April 15, 2017 - Windows Ransomware Attack, Worldwide
The largest global ransomware attack to date has been in progress over the last several days. Ransomware is a virus that locks or encrypts your files and demands a payment in order to retreive them. This newest one requires $300 - $600. Microsoft has distributed a patch to help guard against this nasty malware. Please make certain your Windows computer is fully updated. Use Windows Update to do this. If it is uppdated, you are far less likely to be affected by this malware. It goes by several names, "WannaCry" being the most common. The best way to ensure you are safe from a Ransomware attack is to have current backups of all your files. Your friends here at Branson Bank want to help you keep away from threats like these.
January 31, 2017 - Mailbox Theft and Check Fraud Notice
From the office of Linda Spencer, Branson Bank Compliance Officer
There has been a rash of thefts of mail from mailboxes in the Branson area lately. The thieves are then taking checks from the envelopes that have been written to pay mortgages, insurance premiums, taxes, and other bills. They either alter the name of the payee or forge a signature on the back endorsing the check over to the perpetrator.
The US Postal Service is generally a very secure method to send payments. However, in light of this recent enhanced theft activity, we encourage you to use extra caution when sending payments by mail. Try to send mail containing checks via a locked mail box, Postal Service mail depository box, or directly at the Post Office.
If you want to avoid sending checks by mail altogether, consider making payments online (making sure you use legitimate and secure links, of course), use the Bill Pay service which is offered free of charge, or arrange to have your payments taken directly from the account you choose (automatic debits).
If you put checks in the mail to your creditors and that mail is stolen, report the theft to the bank immediately upon discovery, providing the account numbers, check numbers, and payees of the checks that were stolen. Also, file a report with the police or sheriff's department (depending upon where the theft occurred). Report the incident to the US Postal Inspection Service which is the Federal agency responsible for investigating mail theft, using this link:
Please Note: The above link is not in the Branson Bank internet domain, and Branson Bank has no control over its content.
December 20, 2016 - Mobile Devices See Holiday Threats Increase
Keep a close eye on your Apple or Android device during the holiday season. New ways to cause trouble through your mobile device are being brought to you by internet un-friendlies.
When installing apps on devices, ensure that it is not asking for permissions that it should not have. For instance, a new version of mobile banking malware on Android devices will request access to "Ignore Battery Optimizations". This allows the app to stay connected even while the device is asleep. Its a good idea to run a trusted antivirus solution on today's smartphones to help you stay safe from these types of applications.
Apple devices are having a holiday issue all thier own. Malicious software makers are offering apps that appear to be from major retailers such as Footlocker, Zappo's, Nordstrom and others. The apps are very convincing. For instance, a developer was able to publish an app called "Footlocke Sports", which appeared to be from shoe retailer Footlocker. These apps can do anything from creating annoying popup ads on your device, to harvesting credit card information if you attempt to buy items through the app. If you would like to install an app from a favorite retailer, ensure that it comes from a legitimate App Store source. Look for odd spellings, lack of branding and other signs that an app may not be legitimate. If there's any doubt, it's not worth it! Skip the app!.
October 18, 2016 - Scammers Pose As Publisher's Clearing House
Scammers are contacting people and claiming to be from Publisher's Clearing House. Contact is made via telephone, email, text message, and even sometimes through the mail. They tell you that you have won a cash prize, but they require a fee before the claim can be processed. Publisher's Clearing House states that there is NEVER a fee for winners of their prizes. The scammer will send you a check for "partial prize amounts" which looks real but is not valid. Generally, consumers are asked to deposit the check and return a portion to the scammer to pay the fee. The scammers are using real names of people associated with the Publisher's Clearing House Prize patrol and it's executive management team. Please do not be fooled by these scammers. If you receive such a call or message, contact Publisher's Clearing House directly. The link below goes directly to Publisher's Clearing House website. It provides contact information, fraud education, and lots of other good information. Help us keep you safe from fraud by taking the time to learn about these schemes. The best defense is education. Thanks for being a customer of Branson Bank.
