How do you report identity theft?

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By now, most people are aware of identity theft, and the importance of keeping your personal information away from those who intend to do harm with it. Many people might even know someone who has been the victim of identity theft, and the ordeal that came with it.

But what should you do if you discover your identity has been compromised? Or, what if you’re not sure, but think someone has gained access to your personal information? Acting quickly is key to avoiding damage to your credit status and avoiding your own personal nightmare.

Fortunately, there are options to help you in the event this happens. You can report identity (ID) theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.

The FTC says that if you report online, you will receive an ID theft report, which will help you prove to businesses that someone stole your identity. You will also get a recovery plan to assist you in fixing problems brought on by identity theft.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says you can place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit report by contacting the nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The CFPB adds that when you place a fraud alert at one of those companies, it must notify the others.

Avoiding identity theft in the first place is obviously the goal, and something everyone needs to take seriously. However, if you do find yourself a victim, keep in mind that there are procedures in place to help you.

For more detailed information on how to report identity theft, visit the links below.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Beware of Online Quizzes

Online quizzes sure seem like innocent fun. But before you take that next personality test, quick survey or “find out what type of BLANK you are” quiz, ask yourself: Do I know who’s gathering this information about me – and what do they plan to do with it?

The more information you share on these quizzes, the more you risk that information being misused, the Federal Trade Commission stated earlier this month.

A lot of the times, these quizzes and/or surveys will ask questions similar to the questions that are asked on online account security. Scammers can post a seemingly innocent quiz, then use your quiz answers to try and reset your online accounts, letting them steal your bank and other account information, the FTC warns.

One major way to protect your personal information — in addition to maintaining strong passwords and using multi-factor authentication — is to steer clear of online quizzes … or just don’t answer them truthfully, the FTC advises.

Another type of online quiz to be on the lookout for are quizzes that offer prizes for completion.

These quizzes may look official, giving gift cards as prizes to some of your favorite online establishments. And once you finish the quiz, you’ll be sent to a page where you are to enter your personal information so that the scammers can send you or award you your prize.

Once they have your personal information, coupled with some of the answers that were provided on the quiz, scammers can wreak havoc before you even know what happened.

If you suspect that an online quiz is a phishing scam, tell a friend. Then, report it to the FTC at

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Scams to Watch for in the New Year

Fraud to watch for in the new year

The Federal Trade Commission received 2.8 million fraud reports in 2021. The FTC also stated that fraud losses increased to more than $5.8 billion, a more-than 70% increase from 2020.

It’s no secret that fraudsters are constantly figuring out ways to try and scam you out of your money. And you can stay one step ahead of them by being informed. Staying informed is the best way to combat fraud.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners noted that the economic downturn will fuel new fraud risks, stating that scammers are more likely to commit fraud when economic conditions worsen.

With the rise of two-factor authentication as a way to protect your account, scammers now are pretending to be a company, calling you and asking for the two-factor authentication code after initiating a fake log-in. Once they have the code, they can access your account and change the information before you even know what is happening. Remember, companies will never ask you for your passwords OR your multi-factor authentication code. No matter how official they sound, NEVER give this information to anyone.

Another type of fraud predicted to rise this coming year is business emails being compromised. As more and more people are working remote, this type of fraud is expected to be commonplace this coming year. You may get an email that appears to be from your company’s president, asking about a payment that is overdue. The scammer then will provide you with an account to replace the payment information you already have on file.

Employment scams, while not new, are expected to rise again. Scammers will take advantage of people looking for a job, and those who are job hunting are susceptible to falling for the scam. The scammers typically will offer a remote job opportunity, and then will say the job is yours after you send them your banking login credentials and/or your account number, so they can pay you. But then they’ll have access to your account. And if you ever are asked to send money or refund money as a condition of employment, this is a surefire scam. Ignore it and move on.

Student loan fraud also is expected to rise. NEVER pay to apply for federal student loan relief. If you are ever contacted and asked for a payment, guaranteed approval or promised a quicker forgiveness process, you are being targeted by a scammer.

Staying vigilant and informed is the best way to combat fraud. Fraudsters constantly are adjusting their scamming methods as people become more informed. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Don’t Let Scammers Ruin Your Christmas

RCB Bank Learning Center - Holiday Fraud

Holiday shopping season is here, which means more spending – and more fraud.

