Online Security Updates
Below are links to the latest updates we routinely send our Online Banking customers about a variety of online security topics.
Protect Yourself from Charity Scams
Donating to a charitable organization is a great thing to do. By making a donation, you can directly help a cause important to you. These organizations depend on donations so they can provide services to those they serve. Unfortunately, there are scam artists out there who are looking to take advantage of your goodwill. Charity scam artists pose as legitimate charities, or create fake charities designed to take your money and/or personal information. Before donating to a charitable organization, it is important to do your research so you can avoid these scammers.
Follow these tips to help protect yourself from a charity scam:
- Investigate the charity if you are not familiar with it. Ask for a brochure or literature that explains its mission, how they help, and how your donation will be used. You should also ask what percentage of your donation goes directly to the cause. Legitimate charities will be able to answer your questions or provide you with printed materials, including proof that your donation is tax deductible. If they avoid your request, or do not provide satisfactory answers, consider donating elsewhere.
Find the charity’s authorized website. The results of a general web search may include a fraudulent site designed to look like a legitimate charity’s website. Legitimate charities’ web addresses typically end in .org, not .com. Avoid web addresses that end in a series of numbers. You should also avoid web sites that ask for personal information like your social security number, birth date, or bank account information.
Do not open email attachments. Although legitimate charities do solicit donations through email, emails from legitimate organizations will not typically include attachments. Opening an attachment from an unsolicited email can make you vulnerable to a computer virus or malware designed to steal your personal information.
Never donate over the phone. Research the organization before you donate. Charitable organizations will be happy for your donation whenever you give. If they pressure you to give right away, they may not be legitimate. Never provide your bank account or credit card information to anyone who contacts you by phone.
Never send cash or wire money. Wiring money is the same as sending cash. Once it is sent, it is gone forever. Write a check to the organization or pay by credit card through the charity’s authorized website. This helps you document the donation for your records and for tax purposes.
If you think you have been the victim of a charity scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
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