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HomeTown Bank Newsletter
 409-763-1271 Summer 2022

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Together, We Can Fight Fraud

Unfortunately, and now more than ever, fraud is prevalent in many shapes and forms. Criminals are devising new tricks every day to scam you.  For your protection, we must all remain vigilant.  At HomeTown Bank, we are always actively safeguarding our customers’ accounts and keeping up with the latest fraudulent scams; however, we also need the help of our customers.  You are a primary line of our defense, so we’d like to review some common examples of fraud, how it happens and what you can do to protect your money.

Some common types of fraud attempts include “phishing” on emails, text messages or phone calls.  Never click a link or open an attachment on an email that you aren’t expecting to receive (even if it looks like it’s from someone you know!).  It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Doing so could install malicious software on to your computer or mobile phone.  Never reply to a text message which asks for any personal information, including your debit card personal identification number (PIN). Never give information to a caller over the phone who claims to be with “HomeTown Bank”. When in doubt, always get the caller’s name, hang up and call the bank yourself to ensure you are speaking with us.   Another common issue we see is “check washing”. Checks get intercepted in the mail and literally washed with chemicals, keeping your signature.  Then, the check is rewritten to a new payee with a new amount.  It’s also important to keep track of how many shopping websites have your debit card number and information stored for “quick payment”. Sometimes those systems can get infiltrated and be subject to fraud. It’s always best to limit how many websites have your information stored in their system.

Some excellent ways to arm yourself in an environment prevalent with fraud include enrolling in online banking. This enables you to check your account(s) frequently (daily is suggested) on your computer, phone or iPad (with our free app!) so that you can notify us immediately of any transactions you do not recognize. Enrolling your debit card with the Securlock Equip app is a fantastic tool. Once you have this app downloaded and linked to your card(s), you’ll get a notification on your phone every time your debit card is charged (with the amount), the moment it is charged. Our eBanking team is ready to help you implement these tools of defense.

Positive Pay for businesses allows us to compare and match any of your “employees” presenting us with a paycheck with a list that you have composed for us. This way, you are essentially giving us permission and instruction on who to pay. We match the presenter with the list to ensure that the payment against your account is legitimate.

Wire fraud is also unfortunately rampant and that’s why, at HomeTown Bank, we always phone the customer as standard procedure to ensure their personal, verbal permission before sending any wire.

Last but not least- Don’t forget- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is! Please, don’t accept any payments in the mail from anyone you don’t know, especially if they ask you to send a portion of the amount back to them. That’s a scam!

So, what if you do become a victim of fraud? Contact our Customer Service representatives immediately if you suspect any fraud on your account(s).  You may also contact one of our many branches for HomeTown Bank services available to assist you in monitoring your accounts.  Our goal is to keep our customers’ accounts safe and to provide ways to prevent any future fraud from happening.  If we work together, we have a better chance at achieving our goal.

Published by HomeTown Bank
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Disclaimer - All content contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon to make any financial, accounting, tax, legal or other related decisions. Each person must consider his or her objectives, risk tolerances and level of comfort when making financial decisions and should consult a competent professional advisor prior to making any such decisions. Any opinions expressed through the content in this newsletter are the opinions of the particular author only.

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