Consumer Alerts

Charity Scam October 9, 2017

In the aftermath of natural disasters, many “charities” run by scam artists pop up to take advantage of Americans’ willingness to help others. Follow these steps to steer clear of crooks looking to make a quick dollar off of your generosity:

 

Avoid charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in response to a disaster. Instead, give to charities with a proven track record of helping natural disaster victims.

 

Make sure the charity you are donating to is legitimate. You can do this by checking out websites like Charity Navigator,Charity Watch, orGuideStar. There you can find information like tax records that explain what the charity does, how long they’ve been doing it, and who their head employees are.

 

Pay by credit or debit card. That way, if the charity turns out to be a scam, you can dispute the charge.

 

If you receive a solicitation from a group fundraising on behalf of another organization, be sure to ask what percentage of a donation is kept by the fundraising organization. If the caller is unable or unwilling to provide that information, or if the fee seems unusually high, it could be a scam.

 

(Source:  www.fraud.org)

 

#EquifaxHelp | Live Event September 19, 2017

equifax, live event image

Still have questions about the Equifax data breach and what you can do? If so, we would like to invite you to a special Facebook live event hosted by News 3, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, and the Wisconsin Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. The event will air on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the WISC-TV/Channel3000 Facebook page.

 

A panel of experts will take questions from you on what data might be at risk and what your next steps should be if your data has been hacked.

 

Access more information from WISC-TV’s website by clicking here.

 

You can send questions to the televisions station at tips@channel3000.com, tweet at @WISCTV_News3 or @aschrager using the hashtag #EquifaxHelp, or join the live event on the WISC-TV/Channel3000 Facebook page.

 

As the full ramifications of the Equifax data breach unfold, please remember we continue to monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity and will do our best to protect your funds. We’ll also pass on informational opportunities like this Facebook live event as they become available.

Equifax Data Breach September 11, 2017

Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, reported a data breach last week that may affect as many as 143 million Americans – nearly 44% of the United States population. Equifax has set up a website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) that allows consumers to check if their information may have been exposed in the breach. 

According to Equifax, hackers gained access to certain files between mid-May and late July of this year. Information in the breach includes consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Some consumers’ credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and dispute documents (that contain personally identifying information) were also accessed.

Equifax has established a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559 to answer consumers’ questions about the breach. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 6:00 a.m. – midnight, Central Time.

If you believe you may have been affected by this data breach, take these next steps:

  • Consider placing a free 90-day (renewable) fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian (888-397-3742), TransUnion (800-680-7289), or Equifax (888-766-0008). When you place a fraud alert with one bureau, that bureau will relay the request to the other two companies on your behalf. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name is actually you.
  • For an even higher level of protection, you may wish to place a security freeze on your credit reports. A freeze bars access to your reports to almost anyone without your express permission.
  • Request a free credit report from the three credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228. Check your report for irregularities.
  • For additional resources and information, visit datcp.wi.gov or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection by phone at (800) 422-7128 or by email: DATCPWisconsinPrivacy@wi.gov.

(Source:  Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection)

ATM Skimmers Found In Marshfield November 30, 2016

On November 18, a skimming device was attached to our Marshfield North Central Office ATM in the early morning hours. It was removed 12 hours later after our staff had left for the day. We have been able to determine this timeframe because of our surveillance cameras directed at the ATM and drive up lanes. Any information we have been able to gather from our systems has been shared with authorities. This investigation remains ongoing by law enforcement.

During this timeframe a number of ATM transactions were conducted by customers. All of those customers impacted have been personally contacted by our deposit operations team. All appropriate steps have been taken to protect our customers from fraud losses.

We are encouraging all customers during this busy holiday shopping and travel season to be vigilant when using their debit cards. Please be aware of your surroundings at ATMs and self-pay equipment such as gas stations. If something looks like it doesn’t belong on the equipment, please notify the bank or business immediately.

In addition to being aware of the potential for skimming devices, please monitor your accounts for any potentially fraudulent activity. Online banking, mobile banking and the use of account alerts are options to help consumers to track activity and notice discrepancies early.

It is very unfortunate that attempts of fraud and theft like this are moving into Central Wisconsin and impacting community members here. By working together to protect each other we can all make this a safe place to conduct our business.

Free Money? There’s No Such Thing April 9, 2015

Free money sounds great. But if someone calls out of the blue telling you that you have been awarded thousands of dollars in a “free government grant,” don’t believe it – especially when the caller asks for your banking information.

A grant phone scam may currently be targeting the 608 area code, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is asking residents to be on the lookout for these fraudulent calls.

Grant scams, whether unsolicited phone calls or through classified ads claiming to offer free money (and providing a toll-free number to call), typically begin with:

  • A claim that your application for a grant is guaranteed to be accepted and that you will never have to pay back the money
  • A backstory about receiving the grant for paying taxes on time, having a clean criminal record and voting regularly. Other ploys include grants to pay for education costs, home repairs, business expenses or unpaid bills.
  • A request for checking account information in order to establish a “direct deposit” of the grant funds or to cover a one-time “processing fee.” In actuality, the scammer is looking to drain your account.
  • A phony reference number for the grant application.

Many standard phone scam tips apply for grant scam attempts:

  • Never give out personal or banking information on an unsolicited call.
  • Scammers can “spoof” their call information, making your caller ID display read however they wish. Never trust the phone number or company name that displays on the caller ID if you think it may be a scam call.
  • To add legitimacy to the ploy, a crook may have some basic information about you on hand when they call, such as your name, address and age. Remember that this is publicly accessible information.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit Consumer Protection Bureau or send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

(Source: Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection)

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