Consumer Corner

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FRAUD ALERT

Farmers & Merchants Bank is dedicated to ensuring our customer’s safety and security and providing them with the knowledge to protect themselves from Fraud.

There has been an increase in fraudulent activity directed at gaining personal bank information.

The most recent scams, and the fastest growing form of identity theft called Account Hijacking, involves contacting individuals via email, phone, or text, regarding debit cards, account numbers, and PINs.

Account Hijacking by Phishing occurs when customers are contacted by an email that purports to be from a legitimate financial institution or company and deceives them into providing their user name, password, account numbers or PIN.

Account Hijacking with Spyware works when malicious software that takes control of the computer is installed once the user opens an e-mail attachment, link, or clicks on a pop-up advertisement.

Please be aware of these currently reported scams that some individuals have received.

Automated phone calls and text messages requesting you to provide your account number, debit card number, PIN and expiration date, claiming an update is needed to protect your account from fraud.

Emails requesting you to click on a link to:

  • provide your account information in order to reset your internet banking access.
  • update your account information to protect it from fraud.
  • take a survey offering to pay you once you provide your account information.

*Remember, Farmers & Merchants Bank will NEVER initiate contact requesting your account information, such as your card number or pin, because we already have your account information in our records. If you ever receive a request for your personal bank information via email, text message, phone call, mail, or any other method, please do not provide any financial information and contact the bank immediately at 724-543-1125 or 888-302-1969.

Protect Your Financial Information

Prevention and early detection is crucial to defend against fraud.

Check your account activity regularly. Review your monthly statements or use Internet and telephone banking to monitor your account activity daily.

Do not give out financial information unless you know the person or organization.

Guard passwords, PINs, checking or credit card numbers, and your Social Security number.

Review your credit report at least annually. www.annualcreditreport.com

Protect Your Computer; Protect Yourself

Computer viruses are changing and becoming more advanced all the time. Computers that are connected to the Internet should be combated with anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software and regularly updated.

Account Hijacking by Phishing can be prevented. Do not open emails unless you know exactly who the sender is. Be aware of emails that appear to be from a legitimate financial institution or company, but are actually deceptive. Remember, financial institutions do not ask for personal information because they already have it stored in their records.

For example: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC. The subject line of the e-mail states: "Inquiry about your bank account." The e-mail tells recipients that their account information needs updated in order to protect it from fraud.

The FDIC has stated that they DO NOT issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT follow the link in the fraudulent e-mail and contact their banks.

Account Hijacking with Spyware can be prevented by not opening a suspicious e-mail attachment, link, or pop-up advertisement.

Do not be intimidated by an e-mail, text or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not provide or verify financial information. Farmers & Merchants Bank will NEVER initiate a request for your financial information.

Other Common Scams to Look Out For:

  • Fake check scams
  • Advance fee loan scams
  • Work at home scams
  • Prize/Sweepstakes scams
  • Debit Card Fraud
  • Telemarketing scams
  • Cash for Clunkers scam
  • Social Security and Economic Stimulus scam

If you suspect that Fraud or Identity Theft has occurred, act immediately to protect yourself.

Alert your financial institution and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338 or www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/

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