The Monthly Scam Spotlight: The Firewall Fraud

Posted by Peter Begin on Sep 4, 2019 Peter Begin

Have you ever been scammed? Or wondered if someone is trying to scam you? You’re certainly not alone. According to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, in 2018, nearly 3 million reports of fraud and identity theft were made to the Federal Trade Commission, resulting in a loss of nearly $1.48 billion.

cash with plastic army men around it

That’s a lot of damage, both financial and psychological.

Here at Mascoma Bank, we are well aware of the dangers of fraud out there. We see all kinds, from emails demanding funds to threatening phone calls claiming you owe money to the IRS. Scammers have gotten very sophisticated and they are excellent at intimidating anyone who picks up the phone or opens an email.

Just about every week, I send out an email in which I thank a member of the Mascoma Bank team for work they did helping one of our customers deal with a potential scammer.

In fact, just recently, a team member at the call center noticed a customer was having trouble accessing their online banking account. The team member called the customer to offer help, and discovered a very distraught person at the other end of the line. It turned out she’d been contacted by a scammer who’d convinced her that her computer was infected with a virus and she needed to transfer $400 to pay to have the firewall updated and the computer saved. She was upset, she was scared, and she was on her way to becoming a victim. The scammer had informed her they’d be calling back for an update.

Luckily, the team member caught her just in time and let her know this sounded like a scam. The customer was advised not to answer the phone when the scammer called back and gave her some resources to call so she could have her computer looked at by someone trustworthy. A crisis was averted.

These are exactly the situations we train for here at Mascoma Bank. Not only are Team Members taught to recognize scams and handle them logistically, they’re also taught the most effective ways of communicating with people in order to provide both practical advice and reassurance. Beating fraud is a team effort—our customers need to trust us so we can stop fraud before it happens.

We also hold classes for our customers each year. We offer tips on recognizing fraud as it’s happening, good habits to cultivate to avoid fraud, and where people can go for help, including the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (uspis.gov). We’ll announce upcoming classes on our website.

Do you suspect fraud? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 603-443-8664 or 603-443-8665.

If fraud is a concern of yours (and it should be a concern of everyone), check back for some of our stories of the different kinds of scams we see and how to keep yourself from falling victim.

Topics: Security