It’s no coincidence that the busiest season for shopping coincides with the highest period for fraud. Every day, fraudsters target consumers with an array of legitimate seeming propositions. But during the holidays, fraudsters make extra efforts to trick and defraud consumers. Every year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thousands of people become victims of holiday scams. Scammers can rob you of your hard-earned money and personal information and destroy holiday cheer.

Here are the top three fraud threats coming this holiday season:

Fake Retail Sites

Are you seeing a deal that’s too good to be true? That might be because it is. Fake retail sites are websites set up to look like real merchants (including well-known brands), but actually lead to a fraudster-held account. Fake retail sites have become especially popular in the age of social media, where posts and accounts look legitimate but are not.

What to Watch Out For: Domain name and or website copy contains misspellings, IP address is non-U.S., website doesn’t have a HTTPS (secured) URL, or generally looks off.

Mystery Shopping

Everyone is looking to pick up a little extra cash this time of year. Mystery shopping scams (or secret shopping scams) take advantage of that desire by luring victims into job opportunities where they “test” products and services but are first required to pay the employer for a fee or license. In reality, the job doesn’t actually exist.

What to Watch Out For: Shopping or dining-related job opportunities that require you to pay the employer first, wiring money to your employer or depositing a check into your bank account on their behalf.

Charity Scams

Scammers are always finding new lows. Charity scams take advantage of our generosity. Fraudsters pose as a legitimate charitable organization and steal donations before they’re discovered.

What to Watch Out For: High-pressure pitches through phone, email or in-person; to donate, go to accredited charities.

And always remember – even during the Christmas season – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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How to Avoid a Yo-Yo Financing Scam

If you’re in the market for a loan, one tactic some unscrupulous lenders use is what’s called “yo-yo financing.”

A yo-yo financing scam happens when a borrower agrees to a loan and signs a contract. But after the contract is signed, a few days or weeks later, the lender will call you and say that your financing wasn’t approved and they no longer can offer you the agreed-upon rate.

The lender will then try to renegotiate the loan or the offer will be completely rescinded. They’ll then offer a new rate that has a much higher rate and higher monthly payments.

The up and down is much like a yo-yo, which is how the scam gets its name.

It is important to be aware of this tactic so you don’t become a victim.

Here are some tips to avoid yo-yo scams:

  • Don’t agree to the loan until you’re ready. If you’re not ready for the loan, don’t let the lender pressure you into taking one.
  • The Federal Trade Commission advises when getting a loan to ask if the deal is final, and, if the lender says yes, to get it in writing.
  • Read the fine print. If you see something that doesn’t look correct, ask the lender to explain it in further detail.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away. If you’re not getting a good feeling from the lender, just leave. It’s better to walk away than to be subjected to a yo-yo scam. You’ll save your valuable time in the process.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of a yo-yo scam, visit the FTC’s website and fill out a complaint form at After submitting a complaint, you may be contacted for more information.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Don’t be a Smishing Victim

RCB Bank - Avoid Smishing Fraud

There are so many types of fraud, it’s hard to keep up with them all. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant at all times to protect yourself from scammers.

Fraudsters know the more that people become aware of their scams, the less likely they are to work. So they are constantly adapting their techniques.

One newer scam that has seen a sizable uptick over the summer is smishing.

What is smishing? It’s similar to phishing. But instead of an unsolicited email, it’s through text messaging. The term smishing is a mashup of SMS – short messaging service (i.e. text messages) – and phishing.

A typical smishing message will seem like it’s from a bank, but it’s not just limited to fake banking messages. Recently, the United States Postal Service issued a media release warning against unsolicited text messages claiming that a USPS delivery needs immediate response. Other messages may appear to be from Costco, Home Depot, Amazon or other retailers.

No matter where the message says it’s from, one thing holds true – scammers are trying to gain your personal information.

The scammers are hoping to receive information such as: account usernames and passwords, Social Security number, date of birth, credit and debit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs) or other sensitive information. This information is used to carry out other crimes, such as financial fraud.

If you feel like the message may truly be authentic, you should still verify before sending information. If you get a text purportedly from a company or government agency, check your bill for contact information or search the company or agency’s official website. Call or email them separately to confirm whether you received a legitimate text. A simple web search can thwart a scammer.

The Federal Communications Commission offers these tips to avoid becoming a victim of a smishing attempt:

  • Never click links, reply to text messages or call numbers you don’t recognize.
  • Do not respond, even if the message requests that you “text STOP” to end messages.
  • Delete all suspicious texts.
  • Make sure your smart device’s operating system and security apps are updated to the latest version.
  • Consider installing anti-malware software on your device for added security.

