Important Information About Debit Card Fraud
Bank Account Fraud
How to Protect Your Identity
What to Do If You Become a Victim
The security of our customers is a priority for BankNewport and our policies and procedures are designed to keep you and your information safe.
We believe the more you know, the better prepared you'll be to recognize and prevent fraudulent activity. This page contains valuable information to keep you safe.
You can also find the latest information on current scams at the website of the Federal Trade Commission.
Scammers can fake caller ID info
Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are a trusted source, such as a government agency, the police, or a company you might do business with. This practice is called caller ID spoofing. Do not rely on the caller ID to verify who is calling. It is nearly impossible to tell if caller ID information is real. The FTC has issued the following tips for handling these calls:
- If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.
- Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
- Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legitimate.
- Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
If you have received a call from a scammer, with or without fake caller ID information, report it to the FTC and the FCC.
Important Information to Remember
BankNewport will never email you to verify or update sensitive information such as account numbers, PIN, user names, passwords, or social security numbers. If you receive a suspicious email asking for BankNewport account information, do not reply and do not click on any links. Please forward the email to email@example.com or contact us at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area.
Please note, BankNewport may block debit card usage within certain geographic areas in response to increased fraudulent activity. If you’re planning to travel please call us at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area.
Important Information About Debit Card Fraud
At BankNewport security is of the utmost importance. Should a data breach at a national payment processor or merchant result in debit card information becoming compromised, we take immediate action to protect our customers and their account information.
In addition to notifying all customers whose cards may have been affected, we may also take the conservative approach of closing the cards and issuing replacements as necessary. As long as we are notified by customers according to their agreement, no BankNewport customer will suffer a loss as a result of any such fraudulent card activity. Replacement cards are available by mail in 7-10 business days and mail rush orders can be placed for a nominal fee. If you would like your debit card immediately, please visit one of our branches and they will provide you with a card that same day.
If you feel your debit or credit information may have been compromised, please contact Customer Service at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area, and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. Customer Service is available Monday - Friday from 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. To report a lost/stolen Visa® Debit Card after hours, select option 6.
Bank Account Fraud
How Bank Account Fraud Works
Typically, someone you don’t know solicits you by phone, mail, email, etc with a request that involves cashing a check or depositing it into your bank account and then asks you to use a portion of that money for what appears to be a legitimate purpose.
Scammers are counting on you to believe that once you deposit or cash a check, it has “cleared” and cannot be returned unpaid. Although you have the right to have funds available to you quickly, usually 1-2 business days, due to Regulation CC. The Bank cannot tell if there is a problem until the check or money order goes through the system and is presented to the paying Bank, this could take weeks. In the event the check or money order is found to be fraudulent, the paying Bank will return the item to your Bank. You are responsible for the full amount and fees, and the deposit will be reversed from your account.
How to Recognize Bank Account Fraud
Scammers want to distract you from taking the time to consider whether or not their check, money order, U.S. postal money order or other item is legitimate. They accomplish this by providing a believable and compelling offer to convince you to immediately give away money from your account before their check can be returned as fraudulent. There are many variations of bank account fraud. These scams frequently target individuals who are looking for a job or dating opportunities, selling items, or seeking to help someone in need.
How to Protect Yourself Against Bank Account Fraud
The best defense against bank account fraud is awareness. Review these tips to know what to look for:
- Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be suspicious if you are asked to deposit or cash a check and immediately give or wire a portion of the funds.
- Remember that you are responsible and liable for items you cash or deposit into your account. It may take time for a fraudulent check to be discovered and returned to your bank.
- Be very cautious when depositing or cashing checks from individuals or businesses you do not know well or with whom you have only interacted online. Never be shy about asking for verification or independently researching an individual, company or check.
- Do not accept payments for more than the total amount of a sale with the expectation that you send the buyer the difference.
- Do not accept jobs in which you are paid or receive a commission for facilitating money transfers through your account.
- Do not accept work arrangements or sweepstakes proceeds that require you to deposit a check and send back a portion of the funds for training materials, taxes or fees.
