Be on the Lookout for Social Security scammers

With the recent news of Social Security benefits increasing by nearly 6% in 2022, now is the time to be on the lookout for Social Security scammers.

Those who receive Social Security benefits don’t have to do anything to receive the increase. The increases will happen automatically.

However, scammers will try to take advantage of those who are unaware that their increase will happen automatically.

These tips from the Social Security Administration (SSA) show you what to look for and how to recognize a Social Security scammer:

Social Security scammers may:

  • Threaten arrest or legal action against you unless you pay a fine.
  • Promise to increase your benefits or resolve identity theft if you pay a fee.
  • Demand payment with retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency or by mailing cash.
  • Pretend they are from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID, texts or documents sent by email may look official but they are not.


If you owe money to Social Security, the agency will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. Social Security does not suspend Social Security numbers or demand secrecy from you, ever.

How you can help:

  • If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it at
  • Do not return unknown calls, email, or texts.
  • Ask someone you trust for advice before making any large purchase or financial decision.
  • Do not be embarrassed to report if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a scammer, call the SSA fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Beware of Spoof Websites

Spoof websites can lure unsuspecting people into giving away their information without knowing that they’re doing it. A spoof website will try to make itself look almost exactly like the website it is trying to spoof, hoping a person will enter their personal information or username and password.

Once a scammer’s fake, but legitimate-looking website gets indexed by search engines, it will appear in search results based on the search words you type.

Even if you are a seasoned internet user, it is easy to fall prey to the sophisticated techniques that are used in website spoofing. With the wool pulled over your eyes, you could inadvertently give phishers extremely damaging information. The best way to handle spoofed websites is by exercising caution at all times.

Finding your way onto a spoofed website usually happens by using vague or incorrect search engine terms. It also can happen if you type a web address too quickly and accidentally transpose two letters or misspell the web address.

How to spot spoof websites

There are several ways to spot a fake website:

  • Misspellings and grammar mistakes: While most fraudulent websites try to make it look as close to the actual website they’re trying to spoof as possible, misspellings or improper capitalization of words sometimes creep in. Also look for missing periods or commas
  • Take a close look at the URL: If the URL isn’t what you expect it to be, it’s probably a spoof website. Close that website as soon as possible.
  • Blurry logos or images: Because spoof websites don’t have access to original company logos and images, the ones they’ll use are lower resolution and likely will appear to be blurry on the spoof website.

If you see any of these red flags, don’t click on any links.

How to prevent visiting a spoof website

If it is a website you visit often, such as your bank website, bookmarking the website and accessing it directly via the bookmark will prevent you from accidentally typing in the website address incorrectly.

Also, be extra careful when using a search engine. Ensure the words are spelled correctly.

Before clicking on a link, hover over it and read the true website address at the bottom left of the browser. If it isn’t familiar, don’t click on the link.

By taking your time and being careful, you should be able to avoid most problems.

What to do if you suspect a spoof website

If you happen across a spoofed website, you can report the fake website to the federal government here:

You can report it to Google as well here:



Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.

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Phishing – What is it?

Phishing can cause the loss of personal information or identity theft, so it is important to understand the red flags and know what to do if you receive one of these messages.

Phishing is fraudulent scheme that scammers use to obtain personal information, such as account numbers, passwords, and banking information. Scammers take this information to access important accounts, commit identity theft or steal from bank accounts. Phishing is usually done through scam email or text messages, and over 150 million scams are sent globally per day.

How to Detect Phishing

Although our spam filters catch around 90% of messages, that still leaves a 10% risk of phishing. This which leads to the question, how do you detect a fake email? Many email scams pretend to be a company, someone you know or do business with. Often these messages have spelling errors, attachments or a sense of urgency. Other red flags to detect a phishing email or text message include:
• The sender asks you to click on a link to make a payment, claim a prize, or confirm information.
• The sender says they noticed suspicious activity or log in attempts.
• The subject line and message do not relate to one another.
• The message has grammatical errors, is out of the ordinary or sent at a random time.

