March 28, 2019
An Important Security / Scam Alert shared from the Blackstone Police Dept.
There are disreputable companies and individuals scamming shoppers. Be assured that these practices have nothing to do with our company. Some charge a fee for information on becoming a shopper. Secret Shopper does not and has never charged a shopper to affiliate with us. If you have paid someone for information or to sign up, your first step might be to check your statement for whatever account was charged. The correct name of the company is often listed there, and your financial institution may be able to help you put a stop to the charges.
One of the more serious scams involves someone claiming to be with a legitimate company such as Secret Shopper and sending out large counterfeit cashier's checks or money orders. The shopper is told to cash it and wire the majority of the funds via MoneyGram or Western Union, then keep the rest as their 'pay' for the shop. Don't be fooled by these scams! By the time you find out that the check is not legitimate, you are out the money you sent and will be held accountable for the bounced check by your financial institution.
Another scam involves someone texting mobile phones claiming to be with a legitimate company such as Secret Shopper and asking for either money or personal information. Secret Shopper does not send unsolicited text messages to individuals. Contact your local law enforcement agency if you receive one of these texts.
Unfortunately, these fraudulent companies use various names or web addresses of reputable companies like ours in their ads and emails. Some scammers even use email addresses or websites which spoof those of legitimate companies. Our website address is https://www.secretshopper.com. If you are directed to a website claiming to be Secret Shopper but with a different address, it is NOT our website. We also do not solicit people to sign up with us via email. The only way to apply to shop with us is on our website.
Suggested steps to take if you have been scammed:
- Contact your local police department to file a report.
- File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at the ic3.
Useful links for more information on mystery shopping and scams:
- FTC Money Wiring Scams
- FTC Mystery Shopping Scams
- You may also wish to visit the Mystery Shopping Provider's Association (MSPA) website at MSPA shoppers for a list of reputable mystery shopping companies.
March 8, 2019
Getting calls from the SSA?
Probably not. At least, not from the real SSA. But how many of you have gotten calls from someone who said they were the Social Security Administration? And maybe showed the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) or a number close to it on your caller ID? Lots, right?
We’ve seen a spike in the number of people reporting those fake SSA calls to us. Since January 2018, we’ve gotten more than 63,000 reports of this scam. Three percent of those people reported a loss – and they lost $16.6 million (with a median loss of $1,484).
You can hear what the scam sounds like here. The caller usually says your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, he says your bank account is about to be seized – but if you go put your money on gift cards and then give him the codes, SSA can help keep it safe. (Of course, you never want to do that, because then your money is just gone.)
To report this scam, go to ftc.gov/complaint. But if you already gave one of these callers your SSN and you're worried about identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov/ssa. And if you get one of these calls, remember:
- Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. Your bank account is not about to be seized.
- The real SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards.
- You can’t believe the numbers on your caller ID. Scammers can easily fake those. But if you’re worried, call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213. You can trust that number if you dial it yourself – just not on your caller ID.
- Never give your SSN, credit card or bank account number to anyone who contacts you. Ever.
December 4, 2018
Please take a moment to make yourself aware of an important update from the Federal Trade Commission related to the Marriott Corporation's recent, massive data breach. The report includes a very helpful (and brief) video:
November 20, 2018
Please take a moment to make yourself aware of two important updates, one from the Dept. of Homeland Security and the other from the FDIC:
National Cyber Awareness System:
Original release date: November 19, 2018
As the holidays approach, NCCIC reminds users to be aware of seasonal scams and malware campaigns. Users should be cautious of unsolicited emails that contain malicious links or attachments with malware, advertisements infected with malware, and requests for donations from fraudulent charitable organizations, which could result in security breaches, identify theft, or financial loss.
NCCIC recommends the following actions:
- Use caution when browsing the internet, shopping online, and using email.
- Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails. See Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information.
- Be wary of fraudulent social media pleas, calls, texts, websites, and door-to-door solicitations for donations to charities. See How to Donate Wisely and Avoid Charity Scams for more information.
If you believe you are a victim of a scam or malware campaign, consider the following actions:
- Contact your financial institution immediately, and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account. See Preventing and Responding to Identity Theft for more information.
- Immediately change any passwords you might have revealed. Avoid reusing passwords. See Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information.