The bottom line – as it is in most attempted scams – is stop before automatically sharing your information, no matter how official it looks. Verify the authenticity of the message you receive. With due diligence, you can avoid becoming a victim of a scammer.

If you think that you are a victim of smishing, you should contact law enforcement to report the scam. You can also file a complaint with the FCC at no cost. If you have given your bank information to scammers, call your bank and inform them to see what your bank can do to protect your accounts.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Don’t be a Victim of Back-to-School Fraud

As students head back to school and college, fraudsters are eagerly waiting – not only for the students, but for their parents and relatives as well.

But college students are especially susceptible to being a target. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people aged 20 to 30 lose money to fraud more frequently than older consumers.

Here are some common back-to-school type scams for which to be on the lookout:

High school diploma scam

Scammers will prey on those who are seeking their high school diploma.

  • If you have to pay for your diploma, it is a scam. You may need to pay for classes to earn your diploma, but once you earn it, you don’t have to pay for the diploma itself.
  • They claim they’re from the federal government. Educational programs are affiliated with state governments, not the federal government.
  • You can earn the diploma quickly. If there are no tests or classes involved, it is a scam.

Student tax scam

If you receive a text, email or call from the IRS claiming that you did not pay your student tax, this is a scam. The IRS always reaches out through mail first and will never demand payment through a wire transfer. If you are threatened with imprisonment, this also is a sign it is a scam.

Scholarship scams

Fraudsters know that education costs money and have many scholarship scams designed to get your money.

  • Never pay to apply for government student loans or financial aid. If you have to pay, it is a scam.
  • Also, you should never pay for a scholarship. If you are asked to pay fees in order to receive a scholarship, it is a scam.
  • If an organization guarantees you will get a scholarship, it most likely is a scam. No organization can absolutely guarantee a scholarship will be awarded to certain students.

Fake check scams

Scammers will target students who are looking to make money. According to the FTC, the scams that target students often involve jobs that could be done on the side — like being a mystery shopper, advertising with a car wrap or working as a part-time assistant or dog walker for someone pretending to be your professor. These scams all involve someone sending you a check, asking you to deposit it, sending some of the money to someone else, and keeping the rest as payment.

However, those “jobs” are all fake, and the check will bounce – and when it does, and the bank realizes the check was fake, it will want that money back.

Remember, as with all scams – just like the ones mentioned above – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Be Aware to Avoid Jugging

RCB Bank - Beware of Jugging

Have you heard of jugging?

You probably know what it is, but may not have heard the term by which it goes.

Simply put, jugging is theft. The jugglers can work in teams or work alone. They identify a potential victim withdrawing money from an ATM, or watch for people coming out of a bank with bank bags or cash envelopes. The jugglers will then follow the victim – sometimes to multiple locations – to look for the right time and place to steal the money.

Jugging cases have risen recently, according to law enforcement officials.

Use these tips to avoid becoming a victim of jugging:

  • Be on the lookout for individuals backed into parking spaces who do not exit their vehicle to conduct business.
  • If you’re in the bank and you feel like someone is watching you, advise the bank’s employees so they can contact authorities or assist you in getting to your vehicle.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be distracted. This will make you look like an easy target.
  • Be vigilant when using ATMs, as jugglers typically target individuals using ATMs. Also, exercise caution when leaving the ATM or bank.
  • Be vigilant when arriving and departing. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t leave your car or the building if you observe suspicious vehicles parked in or around the parking lot.
  • Conceal your money before you leave the bank.
  • Don’t openly carry bank bags, envelopes or coin boxes.
  • Watch for people following you.
  • Don’t leave a bank bag (hidden or not) in your car unattended.
  • Make banking the last stop of your errands.

If you believe you’re being followed after leaving a bank or an ATM, call 911 and drive to a public area or, better yet, a police station.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Be Vigilant to Combat Fraud

Stay Vigilant against fraud

Scammers target everyone.

They rely on people being unaware and uninformed in their attempts to obtain your personal details and/or your money.

Every day, scammers prey on those who are uninformed. When they succeed, it’s because the scams appear to be authentic, trying to catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it.

While you can’t keep yourself from becoming a target of a scammer, you can protect yourself from scammers by staying alert and vigilant at all times.

