Newsroom

Small business fraud a legitimate threat

Recent coronavirus-related scams are targeting small businesses. It starts with emails claiming to be from the “Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance” stating the business is eligible for a loan up to $250,000. The email then asks for personal information such as date of birth and social security number.

Here are the red flags of a COVID-related scam targeting small businesses:

  1. Unexpected emails or phone calls claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration or Small Business Administration. The FTC warns about government imposter scams.
  2. Automatic eligibility for big loans. Real lenders never do this.
  3. Requests for date of birth and social security number. This is a tip-off that the sender is trying to steal personal information.

Phishing attempts aren’t the only scam business owners are reporting. Some victims report having applied for loans through websites claiming to be part of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which has been extended to December 31, 2021. Others report being contacted to repay loans which fraudsters took out in their name.

Here are steps to protect ourselves and our customers from fraud targeting small businesses:

  • Check credit reports. The worst time to learn someone has taken out a loan in your name is when you’re applying for a loan yourself. Credit reports can be checked at www.annualcreditreport.com, the authorized source for the free reports consumers are guaranteed by law. In addition, the three major credit bureaus are offering free weekly online reports to consumers through April 2021. If you’re not in the market for credit or a loan, freezing your credit offers a free extra measure of protection.
  • Look for reliable sources of information. Don’t click links from unsolicited emails and be careful with online search engine results. Scammers often bait their online traps with sound-alike names and URLs, phony endorsements, and professional-looking websites. For small business owners looking for COVID-relief programs, always start at www.sba.gov, the official site of the Small Business Administration. Or reach out to a trusted financial institution in your community.
  • Check out lenders before sharing personal information. Scammers impersonating lenders have the perfect excuse to request personal information. Don’t leave a trail of personal information exposed by filling out applications online with lenders you don’t know. Investigate lenders first. If you spot something suspicious, file a report at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

If you believe you or another customer have fallen victim to fraud, contact The Village Bank immediately at 617-969-4300.

Newsroom

Welcome to our new website

We are excited to share with you the new and improved village-bank.com website. The new website has been designed to be user friendly with easy-to-find answers to your questions from any device.

Our new site includes:

  • A new look
    • You’ll see an updated design and a user-friendly interface with simple navigation.
  • New content
    • Updated product and service information
    • A dedicated section, called “Access,” specific to mobile banking and debit cards.
  • Easier navigation
    • Access information faster
  • An adaptive experience across all devices

Our new site was designed to work with modern internet browsers. To maximize your experience, please download current versions of these popular browsers:

We hope you enjoy the enhancements we have made to our website and look forward to sharing more exciting news about our digital offerings.

Newsroom Security Articles & Alerts

Online Shopping Safety for the Holidays

With the holidays already here, many of us will be purchasing items and gifts online; this has become commonplace but is especially true this year as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Adobe Analytics estimates that online sales this November and December will surge 33% year over year to a record $189 billion making the already rich pandemic cyberspace even more attractive to cyber thieves.1 Cybercrime has become an industry all on its own and gets more and more sophisticated every year and want us to live in a world of fear, uncertainty, & doubt (FUD), but we can protect ourselves by following good personal cyber-hygiene practices.

Everyone can play a role in protecting themselves, specifically around information safety and securing their systems & devices. There are many steps individuals can take to enhance their cybersecurity without requiring a significant investment or the help of an information security professional. Below are several tips you can put into action now:

  1. LOCKDOWN YOUR LOGIN: Make a long, unique passphrase. Length trumps complexity. A strong passphrase is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember, Use 2-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication (like biometrics, security keys, or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device) whenever offered.
  2. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT: Links in email, tweets, texts, posts, social media messages, and online advertising are the easiest way for cybercriminals to get your sensitive information. Be wary of clicking on links or downloading anything that comes from a stranger or that you were not expecting. Essentially, just don’t trust links.
  3. KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE: Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets – current to reduce the risk of infection from ransomware and malware. Configure your devices to automatically update or to notify you when an update is available.
  4. BACK IT UP: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.
  5. OWN YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE: Every time you sign up for a new account, download a new app or get a new device, immediately configure the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Regularly check these settings (at least once a year) to make sure they are still configured to your comfort.
  6. SHARE WITH CARE: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it might affect you or others. Consider creating an alternate persona that you use for online profiles to limit how much of your own personal information you share.
  7. GET SAVVY ABOUT WIFI HOTSPOTS: Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to them. Only connect to known Wi-Fi networks; beware of network names that have typos or extra characters. Limit what you do on public WiFi, and avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also reminds shoppers to remain vigilant. Be especially cautious of fraudulent sites spoofing reputable businesses, unsolicited emails purporting to be from charities, and unencrypted financial transactions.2

CISA encourages online holiday shoppers to review the following resources.

