Preventing Fraud and Avoiding Scams
Identity theft and account fraud are attracting more attention these days. These crimes are committed when someone steals personal information such as your bank account or Social Security number, then poses as you and takes funds from your account or runs up debt in your name, or both. Follow these tips to help minimize your risk of identity theft and scams.
- General Fraud Prevention Tips
- Scam Avoidance Tips
- Online and Computer Security Tips
- Mobile Phone Security Tips
- Bank Account, Credit Card and Debit Card Security Tips
- Email Security Tips
General Fraud Prevention Tips
- Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card and unused credit cards at home.
- Protect your Social Security number. Never give out your Social Security number before first determining that the request is legitimate and from a reliable source.
- Shred documents. Before throwing them away, shred financial solicitations you receive in the mail. Also shred financial statements, invoices, or ATM receipts before you discard.
- Protect your mail. Don't put outgoing mail in your mailbox. Drop it in a secure U.S. Postal Service collection box. Pick up mail as soon as possible after delivery.
- Go green. Consider paperless options for financial and bank statements and credit card bills. You can sign up to go paperless at BBVA Compass at www.bbvacompass.com/online-banking/
- Know your billing cycles. If regular bills fail to reach you on the scheduled date, call the companies to find out why.
- Know your credit score. Review your credit report annually and more frequently if you have experienced suspicious activity.
Free credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus can be found at www.annualcreditreport.com. Or call or email the bureaus directly:
Scam Avoidance Tips
- Stay abreast of scams. Common scams include online dating, money transfer, and debt relief scams. Learn more about some common scams .
- Be vigilant. Carefully research any offer whether it comes over the telephone, via email, or through friends and family. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Protect. Don't give out your checking account, credit card, or Social Security number over the phone unless you initiate the call and know who you're dealing with.
- Notify. Notify your financial institutions immediately if you receive a suspicious phone call from someone purporting to represent the institution and asking for account information "to verify a statement" or "award a prize.
Online and Computer Security Tips
- Security software. Make certain you have security software installed on your computer and that it updates automatically. Should your operating system, web browser, or security software become out-of-date, thieves have an opportunity to sneak programs called malware onto your computer which enables them to access your information.
Give personal information out only over encrypted websites.
- If you are shopping online, you can determine if the website is encrypted by confirming that the letters https, rather than simply http, appear at the beginning of the web address. The “s” stands for “security”.
- Remember that only the last four digits of your credit card or bank account number will appear on any email confirmation.
- Never give out personal information to an internet site or through an email or text message. Scammers will do anything to access your personal information. Learn more about phishing
Protect your passwords.
- Today many of us have multiple passwords to remember. Try saving your passwords to a password protected document. Save a printed copy of the document in a safe place.
- Never share a password or pin via email or text.
- Do not use the same password for different accounts.
- Mix letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 10 characters for a stronger password.
- Never use your Social Security number as a password.
- Change your password often.
- Adopt an easy –to-remember password that can be used on websites that do not store your personal information.
Mobile Phone Security Tips
- Stolen mobile phone. To check your mobile phone’s serial number, key in *#06# on the phone. A unique 15-digit code will appear. Write this number down in a secure place. Should your phone be stolen, phone your service provider and give them the code. The provider will be able to block your handset even if the SIM card is replaced.
- Password protection. While it may take a few extra minutes, making your mobile phone password protected can be important if you store sensitive or personal information on the phone.
- Reserve battery power. In an emergency you can access your mobile phone’s battery reserve by pressing *3370#. The phone will restart using the reserve.
- Basic security. Modern smartphones are being used increasingly to replace PC’s and laptops. Although mobile viruses are much less prevalent than on PC’s they do still exist. Consider purchasing a security package that includes anti-virus and anti-theft protection if you store sensitive personal or financial information on your phone.
- Backup. Establish a habit of backing up your smartphone on a regular basis. Doing so will protect your call logs, your contacts, and any apps that you have downloaded.
- Identify. Choose an easily identifiable and personalized case to hold your phone. This will help distinguish your phone from others who own the same model.
Bank Account, Credit Card, and Debit Card Security Tips
- Checks. Report lost or stolen checks immediately. Promptly review all checks when you receive new deliveries to be sure none have been stolen in transit. Store cancelled checks – and new checks – in a safe place.
- Safeguard. Guard your ATM Personal Identification number (PIN) and ATM receipts.
- Robust Passwords. Do not use your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth as a username or password as these are easily obtained by criminals.
Email Security Tips
Customers of many financial services companies, including BBVA Compass, have been targeted by fraudulent e-mail and Internet scams. These scams attempt to illegally obtain your personal and account information. For customers who receive suspicious emails:
- Do not follow any of the instructions in the e-mail
- Do not click on any of the links in the e-mail
Recognizing fraudulent emails
Fraudulent e-mails may include the following requests as well as others not listed below:
- Notices to "update" or "verify" your account
- Notices to correct "problems" with your account
- False warnings that claim to require your response
- Threats to deny access to your account if you do not respond
- Surveys requiring account information so you can receive a reward
- False employment opportunities requiring payment and personal information to apply
Steps to take if your receive a suspicious or obviously fraudulent email
BBVA Compass will never ask you to submit your account or credit card information through an unsolicited e-mail.
- If you think you have received and opened a fraudulent e-mail, immediately notify BBVA Compass Customer Service at 1-800-273-1057. Call the customer service number listed on your account statement if you receive an e-mail or call from someone who says he or she represents BBVA Compass.
- Do not respond to emails that appear to be phish. Learn more about phishing
- Do not click on any of the links in the message. Instead, please forward it to us immediately at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- After forwarding the suspicious e-mail, delete it from your inbox. Your report will help us in investigating e-mail fraud.
Tips to avoid falling prey to fraudulent emails
- Know the sender. Open e-mails only when you know the sender. Be especially careful about opening an e-mail with an attachment which could potentially contain a virus.
- Protect your confidential information. Don't respond to any e-mail that asks for your password, pin, Social Security number or other personal information.
- Be suspicious of any e-mail that sends you information and asks you to update or verify it.