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At West Shore Bank we believe that one of the best ways to arm yourself against fraud is with information. In this section we will provide you with links to articles that will alert you to any schemes you should know about, and inform you of the resources that are available to help you protect your account information. Some of these links are to West Shore Bank articles, others will take you to articles on other informational web sites.

If you think your accounts have been compromised, let us know immediately by calling (231) 845-3500 or (888) 295-4373.

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Preventing Fraud

The USA Patriot Act has paved the way for financial institutions to help prevent fraud, identify theft, and the spread of terrorism. It requires financial institutions to obtain more information from an individual or legal entity to help establish identity. 

Your cooperation is needed when you open a new account or request a loan. You may be asked more questions to establish and confirm your identity. It may also be required for you to provide one or more of the following types of identification: 

  • Driver's license
  • Passport and country of issuance
  • S. taxpayer identification (ID) number
  • Alien ID card
  • Any other government-issued document evidencing nationally or residence 

How to Prevent Fraud

Guard your Social Security number

  • Never carry your Social Security card and know your surroundings when disclosing your Social Security number.
  • Never provide your Social Security number unless you initiated contact and have confirmed the person or business' identity.
  • Do not record your Social Security number on a check, traveler check, gift certificate, etc., unless required by law.
  • Do not use any part of your Social Security number as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password.
  • If you must provide your Social Security number in an email or website, ensure that it is encrypted and know how the recipient will protect it.

Secure your computer

  • Web browser updates are provided with your security in mind so keep them current.
  • Operating system and software patches or service packs should be installed as soon as possible.
  • Anti-spyware and anti-virus software helps detect and remove 'bad' software that can steal vital information.
  • A firewall prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to the computer or monitoring transfers of information to and from the computer.
  • Always use the highest level of security possible when setting up and connecting to wireless networks.
  • Never transmit sensitive information over an unencrypted wireless network.

Eliminate Paper

  • Sign up for direct deposit and have funds put into your account electronically without paper checks.
  • Sign up for e-statements and stop receiving statements and canceled checks in the mail. View them online instead.
  • Reduce the amount of mail and paper with your personal information printed on it to minimize the chance of criminals stealing it.

Types of Online Fraud

Malware

Malware, short for "malicious software," includes viruses, spyware and trojans that are designed to infect or damage a computer system. Malware is often used to steal personal information and commit fraud. There are several easy ways to minimize the risk of malware: 

  • Updated security and system software can protect your computer from malware threats.
  • Attachments or free software from unknown sources should not be opened or installed.
  • Downloads from file sharing and social networking sites can be sources of malware.
  • Pop-up ads asking for personal or financial information are likely fraudulent, so close them.

Phishing or Spoofing

Thieves may send you an email that looks like it comes from West Shore Bank. These emails ask you to go to a website that looks like West Shore Bank's website and provide your personal account information. They may even ask you to call a phone number and provide account information but the website is fake. Look for the following information to determine if the email is really from West Shore Bank: 

  • West Shore Bank emails will never ask you to reply in an email with your personal information and any email that does should raise your concern.
  • The message may contain claims that your account will be closed if you fail to confirm, verify or authenticate your personal information. West Shore Bank will not ask you to verify your information in this way.
  • Messages about system and security updates claim the Bank needs to confirm important information due to upgrades and states that you must update your information online. West Shore Bank will not ask you to verify information in this way.
  • Typos and other errors are often the mark of fraudulent emails or websites. Watch out for typos or grammatical errors, awkward writing, and poor visual design.
  • Offers that sound too good to be true often are. You may be asked to fill out a short customer service survey in exchange for money being credited to your account, and you are then asked to provide your account number for proper routing of the supposed credit. West Shore Bank will not request your information in this way.

Money Mules

Money mules are unsuspecting victims who become middlemen for criminals trying to launder stolen funds. Victims are lured by the promise of love or a new career opportunity making large sums of money for minimal work. Criminals recruit money mules, send them stolen money and then ask the money mules to wire or transfer the money unwittingly to the criminals. Using the money mule masks the criminal's identity. 

The money mule may keep a commission for performing the transfer or wire. The victims of these scams may not only have their bank accounts closed and financial reputation ruined, but are often left financially responsible for returning the stolen funds.

Common signs of a money mule scam are:

  • Accepting large sums of money into your account for a new job.
  • Transferring or wiring funds out of your account to people you do not know.
  • Opening a new account to receive money from someone you do not know.
  • Overseas companies requesting money transfer agents.

Vishing

Vishing uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to call, leaving an automated recording. It alerts the consumer that their account has experienced unusual activity. The message instructs the consumer to call the same phone number shown in the spoofed caller ID with the same name as the bank they are pretending to represent. Sometimes criminals who try to get consumers to turn over personal data send emails and text messages containing fraudulent phone numbers.