If you believe you are a victim of a scam, consider the following actions.

1 Adobe Communications Team, Oct 28, 2020
2 Online Holiday Shopping Scams, November 24, 2020

Newsroom

The Village Bank Announces Seven Promotions

At the Bank’s annual meeting held this past September, Joseph De Vito, president and CEO of The Village Bank, has announced the promotion of seven employees to officer positions.

Kelly Johnson has been promoted to vice president. Kelly joined The Village Bank in April 2017, in the position of assistant vice president, compliance officer. Prior to joining the Bank, she held the positions of internal auditor at First Security Group, Inc in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and assistant vice president, senior regulatory compliance internal auditor at Citizens Bank, Cranston, Rhode Island. Kelly holds a degree in business administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, and in November 2019, she became a certified regulatory compliance manager (CRCM).

Patrick Jencunas, who joined the Bank in August 2009 as a teller at the Wayland branch, has been promoted to assistant vice president. Over his eight years in retail, Patrick was promoted four times to various roles within the branch network. In August 2017, he was promoted to branch manager of our Newton Highlands office. He recently assumed the role of manager of the customer care center. Patrick holds a degree in communications from UMass Amherst.

JoAnn Jirichian has been promoted to assistant vice president. JoAnn joined The Village Bank in August 2008, as a teller in the Newtonville branch. JoAnn has been promoted three times within retail rising through the ranks in various roles. In May 2019, she was promoted to assistant treasurer/branch manager in the Nonantum branch. JoAnn is currently a degree candidate in business administration at the New England Institute of Business.

Reilly Cavanaugh, who has been with the Bank since May 2019 as branch manager of the Bank’s Newton Centre office, has been promoted to assistant treasurer. Prior to joining the Bank, Reilly held the position of assistant branch manager at Belmont Savings Bank in Newton. He is an advisory council member of the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton and is active with the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce. Reilly holds a degree from the Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst.

Chad Donahue has been promoted to Assistant Treasurer. Chad joined The Village Bank in August 2014, as a BSA/AML analyst. In addition to this promotion, Chad will begin a new role as senior risk analyst and security officer. Prior to joining the Bank, Chad held the position of AML analyst-financial intelligence unit at both Citizens Bank and Sovereign Bank. Chad holds a degree in criminal justice from Westfield State University.

June Hudnall, who joined The Village Bank in June 2016 as a mortgage lending specialist, has been promoted to assistant treasurer. Prior to joining the Bank, June held the positions of financial services representative and assistant branch manager at TD Bank. June holds a degree in fashion design and retailing from Framingham State University, where she has also held the position of instructor of apparel design.

Richard Lebreux has been promoted to assistant treasurer. Richard joined The Village Bank in July 2008, as a teller in Nonantum. He was promoted four times within the organization working in retail, operations and lending. In July 2018, Richard was promoted to credit operations manager. Richard holds a degree in political science from Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada and a degree in history from the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Canada.

Newsroom

The Village Bank Helps Sponsor Annual Holiday Gift Drive in Newton

The Village Bank has partnered with the Newton Rotary and the City of Newton Department of Health and Human Services to sponsor the City’s annual Holiday Gift Drive. This year will mark the 13th consecutive year the Bank has sponsored the event created to help make the holidays brighter for local children.

For the drive, the Bank invites its customers, neighbors, and other members of the Newton community to drop off new and unwrapped gifts during November 12 – December 15 to any Newton branch of The Village Bank. Gifts should be for children ages newborn to 10 and may include age-appropriate toys, games, electronics, and sporting goods as well as gift cards from local merchants. Other ways to give include purchasing and shipping online gifts through the Amazon Wish List, or making tax-deductible cash donations to the Newton Rotary. The Amazon Wish List link and more information can be found at village-bank.com/holidaygiftdrive.

“The economic effects of the pandemic will impact many families this holiday season. The Village Bank is proud to collaborate with the Newton Rotary and the City of Newton to deliver gifts and a brighter holiday season for local families,” said Joseph A. De Vito, president and CEO.

Newsroom

The Village Bank sponsors annual “Warm Winter Wishes” drive to help homeless families

The Village Bank has once again partnered with Family Promise Metrowest for the sixth annual Warm Winter Wishes drive to help local homeless families in Wayland. During November 12 – January 8, The Village Bank will accept donations of new hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, socks, and other warm winter gear for adults and children who benefit from Family Promise’s services. Donations may be dropped off at the Village Bank in Wayland located at 62 Boston Post Road and should be placed in the ATM vestibule while the branch is under renovation.

Located in Natick, Family Promise Metrowest is a cooperative interfaith partnership established to transform the lives of homeless families with children by mobilizing a diverse community to provide shelter, education, and comprehensive support. With safe transitional shelter, meals, and supportive case management, the organization helps create hope and a path to permanent housing and independence to end the cycle of homelessness for local families.

