Securing your identity and protecting your information is something that we take very seriously at Blue Ridge Bank. We are strongly committed to protecting your information and remain aware of fraud trends so that we can protect you as a customer. Understanding key risks and how to avoid them is crucial to keeping you and your assets safe. Below are some tips you can take to limit your risk of fraud and identity theft. Please note that we would never solicit you to give us your personal or online banking information via text message, email, phone, or internet. The only time this information is required is when you contact us. We ask for this information so that we can verify your identity and provide strong security to your accounts with us.
Let us know if you see something suspicious
If the issue you are reporting requires you to disclose confidential information, please report the issue to your local Blue Ridge Bank branch.
REPORT PHISHING EMAIL
To report a suspicious email that uses Blue Ridge Bank’s name, forward it to us immediately by emailing us at [email protected]
Note: You should never submit sensitive information (Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.) in this email or in any other emails on this site.
PROTECTING YOUR INFORMATION – GENERAL TIPS
- Be sure to review your bank statements every month. If you see any charges that you believe were not initiated by you, please contact your local Blue Ridge Bank branch immediately so we can begin investigating.
- Shred any documents that have personal information on them, including account numbers, credit card numbers, and social security numbers.
- Do not keep your social security card or birth certificate with you. Keep them in a safe place such as a safe deposit box.
- Never give out personal information over the phone unless you know the person you are speaking with is legitimate.
- If you receive credit card offers in the mail, be sure to shred them instead of throwing them in the trash. These can be used by someone else in an attempt to steal your identity.
- Be sure to remove mail from your mailbox daily. Do not to leave checks to pay your bills in your mailbox.
- Review your credit report at least yearly to verify that no credit has been obtained in your name that you did not approve. The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting agencies to give you a free copy of your credit report each year upon request. Visit the Annual Credit Report website for more information.
- Do your homework regarding donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into donating. Don’t donate if someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or wiring money.
PROTECT YOURSELF WHILE USING YOUR COMPUTER OR TABLET
- Never respond to an e-mail that appears to be from us but is asking for personal information such as your account number, social security number, or online banking username/password. We will never request information from you in this manner. If you receive an e-mail that appears to be from us and is asking for this type of personal information, please report this to us ASAP by calling 888.331.6521 or email [email protected].
- Never open emails that appear suspicious. Fraudulent emails that appear to be from reputable organizations or businesses such as IRS, FBI, FDIC, Federal Reserve and other companies or government entities are becoming common place. Clicking on a link in a fraudulent email or opening an attachment may install a virus on your computer that allows someone to log your online activity and/or remotely access the computer.
- It is highly recommended that your computer is running a full anti-virus program that is actively scanning at all times. Be sure your anti-virus program is updating automatically; outdated anti-virus programs will not protect you from new threats. It is also recommended to use a paid anti-virus program as opposed to a free version as the free versions only have limited services.
- Update your browsers so that have the most recent web browsers (ex. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome).
- Use extreme caution when accessing confidential information such as your online banking account while at a Wi-Fi hotspot (ex. A hotel, coffee shop, restaurant). These networks are often unprotected and are a high security risk.
- Exercise caution when visiting a website you are not familiar with, certainly if it is asking you to download a file or click on a link that appears suspicious.
- When using a tablet, be cautious of what apps you are downloading. Be sure they are from a trusted source. Some tablets allow you to “jailbreak” them. This weakens the security of your tablet and is not recommended.
- Never save your online banking password in your browser.
- Never click on links or open attachments in unexpected emails or text messages.
- Hover over links before clicking on them in emails to ensure it matches where the content says it will take you.
- If you know the sender, it’s best to follow up with that person via another trusted contact method (text or phone call) to validate its legitimacy.
PROTECT YOURSELF WHILE USING YOUR MOBILE PHONE
- A common fraud trend that is occurring sends a mass text message or recorded voice message to mobile numbers telling customers that their debit card with a financial institution has been deactivated or cancelled. The text or voice message normally asks the customer to either text, call a number, or visit a website in order to reactivate. Whenever the customer’s debit card information is provided, the information is sent to criminals who can then use the debit card information to make illegal purchases. To protect yourself from this threat, simply ignore any messages you receive of this nature. Be sure not to click on a website link if one is embedded in the text message.
- If you receive a text or voice message pretending to be Blue Ridge Bank asking for your personal information, please report this to us ASAP.
- If you are using a smart phone, exercise caution when visiting websites you are not familiar with, certainly if it is asking to download a file or click on a link that appears suspicious. Fraud trends are evolving to where mobile phones are susceptible to the same risks as your home computer.