What to do if you Suspect Phishing

If you receive a message with any red flags or suspect it to be a fraud, do not click on any links. In some cases, even clicking on the message can give information access to the scammer. If the email is suspicious and claiming to be from someone you know, do not directly reply to the sender. Instead, create a new message to the person you are familiar with asking if they sent the email. Do not click on any links or attachment in the text message or email. Instead, hover over the email link and look for random numbers or letters that may look odd or suspicious. Finally, delete all messages that are suspicious. Deleting the message will ensure that you do not accidentally click a link or respond.

Report Email Scams

If you received or think you received a phishing email or text message, report it to your company, email provider, a government body, or the organization the message was allegedly from. Ways to report phishing:
• Many companies have a policy when it comes to phishing emails. If you are unsure what this policy is, ask your IT team before you receive a potentially harmful email.
• Most email providers have a place on their website to report phishing. When users report phishing or spam, providers can adjust accordingly to update spam/junk folder filters.
• The government has a place to report phishing as well. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) helps protect victims of phishing and prevent it from happening. To report a phishing email to CISA, you can forward the email to
• If the scammer is pretending to be an organization, you can often report the email to that organization. Many companies have a place on their website to report a phishing email or message.
Phishing messages are sent every day, at all times of the day. Although your spam folder may catch most of them, many still come through. Phishing can cause the loss of personal information or identity theft, so it is important to understand the red flags and know what to do if you receive one of these messages.

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What is Malware?

Criminals use malware to steal personal information, commit fraud, send spam or monitor and control online activity.


Malware, otherwise known as malicious software, is a type of fraud that uses viruses, spyware, or other software to intentionally damage a computer, server, device or computer network. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, commit fraud, send spam or monitor and control online activity.

There are many different types of malware, including spyware, viruses, worms, adware and ransomware. Your computer may contain malware if you are experiencing one or more of the following problems:
• Your computer slows down, crashes or displays constant error messages.
• You cannot shut down or restart your computer.
• Unexpected messages and ads frequently pop-up on screen.
• You lose access to computer files.
• Settings on your browser change, such as the toolbar or home page.


Ransomware is a type of malware designed to hold data hostage. Ransomware encrypts or conceals access to your files in attempt to get you to pay a ransom to regain access. This is a growing threat for both individuals and businesses alike. The most common targets for ransomware attacks are small to medium-sized businesses, school districts, municipalities, health¬care institutions and financial institutions.

How to Prevent Malware

Most common malware attacks occur on the internet and email. To prevent malware, use up-to-date security software and firewalls. Do not change the security settings on your browser and pay attention if you receive a security notification from your browser. More tips to protect yourself from malware:
• Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
• Do not download any unknown software or click on links in email, text messages or social media.
• Do not click on pop-up ads or banners that show up on your computer.
• Back up your data regularly.
• In emails, you should never click on a link you do not know or recognize.

Report a Scam

If you think your computer has malware, report it to the Federal Trade Commission here. You can also file an incident with the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency here. If your personal information is compromised or fraud has occurred, call your bank immediately and call a credit reporting agency such as Equifax to place a fraud alert on your account. You can also contact your state Attorney General to report fraud.

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Top 3 Holiday Scams

Scam graphic.

‘Tis the season for shopping, gifts, cheer and scams. Scams? That’s right; every year fraudsters prepare to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Fake ads and websites try to lure you into spending for items you may never receive. Imposter charities tug on your heartstrings to get a donation. Gift cards are duplicated or stolen before they are used by your loved ones. Learn how to sniff out these common scams and limit your risk this holiday season.

