There is a type of fraud called “phishing”. The term “phishing” as in fishing for confidential information refers to a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual’s information. This is how it works:
A consumer receives an e-mail which appears to originate from a financial institution, government agency or other well-known/reputable entity.
The provided link appears to be the web site of the above, but in “phishing” scams, the web site belongs to the fraudster/scammer.
Once inside the fraudulent web site, the consumer may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords or other information used to identify the consumer, such as the maiden name of the consumer’s mother or the consumer’s place of birth.
When the consumer provides the information, those perpetrating the fraud can begin to access consumer accounts or assume the person’s identity.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, perhaps because you submitted personal information in response to a suspicious, unsolicited e-mail or you see unauthorized charges on your credit card, immediately contact your financial institution and if necessary close existing accounts and open new ones. Also contact the police and request a copy of any police report or case number for later reference.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
- If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself.
- Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited internet request.
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct.
- Never provide personal financial information.
- Never click on the link provided in an e-mail.
Listed below are some of the new “key words” and their meanings to help you avoid identity theft.
Phishing refers to criminal activity that attempts to fraudulently obtain sensitive information.
Pharming is another scam where a hacker installs malicious code on a personal computer or server. This code then redirects clicks you make on a web site to another fraudulent web site without your consent or knowledge.
Criminals also use the phone to solicit your personal information. This telephone version of phishing is sometimes called vishing.
Just like phishing, smishing uses cell phone text messages to lure consumers in. In many cases, the smishing message will come from a “5000” number instead of displaying an actual phone number. DO NOT RESPOND TO SMISHING MESSAGES.
Veteran Banker Flanagan Joins
West Central Georgia Bank As V.P.
THOMASTON – Eddie Rogers, President and CEO at West Central Georgia Bank has announced that long time local banker Randy Flanagan has joined the Thomaston based community bank and will serve as Vice President.
In his new role, Flanagan will work in consumer, commercial and mortgage lending activities. He has held an Appraiser’s license since 1992 as well.
He is a native of Athens and is a graduate of Young Harris College. He earned his Master’s degree in 1981 from the University of Georgia. In addition, Flanagan is a graduate of R.E. Lee Institute, the Basic School of Banking conducted at Kennesaw University and the Georgia School of Banking held at the University of Georgia.
Flanagan has been a fixture in the Thomaston and Upson County area for the past 25 years and is active in a host of civic and economic development endeavors.
“I look forward to returning to true community banking” Flanagan said. “And to continue my service in Thomaston and Upson County to friends old and new. There is a great group of individuals at West Central Georgia Bank, all of whom share a common commitment to the principles of community banking.”
Rogers said “We are excited to have Randy join our bank family. He brings many years of local banking experience to our team and he knows what it means to establish sound and dependable banking relationships with his customers. He joins our staff of good bankers who are committed to our brand of banking that sets us apart in this day of impersonal big banks.”
“His wealth of technical knowledge, coupled with his familiarity in the Thomaston area and his desire to once again work in a true community banking environment will be of benefit to our bank, our customers and our community,” Rogers added. “He is a perfect example of our commitment to excellence.”
West Central Georgia Bank was established in 1974 and operates as a locally owned and managed independent bank.
COMMUNITY BANK ADVANTAGES
• Community banks focus attention on the needs of local families, businesses and farmers.
Conversely, many of the nation’s megabanks are structured to place a priority on serving large
• Unlike many larger banks that may take deposits in one state and lend in others, community
banks channel most of their loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work,
helping to keep local communities vibrant and growing.
• Community bank officers are generally accessible to their customers on-site. CEOs at
megabanks are often headquartered in office suites, away from daily customers dealings.
• Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in local community affairs, while
large-bank officers are likely to be detached physically and emotionally from the communities
where their branches are located.
• Many community banks are willing to consider character, family history and discretionary
spending in making loans. Megabanks, on the other hand, often apply impersonal qualification
criteria, such as credit scoring, to all loan decisions without regard to individual circumstances.
• Community banks offer nimble decision-making on business loans because decisions are made
locally. Megabanks must often convene loan-approval committees in another state.
• Because community banks are themselves small businesses, they understand the needs of
small-business owners. Their core concern is lending to small businesses and farms. The core
concern of the mega banks is corporate America.
FDIC DEPOSIT INSURANCE
On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which permanently raised the maximum deposit insurance amount from $100,000 to $250,000. The FDIC insurance coverage limit applies per depositor, per insured depository institution for each account ownership category.
PROTECT YOUR MONEY AND IDENTITY WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT
If you apply for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you
must start receiving you payments electronically. If you did not sign up for
electronic payments when you applied for benefits, now would be a good time to
change. You must switch to electronic payments by March 2, 2013. When you use
Direct Deposit, you can rest assured that your money is safe. Since your money
goes directly into the bank in the form of an electronic transfer, there is no
risk of a check being lost or stolen You can sign for Direct Deposit with a
simple phone call to the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or you
can come in and we will be happy to make the call for you.
In order to prepare for an emergency or unexpected event, here are some tips to help put your banking and financial documents in order:
Keep marriage and family records, including property deeds, birth certificates, wills, insurance policies, adoption papers, car titles and three years of tax returns in a safe deposit box.
Inventory and keep a list and photographs of household valuables.
Start and regularly contribute to an emergency fund that can cover at least three to four months of expenses. This fund should be separate from your savings or investment accounts.
Stash extra cash with your emergency kit, which should include a three day supply of water and food, first-aid kit, can opener, flashlights, radio and extra batteries or a battery-free radio.
Keep names and contact numbers for executors, trustees and guardians in a safe place.
Identify the records that you keep only on your computer. They may not be available if electrical power fails. Make a printout and safeguard them.
ACCESS TO FREE CREDIT REPORTS
Your credit report has information that affects whether you can get a loan, approval for a credit card or even apply for a job. You need to make sure that information is accurate, complete and up-to-date.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, by phone at 1-877-322-8228 and by mail at Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 205281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months. You may order one, two or all three reports at the same time, or you may stagger your requests. It’s your choice. Some financial advisors say staggering your requests during a 12-month period may be a good way to keep an eye on the accuracy and completeness of the information in your reports. If you request your report online at annualcreditreport.com, you should be able to access it immediately. If you order your report by calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228, your report will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days. If you order your report by mail using the Annual Credit Report Request Form, your request will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days of receipt.
If you need to access your account without a computer, it is as easy as your telephone. Touchtone Access (706-647-9111) gives you current account information, gives you the ability to transfer funds between accounts and is available 24 hours a day. This is a totally free service. All you need to do is come in to any of our offices and see a customer service representative to sign up and get your password.
Another helpful telephone service we offer is our Weatherphone (706-647-7000). The time, temperature and weather service is available 24 hours a day. Be prepared for any type of weather before heading out for the day.
Could you be a victim of identity theft?
No matter how careful you are, you can still become a victim of
identity theft. Each day, criminals find new ways to steal personal
information, so they can take over existing accounts and open
fraudulent new accounts. Victims may be left with permanent damage
to their credit rating – or worse yet, an undeserved criminal
That’s why you need Deluxe ID TheftBlock !
Wouldn’t you like help protecting your money and your good name?
Contact us for more information.
Visa/Mastercard Merchant Certification
To report a lost or stolen ATM or Debit Card, please contact SHAZAM at 800-383-8000.