Lakeside Bank

Fraud Protection News & Tips

Unfortunately, fraud exists all over the world and in many different forms. Banking is also subject to fraud attempts, so while banking is much easier today, there are constant risks, too.

Here are some of the main modern day scams and how to help protect yourself. Please talk to your Lakeside Banker with any questions about suspicious activity.

The most important piece of advice we can offer: BE ALERT! If something looks questionable, QUESTION IT! By being aware and following the right procedures you will have the best chance of avoiding fraud. In addition NEVER share your account numbers, credit / debit cards or ATM pins with anyone.

Counterfeit Cashier Checks

One of the current scams comes in the form of Counterfeit Cashier's Checks. Cashier Checks are paper checks that are drawn on the bank's own funds rather than a personal account. The Cashier Checks at each bank are different. And Cashier Checks may seem more secure. In fact, they’re tempting opportunities for scam artists. There’s been a steady rise in counterfeit cashier checks. In fact, they’re counterfeited almost as often as currency or personal checks. So, just because a check is from a bank doesn’t mean you should automatically accept it. Here are some of the tricks counterfeiters use and recommendations on what you should consider doing.

*Be careful with offers to purchase a large item you have for sale. For example, your car. If the buyer uses a fake Cashier's Check it could lead to the loss of your car as counterfeiters can quickly get a new title and re-sell the vehicle.

*Be especially careful with a cashier’s check from another country. These are much more commonly linked to reports of scam and should always be thoroughly reviewed.

If you’re suspicious about any cashier’s check, call the issuing bank for verification. Don’t use the phone number that might be printed on the check. Use the internet or another reliable source to obtain contact information.

Check Fraud

Another area where you can be taken advantage of is check fraud. Here are examples of things to watch out for, and again, how to help protect yourself.

*Just as with Cashier Checks, check the source. Ask for another form of ID from the person offering the check. Take a photo of the identification and the person. You might even ask the purchaser to put his or her thumbprint on the back of the check. (This will aid law enforcement later if that becomes necessary.)

*If you're selling something, is the price of the check you received more than what you’ve requested? If the purchaser is asking you to send or give that “extra” money back, it may be a warning sign.

*Is the name on the check different from the person buying your item?

*Did the check arrive via an overnight delivery service?

*Is the check in response to e-mail you received?

*Another type of check fraud is when the thieves counterfeit your personal checks and in effect assumes your identity to buy things! Keep your checkbook and blank spare checks safe! Shred or burn old checks if you throw them away.

*Check washing is another common form of Check Fraud which involves fraudsters stealing a check sent through the mail and altering names and addresses. It is important to keep your mail safe and hidden. To ensure your mail's safety, we recommend using the post office or a dropbox that is often used in a highly visible area

Finance Apps

Personal finance apps are now more popular than ever. These include many common apps used to make payments to friends, shop or even invest. It is important to know how to use these apps properly. Here are some tips to help you safely navigate finance apps.

*Always make sure you download these apps from the official App Store or Play Store on your mobile device. Never use a website link to download a finance app.

*Keep the number of finance apps you have to a minimum as the more you download, the higher you are at risk for your information getting stolen.

*Only use one of these apps from a well known company with proper security and privacy policies in place.

For more information check out the Wall Street Journal Article, “Safeguarding Data In Your Finance Apps” in the link below.

“Safeguarding Data In Your Finance Apps" By Tomio Geron

Other Examples of Fraud

*As mentioned earlier, an all-too-common example of fraud is when a buyer sends or provides a check that’s larger than the purchase price and asks you to return the extra cash via a check or money transfer. You may lose both your item … and the extra cash!

*Were you told you won a lottery (often in another country) that you didn’t enter? This common trick may appear as an inviting email. Always avoid and ignore these emails as they may be attempting to steal your information.

*Were you asked to “wire” (or otherwise send) money to another city or country? Grandparents have been targeted, with bogus requests to send money for a grandchild who needs help! Check before taking action.

