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Fraud Prevention & How to Keep Your Information Secure

Sandy Spring Bank takes the protection of your personal information very seriously. We offer a variety of fraud protection services including:

  • Fraud monitoring.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication and enhanced passcodes.
  • SecurLOCK Equip - a mobile app that allows you to control how, when, and where your debit and/or credit cards are used.
  • Positive Pay for our business clients.
  • Built in chip and contactless technologies for our debit card clients.
  • The ability to set up a number of different account alerts.

There's also a lot you can do to protect yourself. Below are a series of fraud and security FAQs to help arm you with knowledge needed to keep you safe.

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Fraud Prevention Tips

What can I do to help protect my accounts and identity?

Sandy Spring Bank will never call, text or email you and ask that you provide your Social Security number, account information or PINs/passwords.

  • Closely monitor your accounts for unusual transactions. If something doesn't seem right, please call us immediately at 800.399.5919.  

  • Make sure that your contact information is correct and up to date. If we suspect fraud, we will reach out, but in order for us to do so your information must be accurate.

  • Keep the operating systems on your phone and computer up to date — many times software updates contain security upgrades. That is also true of the Sandy Spring Bank mobile app, so if you don't have your phone settings set to automatically update your apps, then be sure to check regularly. 

  • Create strong passwords and PINs that have nothing to do with you and that are difficult to guess. 

  • Use multi-factor authentication to access you devices as well as apps that contain sensitive information.

  • Be very wary of unsolicited emails and if you receive a communication from us, please review the email address. Many times fraudsters will create both websites and email addresses that are just one or two letters off. Whitelist communications you know to be real from people and institutions you hear from regularly. If, after whitelisting, what appears to be a real communication appears in your Junk mail folder, leave it there.  

  • Switch from paper to eStatements, as this reduces the opportunities for someone to steal your information. 

  • Use online and mobile banking. The site and app are secure when used properly and you can also set up account alerts to let you know about unusual activity.

 

FAQs

  • Question

    What can I do to help protect my accounts and identity?

    Answer

    Sandy Spring Bank will never call, text or email you and ask that you provide your Social Security number, account information or PINs/passwords.

    • Closely monitor your accounts for unusual transactions. If something doesn't seem right, please call us immediately at 800.399.5919.  
    • Make sure that your contact information is correct and up to date. If we suspect fraud, we will reach out, but in order for us to do so your information must be accurate.
    • Keep the operating systems on your phone and computer up to date — many times software updates contain security upgrades. That is also true of the Sandy Spring Bank mobile app, so if you don't have your phone settings set to automatically update your apps, then be sure to check regularly. 
    • Create strong passwords and PINs that have nothing to do with you and that are difficult to guess. 
    • Use multi-factor authentication to access you devices as well as apps that contain sensitive information.
    • Be very wary of unsolicited emails and if you receive a communication from us, please review the email address. Many times fraudsters will create both websites and email addresses that are just one or two letters off. Whitelist communications you know to be real from people and institutions you hear from regularly. If, after whitelisting, what appears to be a real communication appears in your Junk mail folder, leave it there.  
    • Switch from paper to eStatements, as this reduces the opportunities for someone to steal your information. 
    • Use online and mobile banking. The site and app are secure when used properly and you can also set up account alerts to let you know about unusual activity.
  • Question

    What do I do if I notice unusual account activity?

    Answer

    Contact us immediately at 800.399.5919 so that we may lock your account and begin to investigate the suspicious activity.

  • Question

    What do I do if I receive a suspicious email, call or text?

    Answer

    Never provide account information or other sensitive information to anyone over the phone, text or email, especially if you did not initiate the conversation. Banks will never call and ask you for this information. If you receive a call or other type of communication that you believe is suspicious, please call us at 800.399.5919.

  • Question

    What is check fraud and how do I protect myself?

    Answer

    Check fraud takes different forms, including: 

    • Forgery — Either by completely faking a check or check washing, when a fraudster uses chemicals to “wash” key information from a real check to replace with their own. 

    • Check Kiting — Writing a check for an amount greater than what is in the account at another bank.

