Security Center

Fraud

At the Village Bank, our top priority is protecting your personal information. Take a moment to learn about different ways criminals may be after your personal information and how to protect yourself.

Scams

Fraud scams are everchanging and can happen at any moment. Over the past year, the losses occurred by victims due to scams has increased by 30% exceeding $8 billion. Below are common fraud scams that are experienced frequently and have been for several years now.

Call Spoofing

When a criminal impersonates legitimate people or organizations to commit fraud— has risen sharply in recent months. Spoofed calls can appear to be from your bank, the IRS, computer and tech support companies, or even the lottery. Fraudsters often use threats and fear tactics in hopes of forcing victims to follow their directions but sometimes appeal to a victim’s desire for money to lead them to give out information or funds. Some calls even attempt to bait victims into repeating a texted code or saying the word “yes” to use as a verbal agreement for fraudulent purposes.

Call spoofing can be hard to detect as the phone number and caller ID may look legitimate, and it is impossible to tell if a phone number is being masked.

How to protect yourself from spoofed calls:

  • Do not answer calls from numbers you do not know
  • Do not give personal or financial information over the phone
  • Do not read any 6-digit codes sent by someone calling you
  • Never give a caller access to your computer or online banking
  • Do not allow callers to bait you into saying “yes”
  • When in doubt, hang up and call back

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact The Village Bank immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams are a growing fraud trend that affects thousands each year. Claiming to be a trusted company such as Apple or Microsoft, fraudsters use emails, text or even popups to convince victims their devices are compromised, they paid to renew a service they did not request, or that they are owed refunds from a company that just went out of business. The objective of the fraudster is to gain access to a victim’s computer, online banking profile or third-party payment platform and to send money out the door.

Know the signs of a tech support scam:

  • Popups, emails or other messages demanding you click a link or call a provided number
  • Requests to remotely access your computer or online banking profile
  • Promises of money/refunds in exchange for personal/financial information
  • A sense of urgency to give access or send funds now

Once a scammer gains access, they often claim you owe money or that they refunded too much money, requesting that you send funds via gift cards, prepaid cards, wires or cryptocurrency. They often warn their victims not to tell their bank the purpose of the transaction.

Protect yourself from tech support scams:

  • Never give a stranger access to your computer, phone or online banking profile
  • Do not send funds— especially unusual methods like gift cards, prepaid cards, wires or cryptocurrency— to someone you do not know
  • Verify supposed transactions first with your bank
  • Contact companies through verified methods

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact The Village Bank immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams

Who doesn’t want to win the jackpot? Lottery and sweepstakes scams come in many forms, sometimes appearing to be from the state lottery or publisher’s clearinghouse, while other times it’s from a foreign lottery or an investment opportunity. In most cases the message is for a lottery or sweepstakes the victim did not enter into and requires paying a fee to release the winnings. After the victim pays the fee, the prize money never arrives.

Below are a few red flags of lottery and sweepstakes scams:

  • Mail, email, text or call stating you won a prize
  • Mail claiming you alone are the winner but is postmarked bulk rate (sent to many people)
  • They require personal and/or financial information
  • The prize requires sending a fee for processing or insurance purposes via wire, ACH or cryptocurrency
  • Limited time offer – you have to send the fee now

Fraudsters prey on a victim’s desire for good fortune, but taking a moment to think about the details can halt this scam in its tracks. If you have to pay a fee for your prize, it is a scam. If you won a sweepstakes you did not enter, it is a scam. A lottery or sweepstakes will never send you funds and then request that you send funds elsewhere. It is also illegal for US residents to play foreign lotteries.

Protect yourself from lottery and sweepstakes scams:

  • Do not respond to lottery or sweepstakes messages you never played
  • Never send funds to a person or group you don’t know or didn’t expect to pay
  • If the message is from a company you haven’t heard of before, look them up online with terms such as “scam” or “complaint”

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact The Village Bank immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

IRS Scams

Most common during tax season, IRS scams can happen at any time and cause millions of dollars of losses. Using unsolicited messages through email, phone calls, texts or social media, fraudsters lure victims into providing personal and financial information or sending money through unusual methods.

Here are a few telltale signs of an IRS Scam:

  • Unexpected messages about your tax returns
  • Aggressive claims that you owe money or have legal charges against you
  • Promises of an unrealistically large tax return
  • Requests for payment through unusual methods (prepaid cards, gift cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, etc)

 

The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages. Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number.

Keep yourself safe from IRS Scams:

  • Do not click links or open attachments in unsolicited, suspicious or unexpected text messages – whether from the IRS, state tax agencies or others in the tax community.
  • Be suspicious of calls, emails or texts claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS initiates contact mostly through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
  • The IRS will never demand a tax payment with no opportunity to question the amount
  • Hang up if someone is threatening to bring local police or law enforcement unless you cooperate with them

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact The Village Bank immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Romance Scams

Using attractive photos swiped from social media accounts fraudsters create a persona to lure victims in, often weaving in excuses for not being able to meet in person. Some claim to be traveling outside of the US, deployed in the military, working on an oil rig, or a doctor working abroad. Over long period of time, the fraudster convinces the victim to be in a relationship. While scammers will say anything to convince victims to send money, their standby is often a plea for help due to a financial or health crisis, asking the victim to send money, gift cards or even cryptocurrency. More recently scammers have also begun promoting investment opportunities, using victims as money mules or using the victim to reship stolen goods.

Some tips to avoid romance scams:

  • Never give personal or banking information out over social media to anyone
  • Never send money, gift cards or cryptocurrency to someone you have never met in person and never follow their investment advice
  • Never allow your account to be used by the fraudster to transfer funds
  • Talk to someone you trust (and listen if they’re concerned about your love interest)

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact The Village Bank immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Overpayment Scams

Selling something online can be complicated— even more so when a supposed buyer turns out to be a fraudster. Known commonly as Craigslist scams, Overpayment Scams can occur on any sales platform and target sellers by sending more than the agreed price of the item for sale and then requesting the victim either return the extra funds or send it elsewhere. When the original payment is returned as fraudulent, the victim is left with less money than they started.

The red flags of an overpayment scam are apparent if you know where to look. Being paid more than the agreed price is the biggest warning sign. A scammer may claim the extra funds are to pay for movers or were sent in error, but either way they will request the victim send the extra funds via cash, wire, money order, gift card or cryptocurrency.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from an overpayment scam:

  • Do not accept a payment for more than the asking price
  • Review the payment for suspicious elements (such as checks written from out of state or by someone unrelated to the purchase)
  • Never agree to send funds to another entity on the buyer’s behalf
  • Resist pressure to send funds immediately

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact The Village Bank immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

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Scams

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FRAUD ALERT: Our customers recently have received suspicious calls and texts that appear to be from a legitimate Village Bank phone number of 617.969.4300. These callers question fraudulent charges and ask for personal/account information. If you receive a call like this,
please hang up immediately and contact us directly. The Village Bank will NEVER contact you asking for personal information. Thank you.
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