- Report the attack to the police, and file reports with the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
FDIC Consumer news :
During the holiday season, we tend to make a lot more purchases online for travel and gifts, so it’s especially important to be vigilant about protecting your money. Here are some of the most common scams to watch for:
• • Fake Websites and Apps.
• • Email Links.
• • Making Payments on Unsecure Sites.
• • Using Public Wi-Fi to Shop or Access Sensitive Information
• • Package Delivery Confirmation Scams
Don’t let these scams dampen your holiday spirits. Instead, here are precautions you can take to protect your money while shopping online:
• • In general, always use difficult-to-guess, unique passwords on every account.
• • If you’re using shopping apps, focus only on official retailer apps found on the retailer’s website or a reputable app marketplace, which offer stronger security.
• • Never provide your credit card information unless you are on a secure site, showing “https” at the beginning of the URL and the lock symbol.
• • Think about implementing two factor authentication on your accounts. Two factor authentication requires you to provide two pieces of evidence when logging into an account. It presents an extra layer of security to make it more difficult for someone who isn’t you to log into your account. For more information, visit National Institute of Standards and Technology Multi Factor Authentication.
• • Monitor credit card bills and bank statements as well as app and other online transactions for unauthorized purchases or withdrawals. Immediately contact your bank if you see anything suspicious. In addition, you may want to consider signing up for alert services. Many credit card issuers, banks, and mobile app providers offer services that notify you about certain account activities, such as recent logins from unrecognized devices.
November 8, 2018
Protect yourself! Don't be fooled by the recent increase in "Mystery Shopper" and "Robo Call" scams affecting our immediate area.
We've been made aware of customers receiving phone calls with a "Dean Bank" number. When the customer answers, it's not the bank but an attempt to defraud customers via obtaining their banking information or other related info. Don't fall for it. This is called "Spoofing". It's when a fraudulent phone number is masked through the use of technology and the person receiving the call sees the call coming from a local number; Dean Bank's number in this case. Please be advised...Dean Bank NEVER makes such types of phone calls asking for your personal information or offering credit cards, etc. If you get such a call, simply hang up. If you're concerned, call the bank personally and ask us before you provide any personal financial information.
As for the increase in Mystery Shopper scams:
“We’ve been hearing a lot about it lately,” Emma Fletcher of the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education wrote in an online consumer advisory.
“Here’s how it starts. You get a check in the mail with a job offer as a secret shopper. You deposit the check and see the funds in your account a few days later, and the bank even tells you the check has cleared.
“Now you’re off to the store you’ve been asked to shop at and report back on, often a Walmart. Your first assignment is to test the in-store money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram, by sending some of the money you deposited. Or you might be told to use the money to buy reloadable cards or gift cards, such as iTunes cards. You’re instructed to send pictures of the cards or to give the numbers on the cards.
“Fast-forward days or weeks to the unhappy ending. The bank finds out the check you deposited is a fake, which means you’re on the hook for all that money.
Banks make money available from deposited checks in a few days, but a fake check can take weeks to be discovered. “By the time you try to get the money back from the money transfer service, the scammers are long gone, and they’ve taken all the money off the gift cards, too,” Fletcher advised.
The lesson: “If anyone ever asks you to deposit a check and then wire or send money in any way, you can bet it’s a scam.”
How to Protect Yourself
Your privacy and security are always on our mind at Dean Bank. With our own security infrastructure in place, we are confident that access to your accounts is private and secure; we are unable to provide similar assurances for other websites. While we work to protect your banking privacy, you also play a role in protecting your accounts. Only provide your Access ID or Online ID when your browser shows a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection (such as the "locked padlock" icon) directly to the Dean Bank Online/Mobile website or to another site you have investigated and fully trust. You should also have an up-to-date version of anti-virus software and use it before opening attachments to protect yourself against potentially damaging computer viruses.
Our staff WILL NEVER ask you for your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your ATM card or Dean Bank MasterCard® Debit & ATM card or your Dean Bank Online Banking Password. If you are asked for this information by anyone, please call 508-528-0088 immediately and report it to Deposit Operations.
How to Protect:
- Kids and Teens Online
- Personal Information
- Business Information
- ATM and Debit Cards
- Yourself at the ATM
- Against “Phishing” or Email Fraud
- Yourself from Telephone Fraud
- Your Electronic Devices and Online Information