    • Overpayment Scam — When fraudsters write a check for too much money and then ask the victim to give them back the extra amount. When the victim attempts to cash the original check, it bounces and they've been scammed out of the overage.

    How to Protect Yourself

    • Always closely monitor your bank account for unusual activity. 

    • Do not leave letters or bills containing a completed check in your mailbox; instead, drop it off at the post office.

    • Move away from using checks altogether either through resources available on Personal Digital Banking or our mobile app

    If you suspect that you are a victim of check-related related fraud, reach out to the Client Service Center at 800.399.5919. Be sure to also file a report with the police and the Federal Trade Commission. 
     

  • Question

    What is phishing and how do I protect myself?

    Answer

    Phishing is when fraudsters trick a victim into sharing account login credentials or other sensitive personal information. The ways in which this happens though are expansive and include:

    • Emails – Fraudsters will send a convincing email that appears to be from someone or a business or company you trust, like your bank. The email will look similar to an office email and will ask that you click on a provided link in order to verify your account information. There is usually a sense of urgency included, either the threat of a fine or cancellation that urges the victim to respond without thinking. 

    • Calls and texts – Similar to the emails, these are impersonation attempts by fraudsters pretending to be someone you know well, like your boss, or a company you trust, like your bank. 

    • Fake Ads – Search engines also are home to fraudsters found mainly amongst the ads. Criminals create landing pages meant to look very similar to an official one for a company, and then create search engine ads so that their site appears at the top of the search results. When the victim searches and then clicks on the fraudulent link, that’s when the fraudsters can start harvesting your information.

    How to Protect Yourself

    • Always closely monitor your bank account for any unusual activity. 

    • Never provide sensitive information to a stranger via phone, text or email unless you started the conversation. Banks will never call and ask for your account number or login credentials, so be wary of anyone who does. 

    • Do not access web sites you frequent often by performing a search engine query. Instead go directly to the site itself. If you do enter via search engine, hover your mouse over the hyperlink to see the address and confirm that it is accurate. Pro tip: Save the sites you visit most often to your Bookmarks and access them in a way that’s easy and secure. 

    • Never click links or open attachments in emails from people you don’t know and be wary of ones from people you do know as they could be a phishing attack. 

    • Regularly change your login credentials for every site where you have them and without repetition.

  • Question

    What is ATM fraud and how do I protect myself?

    Answer

    Criminals use a practice known as ATM skimming to obtain credit and debit card information by installing hidden recording devices on ATMs or other payment terminals. This is done either by installing a plastic overlay on the keypad which captures your PIN or a device over the card insertion slot allowing them to obtain the data from the card's magnetic strip.

    How to Protect Yourself

    • When available on ATMs, use the contactless feature on your card to access ATMs.

    • Avoid ATMs or payment terminals that look damaged or have loose or missing parts.

    • Pay attention to whether or not the ATM card reader looks different than normal.

  • Question

    What is a Peer to Peer (P2P) Payment scam and how do I protect myself?

    Answer

    Peer-to-peer, or P2P, payments are electronic money transfers between individuals, and examples include Zelle®, Venmo, and PayPal. Peer-to-peer scams typically involve impersonation calls, pretending to be an official of some sort from the government or a bank or other reputable entity. They use spoofing services to trick your caller ID as well, so don't trust that either.

    How to Protect Yourself

    • Never send money to someone you don’t know. A bank will never call and ask for you to send money via a P2P service. If you are ever unsure, simply hang up, call the bank directly and confirm the information. 

    • Prevention is the key since it is very unlikely that you will recover money lost via a P2P scam, so be vigilant. If you suspect you are a victim, contact your bank and local authorities immediately. 

  • Question

    What is a wire transfer scam and how do I protect myself?

    Answer

    These scams occur when a fraudster tricks a victim into sending them money directly from their bank account. This can happen in a number of ways, either through a dating app in which the fraudsters gain the victim’s trust over time, someone claiming to need money due to a family emergency, or someone claiming that the victim has won a prize, but must send money for processing. 

