Security

Identity Theft and Fraud

Fraud comes in many shapes and sizes and unfortunately it's not going away.  Identity thieves are constantly developing new viruses, spyware and online schemes.  It is crucial that you pay attention to your personal security.  Stop identity theft at the source and protect your private data before it is compromised.

Early detection is important in the prevention of identity theft and fraud. Consolidation of records and the regular review of your accounts for unusual activity can help you detect strange activity before things get out of hand. Online banking provides quick access to accounts, so fraudulent activity can be detected virtually on the spot.
 

Fraud Tactics

The goal of the fraudsters is to obtain your personal, confidential and financial information for fraudulent use.  From obtaining your information via discarded mail, to emails that ask you to verify personal information under the guise of a trusted source, like your financial institution, fraudulent activity comes in many different forms. Important note: Peapack-Gladstone Bank will NEVER ask you to verify or provide personal information through email.  Some fraud and identity theft tactics include:
 

  • Dumpster Diving: Thieves literally rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper that includes personal information.

  • Malware: Malicious software is designed to harm, attack or take unauthorized control over a computer system. Malware includes viruses, worms and Trojans, or a combination of all three.

  • Pharming: Pharming takes place when you type in a valid website address and you are illegally redirected to a website that is not legitimate. These fake websites ask for personal information like credit card numbers, bank account information, and Social Security Numbers(SSNs).

  • Phishing: A scam that involves the use of replicas of existing websites to try to deceive you into entering personal, financial or password data. Often suspects use urgency or scare tactics and threaten to close accounts.

  • Pop-Ups: A form of website advertising that appears as a pop-up on a computer screen. Legitimate pop-ups are intended to increase website traffic or capture email addresses. However, sometimes pop-ups are designed with malicious intent like when they appear as a request for personal information from a financial institution. Important note: Peapack-Gladstone Bank DOES NOT use pop-up advertising to request personal information.

  • Spoofing: Spoofing is when an attacker masquerades as someone else by providing false data. Phishing has become the most common form of website spoofing. Another form of spoofing is URL spoofing. This happens when an attacker exploits bugs in your website browser in order to display incorrect URLs in your browser location bar. Another form of spoofing is called man-in-the-middle when an attacker compromises the communication between you and another party on the Internet. Many firewalls can be updated or configured to significantly prevent this type of attack.

  • Spyware: Loaded onto your computer unbeknownst to you, spyware is a type of program that watches what users do and forwards information to someone else. It is most often installed when you download free software on the Internet. hackers have discovered this to be an effective means of sending sensitive information over the Internet. They've also discovered that many free applications that use spyware for marketing purposes can be found on your machine,and they often use this for malicious means.

  • Trojan: A Trojan is malicious code disguised or hidden within another program that appears to be safe. When the program is executed, the Trojan allows attackers to gain unauthorized access to the computer in order to steal information. Trojans commonly spread through email attachments and Internet downloads. A common Trojan component is a keystroke logger which captures a users keystrokes in an attempt to capture the users credentials. It will then send those credentials to the attacker.

  • Virus: A computer virus is a malicious program that attaches itself to, and infects, other software applications and files without the user’s knowledge, disrupting computer operations. Viruses can carry what is known as a “payload,” executable scripts designed to damage, delete or steal information from a computer. A virus is a self-replicating program, meaning it copies itself. Typically, a virus only infects a computer and begins replicating when the user executes the program or opens an “infected” file. Viruses spread from computer to computer when users unknowingly share “infected” files. They are commonly spread when users send emails with infected documents attached. RetroVirus: This virus specifically targets your computer defenses and looks for vulnerabilities within your computer operating system or any third party security software. Most security vendors have some form of tamper-proof measure in place, so it is important to keep your patches up-to-date. Retro Viruses are usually combined with another form of attack.

  • Vishing: Vishing is a type of phishing attack where the attacker uses a local phone number in a fake email as a means of obtaining your sensitive information. The goal is to fool you into believing the email is legitimate by instructing you that responding to the request by using the local phone number is safer than responding by email. Unsuspecting callers are then tricked through an automated phone system to relinquish sensitive information.

  • Worm: A worm is similar to a virus but with an added, dangerous element. Like a virus, a worm can make copies of itself; however, a worm does not need to attach itself to other programs and it does not require a person to send it along to other computers. Worms are powerful malware programs because they cannot only copy themselves; they can also execute and spread themselves rapidly across a network without any help.  


Protecting your Privacy Checklist:

Monitor your regular mail

Don't give out personal information freely

Check your credit report annually

Shred documents containing personal information 



Fraud Protection

Safeguard Your Email.  Email is often a vehicle used to transmit malware and commit fraud. Evaluate your email behaviors and develop good habits to protect your identity:

  

  • Never open or respond to SPAM. Responding to spam only confirms your email address to the spammer, which can actually intensify the problem.

