Category Archives: Security Alerts & Tips

Important security alerts and tips from Alpine Bank.

True or False: Catch Me if You Can

Check Fraud

Starting in 1963, Frank Abagnale began his criminal career. Made famous from the film, Catch Me if You Can, this mastermind of forgery made a name for himself at a young age by impersonating pilots, lawyers, and doctors. Throughout these impersonations, Frank found new and inventive ways to defraud the United States and at least eight other countries. When he was  captured at age 21, he had defrauded multiple nations upwards of $1.3 million dollars. After serving five years of his twelve year federal sentencing, he agreed to work with the FBI to help investigate and proactively protect the United States from further check fraud.

As Frank’s history with the FBI began to grow, he started to share the distinctive patterns and signatures behind the best of check fraud criminals. See if you can determine which of these check fraud facts are true and which are just cinematic magic:

True or False? Big corporations such as Panam had a much higher risk of check fraud than small mom and pop shops.

FALSE:  Although Panam was depicted as the start of Frank’s larger check fraud scheme, large scale business models face less risk than most small businesses. Did you know one in four businesses have fell victim to fraud? While larger companies have internal security and protective insurances for such instances, most local businesses rely on their employees and their customers to ensure an honest and accurate transaction.

True or False? Paper check forgery still is prominent today.

TRUE: With small businesses as the largest targets, paper check fraud is still a relevant issue, even today. Often times, the culprit can be employees who write a business check to themselves. Other instances can be a vendor who is able to alter the ink on the check to reflect an amount that they would prefer. While there are many additional cyber fraud crimes possible today, the threat of a paper check fraud is still imminent.

True or False? This movie largely encourages check fraud and teaches criminals how to hone their craft.

FALSE: While this movie does display many techniques in producing fraudulent checks, the premier intention of the film is to educate both banks and businesses in what to look for concerning false checks. There are many simple markers and signs that a check may be a fake, and while the storyline depicts the various lifestyle choices of a criminal, it reveals in the end, that Frank Abagnale began to help the FBI identify these markers to prevent future check fraud.

What to look for in fradulent checks straight from Frank Abagnale:

  • Keep any checks, deposit slips, or check re-orders under lock and key in a secure location. Many times those close to your business are the culprits in a check fraud crime.
  • Use Remote Deposit Capture from Alpine Bank. This service ensures that the check is treated just like a debit. If there are no funds in this account or it represents a false account, you will know as soon as the transaction completes.
  • When receiving a check in a transaction, scan the check to make sure it has a perforated edge, marking where it was torn from the checkbook.
  • Never cash a check you are unsure of. If something does not seem right, it is always safer to ask for further identity verification, or simply deny their request to cash the check.

If you’re curious how to keep your small business secure against check fraud, come by Alpine Bank today and speak with one of our local commercial lenders.

Scam Calls and Emails Using IRS as Bait Persist

Scam AlertScams using the IRS as a lure continue. They take many different forms. The most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity too.

Be wary if you get an out-of-the-blue phone call or automated message from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Sometimes they say you owe money and must pay right away. Other times they say you are owed a refund and ask for your bank account information over the phone. Don’t fall for it. Here are several tips that will help you avoid becoming a scam victim.

The real IRS will NOT:

  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand tax payment and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
  • Threaten you with a lawsuit.

If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
  • You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.

If you think you may owe taxes:

  • Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.

In most cases, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, bogus email that claims to come from the IRS. They often use fake refunds, phony tax bills, or threats of an audit. Some emails link to sham websites that look real.  The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If they get what they’re after, they use it to steal a victim’s money and their identity.

If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Additional IRS Resources:

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Podcasts:

IRS ID Theft FAQ – Going After the Bad GuysEnglish | Spanish

 

(This article is courtesy of irs.gov)

Avoid Cyber Monsters During Cyber Security Month

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Goblins and ghouls may rule October, but there is a scarier threat out there than kids in costumes. Cyberattacks have the potential to throw a wrench to both your finances and your life.

October is Cyber Security Month, so there is no better time to assess your cyber security vulnerabilities than now. Whether you are lacking in protecting your home or laptop computer, or you just need to be more aware of what systems pose a threat, the following tips can help you stay more secure.