Here are ways in which you can protect yourself:

  • Know that scams exist. Whether you receive an unprompted email, phone call, letter or text message, consider that it might be a scam. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t click on links in text messages or emails or open email attachments if you can’t verify who sent the message or you weren’t expecting it. This is one way scammers acquire access to your information.
  • Be wary if asked to send money by gift card, preloaded credit cards or virtual currency. Those types of payments are virtually untraceable and almost always are the sign of a scam.
  • Monitor your accounts. You should check your financial accounts daily online or through your accounts’ mobile apps, so you can catch if any unauthorized transactions have occurred. The quicker you notice fraud if it occurs, the quicker you can ensure less damage can be done.
  • Check your credit report. Review your credit reports for any suspicious activity, especially accounts you didn’t open.
  • Don’t divulge your personal information unless you know it’s a trusted and verified source. Scammers will frighten and threaten you and can sound very official. Don’t fall for their tactics.

As technology evolves, so do scammers. Letters and documents can be faked, which, at first glance, looks official. But there are ways you can spot a scam:

  • Low-resolution images. A company wouldn’t send out an email with a low-resolution image.
  • Poor spelling and grammar. If you receive a letter that doesn’t read correctly or has misspelled words, this is another sign of a scam. Companies don’t want their correspondence to look unprofessional, and documents and letters with grammatical and spelling errors are unprofessional.
  • The email address doesn’t have the name of the company. Generally companies that send email will do so from an email address that has the name of the company in it.
  • You weren’t expecting to be contacted. If you’re contacted out of the blue, and the correspondence says you must act now, it likely is a scam.
  • You’re asked to pay money because you won a prize. If you won a prize, you shouldn’t have to pay money to receive it. You also should be wary if you won a prize for a contest you didn’t enter.

If you believe you’ve been scammed, call your bank’s fraud department. You also can report fraud to the FTC at


Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.



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Email Scams on the Rise

Email Scams

Recently there has been a rise in email fraud where a scammer poses as a major retailer, luring unsuspecting people with claims that an expensive purchase was made by them. The email will give a number to call if the email recipient doesn’t recognize or wants to dispute the purchase.

This is a common phishing scam. The scammer simply wants you to call the number, and that’s when they’ll try to get information out of you.

Once the scammers get you on the phone, they’ll sound official. They may ask who you bank with. They’ll ask you for your account number and passwords.

Don’t fall for it. Do not give any personal information once they ask for it, no matter how official they sound. If they ask for access to your computer or mobile device, hang up!

There will be several red flags to look for if you receive such an email:

  • The email address won’t have the business’s name or domain.
  • There will be spelling and grammar errors in the email.
  • When hovering over links, the displayed website doesn’t direct to the business.
  • It may look like a reply to an email you never sent.
  • The business logos and images are blurry.

Don’t just call a number you receive in an email without researching the phone number first.  Review your accounts to see if any unauthorized charges were made. If you don’t see any charges that are mentioned in the email, it’s very likely a scam.

If you believe you’ve been scammed, call your bank’s fraud department. You also can report fraud to the FTC at



Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.

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Beware of Micro-Deposit Scams


As the world continues to move more toward digital transactions, more and more businesses and organizations utilize digital payment methods. Digital payments have boomed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because of their flexibility and ease of use.

But as more digital payment processing companies begin to emerge, scammers adapt. A new scam that has been on the rise is a micro-deposit scam.

Micro-deposits are small amounts of money – generally under $1 – that are transferred from one account to another. They typically come in pairs and in separate amounts, usually coming within three days of linking accounts. The purpose of micro-deposits is to verify if the account on the receiving end is the account that is intended to be linked to the depositing account.

So far, everything described is common when linking accounts.

But how micro-deposit scammers operate is by linking online accounts with strings of random numbers, just hoping to get a valid bank account. When a deposit is verified from a bank account, the fraudsters will use information about the account holder to withdraw funds from their account.

The best way to combat this type of fraud is to monitor your account regularly. If you notice a micro-deposit, DO NOT verify it if you didn’t initiate it and DO NOT click on any links that are embedded in a verification request message or download any attachments in a verification email.

If you’ve been the victim or a target of a micro-deposit scam, contact your bank to ensure it won’t happen again. And then contact the Federal Trade Commission at


Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.

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Cyberattacks and Phishing Attempts Likely to Increase

The U.S. Department of Justice cautions to be on the lookout for email phishing attempts.

Security High Alert!

Because of the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia, multiple Federal Agencies and cybersecurity firms have been warning of expected cyberattacks from Russia in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice cautions to be on the lookout for email phishing attempts.

