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 Fraud & Phishing

Learn About Fraudulent E-mails

Random customers of financial institutions have recently been the recipients of fraudulent emails. While these emails appear to be sent from the customer’s bank, they were actually sent by imposters. The unsolicited emails were in different formats but typically included attachments, requested personal information, or both.

How this affects you.

The Internet is a very powerful tool. You should be very careful when and how you share sensitive information online. Please be aware of the following when interacting with First CornerStone Bank over the Internet.

  • First CornerStone Bank will never send an unsecured email requesting user information (id, password, debit card number, etc.) or any other sensitive information.
  • If we request information, you will always be directed back to www.firstcornerstone.com or to call 610-205-8100.
  • If you are required to enter personal identification to perform a transaction on our website, it will always be done on a secured web page. You will see that the http:// changes to https:// (the letter “s” indicates a secure website). Also, a small gold padlock will appear in your browser, indicating that the address is secure.
  • The FBI has offered their own valuable information for Internet users at their website: http://www.fbi.gov. At this site you will find information on the FBI’s awareness initiatives and tips on protecting yourself.

Identify Theft

Identify theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as name, birth date, address, Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number, or other identifying information without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. Identity theft can have a devastating effect on victims. First CornerStone Bank has procedures in place to assist in restoring their identity and minimizing possible losses. Simply call your local branch office for the appropriate forms and letters.

How to Tell If You Are a Victim of Identify Theft

  • You fail to receive bills or other expected mail
  • You receive credit cards for which you did not apply
  • You have been denied credit for no apparent reason
  • You receive calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn’t buy


What is “Phishing”

“Phishing” is a form of email fraud and refers to a person or group of people who send out emails appearing to be from a customer’s financial institution in an attempt to obtain a customer’s personal information such as account numbers or social security information. These emails often include a message that could be alarming to a customer, indicating that immediate action is required. Customers are generally directed to a bogus version of a legitimate site where the personal information can be stolen.

What is the goal of Phishing?

The goal of “phishing” is to solicit personal data such as social security numbers, passwords, card numbers and PINS from unsuspecting victims over the Internet and sell this information to other criminals who use it for financial gain. Criminals may also try to access customer accounts through online banking and set up false bill payments that send checks to the criminal or a conspirator. In other cases, criminals transfer funds from all available customer accounts, including credit cards, savings accounts and home equity loans into their checking account. A copy of the customer’s credit card or check card is then used with their PIN at ATMs around the world to withdraw cash from their checking account.

Does a “Phishing” email always come from a financial institution?

No, there are a number of different scams. The most popular is to pretend to be from a financial institution; however, some recent “phishing” expeditions have pretended to be from a government agency, including one of the federal financial institution regulatory agencies.

How do I recognize a fraudulent email?

It can be difficult. Many of these emails use logos, formats and phrases that are identical to legitimate emails sent by a customer’s financial institution. Some frauds are easy to spot because they contain misspellings, misused words, or even a copy of a web page within the body of the email. Others may provide more subtle clues, such as an unfamiliar return email addresses or links to websites that don’t include the financial institution’s domain.

Is “Phishing” a serious problem?

Yes, “Phishing” is a very serious problem. Reports of Internet scams have more than doubled each year since 2001, but only 3% of customers who are “Phished” actually report it. The Anti-Phishing Working Group estimates that “phishing” incidents are increasing by 50% every month with as many as 5% of recipients either responding to or clicking the links within the fraudulent emails.

How can I protect myself from “phishing” expeditions?

Never provide your personal information to an unsolicited request – whether it is over the phone or over the Internet. Emails and Internet pages created by “Phishers” may look exactly like the real thing. If you did not initiate a communication, do not provide any personal information.

If you believe the contact my be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself – you should be able to find phone numbers on your monthly statement or on the legitimate website.

Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request – First CornerStone Bank will never ask you to verify your account information on line.

Review account statements regularly to ensure all charge are correct – If your financial institution offers electronic account access, periodically review activity online to catch suspicious activity.

Type Web addresses into browsers instead of clicking on links in emails.

Keep anti-virus and anti-spam filtering software on your computers up to date.

Monitor accounts and credit reports. The three major credit bureaus are:

  • Equifax - 1-888-766-0008
  • Experian - 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289

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