- Look for typos, discrepancies, and misspellings on checks and other documentation – they are red flags for potential fraud.
- Always ask your banker for assistance if you have any concerns about a check you are depositing or cashing.
- Remember that a wire transfer is an immediate form of payment. Once a scammer has obtained the funds you have wired in exchange for a check, the wire transfer cannot be reversed, even if the check was fraudulent.
- Be wary of strangers who initiate a friendly conversation and eventually move to a discussion regarding a financial opportunity or need that requires you to deposit a check, wire money or share an account or credit card number.
- Never give personal information to a stranger who contacts you by telephone, email, or other means. This includes your Social Security number, bank account information, online banking credentials, and credit or debit card numbers.
- Never try to lead on a scammer with the intention of “catching” them or getting back at them. You may unintentionally provide the scammer with additional information that can be used to further defraud you.
- Fraudsters are clever and constantly devise new fraud scams. However, a basic pattern usually involves a request to cash or deposit a check or other item and then immediately give away a portion of that money to the fraudster. Eventually, the check or other item is discovered as fraudulent and your bank will hold you responsible to pay back the money you gave to the fraudster, along with any additional fees incurred during the transaction. In some scams, fraudsters may also encourage you to share personal or financial information that can be used to defraud you.
- Familiarize yourself with these common scenarios to learn how fraudulent transactions take place. Would you be able to spot these scams?
At BankNewport, we take every precaution to protect your personal and account information. You can keep your information safe by staying alert and staying informed.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is any email or pop-up advertisement that claims to be from a legitimate business or organization that you deal with. Scam artists recreate pages using information from legitimate websites in hopes of fooling consumers into providing their personal information.
The email or pop-up will ask you to "update" or "validate" your account information, passwords, logins, and will make some form of urgent appeal so that you will respond quickly. The email or pop-up may direct you to a fraud website that may appear to be from a trusted source.
Some consumers mistakenly submit financial and personal information, and the "phishers" will use it to gain access to financial records or accounts, commit identity theft or engage in illegal acts.
IMPORTANT: BankNewport will NEVER request any personal information (such as account numbers, passwords, PINS, Social Security Numbers, etc.) through an unsecure email.
BankNewport does not use pop-up advertisements.
It may not always be easy to recognize fraud emails or pop-ups but there are some precautions:
- Urgency. Watch out for emails or pop-ups that state an urgent reply is needed or your account may be closed.
- Generality. Watch out for emails or pop-ups that provide a general greeting and do not identify you by name.
- Typos and Errors. Fraudulent emails or pop-ups may have typographical or grammatical errors. Watch out for poor visual and design quality.
How to Protect Yourself
DO NOT click on the links you receive from a third-party site asking for personal information or account numbers. To access the legitimate website, you should type the URL address into your web browser or use a "bookmark.”
DO NOT send confidential information such as account numbers, passwords, or PINs by email.
DO NOT share your IDs or passwords with anyone.
CALL the financial institution or business directly to confirm requests for updating or verifying personal or account information.
LOOK for a secure connection on websites asking for personal or account information. Normally, the URL will begin with https:// in the browser address bar. Also, a "padlock" icon will appear to the right of URL.
VERIFY Website Security Certificates within your web browser.
UPDATE the security features of your computer software, including your web browser. Software companies provide security updates to their products. To learn more about computer security, visit Microsoft.com.
ALWAYS log off of secure areas of websites (for example: Online Banking) for which you use an ID and Password to enter.
If You Have Been Phished
If you suspect phishing, identity theft or fraud involving any of your BankNewport accounts, you should contact Customer Service at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area, and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. Customer Service is available Monday - Friday from 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
You should also contact the three credit bureaus listed below to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report, and file a complaint with the FTC.
Equifax Fraud Line: 800.525.6285
Experian Fraud Line: 888.397.3742
Transunion Fraud Line: 800.680.7289
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Fraud Line: 1.877.IDTHEFT
FTC Complaint Assistant
Scams are varied and constantly evolving, so it's important that you stay aware of the latest tricks and tactics fraudsters are using to try and take advantage of others. Below are details on some of the more prominent scams that exist today along with tips for protecting yourself and your accounts.
Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam
What is it?: Congratulations – you’ve just won a foreign lottery. You receive a letter with a large-dollar check that you are asked to deposit into your personal checking account. However, you need to immediately wire a portion of the funds to a foreign bank account to cover various taxes and administrative fees.
Tips: Legitimate lotteries pay taxes directly to the government rather than being reimbursed from winners’ proceeds. It is against U.S. law to play a foreign lottery by mail or by telephone. To learn more about international lottery scams visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
Government Grant Scam
What is it?: A phone call from a “government agency” congratulates you on being awarded a free grant for paying your taxes on time. The caller asks for your checking account number so the grant can be deposited and “one-time processing fees” automatically withdrawn.
Tips: Government agencies do not spontaneously award free grants. Typically, individuals must apply for government grants. Do not give your bank account information to individuals, companies, or agencies if you are unable to verify the request is legitimate. Be especially cautious if you did not initiate the call.
Online Romance/Dating/Friendship Scam
What is it?: A participant in an international online dating site begins communicating with you via Instant Messaging (IM). In the course of discussion, he mentions some personal financial difficulties that would be solved if he could just find a way to cash a U.S. check that he has been unable to cash. Could you wire the funds to an account where he can pick up the cash? He will mail you the endorsed check and you can deposit the full amount into your checking account.
Tips: If you are using an online dating site, be careful of individuals you’ve just met who want to immediately leave the site and move to personal email or Instant Messaging (IM) communication. Be particularly vigilant if the talk turns to personal financial problems that require your help. Never give personal or financial information such as account numbers or credit card numbers.
“A Stranger in Need” Scam
What is it?: Someone you don’t know well or just recently met tells you that she doesn’t have a bank account and the bank won’t cash her check. Could you deposit the check into your account and give her the cash? She’ll give you $20 from the check for your trouble.
Tips: Always be suspicious of anyone who needs you to cash a check on his or her behalf. Remember that you will ultimately be responsible for the full amount of the check and any associated fees if it is returned unpaid by the bank.
Work-at-Home / Work-out-of-the-Home Scam
What is it?: You respond to an email with a work-at-home employment offer. The employer sends a check with your first month’s salary and money to purchase the supplies you will need to complete the work. The employer asks you to deposit your paycheck but wire a portion of this first check to another account to cover the cost of your “one-time certification” and the training materials that will arrive next week.
Tips: Offers to perform minimal work from home for a lot of money are typically scams. No legitimate work-at-home company sends its workers money in advance and asks them to send a portion to a third party via wire transfer or any other means. Do not accept any work-at-home opportunities that involve processing checks or electronic payments through your personal account.
Mystery Shopping Scam
What is it?: You answer an advertisement about an opportunity to earn money by being a mystery shopper (anonymously visiting businesses to evaluate their services). In a few days, you receive a package containing instructions and evaluation forms for your first mystery shopping assignment. You also receive a check that includes both your salary and the cash you will use in your mystery shopping assignment. You are instructed to deposit the check to your personal account and withdraw cash to take to the local office of a well-known money transfer service. You will wire this money to another bank account so that you can evaluate the office’s customer service.
Tips: You should not wire money as part of a mystery shopping assignment. No legitimate mystery shopping company sends its shoppers money in advance and asks them to return a portion via wire transfer or any other means. A database of actual mystery shopping companies and assignments is provided by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA).
What is it?: You are selling an item via an online auction. The winning bidder mails a cashier’s check for more than the final sales amount. The buyer indicates that this was a simple mistake. To save time and trouble, he asks you to go ahead and deposit the full amount but wire him the difference.
Tips: If you are selling an item or renting property, never accept a check for more than the purchase or rental amount. Scammers can make fraudulent cashier’s checks look authentic and hope unsuspecting sellers trust that the cashier’s check is legitimate.
What is it?: You receive a telephone call from what seems to be a legitimate company. There are problems with your account and the company simply needs to verify some information. The caller seems to already have information about you so you feel comfortable sharing confidential information, such as your account number or birth date, to help the company correct the problems with your service.
