Black Friday & Cyber Monday Cybersecurity Tips

The bad guys are at it again with holiday phishing scams, and this time from the comfort of your user's home. Because we are in the middle of a pandemic, retailers have already started online Black Friday deals that attract scammers.

Cyber Monday will also be bigger than ever before. That means you and your users need to be extra cautious when shopping online over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

According to TechCrunch, estimates of ecommerce growth rates by 18% will continue to increase during the holiday season. The growth in e-commerce will result in an increase of online scams. Since the beginning of November, Checkpoint research showed the first half of November already showed an 80% increase in phishing campaigns relating to sales & shopping special offers.

It's Holiday Season for the bad guys too! But not the way you might think. They go into scam-overdrive mode. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest online shopping days and the bad guys are planning to get rich with your money. So, here are this year's Top 10 Holiday Cybersecurity Alert Tips:

  • Keep all devices up to date with basic security measures to lessen your chance of becoming the victim.
  • Only connect to known Wi-Fi networks; beware of network names that have typos or extra characters.
  • Use strong, unique passwords on all accounts. This is a good time to update passwords!
  • Be safe on all social media; don't overshare and take the time to review your privacy settings on the platforms you use.
  • Keep an eye on your bank accounts and monitor your credit report regularly.
  • Be careful with messages regarding shipping changes. Always use official channels to stay updated.
  • Watch out for holiday greeting cards that may not be the sender you think! Don't open these unless you're certain you can trust who they came from.
  • Keep devices in view (or know where they are) throughout the course of all holiday travel.
  • Pay close attention to the websites you visit and shop on. It's safest to only use those you trust.
  • Be wary of ads, giveaways, and contests that seem too good to be true. These run rampant during the holiday season! 

 

 

Letter from the President

November 9, 2020

 

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) is warning residents of a tax scam as reported by the IRS.  One can only assume we will be seeing the same thing as Illinois residents.  This scam is sent through text message and is trying to trick individuals into providing personal information to receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment.

 

The scam text reads:

“You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREA FUND.  Further action is required to accept this payment into your account.  Continue here to accept this payment…”.  

The text includes a link to a fake web address

The IRS has advised people who receive this text scam to take a screen shot of the text message and include the screen shot and email to phishing@irs.gov with the following information:

  • Date/Time/Time zone that they received the text message
  • The number that appeared on the Caller ID
  • The number that received the text message.

 

More information regarding the scam can be found at irs.gov.

 

 

Michael Cripps,

President & CEO

 

 

 

Cybersecurity Resources

10/20/2020

 

Listed are some topics and tips on Cybersecurity.

 

 

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency

https://www.cisa.gov/shop-safely

Link on how to shop smarter online this Holiday Season.

 

 

 

 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/assistance/protection/IdTheft.html

Link on Cybersecurity protection topics and tips.

 

 

 

Federal Trade Commission

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/small-businesses/cybersecurity

Link to Small Business Cybersecurity tips and topics.

 

 

 

US Gov't Charges Six Members of GRU

10/19/2020

 

 

The United State Government has formally charged six members of GRU, Russia's Military Intelligence Agency, for carrying out cyber attacks aimed at causing monetary losses and distabilization.

 

For more information, please click on the link below.

 

https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-deputy-director-david-bowdichs-remarks-at-press-conference-announcing-cyber-related-indictment-of-six-russian-intelligence-officers

July 21st, 2020

July 21, 2020

 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

THE FIRST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY OF MURPHYSBORO is working with federal and state banking agencies, as well as other financial institutions to consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist customers affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, the bank is monitoring information issued by international and U.S. health organizations. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the Coronavirus. Customers experiencing difficulties beyond their control should work directly with their financial institutions.  Should you wish to discuss, please call us at 618.687.1711 or customerservice@fb-t.com.

 

BEWARE OF SCAMS

If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the FDIC or another federal agency, and offering COVID-19 related grants or payments in exchange for personal financial information, or a charge of any kind, please do not respond. These are scams. Additional guidance on how to report COVID-19 scams is available from the U.S. Department of Treasury website. You can also read the FDIC's Special Edition of FDIC Consumer News for COVID-19.

WHAT WE ARE DOING

·        We encourage customers to use our mobile and online banking services, as well our ATMs and night depositories.

·        We have instituted and enhanced preventative cleaning measures at branch and office locations to protect health of both customers and employees.

·        We are providing personalized assistance to customers who have been financially impacted by coronavirus.

·        We are Informing customers about COVID-19-related scams and encouraging them to vigilantly protect their personal information.

·        We are participating in the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program and have obtained over $1,000,000 in such loans for our business customers.

·        We are tailoring our already personized service even more for our customers who have been severely impacted.

·        Some of our employees have preexisting breathing issues so, we encourage our customers and employees to maintain proper social distancing whenever possible and to wear masks when not possible.

 

Michael Cripps,

President & CEO

January 22, 2020

IRS Tax Tip 2020-04, January 16, 2020

The tax filing season is upon us, and many people will be looking for someone to help them file a tax return. These taxpayers should choose their tax return preparer wisely.

This is because it's ultimately the taxpayer who is responsible for all the information on their income tax return. It's important for people to remember that this is true no matter who prepares the return. Here are some tips for folks to remember when selecting a preparer. Taxpayers should:

Check the Preparer's Qualifications. People can use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications. The directory is a searchable and sortable listing of preparers.

Check the Preparer's History. Taxpayers can ask the local Better Business Bureau about the preparer. They should check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. There are some additional organizations about specific types of preparers:

  • Enrolled Agents: Go to the verify enrolled agent status page on IRS.gov.
  • Certified Public Accountants: Check with the State Board of Accountancy.
  • Attorneys: Check with the State Bar Association.

Ask about Service Fees. People should avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of the refund or who boast bigger refunds than their competition.

Ask to e-file. The quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to electronically file their federal tax return and choose direct deposit.

Make Sure the Preparer is Available. Taxpayers may want to contact their preparer after this year's April 15 due date. People should avoid "fly-by-night" preparers.

Provide Records and Receipts. Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer's records and receipts. They'll ask questions to figure things like the total income, tax deductions and credits.

Never Sign a Blank Return. Taxpayers should not use a tax preparer who asks them to sign a blank tax form.

Review Before Signing. Before signing a tax return, the taxpayer should review it. They should ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should feel comfortable with the accuracy of their return before they sign it. Once they sign the return, taxpayers are accepting responsibility for the information on it.

Review details about any refund. Taxpayers should make sure that their refund goes directly to them – not to the preparer's bank account. The taxpayer should review the routing and bank account number on the completed return.

Ensure the Preparer Signs and Includes their PTIN. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN.

Report Abusive Tax Preparers to the IRS. Most tax return preparers are honest and provide great service to their clients. However, some preparers are dishonest. People can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer (PDF).

 

Michael Cripps,

President & CEO


 

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