In this era of digital finance, we are sharing some helpful hints about keeping your financial information safe. Whether you are client of First Foundation Bank or another institution you can follow these tips to avoid becoming the next victim of financial fraud.
Security is paramount to everything we do at First Foundation Bank. With the proliferation of online activity among the banking community, there has been an equal increase in scams via email and text. Fortunately for clients of First Foundation Bank, we have many measures in place to protect our clients (https://www.firstfoundationinc.com/information-security) but ofttimes there are things that the scammer does to target clients directly. For instance, the scammer will send messages appearing to be from financial institutions such as your bank, credit union, accounting firm, credit card provider, or brokerage firm. These are messages that appear on your personal devices and are meant to steal your data.
But this is not new. In 2017 the G20 warned that cyberattacks could “undermine the security and confidence and endanger financial stability.” At the time the concern was largely about balancing the benefits and opportunities that digital innovation offers, while mitigating the potential. And in March of 2017 they encouraged “all countries to closely monitor developments in digital finance.”
Well, after a multi-year pandemic forcing many more individuals to do business (and their finances) online we have certainly experienced new developments in digital finance. And, as predicted, the developments in digital finance brought with them developments in scams to steal your financial data. Yet instead of attacking the financial institutions – where the security is tight – the scammers are attacking you, the client, where they hope to expose vulnerabilities on your end.
First Foundation Bank will continue to invest in technology, processes, and trainings to keep our systems current with the most stringent standards required by our industry. But we know now that the scammers will also target you directly. Therefore, we are publishing this reminder about keeping your financial information and personal data safe.
With hindsight being 20/20, it is typically easy to recognize a scam. But so often concerns about money create stress and anxiety, and people tend to overlook the obvious. So next time you get an unsolicited request about your financial information, be on the lookout for the following:
Listen for the tone
The tone of the call or message is rushed and pressured to get you to provide your personal information. If it is, then you are likely being targeted by a scam.
Identify an impersonation over the phone
If you suspect something is not right, simply ask the caller if you can call them back. Then call the institution at a published number and ask to speak to the suspicious caller.
Never respond abruptly to a suspicious text or email. This one is tricky, especially when rushed. If you know the sender, you can call them to verify.
Identify suspicious links
If you are requested to click on a link in an email or text message, hover over the link to see where it will take you. Website addresses can be hidden to appear to be from the institution. If the link does not look right, it could be a scam. Google the link to see if anything comes up. And only proceed when you know it is a valid address.
Don’t call unknown numbers
Never call telephone numbers on a suspicious texts or emails. Should you need to contact First Foundation Bank, please use the number on official correspondence or the First Foundation Bank website.
Use technology to monitor your accounts
Technology can be your friend here. Be sure to activate notifications for your accounts, especially those with a lot of activity. You can receive email or texts instantly about account activity.
We have said it before, but it bears repeating: First Foundation Bank will never ask you for personal information such as PINs, passwords, or social security number via a phone call, email, text message, or social media.
If you believe you have been the victim of a potential scam, be sure to contact us at (888) 405-4332 to freeze access to your account. This simple step can mitigate potential losses. Once your account is frozen, our team can work with you to get it reestablished.