Please return to this page often for news about phishing, malware, and other tactics cybercriminals use. Our goal is to keep our members informed so that together, we can keep your accounts secure.
People who want your account information can be cunning, and even threatening. Before transacting business with unknown parties, please arm yourself with information and a healthy dose of skepticism. If you ever have questions or concerns, call us at (800) 660-3258 before proceeding.
NorthCountry News: True Crime
It started simply enough when a member received a text alert about a transaction. They tapped “no”, which blocked the transaction from going through. Then they received a phone call where the Caller ID made it appear NorthCountry was calling. When the caller asked for the member’s online banking credentials, the member cooperated.
Red flag! We will never ask you to divulge your password. Visit our blog* to see what happened once the fraudster logged into the member's online banking account. In the same article, we also provide five important tips for keeping your account secure.
If you ever have questions about a check’s authenticity - whether it’s from us or another financial institution – please let us know and we can help you decide how to proceed.
Fraudsters are continually developing new schemes, but here are some of the most common scams:
Impersonating a Friend or Relative
Someone impersonating a relative or close friend will ask you to send money because they’ve been hurt or arrested, typically while traveling. You will be asked to send them funds by wire or Western Union. Hang up or delete the email. If you’re worried the story may be true, hang up and contact your friend or family member directly using your own contact information.
Notification of Fraud on Your Account
A phone call, email, or text states that fraud has occurred on your account, and requests your credentials, such as username, password, card number, or account number. The message will often include a threat to close down your account if you do not respond. These requests are fraudulent in nature. Delete the message or hang up the phone.
You receive an email warning you that your account’s security is at risk or has been breached. It instructs you to click on a link that connects to a website created to look like that of a legitimate business. Once at the website, you are instructed to enter your account information, which is then stolen. Be wary of unsolicited emails that contain links, especially if they demand an urgent response.
Keeping your computer up to date with the latest anti-virus software is important, but it needs to come from a legitimate source. Beware of emails and pop-ups offering to sell you protective software. Sometimes they will try to get you to comply with a lie that your computer is infected. Their downloads are actually highly malicious.
Work from Home
If a work-from-home offer involves sending money up front (usually by wire or Western Union) to pre-pay for goods, you’re being scammed. Your contact may also send you a bogus check for work that has not been completed yet and ask you to send a portion of the check back to them. Many of these are illegal pyramid schemes. Be wary of accepting checks or money orders from people you do not know.
Purchase Confirmation Email
You receive confirmation of a purchase you did not make from a fraudster pretending to be a legitimate company. If you respond, they will try to trick you into providing your personal information or a credit card number. Need to contact a business? Stay safe and go to its website by a means other than clicking on the link (or calling the phone number) included in the email.
You receive a letter stating you’ve won the lottery, and a check for around $5,000 is enclosed. To claim your prize, you are instructed to cash the check and wire, Western Union, or send a money order back and await further instructions. The check is worthless, and the fraudster gets the untraceable guaranteed funds you sent them.
Mobile payments are highly secure due to Tokenization. Instead of being stored on your phone, your card information is sent to Visa or MasterCard and exchanged for a virtual card number, known as a “token”. The merchant never accesses your actual card number, which keeps it confidential.
Your information is safeguarded behind three layers of protection.
- To view your account, enter your username and password. Never share your password, and don't write it down. If you forget your password, Contact Us and we'll reset it for you.
- Our multi-factor authentication prevents people from attempting to access your account from an unauthorized computer. When you log in to your account from a computer that hasn't been registered with our system, you're sent a one-time pass code through a phone call, text message, or email. If you don't enter the pass code in a timely manner, access will be denied.
- Your personal information is accessed on a secure site maintained by Digital Insight, our online banking provider. Digital Insight uses every precaution and the latest technology to ensure its computers are impervious to would-be criminals.
Protect your Identity
The easiest way to protect your identity is to become paper-free. Your personal information is more likely to be stolen from your mailbox or kitchen counter than your computer. To safeguard your computer, install a good firewall and use up-to-date software designed to combat pop-ups, spyware and viruses. You should also:
- Get your financial information online and review it often
- Instead of leaving checks, statements and other financial information in your mailbox, pay your bills online and use e-statements.
- Once a year, request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies.
- When possible, avoid giving out your social security number.
- Use current security software on your computer and be sure to use a "wipe" utility before discarding a PC.
- Don't choose obvious passwords, such as your pet's or children's names.
Report Your Stolen Identity
If you believe your identity may have been stolen, follow the steps below. Remember to keep a log of the people you call, their titles and phone numbers.
- Contact your financial institution(s).
- Notify other creditors such as credit card companies, phone companies, banks, and other lenders
- File a police report, which may lend credibility to your case when dealing with creditors who may require proof of criminal activity
- Call the Federal Trade Commission hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) to speak with an identity theft counselor.
- Contact the major credit bureaus and request they place a short- or long-term “fraud alert” on your credit file.
- As appropriate, call the:
- Postal inspection service, if you believe your mail has been stolen or redirected
- Social Security fraud hotline
- Department of Motor Vehicles, if you believe someone is using your identity to acquire a driver’s license or ID card
- Utility companies
- Take extra time to review all your accounts and statements, and immediately report any discrepancies