Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Co. will NEVER ask you to verify personal information via email, nor will we call you and request information over the telephone. Read emails carefully and DO NOT click on any links you are unsure about.
The new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website - IdentityTheft.gov can help you report and recover from identity theft. They will walk you through each recovery step and help you put a plan in action.
Employment Scam Targeting College Students
College students across the United States continue to be targeted in a common employment scam. Scammers advertise phony job opportunities on college employment websites, and/or students receive e-mails on their school accounts recruiting them for fictitious positions. The "employment" results in a financial loss for participating students.
How the scam works:
- Scammers post online job advertisements soliciting college students for administrative positions.
- The student employee receives counterfeit checks in the mail or via e-mail and is instructed to deposit the checks into their personal checking account.
- The scammer then directs the student to withdraw the funds from their checking account and send a portion, via wire transfer, to another individual. Often, the transfer of funds is to a "vendor", purportedly for equipment, materials, or software necessary for the job.
- Subsequently, the checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank.
Tips on how to protect yourself from this scam:
- Never accept a job that requires depositing checks into your account or wiring portions to other individuals or accounts.
- Many of the scammers who send these messages are not native English speakers. Look for poor use of the English language in e-mails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses.
- Forward suspicious e-mails to the college's IT personnel and report to the FBI. Tell your friends to be on the lookout for the scam.
If you have been a victim of this scam or any other Internet-related scam, you may file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.
Security Alert: Yahoo Breach
Yahoo has confirmed that hackers have compromised the personal information of at least half a billion of its users. The stolen data is believed to include names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords. Users need to be aware of potential scam e-mails that may reference the Yahoo breach to try and pull more information out of them, by asking them to "verify" information. Yahoo is urging its users to check their accounts for signs of suspicious activity and to change their passwords and security questions immediately. Users should also check with credit bureaus to see if any new accounts have been opened in their name, as this type of personal information can be used as a key to get enough information to open an account.
Security Alert: Mass Marketing Email, Phishing
People in the area have reported receiving a text message purporting to be from Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Co. and informing the receiver to login to their account. If you have received one of these text message, please delete it. These text messages have a link that is NOT to Blue Ridge Bank's site and they are trying to harvest login credentials. If you believe you have responded to a fraudulent message or have given your personal information to a scammer, please contact us.
Phishing Alert: An increase in Phishing Emails due to recent events in the news is expected.
Don't Click on Strange Email attachments or Links
Recent events in the news are likely to cause an increase in ‘phishing’ (the practice of using fraudulent e-mails and websites to extract financial data from computer users for purposes of identity theft) attempts. With the increasing number of merchant breaches, it is expected that internet criminals will exploit this with emails designed to take you to a harmful internet site made to look like a helpful service (i.e.- a site lookup to see if you are on a breached list or a site to sign up for identity theft services). Be wary of any emails with a link or attachment. If you have a question whether you are a victim of a breach, type in the website of a company to get the latest news instead of a link, which may not take you where you expect.
Internet criminals are going to exploit this in many ways including sending spam, phishing, blackmail messages or employing social engineering tactics to make people click on links or open infected attachments.
The best course of action is to delete any email you are suspicious of immediately.
IRS Warns Tax Preparers to Watch out for New Phishing Scam;
Don't Click on Strange Emails or Links Seeking Updated Information
The Internal Revenue Service is warning return preparers and other tax professionals to be on guard against bogus emails making the rounds seeking updated personal or professional information that in reality are phishing schemes.
Specifically, the bogus email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links that are provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password. This email was not generated by the IRS e-services program. Disregard this email and do not click on the links provided.
Phishing made this year's Dirty Dozen list of IRS tax scams. The full list is available on IRS.gov.
Phishing is a scam typically carried out with the help of unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure in potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In general, the IRS has added and strengthened protections in their processing systems this filing season to protect the nation's taxpayers. For this tax season, they continue to make important progress in stopping identity theft and other fraudulent refunds.
It is important to keep in mind the IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS has information online that can help you protect yourself from email scams.