Online Shopping Scams

During this holiday season, more people than ever are buying gifts online. Scammers prepare for this influx of web traffic with several schemes to steal your money, personal information or both. A common tactic fraudsters use is to create fake social media campaigns and websites that imitate major brand ads, but with great deals. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), be wary of ads that promise “last minute deals,” “flash sales” or “limited quantities.” In many cases, you will not receive the item you ordered or you may receive an inferior counterfeit item. Your credit card information can also be stolen, used to commit identity theft or sold on the dark web.

Gift Card Scams

The most common gift card scam involves tampering with the racks of gift cards displayed in stores. The criminals will use handheld scanners to get the barcode information and periodically call the retailer to see if they have activated the card. Once the card is purchased and activated, they either order material online or create a counterfeit card. The less sophisticated fraudsters will simply scratch off the PIN, record the barcode and wait for the card to be activated. Other gift card scams will create fake websites that offer gift cards to major retail chains in exchange for giving them information.

Charity Scams

Don’t let scammers take advantage of your generosity. Similar to real non-profits, scammers will solicit you through email, letters and phone calls. They may even have a website that looks legitimate. It is a red flag if any charity pressures you to donate right away or asks you to donate through a wire transfer or in gift cards. If you are unsure, check the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance or Charity Watch to verify the organization.

What can shoppers do to protect themselves?

  • Does the holiday deal seem too good to be true? Make sure you know the merchant when shopping online. Research the BBB rating for the business and stick with direct manufacturer websites for products.
  • Do not click on a link in an advertisement or email as it could contain malware or take you to a cloned website where fraudsters steal your card information, address, etc.
  • Giving is always a wonderful, positive and uplifting thing to do. Plan to give to certain organizations that you know, especially so you can see the fruits of your good work!
  • If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft, put in a fraud alert immediately. Details on how to file a fraud alert can be found here. Then report it to the police, your bank and credit card companies. If you feel that you lost your identity due to online activity, please file a report with



Scam, Fraud Alerts – Protect Your Digital Identity (

Inside the FBI: Holiday Scams — FBI

Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) | Home Page

Scams and Safety — FBI

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It’s Tax Fraud Season. Be Aware.

Woman alarmed by phone call

Don’t be another victim.

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to fake IRS communication scams, according to the IRS. Here are important reminders from the IRS about tax fraud.

​Two most important things to know about the IRS.

  1. The IRS DOES NOT initiate contact by email, text messages or social media with taxpayers to request personal or financial information.
  2. The IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

​Telltale signs of tax fraud.

​IRS-impersonation telephone scams

You are told you owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. You may also be told you have a refund owed to you and the caller needs personal information in order to process the refund. If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave an urgent callback message.

Scams targeting tax professionals: The objective is to steal their clients’ data so they can file fraudulent tax returns that better impersonate their victims.

​Email, phishing and malware schemes

You receive an official-looking email from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. Their name and logo appear on it. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Be alert to bogus emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information, nor do they require life insurance and annuity updates from taxpayers or a tax professional.

​Taxpayer Advocacy Panel scams

Some taxpayers may receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails try to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link.

What to do? 

The IRS will only deal with you on these related issues via US mail. 
If you get a call, hang-up and contact the IRS directly.

  • Never respond to an email or fax.
  • Never call the number listed in the email or provided to you by phone.
  • Go directly to the IRS website at for assistance.
  • Read up on IRS Tax Scams Consumer Alerts.

 Ask for Details. Member FDIC.


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You Are At Risk!

Fraudsters Target Small Businesses.

Business Fraud Solutions.

By Stacy Dunn | RCB Bank Information Security

Information is as good as gold.

If you think your business is too small to be a victim of data loss, think again. Cybercriminals find small to medium-sized businesses to be more accessible targets.

While physical securities are a concern (leaving documents lying around or not shredding personal paperwork), the majority of incidents tend to be more hands off.

Hackers like to infiltrate businesses with social engineering tactics:

  • Phishing & vishing
  • Customer account compromise
  • Vendor management intrusion

The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a framework to help businesses protect their work spaces. Each business has unique risks and will require tailored security measures.

