New Fraudulent E-mails Claiming to Be From Equifax

Equifax Corporate Security has received notice that some customers and consumers have received fraudulent emails and/or letters falsely claiming to be from Equifax.

One email purports to be from Global Customer Support Center. The email advises customers that they need to download a zip file in order to maintain their secure connection to Equifax. The file to download, however, contains a link to a malware site. There are also several links in the email to Equifax and Oracle. Other emails/letters ask customers to provide bank name, account number and other confidential information.

If you are an Equifax customer and have clicked on a link in one of these emails, immediately contact Equifax Security at Security.DataAdministration@equifax.com. If you have supplied any bank account numbers or other confidential information requested in a letter, you should immediately contact your financial institution.

If you are an Equifax customer and you have clicked on this link, contact Equifax Corporate Security immediately at (866) 493-5983 or Security.DataAdministration@equifax.com

New Fraudulent E-mails Claiming to Be From FDIC

We have received reports from customers who have received emails much like the one listed below. These e-mails and the link included are fraudulent and were not sent by the FDIC. Recipients should consider the intent of these e-mails as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users’ computers. Recipients should NOT access the link provided within the body of the e-mails and should NOT, under any circumstances, provide any personal financial information through this media.
Financial institutions and consumers should be aware that other subject lines and modifications to the e-mails may occur over time. The FDIC does not directly contact consumers in this manner nor does the FDIC request personal financial information from consumers.

= = = = = Sample Email = = = = = =

Suspicious E-mails Claiming to Be From FDIC

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of fraudulent e-mails that have the appearance of being from the FDIC.

The e-mails appear to be sent from various “@fdic.gov” e-mail addresses, such as “subscriptions@fdic.gov,” “alert@fdic.gov,” or “accounts@fdic.gov.

They have subject lines that read: “FDIC: Your business account” or “FDIC: About Your Business Account.”

The e-mails are addressed to “Business Customer” or “Business Owner” and state “We have important information about your bank” or “…financial institution.” They then ask recipients to “Please click here to find details.”

They conclude with, “This includes information on the acquiring bank (if applicable), how your accounts and loans are affected, and how vendors can file claims against the receivership.”

These e-mails and the link included are fraudulent and were not sent by the FDIC. Recipients should consider the intent of these e-mails as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users’ computers. Recipients should NOT access the link provided within the body of the e-mails and should NOT, under any circumstances, provide any personal financial information through this media.

Financial institutions and consumers should be aware that other subject lines and modifications to the e-mails may occur over time. The FDIC does not directly contact consumers in this manner nor does the FDIC request personal financial information from consumers.

Suspicious E-mails Claiming to Be From NACHA

The Electronic Payments Association has received reports that individuals and/or companies continue to receive fraudulent emails that have the appearance of having been sent from NACHA. These emails vary in content and appear to be transmitted from email addresses associated with the NACHA domain (@nacha.org). Some bear the name of fictitious NACHA employees and/or departments.

NACHA itself does not process nor touch the ACH transactions that flow to and from organizations and financial institutions. NACHA does not send communications to persons or organizations about individual ACH transactions that they originate or receive.

Be aware that phishing emails frequently have attachments and/or links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not open attachments or follow Web links in unsolicited emails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.

See a sample below.

 

= = = = = Sample Email = = = = = =
From:payments@nacha.org [mailto:payments@nacha.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 7:32 AM
To: Doe, John
Subject: ACH transaction rejected

The ACH transaction, recently sent from your checking account (by you or any other person), was cancelled by the Electronic Payments Association.

Please click here to view report
——————————————————————

Otto Tobin,
Risk Manager

Posted March 7, 2010

Suspicious E-mails Claiming to Be From the Federal Reserve

There are reports that individuals and/or companies are receiving fraudulent emails that have the appearance of being sent from the Federal Reserve. Specifically, the email claims to be from the Federal Reserve Wire Network and appears to be sent from “fedwire@federalreserve.gov.” See a sample below.

= = = = = Sample Email = = = = = =

From: fedwire@federalreserve.gov[mailto:fedwire@federalreserve.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 10:09 AM
To: Doe, John
Subject: Your Wire fund transfer

The Wire transaction , recently sent from your checking account (by you or any other person), was cancelled by the Federal Reserve Wire Network.

Please click here to view details

——————————————————————

Adam Diaz ,
Fraud Department

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

This is a fraudulent email. It was not sent by the Federal Reserve. Do NOT click on any of the links.

Be aware that phishing emails frequently have attachments and/or links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not open attachments or follow Web links in unsolicited emails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.

Money Does Not Buy Happiness. Or Does it?

