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Unfortunately for citizens of the United States, fraud never has been more prominent. Banks around the country have seen the number of fraud incidents in 2021 surpass the total from all of 2020, and we’re not even through the summer yet. Customers of The Village Bank should beware of many different types of fraud. Here are a few examples, along with some ways to protect yourself:

IMPOSTER SCAMS

How they work: You might get a call or email from someone pretending to be a friend, a member of your family, a government official or someone you met online. The fraudster will ask you to wire him/her money for a number of different reasons, usually an emergency.

What you can do: The smartest action would be to call that person. If the email in question is from a family member, call them to confirm their situation. Odds are they would have called and not emailed you in the first place. The same strategy applies if the message is from a government official. No real government agent or agency will ever ask you to wire money to them.

IDENTITY THEFT

How it works: A fraudster will obtain your credit card information, social security number, Medicare number, etc., and compile a bill in your name.

What you can do: The best defense against identity theft is to use strong and secure passwords for all your accounts. Also, never give out your social security number unless it is a trusted source on a secure platform. Another way to protect yourself is to shred any document that has this information of it before throwing it away.

CHARITY SCAMS

How they work: You will be contacted by someone asking you to make a donation to a charity. It might sound like something you’ve heard of or even donated to in the past. Typically, the fraudster will try to pressure you into donating quickly with cash or a money wire. Often they will not send you any specific information about their “charity” or what the money will be used for.

What you can do: One way to deal with this is to ask the “charity” to send you information in the mail. If the person agrees, make sure to do some research before the information arrives to be sure it is a legitimate source. Another option is to ask the “charity” a lot of questions. For example, you could ask how the charity wants to be paid, if the donation is tax deductible, how much of it goes to the charity, what the money will be used for, etc.

“YOU’VE WON” SCAMS

How they work: Somebody will contact you saying you’ve won something, perhaps a trip, a car or another expensive prize. The fraudster will sound excited on the in order to make you to feel like it is real. Then, in order to claim your winnings, the fraudster will tell you there’s a small fee and that your credit card or bank is required.

What you can do: Unless you remember entering a contest and can prove it’s real, never give out this type of information to someone claiming they need it.

At The Village Bank, nothing is more important to us than the privacy and safety of our customers. We are committed to keeping your accounts and personal information safe. If you ever have questions about a potentially fraudulent situation, contact our Customer Care Center immediately at (617) 969-4300.

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