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Security Tips

Phishing is one of the most common attack methods used by cybercriminals. Fortunately, there are signs that can help you identify whether or not that email in your inbox is a scam.

Protect Yourself from Scams and Fraud

About Randy Meier:

Randy is the Director of Seniors vs. Crime, a unit of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office with the mission of reducing the impact of frauds and scams on the entire community, through public outreach, collaboration with other law enforcement and regulators, and direct assistance to victims. Meier started working as director in 2012, after his retirement from the Clinton Police Department, where he served for 33 years.

Stay Alert! Scams are on the rise

Remember to monitor your accounts, and protect your personal financial information.  Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request - whether it is over the phone or over the Internet.  We are here to help if you suspect fraud or attempted fraud.   

Important Information provided here

Federal Trade Commission 

Identity Theft

Don’t Be an Easy Target

Advisory: Counterfeit Cashier's Checks

Advisory: Friday, May 18, 2018

This advisory communication is to let you know that some financial institutions in the Quad Cities (Iowa and Illinois) have reported circulation of counterfeit cashier’s checks.


In the past weeks, multiple financial institutions in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois have reported through the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) that counterfeit cashier’s checks have been circulating in the area.

The checks are realistic and bear proper routing numbers. The cashier’s checks are being used as part of a “secret shopper” work-at-home scheme, which operates like this:

  • The victim responds to an offer to work from home, then receives a cashier’s check for several thousands of dollars.
  • The victim is instructed to deposit the check into his or her own account and to keep several hundred dollars as “payment.”
  • The victim then uses the balance to perform some assignment, which generally involves sending the balance of the funds to third parties via wire transfers through a large retail store’s cash transfer services.
  • By the time the illegitimate cashier’s checks are returned as fraudulent, the victim’s funds are gone.


What you can do:

Consumers who receive counterfeit checks can file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:   

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG) by telephone at 800-359‑3898 or by visiting the OIG website.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by telephone at 877-382-4357 or by visiting the FTC website.
  • National Consumers League (NCL) by telephone at 202-835-3323 or by email. To file a fraud complaint, visit the NCL Fraud website
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to report scams that may have originated via the internet.
  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by telephone at 888-877-7644; by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100; or via the online complaint form. 


What your bank can do:

  • Exercise heightened vigilance when receiving cashier’s checks for deposit.
  • Verify authenticity with the originating financial institution.
  • Warn customers of the scam.
Cybersecurity Risk
Phishing - Don't Get Lured! Learn More

Privacy, Identity & Online Security  Learn More

ATM and Debit Card Security

General Guidelines

Treat your card like cash. Keep it in a safe place.
Keep your personal identification number (PIN) a secret. Do not share with family, friends, or even your financial institution.
Do not disclose card information over the phone, if you receive an unsolicited call.  
Report a lost or stolen card immediately.
Carefully review your account statements frequently.  Utilize Online & Mobile banking for 24/7 access to account activity.

Debit Card Point-Of-Sale (POS) Activity

Never allow the cashier or anyone else to enter your PIN for you, even if they are assisting you with the transaction.
Block the view of others when using a POS terminal.
Be sure the transaction is complete and you have received a receipt before leaving.
If you received cash back, put it away before leaving the terminal.
When using an outdoor POS terminal such as at a gas station, observe your surroundings before making a transaction. If anything looks suspicious, leave the area at once.
It is a good idea to take someone with you when using an outdoor POS terminal at night.
If anyone follows you after you have completed your POS transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.
ATMs - Physical Security Tips To Keep You Safe
Walk-Up ATMs
  • Observe the ATM surroundings before approaching a walk-up ATM. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave the area at once.
  • If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, go to another ATM. It is a good idea to take along a companion when using an ATM, especially at night.
  • Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Do not let anyone see how much money you withdrew, and never count your money at the ATM.
  • Never allow a stranger to assist you in conducting an ATM transaction, even if you have trouble or if your card is stuck.
  • Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others cannot see your PIN or transaction amount.
  • Look for possible fraudulent devices attached to the ATM. If the ATM looks different or appears to have any alterations or attachments to the card slot or PIN pad, do not use it.  Notify local law enforcement, when possible.  

Drive-Up ATMs
  • Keep the doors locked, windows up and engine running at all times when waiting in line.
  • Leave enough room between cars to allow for a quick exit should it become necessary.
  • Before lowering the window to use a drive-up ATM, observe the entire surrounding area. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and drive away at once.
  • Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Once your transaction is complete, take your money, card and receipt and immediately drive away from the terminal.
  • If anyone follows you after you have completed your ATM transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.

Preventing Debit Card Fraud
  • Sign the signature panel on your debit card as soon as you receive it.
  • Memorize your PIN. Do not store your PIN (Personal Identification Number) with your card. 
  • Wait for your card receipt. Don't leave your debit card receipts at the checkout counter.
  • Check receipts against your monthly billing or account statements to make sure you can identify all of your transactions. Report any duplicate charges, incorrect amounts charged, or unauthorized transactions immediately. Keep records for disputed transactions.  After you have reconciled your billing statements, shred receipts.
  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended and always keep your cards out of plain sight.
  • Avoid storing card information when making online purchases.
  • Keep a list of account numbers and telephone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.

Equifax Security Breach

Equifax, one of the United States largest credit reporting companies, announced a security breach on Thursday, September 6, 2017.  This breach has affected over 143 million accounts (almost half the country’s population).  The information cyber criminals have access to includes social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license. 

Included below is the link to Equifax statements which explains several items: Potential Impact, Enrollment in free monitoring service and how to contact Equifax. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Equifax will not make outbound calls asking for customer information. 

 Click Here for Equifax

Additional tips:

  • Consumers should be vigilant in reviewing their account statements and credit reports
  • Immediately report any unauthorized activity to financial institutions
  • Customers should monitor their personal information and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, which addresses how to protect against identity theft and information about fraud alerts and security freezes.

Click Here for Identity Theft Recovery

Identity Theft:  Don't Be An Easy Target
With sufficient information, a con artist can become "you" and use your identity to order new credit cards, make counterfeit cards or checks, or otherwise go on a spending spree in your name. It's called identity theft or ID theft, and it's a serious problem.

In general, consumers are protected against liability for unauthorized accounts or transactions. However, innocent victims of ID theft sometimes do suffer losses. And if the crime is not detected early, people may face months or years cleaning up the damage to their reputation and credit rating. The evolution of ID theft includes the spread of fraudulent "phishing" (pronounced "fishing") emails. These are unsolicited emails purportedly from a legitimate source, like your bank, attempting to trick you into divulging personal information.

Here is our "to do" list for keeping your identity to yourself:
  1. Protect your Social Security number (SSN), credit card and debit card numbers, PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and other personal information. 
  2. Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request - whether it is over the phone or over the Internet. 
  3. Protect your incoming and outgoing mail. 
  4. Keep a close watch on your bank account statements and credit card bills.
  5. Exercise your rights to review your credit report and report fraudulent activity - ask us about the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) 
  6. Keep your financial trash "clean" - shred your personal financial information

Your personal and financial information can be as good as cash to a criminal. So, take ID theft seriously. Contact your nearest Citizens First Bank branch for more help on how to protect yourself.