“Winter is always a difficult time for families impacted by homelessness, however, this year, amidst the economic challenges of the pandemic, it’s especially important to keep families warm, safe, and healthy,” said Joseph De Vito, president and CEO of The Village Bank. “We’re proud to continue our tradition of supporting Family Promise Metrowest and invite other organizations and members of the Wayland community to join us in providing donations.”

Newsroom

Wayland branch renovation now underway

Dear Village Bank Family,

We are excited to announce an extensive renovation project for our Wayland branch office.

During the renovation, we are updating the floor plan in order to ensure a more comfortable and streamlined customer experience.

The lobby is closed during renovations so that we can update the branch as quickly and safely as possible. To continue to serve you, our drive-up teller window will remain open. The renovations are currently underway and the lobby of our Wayland branch at 62 Boston Post Road is temporarily closed. We apologize for the inconvenience. We expect to reopen this newly renovated office in January.

If you wish to access your safe deposit box during this time, you may make an appointment with a member of our team by calling (617) 467-6123.

Please use the drive-up or visit any of our other branch locations during this time.

We look forward to sharing our renovation progress with you online and through social media.

Thank you for banking with The Village Bank.

Sincerely,
Joseph A. De Vito
President & CEO

Newsroom

Our Waban branch renovation is complete. We’re now open.

Dear Village Bank Family,

Our Waban branch has recently gone under an extensive renovation and we are excited to announce that we are now open.

As part of the renovation, the floor plan has been updated to ensure a more comfortable and streamlined customer experience and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Due to COVID-19, the office will have a new set of temporary hours:

9 am – 5 pm on Mondays
9 am – 3 pm Tuesday – Friday
9 am – noon on Saturdays

Thank you for banking with The Village Bank.

Sincerely,
Joseph A. De Vito

Security Articles & Alerts

Malicious Cyber Actor Spoofing COVID-19 Loan Relief Webpage via Phishing

CISA Release Date: August 12, 2020

Summary

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is currently tracking an unknown malicious cyber actor who is spoofing the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. These emails include a malicious link to the spoofed SBA website that the cyber actor is using for malicious re-directs and credential stealing.

Technical Details

CISA analysts observed an unknown malicious cyber actor sending a phishing email to various Federal Civilian Executive Branch and state, local, tribal, and territorial government recipients. The phishing email contains:

  • Subject line: SBA Application – Review and Proceed
  • Sender: Email sender will be marked as disastercustomerservice@sba.gov
  • Body: Text in the email body urging the recipient to click on a hyperlink to address: hxxps://leanproconsulting.com.br/gov/covid19relief/sba.gov

Below is a screenshot of the webpage arrived at by clicking on the hyperlink.

Click here to read the full alert.

 

Security Articles & Alerts

FBI Reports Increase in Online Shopping Scams

CISA Release Date: August 05, 2020
CISA, Revision Date: November 18, 2019

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (I3C) has released an alert on a recent increase in online shopping scams. The scams direct victims to fraudulent websites via ads on social media platforms and popular online search engines’ shopping pages. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and consumers to be diligent and be on alert for indicators of fraud and tips to avoid being victimized, as well as CISA’s tip on Shopping Safely Online.

Why do online shoppers have to take special precautions?

The internet offers convenience not available from other shopping outlets. You can search for items from multiple vendors, compare prices with a few mouse clicks, and make purchases from your home. However, the internet is also convenient for attackers, giving them multiple ways to access the personal and financial information of unsuspecting shoppers. Attackers who are able to obtain this information may use it for their own financial gain, either by making purchases themselves or by selling the information to someone else.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Do business with reputable vendors – Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious websites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information.
  • Make sure your information is being encrypted – Many sites use secure sockets layer to encrypt information. Indications that your information will be encrypted include a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that begins with “https:” instead of “http:” and a padlock icon. If the padlock is closed, the information is encrypted. The location of the icon varies by browser; for example, it may be to the right of the address bar or at the bottom of the window. Some attackers try to trick users by adding a fake padlock icon, so make sure that the icon is in the appropriate location for your browser.
  • Be wary of emails requesting information – Attackers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account information. Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email. Do not provide sensitive information through email. If you receive an unsolicited email from a business, instead of clicking on the provided link, directly log on to the authentic website by typing the address yourself.
  • Use a credit card – There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, but you may not have the same level of protection for your debit cards. Additionally, debit cards draw money directly from bank accounts, unauthorized charges could leave you with insufficient funds to pay other bills. You can minimize potential damage by using a single, low-limit credit card to make all of your online purchases. Also, use a credit card when using a payment gateway such as PayPal, Google Wallet, or Apple Pay.
  • Check your statements – Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

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