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Wherever you are, wherever you go, Home Federal Bank is Always Within Reach. With locations in Tennessee and Kentucky, we're your hometown bank that understands the needs of our communities. Visit one of our branches in Middlesboro KY, Harlan KY, Harrogate TN, Jacksboro TN and New Tazewell TN and let our Personal Bankers help you with your banking needs.

Cyber Security Awareness Month

Fraud schemes and cyber breaches are on the rise.  It seems like every day we hear on the news or read about the latest scam or breach. Criminals use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year.  This makes it more important than ever, that we are all diligently protecting our information.  At Home Federal we take this responsibility very seriously, from properly identifying customers, to protecting their information. 

Today, criminals often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. They add new twists to old schemes and pressure people to make important decisions on the spot or to provide personal information.

Here are three of the most common scams being used today and the use of these grows daily: 

 

The Sweetheart Scam:

The sweetheart scam begins when the criminal forms a relationship with the victim via an online dating site, social network, over the phone and even times in person.  Once winning the confidence of the victim, the scammer asks for online banking access, using a sob story or simply asking for help (e.g. needing to pay a business for goods received).  In some cases, instead of providing access to an existing account, the victim opens a new account.  The criminal sets up mobile banking, or uses the victims existing user name and password for the account, and then uses remote deposit capture to make a deposit into the victim’s account, often using stolen, counterfeit, or cashier’s checks.

The criminal then uses online banking to check the account to see when the deposit has been posted.  Once the check has cleared, there are usually three ways the criminal gets the money out

  • The criminal uses online banking to initiate a wire or to transfer funds into one of his existing accounts at another financial institution.
  • The criminal asks the victim to send him the deposited money by cashing out and then using a third party money transfer service, like bill pay.
  • The criminal asks the victim to send him a debit card, enabling the scammer to cash out at an ATM. 

 

Fake Online Payday Lenders:

This scam starts with a person signing up to receive a payday loan from an online vendor.  A fraudster, posing as an online payday lender, tells the applicant that in order to receive a loan he must demonstrate “good faith.”  This “demonstration” starts with enrolling in online banking and then providing the fake payday vendor the online banking user name and password. 

The fraudster then uses the online banking credential to enroll the victim in mobile banking, or uses the victims existing user name and password, and subsequently uses remote deposit capture to deposit checks into the account.  The victim is then instructed to go to the bank, withdraw the funds and send the money back to the payday loan company through a third party money transfer service.  By demonstrating this “ability to pay” the victim will then supposedly receive his or her payday loan.

It comes as no surprise that the deposited checks are fraudulent, the money is gone, and the victimized account holder is unable to repay considering the victim was seeking a payday loan in the first place.

 

Disaster Assistance Scam:

Disasters bring out the best in people, wanting to help, but as always, criminals follow the money and use people’s generosity against them.  Criminals setup fake online donation sites asking for money for disaster victims.  Additionally individuals may ask for money to help get friends or relatives out of disaster areas.  There are even those criminals that prey on disaster victims with scams to help clean-up or assist in relocation.  Unfortunately, in all of these scams, once any money is received the scammer is never seen again and no victims receive any assistance.

 

Protect Yourself!

As these scams indicate, never ever provide your user ID and password to others.  Learn more about Fraud Alerts and Phishing scams on our Security and Privacy Page.  Protect your personal information as well.  Do not donate or pay for services, without verify the recipient.  For more information on how to protect yourself on-line, Click here for a copy of our Staying Safe Online Best Practices.  You can also visit our News page for Ways to Keep Your Money Safe.  

 

Identity Theft

If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft, download our free ID Theft Kit.   

 

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