You’ve all heard the old adage, but what if money actually can contribute to a happy and fulfilled life? Of course, I’m talking indirectly – taking a bag of money home and rolling around in it isn’t likely to cause giddiness. I recently read “Buying Happiness” by Gretchen Rubin and it got me thinking. I’ve decided money and/or the management of money really can lead to happiness. Here’s a rough summary of Rubin’s article…

  • Money can help you build and maintain relationships with loved ones. Whether it’s planning a trip to visit far-away relatives or taking a friend to dinner, you’re using the green stuff to gain one of the emotional needs that help you to lead a happy life.
  • Money can help you get more exercise. Physical activity is constantly linked with a better mood and attitude. Some people spend money on a gym membership, others a new bicycle or even a new iPod to listen to while running.
  • Money can bring you peace of mind. Period. So manage your finances wisely and don’t get too far into debt. If you are in the red, figure out a budget that can help you get out of debt. Just the feeling of being in control can greatly contribute to your peace of mind.
  • Money can help you eat better. Fresh and organic foods can be more expensive than processed meals, but by investing more you are contributing to good health and good relationships. At my house, the kitchen is where we usually spend time together as a family, whether we’re cooking, cleaning up or even hanging out, we’re always having fun.
  • Money can help you contribute to the happiness of someone else. Sometimes, just making a friend happy is worth the cost of a gift. You can get that happy feeling from helping strangers, too!

Rubin finished with one important reminder: We are all very different and have different desires. If your friend/daughter/father/cousin wants to spend money on something, don’t be quick to judge! It might not be important to you, but could mean the world to them!

Blue Jeans for Charity

Our Concordia branch location has come up with the idea to start a fundraising effort called ‘Blue Jeans for Charity’. Every last Friday of the month, employees can donate $3.00 in exchange for a chance to wear blue jeans to work that day. The bank then matches employee contributions and donates the money to a local charity each quarter.

March 25th marks the end of the first quarter for this new program and employees have chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cloud County for the first donation. Funds raised amount to $250.00! The local paper will be on site to cover the event.

Jodi Rehbein, a CSR in Concordia, got the idea to start this, in part, because of the ‘Pay it Forward’ campaign. Rehbein indicated that, “The bank will display a countertop sign on the day we wear jeans, so our customers know why we are dressing down. It also gives them an opportunity to find out more about the charities we choose to support”.

Don’t Trust that Text… You Might Get “Smished”

The newest ruse called “smishing” is a variation of phishing where cyber thugs use SMS text messaging to target mobile banking customers.  Several articles suggest that we are in the early stages of mobile threats and that cyber criminals are still figuring out the best way to gain access to your personal information via cell phone. 

Malware, which is short for malicious software, is still the most pervasive fraud out there and can attack any computer through e-mail or poisoned Web downloads.  This is how criminals take control of your computer and ultimately your finances.

Obviously, mobile banking is becoming more and more common.  Criminals know this and will become very efficient at digging for your information.  Please make sure you and your friends are aware of this situation and if you receive a text that says it’s from your bank and to call the 1-800 number, go to your bank’s website to get the contact info, don’t just call the number provided in the text… You might get “smished”.  Your bank will never text you for the purpose of soliciting information.

Guest Blog by Tim M

Holiday Shopping – Unwrapped

I can’t believe there are less than two months until Christmas.  I’ve been trying to come up with ways to save some money this holiday season, so I’ve been doing a little research online. I ran across an article yesterday that listed 19 gift ideas that would save you money. It sounds like your typical holiday shopping guide, but it’s not quite that simple. Each gift on the list will supposedly save the receiver money as well.

As I went through the list of ideas I had to laugh. In my opinion, several items on the list would make terrible gifts! So, in order to be fair, I polled my coworkers and we decided which items would actually be good gifts to give to friends and family. Here’s what we came up with: 

  • CFL Light Bulbs or LED Light Bulbs – good for the environment, and they last forever!
  •  Newspaper Subscription – coupons and news about great deals!
  •  A Coupon Book – I hope the reasoning behind this one is obvious.
  •  Candles – can be used for light during late-night storms and smell great.
  •  Gas Card – probably the best idea ever… I will say no more.
  •  Metal Water Bottle – use, reuse, repeat.
  •  Water Filter – paired with a metal water bottle you could save someone hundreds of dollars!
  •  Crockpot & Recipes – yum, yum and yum. I had Crockpot roast just yesterday.
  •  Smart-Power Strip – doesn’t feed on electricity, even when your electronics are turned off!
  •  A Day Planner – not sure I agree that this will save you money, but it’s a great gift and one I always appreciate.
  • Stamps and Envelopes – I’m forever running out of stamps and thank you notes, this idea gets an A++.
  • A Finance Book – learn to manage your finances from a book… OR just log into our handy-dandy website for FREE!
  • Gift Cards/Certificates – one of the best inventions known to man. I LOVE getting these. Top of my list this holiday season? An Amazon gift card! So I can buy books for my Kindle!
  • A Favorite Indulgence – my second, favorite gift idea. It probably doesn’t make sense, so here’s an example. My friend loves Bath and Body Works lotions, but doesn’t buy them much because of the expense. For Christmas, I could buy her a favorite scent. That will save her money – and is guaranteed to make her day!