    How to Protect Yourself

    • Do not wire money to anyone you don't know or anyone who says wire transfer is your only payment option. Also, no government entity or your bank will ask you to send money via wire transfer. 

    • If you suspect you are a victim of wire transfer fraud, contact your bank and local authorities immediately.

    • Never pay for a prize. If you have truly won either a sweepstakes or a contest, payment should not be a requirement. 

  • Question

    I’m a Senior or I’m caring for a Senior and fraud is a concern. What should we know?

    Answer

    According to the AARP1, the rate of financial exploitation targeting older adults has more than doubled since 2020. With this in mind, it is especially important to be aware of scams targeting older individuals. These scams are normally phishing or confidence scams and seek to take advantage of an individual’s isolation. The best way to prevent these scams is through education and by ensuring that the older individual has the appropriate professional advice for managing their finances.
      
    The American Bankers Association has developed a robust primer on elder financial abuse and how best to protect against it found here
     


    1 Ianzito, C. (2022, October 4). Financial Exploitation, Scams Have Skyrocketed Since Pandemic Began. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2022/financial-exploitation-scam-report.html.

  • Question

    I’m a business owner and have concerns about email compromise fraud. What should I know and how can I protect the company?

    Answer

    Business Email Compromise (BEC) is one of the most damaging online frauds perpetrated, taking advantage of the fact that most companies depend on email to conduct almost all business. The target will receive an email that appears to be from a trusted source, like a vendor, to trick them into divulging sensitive information or to even send money.

    How to protect your business.

    • Be aware of emails that note a change of financial data, attachments, links, unusual content and requests. Be certain that your team is validating changes to financial data by phone with a trusted contact every time.

    • Set bank alerts for outgoing transactions, large dollar transactions processed on your account and changes to user names, passwords, email address and phone numbers for online banking.

    • Log into your bank account daily through online banking or the mobile banking app that enables you to keep an eye on your balances and account activity and ensures that you catch unauthorized transactions quickly.

    • Be sure to continually maintain the security software of your computers. 

    • Secure and protect your property (laptops, computers, smartphones) and factor in business insurance to cover losses (monetary and property) for compromises or stolen property.

    • Verify all transactions through an established contact number when using ACH or Wire products and consider implementing dual controls.

    • Visit the Treasury Management for more information.

    If you have any concerns, please contact us at 866.867.1570

  • Question

    I’m a business owner and have concerns about account takeover fraud. What should I know and how can I protect the company?

    Answer

    Account Takeover Fraud occurs when a criminal gains access to any of your online accounts including credit cards and bank accounts. This can happen in any number of ways including: phishing using social engineering, bots for brute force password hacking attacks and taking advantage of security vulnerabilities, just to name a few. 

    How to protect your business:

    • Set bank alerts for outgoing transactions, large dollar transactions processed on your account and changes to user names, passwords, email address and phone numbers for online banking.

    • Be vigilant, review your accounts daily and immediately report anything unusual.

    • Be sure to continually maintain the security software of your computers and phones.

    • Teach employees to avoid entering personal information (like financial information and login credentials) into public computers.

    • Take advantage of multifactor authentication and use complex user names and strong passwords. 

    • Use firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software on your computer and mobile devices, while keeping it updated regularly.

    If you have any concerns, please contact us at 866.867.1570.

  • Question

    I’m a business owner and have concerns about payments fraud. What should I know and how can I protect the company?

    Answer

    Payments fraud is when fraudsters forge checks either by check washing or wholescale forgery. They will also leverage fake identities and use cyberattacks on accounts in order take them over. The Bank offers a variety of tools and services that help prevent payments fraud including: positive pay, device authentication and batch limits. 
     
    Best Practices

    • Stay vigilant and monitor bank accounts regularly. 
    • Utilize positive pay services.
    • Update software regularly and utilize email spam filters in your network.
    • Have a checks and balances system built into your payroll and accounting processes.

    If you have any concerns, please contact us at 866.867.1570.

  • Question

    What if I have more questions?

    Answer

    Please feel free to reach out with any questions to our Client Service Center at 800.399.5919 or by visiting any of our conveniently located branches.