  • Never click on links within an email from an unknown source. It’s safer to retype the website address than to click on it from within the body of the email. 

  • Don't open attachments from strangers. If you do not know the sender or are not expecting the attachment, delete it.

  • Don’t open attachments with odd filename extensions. Most computer files use filename extensions such as “.doc” for documents or “.jpg” for images. If a file has a double extension, like “heythere.doc.pif,” it is highly likely that this is a dangerous file and should never be opened. Do not open email attachments that have file endings of .exe, .pif, or .vbs. These are filename extensions for executable files and can be dangerous if opened.

  • Never give out your email address or other sensitive or personal information to unknown websites. If you don’t know the reputation of a website, don’t assume you can trust it. Many websites sell email addresses or may be careless with your personal information.

  • Never provide sensitive information in email. Forged email purporting to be from your financial institution or favorite online store is a popular trick used by criminals to extract personal information. Again, Peapack-Gladstone Bank will NEVER ask you to verify or provide personal information through email.

  • Don’t believe the hype. Many fraudulent emails send out urgent messages that claim your account will be closed if sensitive information isn’t immediately provided, or that important security information needs to be updated online. Peapack-Gladstone Bank will NEVER use this method to alert you of account specific issues.

  • Be aware of poor design, and/or bad grammar and spelling. Tell-tale signs of a fraudulent email or website might include typos and grammatical errors, as well as unprofessional design layout and quality. Delete these immediately.

  • Backup your sensitive data records. Consider backing up all sensitive files. This will not only help you restore damaged or corrupted data, but it will help you protect yourself against fraud and help recover lost files if necessary.
      

Safeguard Your Identity Online.  In addition to protecting your email, there are a number of guidelines to follow that will help safeguard your identity online.

 

  • Do not allow a website to keep sensitive information or credentials for future convenience.  It is a common practice when registering for access to a website or making a purchase from a website, to be asked if you want to keep your access credentials, credit card number or other sensitive information on file as a matter of convenience. This common request is referred to as “remembering” for future use.

  • Be selective about where you surf. Not all websites are benign. Sites that are engaged in illegal or questionable activities often host damaging software and make users susceptible to aggressive computer attacks.

  • Don’t choose “Remember My Password.” You should never use the “remember password” feature for online banking or transactional websites.

  • Don’t use public computers for sensitive operations. Since you cannot validate the computer’s integrity, there’s a higher risk of fraud when you login from a public computer.

  • Work on a computer you trust. Firewalls, antivirus, anti-spyware and other protection devices help keep a computer properly monitored and provide peace of mind. A good firewall is critical if you commonly access the Internet via a wireless connection. It is also important to keep your computer up-to-date with patches to security tools as well as the operating system and other programs on your computer. Make sure to configure your computer to update all security fixes.

  • Select a strong password. The best password is an undetectable one. Never use birth dates, first names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers, or SSNs. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Be sure to change your passwords regularly. Peapack-Gladstone Bank recommends changing your passwords every 60 days.

  • Use a secure browser. Only use secure website pages when you’re conducting transactions online (look for the locked padlock in the lower left-hand corner of your browser).

  • Sign off, shut down, disconnect. Always sign off or logout from your online banking session or any other website that you’ve logged into using a user ID and password. When a computer is not in use, it should be shut down or disconnected from the Internet.

  • Lock your computer when it is not in use. This helps protect you from unauthorized user access.

  • Beware of shoulder surfing. This is a common tactic that happens in public places such as coffee shops, airports, libraries etc. where an attacker will look over your shoulder when you’re logged in to obtain your sensitive information. Be vigilant and aware of prying eyes.

  • Set up a timeout. The timeout feature is an additional safety check. It can prevent others from continuing your online banking session if you leave your PC unattended without logging out. Set the timeout period under User Options.
     

Reporting Identity Theft and Fraud

If you know, or even think, you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, take immediate action and follow these steps:

 

  • Report the fraudulent activity. If the activity is related to Peapack-Gladstone Bank, please contact us directly. If it is related to another financial institution, your credit card company, or any other organization contact them immediately.

  • Contact one of the three consumer reporting companies and have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. This will help stop thieves from opening any additional accounts in your name. Contact only one of the following (the others are required to contact the remaining two):  Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN(397-3742); www.experian.com or TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com.

  • Close any accounts that you know - or even think – might have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Report the transgression to a security spokesperson at the relevant company. Ask them about any additional steps that should be taken – they’ll probably ask you to provide relevant copies of paperwork related to the fraudulent activity. You can use the FTC ID Theft Affidavit as formal certification of your dispute.

  • File your complaint with the FTC. Use the online complaint form; or call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT(438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC will help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them.

  • Call or visit the local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place and file a report. Have a copy of your FTC ID Theft complaint form available to give them. Obtain a copy of the police report and the police report number.

For more information visit the FTC’s Identity Theft site here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

Security
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