Here’s a few gifts on the list that we thought weren’t such good ideas:

  • Rechargeable Batteries & Recharger – the batteries always seem to be running out of juice.
  • Reuseable Shopping Bags – they may help save the environment, but we couldn’t think of a store that gives a significant discount if you use them.
  • Wind-up Flashlight – these things are awesome, but the ones I’ve received as gifts are already dead and won’t recharge. Plus, some of them take a lot more work than a simple twist of a handle.

To see the complete list and reasons these 19 items were picked visit the actual blog at, http://frugalliving.about.com/od/christmas/tp/Gifts_that_Save_Money.htm

     
 

 

Fall Fever

Fall is my absolute, favorite season. I love the color, the smell, the weather, the holidays and the food. I’ve heard that people who are pessimistic like fall and people who are optimistic like spring. I don’t feel like a pessimist… but I’m not sure how you can diagnose yourself when it comes to things like that. Anyhow, I’m telling you all this because there is only one aspect of fall that I dislike…

The stores! Every fall I feel the need to empty my wallet (and bank account) buying meaningless decor, gifts, smell-goods, clothes, food, you name it… I want to buy it. And the stores take advantage of helpless shoppers like myself. They make in-store displays extravagant and beautiful. They put out fragrances that are pleasing, festive and cause shoppers to feel good when entering a store. Sure, they do similar things year-round, but for some reason I am hit harder September through November.  I have an endless supply of pumpkins, candles, leaves, and Halloween decor. Do I have a single Easter decoration? No sir! I can’t say that I’d display such items – even if receiving them as gifts.

Do you suffer from a similar illness? Do you want to stop obsessive, autumn buying habits? Well… here’s a couple tips that may be helpful this season – or even during other seasons if you’re a boisterous Easter bunny, passionate Patriot or even Santa Claus’ head elf:

  • Make a list before a trip to the store – and stick to it.
  • Each time you buy new decorations get rid of the old ones. Lots of people can’t afford decor at big-box stores, so help them out by donating your old decor to thrift stores.
  • If you’re grocery shopping go to the grocery store instead of a catch-all store like Walmart or Target. You’ll be less inclined to buy things other than bread, milk and cheese.
  • Take along a friend or relative that is less likely to buy compulsively. I have a good friend who will follow me around the store and ask me “Do you really need that?”. Usually I don’t have a good explanation and end up putting items back. Now, when I go shopping without her I hear her voice in my head…
  • Put yourself on a budget. Go to the store with a specific amount of money in mind and don’t spend a penny over. In the end you’ll thank yourself.
  • Set seasonal items aside. If a week goes by and you haven’t opened the packaging then you probably don’t need to keep it. I’m a big return-er. (Conversely, if you’ve used the item all season, and left the tags or stickers on it… don’t return it! Nothing annoys me more than people who work the system and figure out ways to buy an item for one event, so they can return it later and get their money back.)

Any other ideas let me know! I’m always looking for ways to cut down on excessive spending.

Suspicious Telephone Calls Claiming to Be From the FDIC

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of suspicious telephone calls where the caller claims to represent the FDIC and is calling regarding the collection of an outstanding debt.

To date, the callers have alleged that the call recipient is delinquent in payment of a loan that was applied for over the Internet or made through a payday lender. The loan may or may not actually exist. The caller attempts to authenticate the claim by providing sensitive personal information, such as name, Social Security number, and date of birth, supposedly taken from the loan application. The recipient is then strongly urged to make a payment over the phone to “avoid a lawsuit and possible arrest.” In some instances, the caller is said to sound aggressive and threatening.

These suspicious telephone calls are fraudulent. Recipients should consider them as an attempt to steal money or collect personal identifying information. The FDIC generally does not initiate unsolicited telephone calls to consumers and is not involved with the collection of debts on behalf of operating lenders and financial institutions.

If a caller demonstrates that he or she has the recipient’s sensitive personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth, and bank account numbers, the recipient may be the victim of identity theft and should review his or her credit reports for signs of possible fraud. The individual should also consider placing a “fraud alert” on his or her credit reports. This can be done by contacting one of the three consumer reporting companies listed below. Only one of the three companies needs to be contacted. That company is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of the report.

  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, California 92834-6790
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241
  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013