Preventive measures:

  • Limit employee access to sensitive data.
  • Use strong passwords that expire.
  • Use multi-factor authentication.
  • Train staff on information security.
  • Reduce risk with effective policies and procedures.
  • Encrypt all data, especially email and mobile devices.
  • Use reliable endpoint protection, firewall and email filtering.
  • Update and patch systems regularly.
  • Protect all facets of your business, e.g., websites and vendor access.

Your network is only as strong as your weakest user.

Hackers are one step ahead in trying to steal information. Take steps to not become their next victim.

Information security training is a must-have in today’s environment.

Invite RCB Bank’s Information Technology and Business Services teams to speak about cybersecurity at your workplace. Call 918-342-7379 to schedule an appointment, or connect with our business services representative in your area.

Invest in your business.


This article is published in Value News, February 2019 Issue,

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. See a business representative for specific questions regarding PosPay details, pricing and fees for your personal situation. Call us at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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Email Extortion Scam Hitting Business Inboxes

Be aware of current bomb threat hoax


By Stacy Dunn, Information Security, RCB Bank

A new email extortion scam (bomb threat hoax) is making its way to the inboxes of several businesses, namely financial institutions. Narrated similarly to a scene in an action movie, the sender suggests an accomplice has planted a bomb within the recipient’s building that will be detonated if a bitcoin ransom is not paid by the end of the workday.

The sender discourages the recipient to contact the authorities and the subject line may read, “I advise you not to call the police.”

The message states:

extortion scam example


Notably, the businesses that have received this message proved to be safe after investigation, though numerous schools closed as a precaution.

Scammers strive on the human element of uncertainty and use whatever methods possible to get what they want.

Extortion emails, ransomware attacks, phishing attempts and various other methods of social engineering are all key parts of a hacker’s repertoire. Recognizing and detecting these instances are imperative to maintaining a safe, secure work environment.

If you receive an email similar to the one detailed above, contact your information security team immediately.

Interested in similar articles? Read this article about wire fraud.

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Fraudsters are targeting ATMs with sneaky tactics

What you need to know about card fraud, skimmers, ATMs & more.

ATM on a wall

By Jamie Andrews, SVP, Senior Operations Officer, RCB Bank

In a recent trend, fraudsters are focusing their attention on ATM terminals. Be aware.

Fraudsters are able to compromise a merchant’s payment system or ATM by use of malware or by attaching a physical device, such as a skimmer, which reads the data in the magnetic stripe and can be used to produce a fake card.

Fraudsters may also use mini cameras to capture PIN numbers used on transactions at ATM terminals. Then, they go on shopping sprees and/or withdraw funds from the bank account attached to those cards.

What is a skimmer?

A device made to fit snugly and invisibly over or inside an ATM card slot or merchant terminal.

How does RCB Bank protect you?

RCB Bank issues EMV chip cards, making it more difficult for fraudsters to counterfeit your debit card. When possible insert your card to complete your transaction.

Some merchants do not have EMV chip terminals and require you to swipe or slide your card. Be more alert when using these types of terminals with the tips below.

RCB Bank uses systems to monitor unusual card activity and will reach out if we see something suspicious. Note: We will never ask you for your PIN number. 

RCB Bank’s ATMs have been upgraded to EMV chip terminals, which provide an additional level of security.

How can you help protect yourself?

  • Before using your card at an ATM, inspect it to see if anything on the card insert looks suspicious.
  • Be aware and report the transaction if it initially errors but then suddenly goes through.
  • Be alert if the insert or swipe of  your card is not smooth.
  • Avoid standalone cash machines in dimly lit areas.
  • When possible use ATMs physically installed at a bank.
  • Cover the PIN pad with your hand when entering your information.

RCB Bank is dedicated to protecting your financial information. When we work together, we can prevent, identify and resolve fraud faster.

If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact our fraud department immediately at 877.361.0814.

Learn more ways to stay alert for fraud in our Learning Center and Security Center.

