the funds, you are still responsible for checks you deposit that are returned to us unpaid and for any other problems involving your deposit.
When we delay your ability to withdraw funds, the length of the delay is counted in Business Days from the day of your deposit. The term "Business Day" means any day other than a Saturday, Sunday or federally declared legal holiday, and the term "Banking Day" means that part of any Business Day on which we are open to the public for carrying on substantially all of our banking functions.
In order to establish that a deposit is made on a particular business day, we establish a cut-off time. You must make your deposit before the cut-off time in order for it to be considered to have been made on that Business day. The cut-off time that we use depends on the location where you make your deposit.
For determining the availability of your deposits, every day is a business day, except Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays. If you make a deposit before 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, we will consider that the day of your deposit. However, if you make a deposit after 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, or any time Saturday, we will consider that the deposit was made on the next business day we are open.
MAIL: Funds mailed to the bank are considered deposited on the banking day they are received by the bank.
NIGHT DEPOSITORY: Funds placed in a night depository are considered deposited on the banking day the deposit is removed and the contents are available for processing.
Our policy is to make funds from your cash and check deposits available to you on the first Business Day after the day we receive your deposit. Electronic direct deposits will be available on the day we receive the deposit. Once the funds are available, you can withdraw them in cash and we will use them to pay checks that you have written.
Holds on Other Funds for Check Cashing
If we cash a check for you that is drawn on another financial institution, we may withhold the availability of a corresponding amount of funds that are already in your account. Those funds will be available at the time funds from the check we cashed would have been available if you had deposited it and we decided to delay availability on the deposit.
Holds on Other Funds in Another Account
If we accept for deposit a check that is drawn on another financial institution, we may make funds from the deposit available for withdrawal immediately but delay your availability to withdraw a corresponding amount of funds that you have on deposit in another account with us. The funds in the other account would then not be available for withdrawal until the time periods that are described elsewhere in this disclosure for the type of check that you deposited and we decided to delay availability on the deposit.
Longer Delays May Apply
In some cases, we will not make all of the funds that you deposit by check available to you according to the previously stated availability schedule. Depending on the type of check that you deposit, funds may not be available until the second Business day after the day of your deposit. The first $200.00 of your deposit, however, will be available on the first Business day.
If we are not going to make all of the funds from your deposit available to you according to the previously stated availability schedule, we will notify you at the time you make your deposit. We will also tell you when the funds will be available. If your deposit is not made directly to one of our employees, or if we decide to take this action after you have left the premises, we will mail you the notice by the day after we receive your deposit. If you will need the funds from a deposit right away, you should ask us when the funds will be available.
Funds you deposit by check may be delayed for a longer period under the following circumstances: (a) if we believe a check you deposit will not be paid; (b) if you deposit checks totaling more than $5,000 on any one day; (c) if you redeposit a check that has been returned unpaid; (d) if you have overdrawn your account repeatedly in the last six months; or (e) if an emergency condition arises that would not enable us to make the funds available to you, such as the failure of computer or communications equipment.
We will notify you if we delay your availability to withdraw funds for any of these reasons, and we will tell you when the funds will be available. They will generally be available no later than the seventh Business day after the day of your deposit. If you will need the funds from a deposit right away, you should ask us when the funds will be available.
Special Rules for New Accounts
If you are a new customer, the following special rules will apply during the first 30 days your account is open.
Funds from electronic direct deposits to your account will be available on the day we receive the deposit. Funds from deposits of cash, wire transfers, and the first $5,000 of a day's total deposits of cashier's, certified, teller's, traveler's, and federal, state and local government checks will be available on the first Business day after the day of deposit if the deposit meets certain conditions. For example, the checks must be payable to you (and you may have to use a special deposit slip). The excess over $5,000 will be available on the ninth business day after the day of your deposit. If your deposit of these checks (other than a U.S. Treasury check) is not made in person to one of our employees, the first $5,000 will not be available until the second business day after the day of deposit.
Funds from all other check deposits will be available on the fifth business day after the day of your deposit.
Deposits at Automated Teller Machines
If you make a deposit at an automated teller machine (ATM) that is owned and operated by us before 1:00p.m. on a Business day that we are open, we will consider the deposit made that day. However if you make a deposit at an ATM that is owned and operated by us after 1:00p.m. or on a day that we are not open, we will consider the deposit made on the next banking day we are open.
Funds from any deposits (cash or checks) made at ATMs that we do not own or operate will not be available until the second business day after the day of your deposit. This rule does not apply at ATMs that we own or operate.
All ATMs that we own or operate are identified as our machines.
Equal Housing Lender
Heritage Bank of Schaumburg hereby discloses the following terms and conditions for User's use of the bank's PC (personal computer)/Internet Banking services. Heritage Bank of Schaumburg reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions at any time, effective upon publication. User's use of the PC services constitutes agreement to these terms and conditions and any modifications thereof.
- User agrees that the following uses of the PC services are strictly prohibited. User agrees to indemnify, hold harmless, and defend Heritage Bank of Schaumburg from and against any and all claims, actions, suits, judgments and expenses (including court costs and reasonable fees of attorneys, accountants and expert witnesses) at User's sole expense, arising from User's failure to abide by these restrictions on use of the PC services.
- Unauthorized communication of any charge or credit-card information belonging to any other person or entity
- Unauthorized communication of any information concerning any password or other on-line access number, code, or identification or any other proprietary information belonging to any other person or entity
- Use of the PC services to copy or to distribute or transmit copies of copyrighted materials belonging to any other person or entity is permitted only to the extent that the owner has provided express permission to the User permitting such activity. Copying or distribution or transmitting copyrighted materials other than with permission as specified above is expressly prohibited.
