Alerts & Notices

With scammers becoming more sophisticated, you’re the first line of defense for preventing scams.

By recognizing these three common tactics, you can protect yourself and your money.

Compromising business email: Scammers can impersonate a company official to request a change for your account by email or text. Don’t call the number provided in the message. Instead, find the company’s official number from a trusted source and validate that the request is legitimate.


Impersonating a Colonial Federal associate: Some scammers will pose as Colonial Federal and use email, phone or text to request your personal information or to transfer money. When in doubt, ignore the message and call us at the number listed on the back of your debit card or bank statement.



Gaining remote access: Scammers claiming to be from well-known companies can try to gain remote access to your personal devices. If an associate from one of these companies cold calls you claiming they can fix an unknown issue, ignore the call and contact the company directly. Be sure to use a phone number from a trusted source.


 

We want to help protect you from scammers that attempt to impersonate Amazon or other well-known merchants. Remember these important clues so that you can identify scams and keep your account and information safe:

  1. Never feel pressured to give information (such as your credit card number or account password) over the phone, especially if the call was unexpected. Scammers may try to use calls, texts, and emails to impersonate Amazon customer service. If you're ever unsure, it's safest to end the call/chat and reach out directly to customer support through the Amazon app or website.
  2. Never pay over the phone. Amazon will never ask you to provide payment information, including gift cards (or “verification cards”, as some scammers call them) for products or services over the phone. 
  3. Trust Amazon-owned channels. Always go through the Amazon mobile app or website when seeking customer support or when looking to make changes to your account.
  4. Be wary of false urgency. Scammers may try to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to do what they're asking. Be wary any time someone tries to convince you that you must act now.


 Cybersecurity advice to protect your connected devices and accounts

For so many of us, cell phones and computers are embedded in our personal and professional lives. We talk and text, we browse the web, we watch, and we create. Our devices store a lot of personal information, so it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to make sure your computer, phone, and other connected devices are protected.

Update your software

Software developers release updates — to software, operating systems, and internet browsers — to patch vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. Some programs are pre-set to update automatically.

Check your settings and turn on automatic updates to keep up with the latest protections against security threats.

If your software is not set to update automatically, you’ll have to update it manually.

The same principles apply for your phone: set it to update automatically. Otherwise, keep an eye out for updates, and don’t delay in running them.

Update your apps, too.

Protect your accounts

Besides securing your devices, protect your accounts. Start with strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication.

When it comes to passwords, longer is stronger: at least 12 characters. You could use a passphrase of random words to help you remember it — but avoid common words or phrases. If your username and password are leaked in a breach, having multi-factor authentication enabled will make it harder for a scammer to get into your account. For more, check out this password checklist.

Back up important data

As an extra precaution, back up your important data. Save your files to an external storage device, like a USB flash drive or an external hard drive. Also, save your information with an online cloud storage service.



Mobile payment apps

Using Mobile payments apps such as Venmo, Zelle, Paypal etc. is the new quick and convenient way to get and send cash. Scammers are aware of how popular they have become and are trying to trick you and your contacts. Make sure you know who is on the receiving end before using these services.

Here are some tips to protect yourself:
  • Never send money to anyone you don't know
  • When you use and app for the first time, it will usually ask permission to access information on your device (contacts) to make these payments easier. If you are not comfortable with that, deny access or uninstall the app.
  • Keep and eye on your account through your statement or online banking.  

 

Keeping yourself secure:

Some tips to help you shop wisely and protect your personal information. 

  • Use Caution when browsing the internet, shopping online, and using email. Don't click on ads or popups, go directly to the merchant site by typing in the URL.
  • Do not use public Wi-fi connections for any financial apps or online accounts.
  • Setup alerts on your card and bank accounts, for transaction activity and thresholds. 
  • Enable locations and device required settings for debit cards, that way your card can't be used unless your phone/device is with the card.
  • Don't fall victim to phishing scams, think before you click!
  • Make purchases from known sellers.
  • An email that appears to be from a legitimate retailer might be difficult to resist. If the deal looks to good to be true, or the link in the email seem suspicious, do not click on it.
  • Contact your financial institution immediately if you feel your account and personal information may have been compromised. 

As always Think Before You Click.
 