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Travel Planning Tips to Prevent Fraud

Don't forget to add fraud protection to your packing list

Travel planning tips to prevent fraud
By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank Marketing

1. Bring only what you need.

When planning your next vacation, pack a lighter wallet, suggests RCB Bank Vice President, Security Officer Christy Wild.

“Bring only the amount of cash you will need and maybe one credit card.”

2. Leave your debit card at home.

“Especially if you are traveling internationally,” says Wild. “Debit cards tie directly to your bank account. If fraudulent charges are made, it is possible money may be taken out of your account that day.”

If debit card fraud goes unnoticed for a number of days, thieves may deplete your funds. Credit card fraud is not an immediate financial impact on you.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges, but your protection depends on the type of card and when you report the loss.

After you report fraud, your bank has to investigate and process your claim, which takes time. Rules pertaining to refund timeframes vary between types of fraud. Ask your bank for details.

3. Keep an eye on your account.

“From the time your card leaves your wallet until the time it returns, it is technically at risk,” Wild says. “It is crucial to monitor your accounts.”

Proper monitoring will help you find discrepancies.

Early detection and fast action to alert your credit card company and bank is the key to protecting your money.

Many credit card companies and banks offer text banking. This is a great fraud detection tool as you can set up transaction alerts.

Set an alert to notify you each time a transaction occurs on your account. This will help you spot charges you did not initiate. Text banking message, data rates and fees may apply.

You can also download your bank’s mobile banking app. This is another good tool that allows you to scan your accounts anytime from practically anywhere.

“Do not log in to your account on a public Wi-Fi network,” Wild says. “Fraudsters hack public networks and can watch you from the shadows.”

4. Tell your bank when and where you are going.

Before you hit the road, notify your bank and tell them your travel plans.

“It’s added protection,” Wild says. “It alerts them to keep a closer eye on your account. Plus, it helps to make sure they don’t decline your card when you are making purchases in another state, which to a bank may look like suspicious activity.”

Invest in yourself.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.
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A Caution About Wire Fraud

Six signs you are a target for wire fraud

Caution: It is a scam graphic

By RCB Bank Fraud Department, 877.361.0814

Wiring money is a way to send and receive money fast. It’s also a prime target for fraud.

Wire fraud often happens when dishonest people convince you to willingly send funds under false pretenses.

Because money moves fast in a wire transfer, it is nearly impossible to get it back.

Banks are required by law to make deposited check funds available within days, but it may take weeks to uncover a fake check.

You are liable if you deposit fraudulent funds into your bank account. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you are responsible for repaying the bank.

Don’t be fooled. Before sending or accepting money, ask yourself these questions.

Do I really know this person?

Is the person a new acquaintance? A new romance? Scammers often use social media, email or phone to target victims. They will do whatever it takes to develop a seemingly real relationship with you, which may include meeting you in person. Be on guard for romance scams.

Is this person claiming to be a family member in trouble?

It’s called a grandparent scam. A criminal pretends to be a relative who needs money, e.g., they’re in trouble, had an accident or need bail money. They ask you to send money fast via gift cards or wire transfer, and beg you not to tell anyone. Always call the person at a known number (not the caller ID number) to confirm their story.

Is this person claiming to be a government agent, police officer or banker investigating a series of fraud cases and needs my help?

Scammers spoof caller ID and email addresses to look as if it is a trusted company or friend calling. Do your research, check the facts and talk to your bank about the transaction before sending money.

Is this person offering a get-rich deal. Am I asked to keep it secret?

Do not pay upfront for a promise to make money fast. Watch out for prize and inheritance scams that require you to pay taxes in advance.

Did this person come to my door or are they offering me an advance-payment service?

“No thanks.” Do not pay for services in advance. This also goes for things like debt relief, loan offers, online purchases or jobs. Watch out for services that require payment through electronic transfer to a home office or to another individual who they claim to be the boss.