Tips: Be particularly suspicious of service calls you did not initiate. If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that you did not initiate, ask for the purpose of the call and immediately end the call. Then, contact the company using legitimate sources such as contact phone numbers found on the company’s website or your account statements.
How to Protect Your Identity
When it comes to keeping your personal and financial information safe, it’s important to be proactive. Follow these tips to help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
Identity Protection Tips
Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card and unused credits cards at home in a safe and secure location.
Do not provide your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.
Make photocopies (front and back) of vital information you carry regularly and store them in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box. Then, if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, you have contact information and account numbers readily available.
If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up or ask for the purpose of the call. Then contact the company using legitimate sources, such as contact phone numbers found on the company’s website, your bank statements, and those listed on your ATM, debit or credit card.
Never provide payment or personally identifying information on a call that you did not initiate.
Shred documents containing personal or financial information before discarding. Many fraud and identity theft incidents happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
Review your credit report at least once a year to look for suspicious or unknown transactions. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. Get a copy at any time directly from:
Equifax: 1.800.685.1111 or www.equifax.com
Experian: 1.888.397.3742 or www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1.800.916.8800 or www.transunion.com
Promptly retrieve incoming mail and place outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox, instead of your home mailbox, to reduce the chance of mail theft. Consider paperless options for your bills and financial statements.
Know your billing and statement cycles. Contact the company’s or Bank’s customer service department if you stop receiving your regular bill or statement.
Protect Your Accounts
There are many steps you can take to secure your checking, credit card, and debit card accounts. These tips can help get you started.
Checking Account Security Tips:
- Report lost or stolen cards and checks immediately.
- Review account statements carefully. Regular account review helps to quickly detect and stop fraudulent activity. Ask about suspicious charges.
- With BankNewport's Digital Banking, Mobile Banking and/or Account Alerts you can monitor your account online at any time and as frequently as you like.
- Store new and cancelled checks in a safe and secure location.
- Carry your checkbook with you only when necessary.
- Do not send your account information via email, as it is typically not secure.
- Do not give out your account information over the phone unless you are the one to initiate the call.
Credit Card and Debit Card Security Tips:
- Always keep your credit or debit card in a safe and secure place. Treat it as you would cash or checks. Contact BankNewport immediately at 845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area (select option 6 if calling after hours) if your card is lost or stolen, or if you suspect unauthorized use.
- Do not send your card number through email, as it is typically not secure.
- Do not give out your card number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Regularly review your account statements as soon as you receive them to verify transactions. Contact BankNewport immediately if you identify any discrepancies.
- If you have forgotten your PIN or would like to select a new one, please visit your nearest BankNewport location.
- When selecting a PIN, don’t use a number or word that appears in your wallet, such as name, birth date, or phone number.
- Ensure no one sees your PIN when you enter it. Memorize your PIN. Don’t write it down anywhere, especially on your card, and never share it with anyone.
- Cancel and cut up unused credit and other cards. If you receive a replacement card, destroy your old card.
- Safe-keep or securely dispose of your transaction receipts.
Debit Card Travel Tips:
- From time to time BankNewport may block certain geographic areas in response to increased fraudulent activity. If you’re planning to travel call us at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area.
- Debit Cards often give you a better exchange rate then you’ll receive at currency exchange bureaus.
- Find out your daily withdrawal limit before you leave, or ask to have it increased.
- Some foreign ATMs are available only during normal business hours.
- Withdraw enough cash to cover expenses should you travel to small towns. Many do not have ATMs.
- Most foreign ATMs only permit transactions involving your primary linked account.
- Put your money and your card away immediately after making a withdrawal. Count your money later, out of public view.
How to Be Safe Online and On Your Mobile Device
Whether you’re sending emails, shopping online, using social media, or just surfing the Web, it’s important to keep your account information and identity secure. Follow these tips to avoid compromising your information.
Online Security Tips:
- Do not use your Social Security number as a username or password.