Social Security Scam:

Social Security Numbers do not get suspended. This is just a scam that's after your SSN, bank account number or other personal information. In this particular scam the caller pretends to be protecting you from a scam while he's trying to lure you into one.

Tips to protect yourselves:

  • Never give our or confirm personal information over the phone, via email or on a website unless you are sure of the person asking you.
  • Do not trust a name, phone number, or email address just because it seems to be connected with the government.
  • Check with the Social Security Administration-Call them directly at 1-800-772-1213 if you come across one of these scams. 
  • Contact government agencies directly, using telephone numbers and website addresses you know to be legitimate.
  • If someone has tried to steal your personal information by pretending to be from the government, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

 

Home Network Security:

The US-CERT advises home users to update their software regularly, remove unnecessary services and software, install a network firewall, and create strong, unique network passwords to decrease their risk to cyberattacks.

 

Meltdown and Spectre

Researchers have recently found out that the main chip in most computers has a hardware bug. It's a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for 20 years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer, phone, tablet etc. 
This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they can get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents. Not good. 

Make Sure your Browser and other computer updates are patched to the latest version. Be extra vigilant and as always Think Before You Click!

Publishers Clearing House Scams:

We are all familiar with Publishers Clearing House knocking on someone's door, congratulating you for your winnings and handing you a check for millions. The FTC has released a statement that warns you about possible scams involving Publishers Clearing House. Scammers are pretending to be them and tricking people into sending money.

There have been many reports about scammers calling and claiming you have won the sweepstakes, but they will need you to send money for "fees and taxes". 

Paying to collect a prize is a scam. Always is. Scammers like to ask you to send money by Western Union or MoneyGram or by getting a prepaid card or gift card. Why? because it is nearly impossible to trace that money and you will almost never get your money back.

If you think you have won a prize, here are a few things to know:

  • No Legit prize is promoter will ever charge you to win.
  • If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up and report it to the FTC.
  • Never send money to collect a prize. Its a scam
  • Publisher's Clearing House does not call ahead to say you have won.

if you or someone you know believes they have been victim of a scam, please report it to your institution, 


Google Docs Phishing Campaign

A Phishing campaign Involving Google emails accounts and Docs, is concerning and you need to Envelope iconproceed with caution. The emails appear to be a legitimate Google user inviting you to view a document or file. It is actually authorizing authentication to a malicious party to harvest your credentials.

When it comes to this scam, before clicking on the "Open" or "View" take these steps into consideration:

  1.  Are you expecting email from this user, more specifically a document?
  2. Is this coming from a legitimate person?
  3. Does the Document have misspelled words/bad grammar within the subject line or the body
  4. Be careful when clicking directly on links in emails, even if the sender appears to be known; attempt to verify web addresses independently
  5. Exercise caution when opening email attachments. Be particularly wary of compressed or ZIP file attachments.
  6. Before clicking on any e-mail please make sure you know who the sender is. As Always think before you click and be cautious.


Fake Check Scams

Scammers know how to make a phony check look legitimate. Fake Checks are known as one of the most popular scams and one of the most risky ones. Fake check scams come in many different ways. Look out for fake jobs, Prizes, online sales or even the person next door handing you a check. Money orders and cashier's checks can be counterfeited too.

Here is how to avoid a counterfeit check scam;

  • Throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift. If its free or a gift, you shouldn't have to pay for it. Free is Free.
  • Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. It's illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery solicitations are phony.
  • Know you you are dealing with, and never wire money to strangers.
  • If you are selling something, do not accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story is. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to sent the correct amount, return the check. Do not sent the merchandise.
  • If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that is not possible, call the bank where the check was issued and ask if its valid. 
  • If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers do not pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there is a problem with a wire transaction.
  • Resist any pressure to "act now". If the buyer's offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.



Safe and Secure Online-Seniors 

Learn how to be safe and secure while connecting with friends and family in this new digital age.

  • Always think before you click.
  • Make sure you keep your computer and software updated. 
  • Create Strong and unique passwords.
  • Do not post sensitive information on social media sites.
  • Know who you are speaking and connecting with.
  • It is better to question what you see in e-mails and pop-ups.
  • Be mindful of email and phone call fraud attempts. 
  • Like always "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is"

Security Education


 

Visit Colonial Federal's Privacy & Security page for security tips and your responsibilities.