- Be sure you have the most recent version of your mobile phone’s operating system (ex. Android, iOS).
- Be sure your mobile phone is running an anti-virus program that is actively scanning at all times.
- When using a smart phone, be cautious of what apps you are downloading. Be sure they are from a trusted source. Some smart phones allow you to “jailbreak” them. This weakens the security of your smart phone and is not recommended.
PROTECTING YOUR INFORMATION WHILE TRAVELING
- Guard your devices. Your devices are valuable, but your sensitive information is as well. Always keep your devices close at hand and secure in taxis, security checkpoints, airplanes, rental homes, and hotel rooms.
- Securely recharge. Never plug your phone into a USB public charging station, such as those in the airport, hotel room lamp, or clock radio inputs, as these cannot be trusted. Malicious individuals can hijack your session or install malware on your device through those seemingly-harmless means. Always connect using your power adapter connected to a power outlet.
- Delete data from your rental car. If you connect your phone to a rental vehicle, remove the device so that other individuals do not have access to your address book, device name, text messages (hands-free calling), or additional sensitive information.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi. While public networks are convenient, they are a security risk. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi unless necessary. Instead, consider using your phone carrier’s internet connection or your phone as a personal hotspot if your plan allows.
If you need to connect to public Wi-Fi, verify with the establishment the name of the network and use a virtual private network (VPN), software that will encrypt your internet traffic and prevent others from stealing your data. Verifying the network name is essential as malicious individuals often create similar connection points with a slight misspelling, hoping you will connect to their network instead.
- Turn off auto-connect. Disable auto-connect, Bluetooth connectivity, and near field communication (NFC), like airdrop, so you can select the network and control the connection. While auto-connect is enabled, devices will seek out and connect to available networks or Bluetooth devices, allowing cyber criminals to access your device without you knowing it.
- Limit what you share. Limit the information you share on social media while on vacation. Consider posting updates about your trip after you return; revealing too much information while away can put you and others at risk. Criminals can gain helpful information from such posts, like knowing you are away from home. Scammers may even attempt to contact your family and friends with various scam tactics. Additionally, consider setting your social media accounts to only allow friends to view your posts.
- Avoid the use of public computers. Public computers such as hotel business centers and internet cafes are often poorly managed and provide minimal user security protection. If you must use a shared computer, do not enter any username or password on the computer, and do not connect or transfer data via thumb drive/USB
IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED IDENTITY THEFT
- Contact one of the major nationwide consumer reporting agencies and request that a fraud alert be placed on your reports (see below for contact information). Placing this alert on your credit report requires creditors to follow stricter procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to existing accounts. Please note that it is only necessary to contact one of the credit reporting agencies below. Once you’ve submitted the alert, the credit reporting agency you have filed the report with will immediately notify the other two.
- Equifax – 1 (800) 525-6285
- TransUnion – 1 (800) 680-7289
- Experian – 1 (888) EXPERIAN
- Review your credit reports for any fraudulent credit accounts. Contact the fraud department of each company where a credit account was created and ask that the account be immediately closed and that it is fraudulent. Creditors will likely require a request in writing.
- File a Complaint Assistant Form with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Be sure to follow up with creditors frequently to ensure that the accounts are closed and fraudulent debts discharged.
- File a police report in case creditors require further proof that fraud has been committed.
- Be sure to document all communications between you, creditors, and consumer reporting agencies.
IF YOU LOST YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE
- Report a lost or stolen driver's license - Consider reporting it to the police as soon as it happens to prevent someone from using your identity.
- Make an appointment with the DMV - If you're able to take time off work to make a walk-in visit during the week, go with that option to take care of it as soon as possible. Some states do allow you to apply for a replacement over mail or online under certain requirements. Check the site to see which rules apply to where you live.
- Bring all necessary documents - DMVs will typically require the same documents you presented for proof of identification and residency when first aplying for a license.
USING AN ATM MACHINE OR USING YOUR DEBIT CARD
- Observe your surroundings when pulling up to an ATM. If someone is within close proximity of the ATM machine and appears suspicious, leave the area immediately.
- If an ATM machine is poorly lit, go to another ATM machine
- Be sure to complete the transaction at the ATM machine before leaving.
- If the ATM appears to look suspicious or have a device attached to the card reader, do not use the ATM and immediately contact the bank.
- Consider running your debit card transactions as a “credit”. Using the credit method prevents someone from viewing your PIN number if they are within viewing distance. Some retailers require you to “Cancel” to run as a credit.
- Avoid making online purchases with your debit card on computers or tablets that are in public areas.