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Notice: Apple App Users

SecurityIcon_286Over the last couple of days, there have been media reports about  known “malicious software” from the App Store.  Apple has been vigilent in removing these known apps.  As most of these malicious apps are from outside the United States, Alpine Bank Mobile Banking App was not affected.

Because of the discovery of these apps, Apple recommends that all Apple users update their current apps to the latest version, to negate further risks from these apps.

We encourage you to learn more on this subject, by reading 9to5mac.com’s current article.

Alpine Bank Community Shred Day Coming to Roscoe

iStock_000002827290LargeAlpine Bank and Paper Recovery Service Corporation, a secure shredding solutions company, are partnering together again to hold Alpine Bank’s annual fall Community Shred Day on Saturday, September 12, 2015, from 9 a.m. to Noon in the parking lot of Alpine Bank’s Roscoe Branch at 5023 Rockrose Court, in Roscoe. This will be the first time since 2011 that  Alpine Bank has held a shred day at this location.

Alpine Bank Community Shred Day is a FREE event open to the entire community. Attendees will be able to drop off their documents at the “shredding drive-thru” and watch Paper Recover shred them during the event on site free of charge – all without leaving the comforts of their vehicle.

People are invited to bring a maximum of 2 boxes of the following materials to be shredded: clean paper of any color, file folders of any color, papers containing staples, paper clips, rubber bands, and/or small binders. Materials that cannot be shredded include: trash, cardboard, telephone books, hardcover books, hanging folders, 3-ring binders, lever-arch binders, and any plastics, including computer disks, CDs, DVDs, VCR tapes, ID badges, x-rays, transparencies, etc.

Nearly 9 million people are affected by identity theft each year.  According to the FTC, “Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve.”  With over 4 million tons of junk mail received by Americans each year, there are millions of documents which contain your personal information.  In addition, most Americans still receive paper documents for bank accounts, utility bills, credit cards, etc.  When these documents are discarded, the risk of having your information stolen by a “dumpster diver” drastically increases.  By taking steps, such as shredding to protect yourself, you can potentially lessen this threat.

Alpine Bank hosts two Community Shred Days each year – one in the spring and one in the fall.

For more information about protecting your self from identity theft, visit https://www.bankalpine.com/security-privacy.

About Paper Recovery Service Corporation
Based in Loves Park, IL, Paper Recovery Service Corporation provides solutions from secure document destruction to recycling for businesses in manufacturing, retail, or professional services.

Protecting Yourself While Traveling with Debit & Credit Cards

Practicing safe debit and credit card habits can help protect you and your family from theft and fraud while on vacation.

Practicing safe debit and credit card habits can help protect you and your family from theft and fraud while on vacation.

 

Summer is a popular time to take a vacation and travel to new places.  Since traveler’s checks have become a thing of the past, the easiest way to bring cash on your vacation is by using a credit or debit card.  Although using plastic is more convenient while on your vacation, the risk of theft or loss can often be greater.

Whether you are traveling a few hours away or planning a major trip through Europe, Alpine Bank wants you to know how to travel safely with your credit and debit cards.

  • Contact your bank before you leave to let them know you will be traveling with your credit or debit card.  It is important to include where you will be going as well as how long.  If you don’t let us know this information, we may suspect the activity on your account is theft, not you having fun on your vacation!
  • Always keep your credit/debit card in a safe compartment. Whether you are staying within the country or going overseas, always keep your card in a secure bag or wallet.  Invest in a quality bag/wallet that can be zipped shut, or a front pocket wallet for extra protection against pickpockets.
  • Set up a travel specific account with your bank.  It might be beneficial to have a special travel card set up to a separate travel account, in case of an unfortunate theft or loss while on vacation.  A travel account would minimize your risk of total loss.

While on vacation, you should be relaxing and having fun!  Properly preparing your credit/debit cards will help you have the vacation that you deserve this summer.  As always, Alpine Bank is here for you if you have any more questions about traveling safely with credit and debit cards.

Feel free to give us a call or stop in any time!

 

Alpine Bank

Member FDIC

Equal Housing Lender

URGENT: Beware of Phishing Emails

It has recently come to our attention that several phishing emails are being circulated.  A sample of one of the emails is seen below.  If you receive one of these emails, DO NOT click on any links or open any attachments. DELETE immediately. If you have clicked on any links, please contact your IT department or provider.