- Change your usernames and passwords regularly and use combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters such as # and @. Do not use your BankNewport credentials for other online accounts.
- Always log off from any website after a purchase transaction is made with your credit or debit card. If you cannot log off, shut down your browser to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
- Protect your online passwords. Don’t write them down or share them with anyone.
- Protect your answers to security questions. Do not write down or share your answers with anyone. BankNewport will never ask you to provide answers to security questions via email.
- Use secure websites for transactions and shopping. Shop with merchants you trust. Make sure internet purchases are secured with encryption to protect your account. Look for secure transaction signs like a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your browser or “https” in the address bar.
- Social media is increasingly popular, but it's a good idea to keep certain personal information private. Avoid sharing personal details that are used by financial institutions to identify you, such as your birthdate, home address, mother’s maiden name, schools attended/mascots and pet’s name. Fraudsters may use this type of information to help gain access to an account since they are common answers to security questions.
- Always carefully review the privacy options for any social network you join. The privacy options and tools for social networks can be complex and should be reviewed carefully so that there is no disclosure of information you meant to remain private.
Email Security Tips:
- At BankNewport, we are committed to your privacy and the security of your account information. Although we may send you an email from time to time to inform you about new site features and important updates, BankNewport will never email you to ask for verification or updating of sensitive information such as account numbers, PIN Numbers, usernames, passwords, or Social Security numbers.
- If you receive a suspicious email asking for sensitive BankNewport account information, do not reply and do not click any of the links inside the message.
- Please forward a copy of the email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and immediately contact Customer Service at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area.
Mobile Security Tips:
When you use a mobile device for account access, keep these tips in mind.
- Use the screen lock, touch ID/passcode biometric feature on your device. These features allow you to protect your device to make it more difficult for someone else to access your information.
- Frequently delete text messages from your financial institution, especially before loaning out, discarding, or selling your mobile device.
- Never disclose via text message, instant messaging, online chat, phone or email your personal or financial information, including account numbers, passwords, Social Security number, or birthdate.
- Avoid storing your banking password or other sensitive information on your smartphone, where it could be discovered if your phone is stolen.
- Be cautious when using public hotspots. Carefully consider your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection settings, even at a trusted retailer, as fraudsters can spoof the name of reputable hotspots.
- Applications are programs you can download to your mobile device. Applications or “apps” that let you monitor your finances and conduct certain transactions are increasing in popularity.
- Download banking applications from reputable sources only to ensure the safety of your account information. Download the BankNewport app by searching “BankNewport” in your phone’s app store, or visit banknewport.com on your phone's browser.
- For your security, sign off when you finish using a BankNewport app rather than just closing it.
Computer Security Tips:
- Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
- Ensure your computer operating system, software, browser version and plug-ins are current. Before downloading an update to your computer program, first go to the company’s website to confirm the update is legitimate.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer and keep antivirus software installed and updated.
- Be wary of conducting online banking activities on computers that are shared by others. Public computers should be used with caution. Online banking activities and viewing or downloading documents (statements, etc.) should be conducted, when possible, on a computer you know to be safe and secure.
- Configure your devices to prevent unauthorized users from remotely accessing your devices or home network. For example, if you use a home wireless router for your home internet connection, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to configure the router with appropriate security settings.
What to Do If You Become a Victim
If you think you might be a victim of one of these scams or suspect fraudulent activity on your BankNewport account, follow these steps:
- Research the source thoroughly.
- Ask for help from a BankNewport employee at any branch location. Let us know that you have a concern about a check before you make a deposit.
- Call Customer Service at 401.845.2265 or 877.709.2265 outside the Newport County area (select option #6).
- Contact your local law enforcement office.
All of the suggestions, tips and guidance provided in the above sections are for informational purposes only. They are general guidelines provided to assist fraud victims in understanding some of the steps they may take to help protect their personal and financial interests. The suggestions are not all-inclusive and should not be considered nor interpreted as legal, accounting, and financial or technical advice. You may wish to consult your attorney, accountant or other advisor for specific advice, guidance or recommendations concerning this topic.