Rather than provide any information, you should contact West Shore Bank at the customer service number you normally use to verify the validity of the message.

Types of Mobile Fraud

Fake Mobile Banking Apps

Criminals may develop and publish fake mobile banking applications to steal your online banking credentials. Always look for these signs before installing a mobile banking application: 

  • The developer or publisher of the application is West Shore Bank.
  • Only download the application from the official 'store' for your device.
  • Mobile applications for West Shore Bank are currently free. If there is a charge for the application, it's not legitimate.

SMShing

SMShing is phishing via SMS text messaging. A criminal will send a text message to trick you into replying with financial or personal information or clicking links that will install viruses onto your mobile device.

  • Do not respond to a text message that requests personal or financial information; West Shore Bank will never ask you for this.
  • Verify the phone number(s) that appear in the text message. Store West Shore Bank in your device contacts for a quick cross-check.

Stolen Devices

  • Password protect your device.
  • Turn on the screen lock.
  • Use a remote wipe application.
  • Keep records of the make, model, serial number and IMEI number of your device.
  • If your device is stolen, log into Online Banking and remove that device from Mobile Banking.

Detecting Fraud

The best detector of fraud or identity theft is you. The sooner fraud is detected, the lower the financial impact. By monitoring your accounts you can look for strange activity and act fast to minimize the financial impact.

Recognize Fraud or Identity Theft

It is important to recognize suspicious activities that may indicate fraud or identity theft.

Fraud is when someone uses your accounts to make unauthorized purchases, usually when the card or account number has been stolen. Possible signs of fraudulent activity are:

  • You do not receive an expected bill or statement by mail.
  • You see unexpected charges on your account.
  • Your credit report contains accounts not yours or has inaccurate information.
  • You receive notice that you have been denied credit, but you did not apply for credit.

Identity theft happens when a thief steals information such as your name, birth date or Social Security number to open credit cards, mortgages and other accounts without your knowledge. Identity theft may be indicated by:

  • There are new accounts on your credit report that are not yours.
  • You receive credit cards you did not apply for.
  • You receive calls from debt collectors for something you did not buy.

Monitor your Accounts Regularly

Check your account activity frequently looking for anything unusual. View your online account statements to detect fraud earlier and contact your financial institution immediately if you see anything suspicious. If you suspect that any of your accounts with West Shore Bank have been compromised, please notify us immediately. 

  • Over 50 percent of identity fraud is discovered by the victim.
  • Customers with electronic access to their accounts detect fraud or identity theft earlier than those who rely on paper statements.
  • Customers enrolled in Online Banking that use our email alert functions receive timely notification about activity in their accounts, which can help identify fraud quickly.
  • Receiving e-statements instead of paper statements helps reduce the risk of mail fraud.

Check your Credit Report Annually

By monitoring your credit report you can verify that no new accounts or loans have been approved in your name using stolen information. National credit reporting agencies are required to provide you with free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You can make this request by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228. Your legal rights are explained on the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.gov.

Resolving Fraud

Fraudulent Activity

Report fraudulent activity on your West Shore Bank accounts or Online Banking:

  • Call (231) 845-3500 or (888) 295-4373
  • Or contact your nearest branch

If possible, provide the check number for the last check that was written, or the name of the person or business to whom it was written. Digital copies of your checks are available through Online Banking. 

Lost, Stolen, Missing or Found ATM or Debit Card

During regular business hours:

Outside regular business hours:

  • Contact Fiserv at (800) 472-3272

Phishing Email

To report a suspicious email using West Shore Bank's name, please immediately forward the email to info@westshorebank.com.

What to do if you think someone has stolen your identity:

  1. Contact West Shore Bank immediately to close any accounts you believe have been compromised.
  2. Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file.
    • Equifax – (888) 766-0008
    • Experian – (888) 397-3742
    • Trans Union – (800) 680-7289
  3. Close other accounts you know or believe have been opened fraudulently or tampered with.
  4. File a police report. Get copies to submit to any creditor that may require proof of a crime.
  5. File your complaint with the FTC. 

For more information about fighting ID theft and reporting fraud, go to www.FTC.gov.

Dealing with a Data Compromise

Data compromise is usually an organized theft of ATM, debit, or credit card information through third party processors, computer theft, stolen storage tapes, company insiders working for a merchant or merchant contractor, or merchant data breaches.

If a data breach affecting your accounts occurs, West Shore Bank receives information from many outside sources such as Visa, MasterCard or law enforcement agencies. Because this information is sensitive, specific details are not released to the Bank. We are unable to provide you with the name of the merchant or where the data breach occurred.