Are you feeling pressured to send money?

Be suspicious of urgent money requests. Scammers want you to act fast and use threats and emotional ploys. STOP. Slow down and check the facts. Discuss the transaction with your bank, the police or a friend before sending money.

Protect Yourself: If you feel you are a victim of fraud, call your bank immediately.

Get more security tips at:

RCB Bank Security Center

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.


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Beware of Netflix scam

Share this with everyone you know!

Netflix scam graphic

There is a new sophisticated Netflix phishing attack you need to watch out for. They start out very pleasant, saying they have some trouble with your billing info, and pretty please with sugar on top need you to update your payment details. But if you fall for it, they will try to steal your login details, your credit card data, your picture and your ID!

Think Before You Click!

  • Never click on a login link or an account verification link in an email. If there is one, bail.
  • Check for the green HTTPS padlock. If there isn’t one, bail.
  • If there is a padlock, check the name of the site. If it’s not exactly what you expect, bail.
  • Don’t ignore telltales such as spelling and grammar errors. If it looks wrong, bail.
  • Guard your ID closely. If you’re asked for a selfie or ID when it isn’t absolutely necessary, bail.


Let’s take a closer look.

(Note the simple trick, right there in the subject line, of not spelling out the brand-theft text “Netflix” exactly: the crooks wrote the X as the Greek letter chi, so that Netflix came out as Netfli?.)

Next, you wind up here and that’s where they steal your credentials. But wait, there’s more…

Next, they steal your credit card data:

And trying to keep you on the hook, they throw in a Verfied by VISA page:

Then to add insult to injury, they make you confirm your identity by taking a selfie holding your identity card. Yikes!

An Apple scam is also going around.

Watch out for emails from Apple stating “someone has logged into your Apple ID from an unknown device.” It’s not real.

Stop. Look. Think. Don’t be fooled.

Information provided by Stu Sjouwerman, Founder and CEO of KnowBe4, Inc. Keeping You Informed. Keeping You Aware.
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#1 Reason Why You Need Text Banking

Phone and text banking graphic

Make text banking your first defense against fraud.

Fraud can happen to anyone. It happened to me and text banking tried to warn me.

I was out of town. I noticed two purchase alerts in my messages. My wife and I share an account and she had recently been to a craft fair, so I assumed they were hers. I was in a hurry and did not verify the transactions. My mistake. A couple of hours later, my bank called to inform us these were fraudulent charges on my wife’s card. Luckily, they caught it quickly and canceled her card before other fraud occurred.

Fraud departments are great at what they do, but so are fraudsters. It’s ultimately up to me to keep track of what is happening on my account. Text banking allows me to monitor account activity quickly and easily throughout the day from my phone. If I don’t recognize an expense, I can check it out right then. Detecting fraud early can help minimize loss.

Many major credit card companies also offer text alerts. Let text banking help you guard your money.

Other cool features:

You can use text banking to check account balances, transfer money between accounts and notify you when your balance falls below a specific dollar amount. You can pick and choose which alerts you want to receive. Smartphone and Wi-Fi not required.

Learn more ways to protect your money at

Want to know more about text banking?

For more information about text banking and to read frequently asked questions, visit our Text Banking page.

To sign up for text banking, visit any of our RCB Bank locations.

Message, data rates, fees, and other transfer restrictions may apply. Funds may not be available immediately. Delivery of alerts may be delayed for various reasons, including service outages affecting your phone, wireless or internet provider, technology failures, and system capacity limitations. Any time you review your balance, keep in mind it may not reflect all transactions including recent debit card transactions or checks you have written.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Message, data rates and fees may apply.

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How to Outsmart Identity Thieves

Every two seconds there is a new victim of identity fraud.*

Chess pieces

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

Don’t wait for a criminal to steal your identity before you take action. Guard your ID with these preventative measures.

Monitor bank account and credit card statements regularly.

Lookout for suspicious or unauthorized activity.

