Valley First

Internet Fraud

Internet fraud occurs in many different forms including credit card fraud and fraud related to online banking and internet auctions. While it is difficult to eliminate fraud completely there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself.

 

Overview

Phishing, Vishing and Smishing

Phishing (pronounced fishing), vishing and smishing are all scams that involve fraudsters who use email (phishing), telephone calls (vishing) or text messages (smishing) to obtain personal information such as bank account information, credit card numbers and social insurance numbers from unsuspecting victims.

While an internet fraudster can easily obtain and share your email address on the internet, it is unlikely he or she will have a lot of additional information about you. To obtain additional information afraudster may use an official looking, but fake email known as a phishing email.

Phishing emails usually include links to websites that appear to direct you to a legitimate company. However, these links go to fraudulent websites and any information you submit via the website is gathered by a fraudster.  Fraudsters often target companies with a large customer/member base and send thousands of phishing emails to reach as many potential victims as possible.

Valley First has clear guidelines about the information they will request via phone or email.  If you have any concerns about a request, please contact your nearest branch.

Trojan Horses

Fraudsters have successfully found a way to extract banking information from computers by using virus programs known as Trojan horse.  A Trojan horse lies dormant on your computer, monitors your activity and then activates if you visit a targeted website, such as an online retailer or a financial institution. The program can then record keystrokes, such as usernames and passwords, and other information stored on your computer and sends them to the creator of the Trojan horse.

A Trojan horse may also allow hackers remote access to your system.  Operations which can then be conducted by the hacker include:

  • Use of the machine as part of a botnet (performing automated spamming or distributing denial of service attacks)
  • Data theft (e.g. retrieving passwords or credit card information)
  • Installation of software, including third-party malware
  •  Downloading or uploading of files on the user's computer
  •  Modification or deletion of files
  • Keystroke logging
  • Watching the user's screen
  • Crashing the computer

One of the biggest dangers with a Trojan horse is that it can be present on your computer without you even knowing about it.  Trojan horses often infect computers through attachment downloads and visiting unsecured websites.

At Valley First, ensuring our members’ accounts are secure is a top priority. We take many precautions to ensure your information is safe and our website has many security measures to protect your personal and financial information.

If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, contact your nearest Valley First branch as soon as possible.

Protection Tips

How to Protect Yourself

There are many things you can do to protect yourself.  The following list is just of a few of the steps you can take:

  • Never disclose your passwords (including your PIN and personal access code) to anyone
  • Do not set your email program to “auto-run” attachments –always check that run your antivirus software when an email attachment is received
  • If you are unsure of the authenticity of an email, delete it and call your branch
  • Do not choose the “save password on this computer” option
  • Never click on an email that you suspect may be fake
  • Before entering confidential or financial information online, check for the lock icon on your browser, which means that your data is encrypted and cannot be read

Protect Yourself at Home

Internet fraud can strike at any time, so it is wise to take steps to protect the information on your home computer. To help safeguard your personal information you can:

  • Install and use a quality antivirus program and update the program regularly
  • Install and use a quality antispyware program and ensure it is updated regularly
  • Install and use a quality firewall program and ensure it is updated regularly
  • Never leave your computer unattended while using online banking – you should log off and close the browser prior to leaving your station
  • Install patches and updates to your operating system and applications as they become available from the manufacturers
  • Avoid use a public computer to conduct financial transactions as this substantially increases your risk of account compromise
  • Always log out of an online transaction session and close the browser
  • Clear the cache of your browser (this will help ensure that no one else can view any confidential information you may have entered)
  • Change your password for any secure site, including your online banking password, on a regular basis
  • Disable automatic password save features in your internet browser and software which is used to access your internet service provider
  • Make sure that you regularly check your Valley First account and report any suspicious transactions to your branch immediately

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