Here is what to look for to keep your information safe when opening an email:

​Was I Expecting this email?

  • Was this email sent “out of the blue” or was I expecting this email?
  • Even random emails from friends could be a phishing attempt.
  • An unexpected email from your boss could be a Spear Phishing email.
  • Make sure you think through this before opening an attachment or clicking a link.

Emails insist on Urgent Action

  • An email that requires you to do “something” NOW is an indication of a phishing email.
  • Threatening negative consequences if immediate action is NOT taken is probably a phishing email.
  • Make sure to study the email for inconsistencies or indications that it may be bogus.

​Email Contains Spelling Errors or Broken English

  • Emails containing spelling mistakes should be treated with suspicion (everyone uses a spell checker).
  • Email contains grammatical errors. Broken English is a high indication of a phishing email.

​Be Wary of Suspicious Attachments

  • Again… Were you expecting the email with the attachment?
  • Look for unfamiliar file extensions (.zip, .exe, .scr, etc…).

Remember: If it looks suspicious to you, it is probably a phishing email.

You can report phishing emails to the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency by forwarding the phishing email to [email protected].

You can find more information on fraud in the RCB Bank Security Center.


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Watch for Tax Season Scams

Scam! IRS Calling

As tax season kicks into high gear, scammers are looking to take advantage. Scammers will make aggressive phone calls posing as IRS agents, hoping to steal money or information from victims.

Scammers will demand immediate payment for tax bills, regardless of whether you owe taxes or not. And if you give the scammers personal information, that can lead to identity theft, which in turn could lead to the scammer filing tax returns in your name and stealing your tax refund – in addition to other negative financial effects.

“With filing season underway, this is a prime period for identity thieves to hit people with realistic-looking emails and texts about their tax returns and refunds,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “Watching out for these common scams can keep people from becoming victims of identity theft and protect their sensitive personal information that can be used to file tax returns and steal refunds.”

Be on high alert if you receive a call, text or email asking to disclose your personal information. Don’t click on any links if you receive an email, and don’t respond to any texts.

If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately. You can report any email you receive and report the phone number from which you received a suspicious call or text by emailing the IRS at  [email protected].

To ensure you stay safe this tax season, remember that the IRS will NEVER:

  • Demand immediate payment using a specific method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in law enforcement groups and arrest you for not paying.
  • Demand that your taxes be paid without giving you an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Call unexpectedly about a tax refund.
  • Initiate taxpayer communications through email – ever.

Stay alert and safe this tax season, and remember the deadline to file your taxes is Monday, April 18, 2022.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Be on the Lookout for These Scams This Year

A new year brings new scams, and here are some for which to be on the lookout.

Stop Fraud in 2022

Fake COVID-19 Tests Online

Fake and unauthorized at-home COVID-19 testing kits are popping up online as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the spike in demand. Be vigilant and do your research before buying an at-home test. Check the seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t recognize or one of which you never have heard. Do an online search for the seller’s name, plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”

Text Message Scams

So you got a text message from a number you don’t recognize, promising prizes, saying you’re qualified for a special offer, or saying you have visited an unsecure website and your phone needs to be cleaned. Do not respond to or click on a link in these messages. Similar to email scams, text message scammers rely on the person receiving the scam to respond or click before thinking. By then, it’s too late. Do not ever click on a link unless you were expecting it and it’s from a number saved in your phone or one that you recognize and can verify. The same rule applies in general with emails.

Student Loan Scams

If you have a federal student loan, you probably already know that the Coronavirus emergency relief program that has paused your payments is ending. Repayments will begin again after May 1, 2022. Scammers know it, too, and are looking for ways to take advantage: they’re calling, texting, and e-mailing to try to use any confusion around restarting your student loan payments to steal your money and personal information. If a scammer calls about student loans, NEVER pay an upfront fee and NEVER give out your Federal Student Aid ID.

Invention Promotion Scams

Every year, tens of thousands of people try to turn their ideas into something they can market and sell. If you’re one of them, you might be looking for help — and shady invention promotion firms may be looking for you. To avoid scams, it helps to investigate the company or individual. Dishonest invention promoters lie about the profit potential of your invention to get you to pay for expensive, but often useless, services. Do an online search for the promotion company’s name, plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.



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Act Now To Protect Yourself from Scams

Special Offers Fraud

Now that 2021 is over, scammers will be working to take advantage of people looking for end-of-the-year deals. They’ll usually start the scam with a sense of urgency: Act now before this deal is gone forever!