These emails are not specific to Alpine Bank customers.  Reports from many institutions have surfaced.  The safety of our community is important to us.  If you have any questions on these types of emails, please feel free to contact our Electronic Banking Department at 815-398-6500.

For more information on Online Security visit www.bankalpine.com/security-privacy/online-mobile-banking.

Spam

 

(Click on image to enlarge.)       

Community Shred Day Scheduled for Sat., September 20th

iStock_000002827290LargeAlpine Bank and Paper Recovery Service Corporation, a secure shredding solutions company, are partnering together again to hold Alpine Bank’s annual fall Community Shred Day on Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 9 a.m. to Noon in the parking lot of Alpine Bank’s Belvidere Downtown Branch at 600 South State Street, in Belvidere. Alpine Bank Community Shred Day is a FREE event open to the entire community. Attendees, without leaving the comforts of their vehicles, will be able to drop off their documents at the “shredding drive-thru” and watch Paper Recover shred them during the event on site free of charge.

People are invited to bring a maximum of 2 boxes of the following materials to be shredded: clean paper of any color, file folders of any color, papers containing staples, paper clips, rubber bands, and/or small binders. Materials that cannot be shredded include: trash, cardboard, telephone books, hardcover books, hanging folders, 3-ring binders, lever-arch binders, and any plastics, including computer disks, CDs, DVDs, VCR tapes, ID badges, x-rays, transparencies, etc.

Identity theft continues to be a serious growing crime in the United States. As noted on the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site, nearly 9 million Americans are victims of some form of identity theft each year. Shredding personal documents and information is just one way to avoid becoming a victim. At one of our Community Shred Day events, Alpine Bank shredded a world record, collecting an astounding 253,318 lbs. of shred, which is more than the combined weight of all of the steel parts in the Statue of Liberty.

Alpine Bank hosts two Community Shred Days each year – one in the spring and one in the fall.

More Information
For more information about this Community Shred Day, visit www.bankalpine.com or call 815.398.6500. For more information about identity theft and other important security tips, visit https://www.bankalpine.com/security-privacy.

About Paper Recovery Service Corporation
Based in Loves Park, IL, Paper Recovery Service Corporation provides solutions from secure document destruction to recycling for businesses in manufacturing, retail, or professional services.

 

 

 

 

Attention Users of Trusteer Rapport

Alpine Bank has received notice that IBM Trusteer has become aware of a phishing e-mail campaign targeting IBM Trusteer. The campaign started on May 9, 2014.

The fraudulent e-mails appear to come from Trusteer with the sender’s e-mail address masquerading as support@trusteer.com, an e-mail account that is no longer in use.

These e-mails are part of a spear phishing campaign that uses IBM Trusteer’s brand to distribute a malicious executable file.

The emails are addressed directly to recipients containing their full name and e-mail address. The content of the message requests that recipients run the attached file in order to upgrade their IBM Trusteer Rapport software version.

Please note that IBM Trusteer will not distribute Rapport updates as email attachments.

In response, IBM Trusteer has already begun rolling out an update that will protect users from accidentally opening the malicious file. Further recommendations from IBM Trusteer are as follows:

1.        Users who received this email are requested to delete it immediately.

2.        Users who may have already launched the attached file should be instructed to refrain from Online Banking, and contact Alpine Bank’s eBanking Department at 815.398.6500 or by email at ebanking@bankalpine.com.

The Heartbleed Bug

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There has been a lot of talk about the Heartbleed Bug this past week.  Alpine Bank has been proactive in researching all aspects of www.bankalpine.com to view our vulnerability.  We have run diagnostic tests on our website to insure that it is not at risk to this threat.  We have also asked all of our third party vendors to complete vulnerability risks on their sites.  At this time, there are no known vulnerability threats to any Alpine Bank sites.

We will continue to monitor the situation and if the need arises, we will take the necessary steps to mitigate the threat of this bug.

Learn more about it at www.heartbleed.com.

Learn what you can do at http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/04/heartbleed-bug-what-can-you-do/.

Learn what banks are doing at http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/179_71/ffiec-tells-banks-to-fix-heartbleed-security-risks-asap-1066839-1.html