*Stealing mail is another way criminals can steal your identity or get access to important account information. Be sure your mail is safe. And shred mail before you throw it away

These scams seem to be everywhere. Following these tips is the best way to do your part to avoid them. The American Bankers Association (ABA) suggests the following.

  • Do not trust emails urgently requesting personal and financial information, such as passwords, PINs and account numbers.
  • Never press a link provided in a suspicious email.
  • Ensure that your browser security is up-to-date.
  • Always report suspicious incidents to us here at Lakeside so we can help you keep your money safe.

In an ever-more connected world, counterfeiting has become an increasing concern. It’s important to be aware of the types of “tricks” these criminals play and to protect yourself. We hope these examples and suggestions are helpful. As always, please feel free to call your Lakeside banker with any questions.

Retail Clients – Important Things to Watch Out For

Sadly, FRAUD continues. Lately, challenges have increased; we’ve seen upticks in fraud attempts.

Retail accounts include products like checking and savings accounts. Money markets and CDs are also routine retail products. The following reviews the latest in Fraud, Scams and Identity Theft. We hope you find it useful. Please feel free to contact your Lakeside Banker if we can be of help.

The most important warning we can offer: Be Alert! Fraud and scams can be stopped with AWARENESS and following the right PROCEDURES.

The first and last rule is simple: Protect Your Personal Information. If the bad guys get your private information, they can wreak havoc on your savings, daily finances and good name. But if you don’t let them in … they can’t get in!

Don’t click on emails you don’t know! Don’t share your name, address, social security number, date of birth, credit card numbers, PIN’s (for ATM’s, debit and credit cards), FSA ID’s, passwords, financial statements … with any unsolicited requests!

Other ways thieves attempt to steal your identity include:

Phishing – Email attempts to engage you. Read emails carefully; scammers will take familiar looking addresses and misspell them or add characters. Or the domain may be different. Be sure to practice ‘safe computing’ by installing firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software on your computer. And when you buy something online, make sure you’re on a secure site.

Scams related to the COVID or other diseases – Emails, texts or phone calls to purchase suspicious products, ‘treatments’, medical advice or even ‘cures’. Or they may want donations to a charity. Or have an urgent request to help a relative.

Scams targeting Social Security payments! – Thieves may attempt to convince you personal information is needed to continue payments. Wrong! Remember that first rule: Don’t give up your personal information.

Scams can get pretty imaginative. Don’t give up your information! And always validate an individual or organization you don’t know.

Skimming also continues. This is where a device is placed over an ATM pad or retail store card entry. If a machine looks odd … don’t use it. Also, don’t let anyone observe you using a keypad.

Old Fashioned Theft. Stealing your mail … or going through your garbage … means they’re attempting to change your address & re-direct mail. This still goes on. If you don’t save your bills or financial correspondence, be sure to shred.

There are other suspicious activities to watch out for, too!

  • Bills that don’t arrive. Or bills for products / services you didn’t order.
  • Unexpected credit card or account statements.
  • Denials of credit for no obvious reason.
  • Calls or letters about purchases you didn’t make.
  • Unusual transactions on credit or bank statements.
  • Unfamiliar accounts on your credit report.
  • A health plan rejection because you’ve supposedly reached a benefit limit … when you haven’t.
  • Notification from the IRS that more than one tax return was filed in your name … or income was reported from an employer you don’t even know!
  • Speaking of the IRS, if you get a phone call from them … it ISN’T the IRS! By law, they must contact you by mail.
  • A data breach notice from a business where you do have an account.

Lakeside Bank can help! We have multiple systems designed to protect you:

  • We work hard to spot check fraud, scanning accounts for unusual activities.
  • Sign up for our electronic banking to eliminate paper and potential theft.
  • Pay bills online. Again, less paper and less opportunity for fraud.
  • Control your Lakeside debit card right from your phone or computer. Our “Cash Control” is a great addition.
  • Multi-factor Authentication adds a second layer of protection. A one-time code is sent via text, email or phone … your choice.

