Security and Fraud Prevention Tips
Be cautious with your personal information; carry only necessary information with you.
  • Leave items like unused credit/debit cards and your social security card at home or in a secure location such as a safe deposit box.
  • When traveling consider purchasing a re-loadable travel debit card instead of using a debit card that is attached to your checking account.
  • Do not provide your Social Security Number unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t respond to suspicious (“phishing”) emails.
  • Beware of suspicious (“spoofing”) websites.
  • Keep your personal computer updated with anti-virus definitions and patching.
  • Don’t share personal information on social networking sites.
  • Replace paper statements and invoices with electronic versions.
  • Shred documents containing personal or financial information before discarding.  Fraud and identity theft most often occur as a result of mail or garbage theft.
  • Avoid downloading files from unknown sources.
  • Always verify you are on a secure site when conducting transactions.  A secure site begins with “https” rather than “http”.
  • Place outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox to reduce the chance of mail theft.
  • Retrieve your mail in a timely fashion in order to limit the opportunity for theft.
  • Know your billing and statement cycles. Contact the company’s customer service department if you stop receiving your regular bill or statement.
  • Once a year review your credit report to look for unknown or suspicious activity. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Preventing Credit and Debit Card Fraud
Store your credit/debit card in a secure place where you will immediately know if it is missing.
  • Do not include your debit card account number on your check or other documents.
  • Sign the back of your credit/debit card as soon as you receive it.
  • Never leave your credit/debit card as a “security deposit” or as identification.
  • Never lend your credit/debit card to anyone.
  • When you are expecting a new or replacement credit/debit card in the mail keep an out for its delivery.
  • Report Lost/Stolen credit/debit cards immediately.
  • Never carry your PIN or write your PIN on the back of the card.
  • Never choose a PIN that is obvious, such as birth date or telephone number or a set of numbers or words that are located in your wallet.
  • Never leave receipts behind where someone could pick them up.  For example, at gas stations, ATM’s and supermarkets.
  • When traveling only carry cards that you will use.
  • When traveling consider purchasing a re-loadable travel debit card instead of using your debit card that is linked to your checking account.
  • When traveling consider using cash at smaller merchants instead of using your debit card.
  • Use your debit card only at well-known merchants while traveling.
  • Limit your use of foreign ATM’s.  Instead of making several small withdrawals each day, periodically make a couple of large withdrawals at a bank or in your hotel lobby.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings when using a foreign ATM and check for loose components on the front of the ATM or for small pin size cameras trying to capture you entering your PIN.
  • Dedicate one credit/debit card for traveling or online purchases for ease in keeping track of transactions.

Credit Card and Debit Card Security Tips

  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
  • Always keep your credit or debit card in a safe and secure place.
  • Do not give out your card number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Do not send your card number through email.
  • Do not write your PIN on the back of the card, nor have it written down somewhere in your wallet/purse where your card is located. Memorize it!
  • When selecting a PIN don’t use any numbers or words that are located in your wallet.
  • Ensure no one sees your PIN when you enter it.
  • Cancel and cut up unused Credit/Debit cards.
  • If you receive a replacement card, destroy your old card.
  • Shop with merchants you know and trust.
  • Make sure any internet purchase activity you engage in is secured with encryption to protect your account information. Look for “secure transaction” symbols like a lock symbol in the lower right or left hand corner of your web browser window, or https://… in the address bar of the website. The “S” indicates “Secure” and means that the web page uses encryption.
  • Always log off from any website after a purchase transaction is made from your Debit or Credit Card.  If you can’t log off then shut down your browser to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
  • Dispose of your transaction receipts properly.
Using your card at an ATM
Be aware of your surroundings and use caution when withdrawing funds.
  • Report all crimes immediately to the operator of the ATM or local law enforcement.
  • Consider having someone accompany you when using an ATM after dark.
  • Ensure no one sees your PIN when you enter it.
  • Watch for suspicious persons or activity around the ATM. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, either come back later or use an ATM elsewhere.  If you observe suspicious persons or circumstances, do not use the ATM at that time. If you are in the middle of the transaction at the time, cancel the transaction, take your card and leave the area.
  • Skimming devices are often false panels attached to the ATM—usually where the card inserts into the machine. Wiggle the card swiper and any other parts of the ATM that look damaged or different to check for looseness. Also look for new or suspiciously placed cameras and unusual signage.
  • Put your cash away as soon as your transaction is complete. Wait to count cash when it is safe to do so.
  • Safely keep or dispose of your ATM receipts.
Bank Account Security Tips
Report lost or stolen cards and checks immediately.
  • Limit the amount of information on checks. Don’t put your Social Security Number or your Driver’s License number on your checks.
  • Carry your checkbook with you only when necessary.
  • Store new and cancelled checks in a safe and secure location and destroy paid checks as soon as practical.
  • Review your account statements carefully. Regular viewing of your account statements helps to detect and stop fraudulent activity.
Report Phishing and Email Scams
If you encounter a suspicious email that appears to be from Islanders Bank do not respond or click any links contained in the e-mail.
What to do
Never open attachments, click on links, or respond to emails from suspicious or unknown senders. If you receive a suspicious email that appears to be from Islanders Bank, forward the email to:

Elder Fraud
Financial abuse of the elderly is conducted quietly and carefully by cyber criminals.

Criminals have tailored their scams to “pull at the heart strings” of this vulnerable digital generation increasing monetary returns and incidence of successful fraud.  Identifying when a senior has become a victim of fraud is difficult but here are a few helpful tips of what to look for:

  • A “new” online friend who is reluctant to communicate over the phone or by video chat (Skype, etc.).   Online communications might be sent during odd hours (night instead of day).
  • Unusual financial transactions; small or large withdrawals and deposits to newly created accounts or unfamiliar accounts.
  • Sudden lack of ability to pay bills or lack of the usual amenities.
  • Purchases the senior cannot use; gift cards, gym memberships, plane tickets, etc…
  • Secrecy about relationships with others and self-isolation from friends and family.
  • A “love” interest that lives outside of where they reside.  The “love” interest may have been met online via a social-networking website such as Facebook, online dating website or other.

If you suspect that a senior is the victim of fraud you can report financial abuse by doing the following:

  • Contact your local sheriff’s department and file a police report.
  • If fraud is being conducted via the internet, contact the FBI and file a report.
  • Contact the financial institution where accounts reside and ask for assistance.
  • Contact your state’s Adult Protective Services department.
  • Report phone or online scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It’s also important to note that seniors can also be taken advantage of by family, friends and caregivers.  Fraud can happen anywhere, anytime and can be committed by anyone.   If behavior or habits drastically change it might be time to have a conversation with your senior friend or family member to insure their ongoing financial and physical safety.