Many financial institutions and companies that conduct business on the Internet, including First Guaranty Bank, have become the target of a form of online fraud called “phishing” (sounds like “fishing”). Phishers use fraudulent emails or pop-up web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information. When you respond to these online scams, you jeopardize the security of your accounts and your identity. You should never provide your personal or account information in response to unsolicited emails or pop-up web pages. Another type of fraud is called “pharming.” Pharming uses various methods to direct your browser to a malicious site instead of the site intended. Pharmers may use vulnerabilites in DNS (Domain Name System) to provide false responses, may attempt to install software on your computer to alter your DNS settings, or may attempt to brute force administration credentials on your internet-facing host management interfaces. To protect yourself from pharming, enter your credentials only on secure websites, look out for certificate errors, verify that the certificate of the site you’re using matches what you’re expecting, keep your software and malware definitions up to date, never install software from untrusted sources, disable any internet-facing management interfaces, and set your router password to a value not subject to dictionary attack. Be particularly vigilant when using public networks, such as those found at coffee shops, hotels, and airports.
How to Identify Online Fraud
It is often difficult to tell if an email is legitimate. Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in creating fraudulent emails and web sites that look authentic. These emails and web sites often appear to be from legitimate companies and include images and logos of these organizations. Following are some common characteristics of fraudulent emails and web sites:
They often have a sense of urgency telling clients that if they fail to update, verify or confirm their personal or account information, access to their accounts will be suspended.
They typically ask for personal or account information such as:
- Account number
- Credit and check card number
- Social security number
- Online banking sign on IDs and passwords
- Mother’s maiden name
- Date of Birth
- Other sensitive information
They include links, images, and logos that appear legitimate.
Always type web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links.
The fraudulent emails will disguise or forge the sender’s email address so they appear to be from a legitimate company.
The emails and pop-up web sites may include misspelled words and incorrect grammar.
Examples of Online Fraud/Latest Alerts
We have categorized the email scams by their subject matter and content. This page will be updated frequently. Please visit this page often to learn about the latest alerts.
Suspicious Activity/Account at Risk – Some customers have received emails that convey a sense of urgency and warn them that their accounts are at risk. For example, they notify customers that First Guaranty Bank suspects fraudulent activities or charges on their accounts. The fraudulent emails often include the name of a fictitious business and dollar amounts of the “suspected” charges and ask clients to respond to the emails to resolve the issue. They may also include urgent responses in the subject line of the email, such as:
- online banking issue
- pending change
- your payment
System Technical Updates – Many fraudulent emails mention “system”, “technical” or “technology” updates. For example it may contain “regular update and verification” to their online banking accounts and that they need to verify their information. Customers are warned that their access to online banking will be limited if they do not respond.
IF YOU RECEIVE AN EMAIL THAT APPEARS TO BE FROM FIRST GUARANTY BANK AND IT ASKS YOU TO PROVIDE, UPDATE OR VERIFY PERSONAL OR ACCOUNT INFORMATION. DO NOT RESPOND – REPORT THE SUSPICIOUS EMAIL TO OUR I.T. DEPARTMENT:
THE EMAIL WAS NOT AUTHORIZED BY FIRST GUARANTY BANK AND IS FRAUDULENT.
FIRST GUARANTY BANK COMMITMENT:
First Guaranty Bank will never send emails asking clients to provide, update or verify their personal or account information, such as passwords, social security numbers, PINs, credit card numbers, account numbers, debit card numbers, or other confidential information.
We are committed to keeping your accounts safe from unauthorized access and your identity confidential.
How Scammers Obtain Your Email Address
Many scammers randomly generate email addresses. That is why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks with which you do not have an account. They also purchase mailing lists, obtain email addresses online from web pages, chat rooms, online auctions, and directories or from illegitimate sources.
Help Protect Yourself from Online Fraud
There are many things you can do to help secure your identity and your accounts. Here are some tips to follow:
Look beyond the logo. To make fraudulent emails or web sites appear real, scammers often include actual logos and images of legitimate companies. They also convey a sense of urgency, stating that if you fail to provide, update or verify your personal or account information, access to your accounts will be suspended. It’s important that you look beyond the logo and not give out your information.
Use your spam filter. Many email services now have spam filters that minimize the amount of spam you receive. The filters can help you minimize the number of fraudulent emails in your inbox.
Type, do not click. Even if you do open a suspicious email, don’t click on any links. By clicking on the links you could unknowingly download a virus or spyware to your computer. Even if you think the email is legitimate, type web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links. If the email is from an institution you do business with, use a bookmark that you’ve already created or type in the address to visit the company’s web site.
Change your online passwords often. The rule of thumb is to change your password every 30 to 60 days. Be creative with your passwords – stay away from obvious passwords like your zip code, year of birth or sensitive information such as your mother’s maiden name or your social security number.
Update your anti-virus and anti-spam software. By keeping anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date on your computer, you make it more difficult for scammers to access your personal and account information. You can purchase anti-virus and anti-spyware software at major retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy, as well as on the Internet.
How to Report Online Fraud
To report a suspicious email or web page, call our Customer Support Center at 888-375-3093. They may request that you forward the email to the Bank.
You are your own best protection against online fraud. By staying informed, you can help protect your identity and accounts.