Identity Theft

Learn about online fraud

Online fraud occurs when someone poses as a legitimate company to obtain your personal data and illegally conducts transactions on your existing accounts. Often called “phishing” or “spoofing,” the most current methods of online fraud are fake emails, websites and pop-up windows, or any combination of these.
First American Bank will never require you to send personal information to us via email or pop-up windows. Any unsolicited request you receive for your account information through emails, websites, or pop-up windows should be considered fraudulent and should be reported to us immediately by emailing or calling 800-289-6140. Please read about what to look for in phishing emails.
Phishing emails will often:
  • Ask you for personal information. Fake emails often contain an overly generic greeting and may claim that your information has been compromised, that your account has been frozen, or ask you to confirm the authenticity of your transactions.
  • Appear to be from a legitimate source. While some emails are easy to identify as fraudulent, others may appear to be from a legitimate address and trusted online source. However, you should not rely on the name or address in the “From” field, as this is easily altered.
  • Contain fraudulent job offers. Some fake emails appear to be from companies offering jobs. These are often work-at-home accounting positions which are actually schemes that victimize both the job applicant and other customers. Be sure to confirm that the job offer is from a known and trusted company.
  • Contain prizes or gift certificate offers. Some fake emails promise a prize or gift certificate in exchange for completing a survey or answering questions. In order to collect the alleged prize or gift certificate you may be directed to provide your personal information. Just like with job offers, be sure to confirm that prize or gift certificate is being issued from a known and trusted company.
  • Link to counterfeit web sites. Fake emails may direct you to counterfeit web sites carefully designed to look real, but which actually collect personal information for illegal use.
  • Link to real web sites. In addition to links to counterfeit web sites, some fake emails also include links to legitimate web sites. The fraudsters do this in an attempt to make a fake email appear real.
  • Contain fraudulent phone numbers. Fake emails often contain telephone numbers that are tied to the fraudsters. Never call a number featured on an email you suspect is fraudulent, and be sure to double-check any numbers you do call.
  • Contain real phone numbers. Some of the telephone numbers listed in fake emails may be legitimate, connecting to actual companies. Just like with links, fraudsters include the real phone numbers in an effort to make the email appear to be legitimate.
    How is your email obtained? Email addresses can be obtained from publicly available sources or through randomly generated lists. If you receive an email that appears to be from First American Bank, this does not mean that your email address, name, or any other information has been taken from First American Bank’s systems.
    Pop-up windows
    Pop-up windows are the small windows or ads that appear suddenly over or under the window you are currently viewing. Fraudulent pop-up windows are a type of online fraud often used to obtain personal information. Online fraud occurs when someone poses as a legitimate company—like a popular shopping site, your bank, or your Internet service provider—to obtain sensitive personal data and illegally conducts transactions on your existing accounts. Often called “phishing” or “spoofing,” the most current types of online fraud include fake pop-up windows, emails and web sites, or any combination of these.
    Trojan horses
    These fake emails may also contain a virus known as a “Trojan horse” that can record your keystrokes. The virus may live in an attachment or be accessed via a link in the email. Remember, we do not request personal information via email. Never respond to emails, open attachments, or click on links from suspicious or unknown senders. If you’re not sure an email from First American Bank is legitimate, STOP, do not reply to the email. Report to us by emailing or calling 800-289-6140.
    Counterfeit websites
    Online thieves often direct you to fraudulent web sites via email and pop-up windows and try to collect your personal information. In many cases there is no easy way to determine that you are on a phony web site because the URL will contain the name of the institution it is spoofing. However, if you type, or cut and paste, the URL into a new web browser window and it does not take you to a legitimate web site, or you get an error message, it was probably just a cover for a fake web site.
    Another way to detect a phony web site is to consider how you arrived there. Generally, you were directed by a link in a fake email requesting your account information. First American Bank will not request personal information from customers via email and any unsolicited request should be considered fraudulent and reported immediately.
    How to report fake "e-mails", websites and pop-up windows
    If you receive a deceptive e-mail, such as a message phishing for your information forward it to the entity wrongfully being impersonated. If you think you have received a “phishing” email from First American Bank, encountered a fake web site, or pop-up window, or if you responded to one of these emails with personal information report to us by emailing reportidtheft@firstamb or calling 800-289-6140.


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