- Communicating any obscene or defamatory information including but not limited to on bulletin boards or in conjunction with E-mail; or
- Use of the PC services in violation of any telecommunication, postal, or other local laws or regulations of the User's country of origin or of the United States or in furtherance or in the commission of any crime or other unlawful or improper purpose.
- HERITAGE BANK OF SCHAUMBURG AND ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO THE PC SERVICES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO MERCHANT ABILITY OR FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NEITHER HERITAGE BANK OF SCHAUMBURG NOR ITS SUPPLIERS NOR ANYONE ELSE WHO HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE CREATION, PRODUCTION OR DELIVERY OF THE PC SERVICES ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITIES WITH RESPECT TO USERíS USE THEREOF. NO ORAL OR WRITTEN INFORMATION OR ADVICE GIVEN BY HERITAGE BANK OF SCHAUMBURG OR ITS SUPPLIERS OR ANY OF THEIR EMPLOYEES SHALL CREATE A WARRANTY OR IN ANY WAY INCREASE THE SCOPE OF THIS WARRANTY, AND USER MAY NOT RELY ON ANY SUCH INFORMATION OR ADVICE. THE FOREGOING CONSTITUTES HERITAGE BANK OF SCHAUMBURGíS SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE LIABILITY TO USER WITH RESPECT TO USER'S USE OF THE PC SERVICES.
Any cause of action concerning the PC services under this Agreement must be commenced within one year after such cause of action has occurred.
- User further agrees:
- Transmission of confidential business and sensitive personal information is at Customer's sole risk.
- Heritage Bank of Schaumburg reserves the right to monitor and review transmissions on-line and in storage, and to remove or reject any material which Heritage Bank of Schaumburg at its sole discretion, believes may be unlawful or objectionable, without prior notice to User.
- User may be responsible for a $30.00 ACH returned item charge when using bill payment services if sufficient funds are not available to pay specified bills.
- User agrees to notify Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent no later than 60 days after User receives the FIRST statement on which User believes a problem or error occurred. User further acknowledges receipt of Heritage Bank of Schaumburg's Electronic Transactions Disclosure Statement and Error Resolution brochure and understands problems and/or errors will be resolved accordingly.
By accepting these terms and conditions, User agrees to:
- Authorize Heritage Bank of Schaumburg to internet enable the deposit accounts indicated by the User's self enrollment in Internet Banking;
- Understand that internet enabled accounts are subject to the same provisions and regulations as regular deposit accounts as described in the bank's "Understanding Your Deposit Account" disclosure;
- Understand that transfers to/from internet enabled accounts will occur only on "Business Days" as defined in the "Understanding Your Deposit Account" disclosure.
- Understand that Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent will not be responsible for any loss or penalty that I may incur due to lack of sufficient funds or other conditions that may prevent the withdrawal of funds from my account.
- Understand that Heritage Bank of Schaumburg may terminate use of the Service, in whole or in part, for any reason, at any time, without prior notice. Access to Internet Banking may be terminated, for example, if User's primary account is closed, if access to any of User's accounts is restricted for any reason, or if 180 or more days elapse between User's signons to Internet Banking.
Internet Banking Bill Pay Agreement and Disclosure
Heritage Bank of Schaumburg hereby discloses the following terms and conditions for User's use of bill payment services via the Internet. Heritage Bank of Schaumburg reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions at any time, effective upon publication. User's use of bill payment services constitutes agreement to these terms and conditions and any modifications thereof.
- User hereby authorizes Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent to make payments to creditors for User, as User may authorize by personal computer from time to time, and also authorizes Heritage Bank of Schaumburg to post such payments to User's account.
- User understands that Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent will use reasonable efforts to ensure payments reach creditors on time, but cannot guarantee the time a payment will be posted by a creditor. Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent will use reasonable effort in ensuring creditors reverse any service fee or late charge that is related to payment process error. User also understands that Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent will not be responsible for any loss or penalty that User may incur due to lack of sufficient funds or other conditions that may prevent the withdrawal of funds from User's account.
- User agrees to accurately follow product use instructions provided in the on-line tutorial.
- User agrees to schedule bill payments (payment transaction date) at least five business days before the due date, not including any grace period.
- User agrees to provide correct payee name, address, account information and payment amount.
- User agrees to maintain sufficient funds in funding account on the transaction date requested.
- User agrees to notify Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent no later than 60 days after User receives the first statement on which User believes a problem or error occurred.
- User acknowledges that Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent may require up to 45 days to investigate a complaint or question. Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent will use all reasonable efforts to resolve an issue within 3 business days. If an issue is reported orally, the User may be required to send the complaint or question in writing within 10 business days. If Heritage Bank of Schaumburg or its authorized agent needs more time, they will credit the User's account within 10 business days for the amount the User believes is in error. If we ask the User to put the complaint or question in writing and we do not receive it within 10 business days, we may not credit the account. If we determine there was no error, we will send a written explanation within 3 business days after the investigation is finished.
- User acknowledges that if a payment is not scheduled or processed through a payment account via the Bill Pay Service for 180 or more days, Heritage Bank of Schaumburg may terminate the Bill Pay Service. If a current payment account is closed, user agrees to designate a new deposit account that will be the payment account or Heritage Bank of Schaumburg may terminate the Bill Pay Service. If the Bill Pay Service is terminated, the online bill payment information will be lost, however termination of the Bill Pay Service will not automatically close the User's eligible accounts.
- This service may not be used to transmit alimony, child support or other court-directed payments or tax payments.