Please also remember you’re entitled to a free annual Credit Report from the three rating services. These three agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Take advantage and check your credit. If there have been unexpected changes, request explanations. This is your right.

Scammers and hackers may always attempt to gain access to your financial information. It is important to follow the previously mentioned tips and STAY ALERT to the tricky tactics used all the time. When in doubt, call your Lakeside personal banker for clarification.

Identity theft occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge. It can cost you time and money to correct the problems in addition to ruining your good name. Take the time to prevent and protect yourself from identity theft.

Download The Brochure: Lakeside Privacy Security Brochure

What should you do if you suspect fraud or identity theft?

  • Call us if it’s related to your Lakeside Bank accounts or credit / debit cards.
  • Report ID theft to the Federal Trade Commission: ftc.gov

And to the Illinois Attorney General: www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov

Business Clients – Important Things to Watch Out For

The following reviews Fraud Trends and Cybersecurity Threats. We hope you find it useful. Please contact your Lakeside Banker with any questions or concerns. We would also be pleased to arrange on-line or in-person presentations to your staff.

The most important warning we can offer: Stay Vigilant! Fraud can be stopped with AWARENESS, CAREFUL COMMUNICATION, and the right PROCEDURES & TOOLS.

Transactional Activities: Let’s start with the basics; some things don’t change! Check Fraud remains the largest fraud category. According to the Association of Financial Professionals, 66% of attempted or actual fraud attempts were check based. ACH fraud follows, with wire, credit / debit card right behind.

Cybersecurity Threats

There are three main threat targets; all require access. If we don’t let them in, they can’t get in!

Business Email Compromise (“BEC”). There are multiple versions of this scam. Some are listed below. All rely on tricking someone into providing the email address of a senior official or other key personnel within your firm. The hacker then sends out fake emails directing an urgent wire transfer of funds. Or an email may introduce and authorize an outside ‘attorney’ or other supplier, who will then call.

The hacker’s email address is always the key; the email address will be modified slightly. It’s called “Spoofing” and can be hard to spot. The answer is to slow down, examine unusual requests carefully and ask for another pair of eyes to review requests, too. Scrutinize rush demands that look unusual. Variations include:

The Supplier Swindle A business, with a long relationship with a supplier, is requested to wire funds for payment to an alternate, fraudulent account.

Business Executive Scam A scammer poses as a CEO or executive using a similar email address and requests unauthorized funds to be sent to a fraudulent account.

Employee Email Hack –  A hacker gains access to an employee's email email account.

Payroll Information ScamScammers pose as employees and email managers to change people's direct deposit information.

Malware & Ransomware

Once again, this requires ACCESS. And it begins simply. An employee receives an email that contains the malware. “Spear Phishing'' it's called. All heck will break loose if the innocent or seductive looking attachment accompanying the email is opened! If it is, the malware is installed.

Generously called, “Social Engineering”, business email compromise can be consequential:

  • * The attacker may gain entry to critical systems and data.
  • * The attacker can lock and restrict access.
    ** Internal” emails may request fund transfers.
  • *Ransom may be demanded.
  • *Threats to delete records may follow to add urgency.

Protect yourself from Transactional or Cyberthreat Fraud –
Strengthen Security Protocols!

It always starts with Awareness! All staff should be trained & reminded about information security, financial scams and operational protocol to protect your organization. As part of this, enhance financial controls to verify the source of any email or phone-based movement request via an alternate communication channel. Be especially careful if the funding account is new.

COMMUNICATE! Inform your bank relationship manager and IT security staff of issues immediately. It may also be appropriate to contact US law enforcement agencies as well as business email accounts. These attacks require sunshine to be properly disinfected.