We understand that learning your account information may have been compromised can be alarming. In the event your card data account has been compromised:

  • West Shore Bank may proactively close your card and issue a new one to help protect your account.
  • It does not mean fraud will occur on your account.
  • It does not mean you will become a victim of identity theft.
  • If you notice any fraudulent charges to your account, contact us immediately by calling (231) 845-3500 or (888) 295-4373.

Protect Your Information

  • Always know where your card is. If you misplace it, contact us immediately so we can block the card from use.
  • Regularly monitoring your account activity is the best way to help detect if you have been a victim of fraud. West Shore Bank's Online Banking allows you to access your account at your convenience.
  • For added protection, you can set up Online Banking Alerts that notify you about important activity in your accounts, which can help identify fraud quickly.
  • Signing up for electronic statements may also help reduce your risk of mail fraud.
  • If you receive your statements in the mail, review your statement as soon as possible after it is delivered and immediately report any fraudulent transactions.

Online Resources

Identity Theft

Consumer Fraud

  • Internet Fraud Information | usa.gov
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation | fbi.gov
  • Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force | stopfraud.gov

Current & Ongoing Frauds

Equifax Data Breach (UPDATE 9/8/17)

Equifax is reporting that it suffered a data breach earlier this year that has the potential to affect 143 million consumers. The Federal Trade Commission has posted information about how to address concerns around this breach, as well as how to protect your privacy online. Please follow this link to be taken to information on the FTC's website.

Fraudulent Text Claiming your Debit Card is Compromised (UPDATE 11/2/16)

You receive a text appearing to come from Comerica Bank claiming that your debit card is compromised and to call a phone number in the text. West Shore Bank and our partners would never contact you in this manner and would not ask you to reveal this type of information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

If you believe that you've been the victim of online fraud, identity theft or a lottery scam, please notify us by either calling 1.888.295.4373 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST) or contact us.

Please include your name, e-mail address, telephone number and a detailed description but DO NOT include any account or security information.

Fraudulent Phone Call Claiming your Debit Card is Locked (UPDATE 9/28/15)

You receive a pre-recorded call claiming it is an Urgent phone call about your Master Card - Debit Card being locked. You are prompted to press 1 for security. The call originates from an unknown number. West Shore Bank and our partners would never contact you in this manner and would not ask you to reveal this type of information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

If you believe that you've been the victim of online fraud, identity theft or a lottery scam, please notify us by either calling 1.888.295.4373 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST) or contact us.

Please include your name, e-mail address, telephone number and a detailed description but DO NOT include any account or security information.

Fraudulent Phone Call Claiming your Debit Card is Locked (UPDATE 9/14/15)

Customer receives a phone call stating the caller is from Master Card and the customer's card is blocked. The customer is then prompted to press 1 to unblock as well as enter account information. West Shore Bank and our partners would never contact you in this manner and would not ask you to reveal this type of information over the phone unless you initiated the call. 

If you believe that you've been the victim of online fraud, identity theft or a lottery scam, please notify us by either calling 1.888.295.4373 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST) or contact us.

Please include your name, e-mail address, telephone number and a detailed description but DO NOT include any account or security information.

Email Claiming your Credit Card has Been Blocked (UPDATE 6/16/15)

Fraudulent emails have been reported to be circulating warning recipients their credit card has been blocked due to fraud. This message is not from West Shore Bank. West Shore Bank and our partners would never contact you in this manner nor ask you to reveal this type of information unless you initiated the contact. DO NOT click any links in the message or provide any information. 

If you believe that you've been the victim of online fraud, identity theft or a lottery scam, please notify us by either calling 1.888.295.4373 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST) or use the form found here to contact us.

Please include your name, e-mail address, telephone number and a detailed description but DO NOT include any account or security information.

Text Message Scam (UPDATE 5/12/15)

On Sunday morning, May 10, cellular phones were the target of a "smishing" attack.  Smishing is when criminals use SMS (text) messaging, pretending to be a trusted entity, to trick recipients into disclosing account credentials or information. Customers and non-customers of West Shore Bank were told their "Master/Card is SUSPENDED" and to click on a link to unlock their card. The website then asked for additional personal banking information. The Bank would never ask you to reveal personal information in this manner unless you initiate the contact or request texts through mobile banking.

This is not a result of West Shore Bank’s systems being breached, but is a targeted attack of cell phones in the 231 area code. This was not sent by nor sanctioned by West Shore Bank.

If you recently received a text message on your mobile device, please delete it immediately and DO NOT call the telephone number or open any links. This message is an attempt to obtain your bank account number and was not sent by West Shore Bank. 

Consumers can send these scam text messages to 7726 (SPAM) to cellphone carriers to have their number blocked.

If you believe that you've been the victim of online fraud, identity theft or a lottery scam, please notify us by either calling 1.888.295.4373 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST) or contact us.

Please include your name, e-mail address, telephone number and a detailed description but DO NOT include any account or security information.

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