“Watch closely for small amounts on your account activity,” said Assistant Vice President Fraud Denise Meyer, RCB Bank. “Fraudsters will make little purchases or withdrawals with various odd merchant names hoping you won’t notice.”

Set up for text alerts to notify you whenever a transaction occurs on your bank or credit card accounts.

Check your free credit reports.

Federal law allows you to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three national credit reporting companies (CRC). Request a copy online at or call 1.877.322.8228.

Space out requests throughout the year to provide regular updates on your credit. See who is making inquiries on your credit. If it’s not a person or company you gave permission to, your information may be compromised.

Place a fraud alert/credit freeze with CRC.

When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Place a fraud alert at no cost with one CRC. They will then notify the other two. The alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed.

You can go a step further and lock down your credit with a credit freeze, which restricts access to your credit report. You’ll need to contact each CRC to place a credit freeze. There may be a fee.

Credit alerts and freezes may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but it may not prevent the misuse of existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Stay Alert

“Criminals take advantage of data breaches, natural disasters or other major crises and prey on people’s fears,” said Meyer.

Watch out for phishing emails pretending to be a government agency or credit reporting service.

Do not click on links from any email, text or social media message about data breaches.

If you think your information has been compromised, call your bank immediately. Read how to report and recover from ID theft at the FTC,

Invest in yourself.


* 2017 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of writer Jocelyn Wood,RCB Bank Creative Designer, and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.
Published in Values Magazine, October 2017

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Word of Caution to Avoid Fraud

Three tips to avoid being a victim

Girl holding credit card that reads fight fraud

I cannot stress enough the importance of using caution when it comes to using the internet, checking your emails and answering phone calls. Criminals are savvy con artists who steal billions of dollars from people each year.

Fraudsters are masters of age-old deception tricks. Often times, they persuade victims to hand over personal information and money willingly through telemarketing, Ponzi schemes and internet scams.

Avoid becoming a victim and take steps to protect you and your money.

Tip #1. Don’t be fooled by promises.

If you receive mail or a phone call stating you’ve won a free gift and all you need to do is pay postage or a small deposit, walk away. Con artists use convincing telemarketing to deceive victims. Mail may look like official letterhead from well-known companies. Criminals may cunningly pretend to represent local charities.

Adopt these principles:

  • Only pay for goods and services after you receive them.
  • Before giving money to a charity, personally investigate the company – find out how the money is used.


Tip #2. Don’t be pressured by scare tactics.

Fraudsters like to frighten victims into thinking they owe money to the IRS, or threaten arrest if they don’t pay an outstanding balance. Criminals can get their hands on public records and personal information, from the internet and social media networks, and create plausible schemes. Before you act out of fear, seek the truth.

  • Call the company directly to verify. Do not call the number provided to you. Call the number in the phonebook or on the company’s official website.
  • Review your bills and statements carefully. Fraudsters may claim you owe money for services not performed or send you fake bills.
  • Talk to your personal financial advisor before agreeing to any solicited investment proposal.


Tip #3. Safeguard your personal information.

There are hundreds of scams – phishing, texting, pop-up windows, downloads, skimming and spyware – to trick you into revealing personal information. Assume anything you post or send online or via phone is public. Take these precautions to protect yourself:

  • Do not reveal any personal information – including your current whereabouts – online, e.g., social media check-in status.
  • Install anti-spyware software and update it regularly.
  • Check your accounts often, looking for unusual activity.
  • Do not agree to let online sites remember your passwords – this is an open door for hackers.
  • Always sign off or log out properly.
  • Do not click on links in emails without verifying the source. Often times, scammers will send you mail from a familiar address in your contact list.
  • Check out the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),, to learn about recent scam alerts.


Criminals do not discriminate. All ages and demographics are at risk. As Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The FTC and Federal Bureau of Investigation,, offer tips and advice for fraud protection.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Call us at 855-BANK-RCB or visit your local RCB Bank location.

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