September 23, 2016 - New Version of IRS Tax Payment Scam
In a fresh version of the old IRS Tax Payment Scam, the criminals are getting more resourceful. Recently letters have gone out which look almost exactly like the IRS form CP2000, notifying you that you under-reported your income and must make a payment immediately. The form comes with a telephone number. When contacted, the thieves are very threatening and convincing. Many people have been taken by the scam. It is easy to avoid this by contacting the IRS directly to verify whether your letter is real. The IRS has a public number you can always trust, 1-800-829-1040. Regardless what telephone number is listed on the letter, contact IRS only at this number. If you receive such a letter do not send money, nor any personal information. Please take time to check out any such correspondence with IRS directly. As your bank, we want to help keep you informed and safe from these and other collection schemes. We thank you for being a customer of Branson Bank.
June 21, 2016 - Elevated Email Attachment Concern
Emails with ZIP file virus attachments have become an elevated concern. These ZIP file attachments can contain viruses that steal your online credentials or demand a ransom to restore your personal files. Be very cautious of opening any attachment in email. Make sure you have backups of your personal pictures, documents, and other files on a USB drive or other external device. If you believe you may have been exposed to a malicious file, you should immediately scan your PC using an updated antivirus program, or seek professional computer repair assistance. Please remember that changing passwords to email accounts, credit card accounts, online banking, and other internet resources is the first step to ensuring they are secure after a suspected incident. Please let us know if you need assistance changing your Branson Bank Freedom Banking Online password. Call us at 417-334-9696 and ask for a CSR. Thank you for being our customer.
June 15, 2016 – Debit/Credit Card Use at Wendy’s Restaurants - Level: Informational
The Wendy’s fast food chain has released information indicating that some franchise locations throughout our region may have been exposed to malware that can compromise debit and credit cards. If you have used your debit or credit cards at Wendy’s from February - June 2016, we recommend keeping an eye on your account for unauthorized transactions. If you notice unauthorized activity on your account, please contact a Branson Bank CSR at 417-334-9696 and we will be happy to provide assistance. You can view the actual Wendy’s release by clicking HERE.
May 31, 2016 - Emailed Invoice Phishing Attack - Level Critical
Today customers are receiving emailed "invoices" supposedly payable to Branson Bank. Please note that these emails are a phishing attack. The attached document likely contains a malicious payload and may compromise your computer if you open the attachment. If you have received such an email, it is safe to delete the email from your system as long as you do not open the attachment. If you have opened the attachment you should disconnect your computer from the internet and run a virus/malware scan on it. You may want to seek professional computer services to ensure your computer is clean. For your security, use a known clean computer to immediately change your Freedom Online Banking password and other passwords to your online accounts. Please call us at 417-334-9696 if you need assistance getting your password updated.
Here is an example of the malicious email: Click Here To View Image
May 25, 2016 - PIN Reset Scam - Source, U.S. Secret Service
In an attempt to reset debit card PIN numbers, criminals are calling customers and claiming to be a representative of the bank. In some cases they have personal information and are able to convince customers that they are legitimate. They usually claim to be from the bank's fraud monitoring department. They ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number and your transaction history. They then utilize this information to reset your debit card PIN number. If you receive such a call, do not give out any information. Hang up, contact us directly at 417-334-9696, and ask to speak to a customer service representative.
IRS Telephone Call Scam - A caller stating they are with IRS informs you that you must pay a fee, fine, or tax bill immediately or you will be incarcerated. Scammers will use Caller ID spoofing to make it look like they are calling from the IRS. Please go to the following link for full information on this scam from the IRS website.
IRS Phone Scam Information
"Family Member In Need" Telephone Scam - A person receives a call from a scammer who says they are a family member, usually a grandchild, niece, or nephew. The caller is in some type of trouble (auto accident or incarcerated) and needs you to wire money immediately. The caller is very convincing and knows personal details that lend credibility to their story. These scammers often obtain this personal information from social media sites. If you receive such a call, attempt to verify the story with other family members before wiring money.