Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is defined as unsolicited e-mails or phone calls from someone impersonating a trusted institution, such as a bank, government agency, or the Better Business Bureau. Phishing can come in the form of spam e-mail or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information. People are directed to Web pages that look nearly identical to the site of the company the phisher is trying to imitate.
Bank of Central Florida will never ask you to identify yourself in an e-mail, request your Personal Identification Number (PIN), password or login information, or ask you to verify any account information via unsecured e-mail.
Under no circumstances should you ever access Bank of Central Florida's website from a link provided in an e-mail.Only access Bank of Central Florida's website by typing in www.bankofcentralflorida.com into your browser's address bar or by following a shortcut or bookmark that you have created. If you receive a "phishing" e-mail that appears to be from Bank of Central Florida, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org or your bank representative so that the Bank can take proper action.
The next time you are not sure whether you are on a legitimate website or an e-mail you received is valid, check for these signs:
If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud from a phishing incident, take the following steps:
With “smishing,” instead of a scam e-mail, a bogus text message is received. This is the latest twist on stealing your identity. You may get a text message (or an automated voicemail scam called “vishing”) stating that your account has been suspended (or debit/credit card blocked) and asking you to call a 1-800 number where your account number, PIN, and other data may be requested. Do not respond until you verify the legitimacy of the message by contacting your financial institution directly using phone numbers you are certain about, such as the customer service number on your statement or on the back of your credit card.
Congratulations! You have just won the lottery and will be receiving a certified check for $200,000 U.S. CASH! Many lottery and sweepstake letters, e-mails, or phone calls are not legitimate and often based in international locations such as Canada or Nigeria. Con artists will generally convince consumers to send in money to claim a “prize” and the only thing that separates them from their “winnings” is a fee (for administration, processing, taxes, etc.) and proof of identity. Some general tips to recognize a scam include:
Further information on sweepstake and lottery scams can be located through the Federal Trade Commission - http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0086-international-lottery-scams or a simple “lottery scams” Internet search will provide other helpful advice and a listing of fake lottery companies.
This type of fraud first started in Nigeria, but is now prevalent in many countries. You receive an “urgent” letter or e-mail from an alleged “official” representing a foreign government or agency offering the recipient an “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars. Common forms of this type of fraud include: disbursement of money from wills, purchase of real estate, transfer of funds from over-invoiced contracts, sale of goods, found monies, or contest/lottery winnings.
The fraudster may offer to transfer large sums of money into a victim’s personal bank account, which would necessitate the victim providing personal information (and possibly future identity theft). Another scheme may require the victim to deposit a check into their account and immediately wire a portion of the money to a third party outside of the country. These are generally counterfeit checks and the victim ends up with nothing but a loss of funds. Further information regarding this type of advance, up-front fee scheme can be found in the following links:
United States Department of State
Go to http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/2189.pdf for more information.
Local Secret Service Office (if you have suffered a significant loss)
Go to http://www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml for more information.
Fake check scams start when someone gives you a realistic-looking check or money order and asks you to wire them money in return. The check is phony and it may take weeks to discover. The bank cannot be sure the check is valid and now wants the money back after the check is returned as a counterfeit. You are responsible for checks or money orders that you deposit, even if they are fake. There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money in return. Learn more at http://www.fakechecks.org where you can take a fraud test, review videos, and learn prevention tips. The Federal Trade Commission’s Money Matters at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/scam-watch-wiring-money.shtml, also provides helpful advice on avoiding money wiring scams.
The following is a list of links that may provide additional information on common fraud schemes:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Go to http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety for more information.
Federal Reserve Bank
Go to http://www.richmondfed.org/banking/education_for_bankers/fraud_awareness/index.cfm for more information.
Go to http://www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com for more information.
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Go to http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx for more information.
Go to http://https://www.bankersonline.com/articles/107233 for more information.
Consumer Federation of America
Go to http://www.consumerfed.org/index.php/consumer-privacy/fraud for more information.
South Lakeland (Headquarters)
5015 South Florida Ave.,
Lakeland, FL 33813
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250 3rd St N.W. #102
Winter Haven, FL 33881
101 South Florida Ave.,
Lakeland, FL 33801
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111 S. Palmer St.
Plant City, FL 33563
Your privacy is very important to us. We would like to advise you that Internet email is not secure. Please do not submit any information that you consider confidential. We recommend you do not include your social security or account number or other specific identifying information.
You are leaving Bank of Central Florida's Web site and linking to a third party site. Please be advised that you will then link to a Web site hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Bank of Central Florida. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Bank of Central Florida assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.