Fraud Awareness & Prevention

Fraud Awareness & Prevention

Fraud Awareness & Prevention

As technology evolves to better serve bank customers like you, fraud is evolving too. In the past several years, the U.S. has seen a rise in sophisticated scams, phishing, and other fraudulent efforts designed to steal money and private information for fraudulent purposes. By knowing what to look for and what to do if you see it, you can protect yourself and your loved ones against fraud and take action to safeguard your financial wellness.

It’s important to remember that Hills Bank will never reach out to you through phone, text, or email to request your password, secure access code, debit card information, or any other personal information that could compromise your account. Please do not respond to these requests.

Recent Fraud Alert

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Peer to Peer (P2P) Payment Scams

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Fraud in 2022 - What to Look For

Fraud can usually be categorized in one of several ways, including: 
 

A scammer pretends to be someone you trust, such as a friend or family member, a bank employee, or a Social Security official. They may ask you to transfer money or provide personal information, such as your banking credentials, account or debit card number, PIN, or other sensitive data. Here’s how you can protect yourself against these scams:

  • Think twice about the caller or sender’s identity: Caller ID and email addresses can be faked. If you know how to get a hold of the sender via a different method, be sure to do so to verify their identity. 
  • Avoid suspect payment methods: Legitimate vendors, services, and government agencies rarely need you to pay via gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. If someone asks you for these kinds of payments, that should raise a red flag. 
  • Be willing to say no: Scammers may try to give you a sense of urgency to their request – especially over the phone. If you’re feeling pressured, be willing to firmly say “no,” and hang up. If the request is legitimate, you can contact the relevant party in a different way. 

This type of fraud may occur after an imposter scam – or it may seem to come completely out of the blue. Identity theft involves a fraudster stealing personal information such as your name, credit card number, insurance information, social security number, and other important data. Thieves use this info to access your bank accounts, open credit cards and loans in your name, file false tax returns to collect your refund, etc. If any of the following events happen to you, your identity may have been stolen:

  • Unexpected withdrawals from your bank account
  • Bills that normally come in the mail suddenly stop 
  • Debt collectors call about debt you don’t recognize 
  • Medical care providers send you bills for treatments you didn’t receive

One of the best ways to make sure your identity hasn’t been stolen is to check your credit report regularly. You can get a free credit report with no strings attached at https://www.annualcreditreport.com

If you suspect your identity has been stolen, be sure to visit www.IdentityTheft.gov for a list of steps to take based on your circumstances.

Criminals have been known to install hardware that “skims” bank cards, stealing private information and access to accounts, among other things. Before you put your debit card into an ATM, check to see that everything appears to be in working condition:

  • Pay attention to what the card readers and keypads look like at the ATMs you frequently use. Check them over for anything that looks out of the ordinary such as unusual scratches or gouges, wires, tape residue on or near the card reader, or odd-looking equipment attached to the ATM.
  • Check for obvious signs of tampering. Common points of tampering include the top of the ATM, speakers, side of the screen, card reader, and keypad.
  • When using ATMs or PIN devices, you should always shield your PIN by placing your hand over the keypad as you enter your PIN.
  • Criminals also use card skimming devices designed to jam your card inside an ATM, and then disguise themselves as a helpful stranger who watches as you input your PIN a few times, while the card remains stuck. After you leave, the thief will remove your card and have your PIN. Be sure to carefully observe ATMs for fraudulent devices and be aware of your surroundings when conducting transactions.

Do not use an ATM if the card reader appears to be loose or fits poorly. If you see something suspicious that you think may be an ATM skimmer, alert the business where the ATM is located. If it’s after business hours, call the local authorities.

Unfortunately, ATM skimming is a problem around the world. Hills Bank continues to monitor both local and international fraud trends to make sure we are aware of the latest scamming techniques and update our technologies to combat the changing tactics of criminals. And as always, monitor and review your account information and report any suspicious or fraudulent transactions immediately by calling us at 1-800-445-5725 (1-800-HILLSBK).  

Credit and debit card fraud is one of the most common types of fraud, but thankfully it’s also one of the easiest to spot. Be sure to check your transaction statement each month, or better yet: keep up to date on your transactions in real time with online banking. If you see an unfamiliar transaction, reach out to your financial institution as soon as possible (contact information for Hills Bank is listed below). 

If you’re a caregiver or loved one of an elder, here are some types and examples of financial abuse and fraud to be aware of – and some red flags to watch out for. 

Grandparent Scam

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Shop Safely Online

Read Tips to Shop Safely Online

Crypto ATM Scams

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Email Scams

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Text Scams

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Gift Card Scams

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What to Do if You Suspect or Spot Fraud

  • Take immediate action

    If you have lost your debit card or suspect it is being used fraudulently, you can freeze your debit card yourself by logging into Hills Bank Online on your desktop computer or mobile app. Then, select “Hills Bank Cards” on the navigation bar, followed by “Turn Debit Card On/Off.” 

  • Submit a transaction dispute

    If you see a fraudulent transaction on your statement or transaction list, log into Hills Bank Online. Then:
    1.    Click on the relevant account
    2.    Select “Options” on the right side (the three vertical dots)
    3.    Select “Dispute Transactions” and check off which transactions are suspect 

    We’ll review the transactions you selected and take action as needed.
     

  • Give us a call:

    If you think you see fraud or other suspicious activity on your account, please reach out to our Customer Contact Center as soon as possible. We’re available by calling 1-800-445-5725 (1-800-HILLSBK):

    • Customer Contact Center hours: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. - noon

    For a lost or stolen credit card after hours, call 1-800-423-7503.
    For lost or stolen ATM/Debit Cards after hours, call 1-833-773-8204.
     

Phone or Email/Mail

If you receive a request for personal information which appears to be from Hills Bank, please contact us at 1-800-445-5725 (1-800-HILLSBK) to verify the validity of the request.

It’s important to remember that Hills Bank will never reach out to you through phone, text, or email to request your password, secure access code, debit card information, or any other personal information that could compromise your account. Please do not respond to these requests.
 

Web Resources

If you believe you have received fraudulent communication, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission’s website also has more information on privacy, identity, and online security.

The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker is a great way to find and report scams near you. 

Visit annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of each of your credit reports.

If you suspect your identity has been stolen, be sure to visit www.IdentityTheft.gov for a list of steps to take based on your circumstances.