Put Check & ACH “Positive Pay” Plus Check blocks and filters in place. These Lakeside services allow clients to manage transactions scheduled to post and prevent unauthorized transactions from being processed to protect your business against fraudulent ACH and Check charges that could cost time and money to rectify.

Dual controls for ACH and wire transactions are highly recommended and typically required by your financial institution.

Enhanced authentication. Strengthen this area through mechanisms like ‘tokens’ to initiate payment through your bank’s provided online portal, to access bank accounts and even business email.

Protect workstations and home computers. Inadvertently ‘installed’ malware is a serious threat. Consider a financial malware endpoint protection tool alongside traditional scanning utilities. You might also dedicate a secure computer for banking.

Again, please contact your Lakeside Banker to discuss how we may be of help. Lakeside has developed services to combat all of these challenges. “Check Positive Pay”, “ACH Positive Pay”, ACH & Check Filters and Blocks, plus online security including tokenization and dual authentication … are all available now. We’ve made them easy to add & use … and affordable. Stop in, call, email or text your Lakeside Banker to learn more.

If you’re not yet a Lakeside client, please contact our Sr. VP & Director of Treasury Management, Matt Palmisano. His direct line is, 312-763-6660. Email is, [email protected].

Additional resources links include:

Attention Seniors: How to Avoid Financial Fraud!

The following reviews the latest in Elderly Financial Exploitation and abuse. We hope you find it useful. Please feel free to contact your Lakeside Banker for more information or if we can answer questions.

The first and last rule is simple: Protect Your Personal Information. If the bad guys get your private information, they can wreak havoc on your savings, daily finances and good name. But if you don’t let them in … they can’t get in!

Who is most susceptible?

While anyone can get scammed, seniors have become targets for fraudsters nationwide.  Today, scams targeting older adults are on the rise. So far in 2024, over 50% of seniors have encountered a scam attempt. According to the Elder Fraud Report, In 2023 there were $3.4 billion in losses for older adults. Not only are these crimes becoming more common, but they are often detrimental to the person being exploited. The FBI reported that the average loss for an elderly victim of a scam was $33,915 in 2023.

What to Look for

These scams can come in many forms. Some of the most common of them and they are listed below.

  • Tech Support Scams
    A scammer will call posing as a tech support employee and convince you to give up passwords and other personal credentials. NEVER provide  this information over the phone. Another way these scammers particularly target older Americans is with a
  • Personal Data Breach
    This is a leak of personal data which is released from a secure location to an untrusted and unsecure environment. This can happen when you click on a link located in a suspicious unrecognized e-mail.
  • Confidence/Romantic
    Using an emotional approach to scam someone has become common. This includes tricking a senior into believing they are in a romantic relationship to extort money.
  • Grandparent Scheme
    This is where scammers pose as someone that the senior knows (most commonly a grandchild) and asks them confidentiality to give money to get them out of a bind. It is estimated that many of these cases are never even reported because the grandparent thinks they are keeping a secret for a loved one.
  • Extortion
    This includes any unlawful extraction of money or property through intimidation or undue exercise of authority. It may include threats of physical harm, criminal prosecution, or public exposure.
  • Non-payment/Non-Delivery Scams
    These occur during business transactions online and simply mean that your purchase or payment never shows up.

We Can Help!

Here at Lakeside, we work hard to protect all of your valued information. It is essential to learn how to avoid these scams in order to help keep you safe. There are always steps you can take to prevent these scams from hurting you or someone you care about.

As your bankers, we play a critical role in noticing changes in our customers spending patterns, withdrawal amounts and even overall demeanor. As a reminder, we will never ask for your online banking information. If you're being asked for personal information online you are likely about to become a victim of fraud. Always try to think twice and consider, “Is it possible that I'm being scammed?”, in any online transaction.

While we always work hard to keep your money safe, you are still the first line of defense against scammers and it is up to you to stay safe and responsible.

We hope these examples and suggestions are helpful. As always, please feel free to call your Lakeside banker with any questions.