Scammers will try to sell you on time-sensitive special offers. Some of these will be offers of a product or service for a small fee, normally for shipping fees. Be sure to read the terms and conditions if available. Usually deep within the terms and conditions, it will state that there is a trial period, usually 14 days to try the product/service then you will be charged the full amount if you don’t call to cancel.

And if no terms and conditions are offered, ignore the “deal.”

These are all examples of “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.

Here are some warning signs of telemarketing fraud—what a caller may say:

  • You must act “now” or the offer won’t be good.
  • You’ve won a “free” gift, vacation, or prize. But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
  • You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier. You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
  • You don’t need to check out the company with anyone. The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.
  • You don’t need any written information about the company or their references.
  • You can’t afford to miss this “high-profit, no-risk” offer.
  • You must pay by using a gift card.

If these or similar “lines” are spoken from a telephone salesperson, just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone.

Visit the RCB Bank Security Center for more information on how you can protect yourself from fruad.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Be Wary of Christmas Season Scams

Beware of Christmas scams and fraud

‘Tis the season for scams.

This Christmas season, be on the lookout for scams and fraud. The Christmas season is the busiest shopping part of the year, and scammers are in full swing waiting to take advantage.

As many retailers begin their Christmas sale specials, scammers are ready with fraudulent websites and social media campaigns, impersonating those retailers. The scammers are hoping to entice you to spend money for products you’ll never receive.

Add in projected shipping delays and supply chain issues, and this Christmas season scammers are projected to be rife. Scammers preying on those will offer products that aren’t available or products that may not be quite what they seem.

Scammers generally won’t have any new tricks during the holiday season, but they will try different spins on scams that have worked in the past. During the Christmas season, scammers thrive as many tend to be more generous and in a giving spirit.

Here are some seasonal scams of which to be aware:

Charity scams

One-third of all charitable giving is done in December, fundraising software company Network for Good reports. That means more sham charities exploiting Americans’ goodwill via fake websites and pushy telemarketers.

Delivery scams

As holiday packages crisscross the country, scammers send out phishing emails disguised as UPS, FedEx or U.S. Postal Service notifications of incoming or missed deliveries. Links lead to phony sign-in pages asking for personal information, or to sites infested with malware.

Travel scams

Nearly 50% of U.S. adults plan to travel during the holidays in 2021, a SurveyMonkey poll found. Spoof booking sites and email offers proliferate, with travel deals that look too good to be true and probably are.

Letter from Santa scams

A custom letter from Ol’ Saint Nick makes a holiday treat for the little ones on your list, and many legitimate businesses offer them. But so do many scammers looking to scavenge personal information about you or, worse, your kids or grandkids, who may not learn until many years later that their identity was stolen and their credit compromised.

Gift card scams

When purchasing gift cards, make sure to purchase from counter attendants or from customer service. Thieves will copy the codes on cards and call after the holidays (when they know they will be activated) and use them before the intended recipient gets a chance to. Grabbing a card from an unattended sales rack increases the chances of having this happen to you.

Being aware of the types of scams that scammers use can help keep you — and your money — safe this Christmas season.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Be on the Lookout for Social Security scammers

Social Security

With the recent news of Social Security benefits increasing by nearly 6% in 2022, now is the time to be on the lookout for Social Security scammers.

Those who receive Social Security benefits don’t have to do anything to receive the increase. The increases will happen automatically.

However, scammers will try to take advantage of those who are unaware that their increase will happen automatically.

These tips from the Social Security Administration (SSA) show you what to look for and how to recognize a Social Security scammer:

Social Security scammers may:

  • Threaten arrest or legal action against you unless you pay a fine.
  • Promise to increase your benefits or resolve identity theft if you pay a fee.
  • Demand payment with retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency or by mailing cash.
  • Pretend they are from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID, texts or documents sent by email may look official but they are not.


If you owe money to Social Security, the agency will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. Social Security does not suspend Social Security numbers or demand secrecy from you, ever.

How you can help:

  • If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it at
  • Do not return unknown calls, email, or texts.
  • Ask someone you trust for advice before making any large purchase or financial decision.
  • Do not be embarrassed to report if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a scammer, call the SSA fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.


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Beware of Spoof Websites

Cartoon man in eye cover running toward computer

Spoof websites can lure unsuspecting people into giving away their information without knowing that they’re doing it. A spoof website will try to make itself look almost exactly like the website it is trying to spoof, hoping a person will enter their personal information or username and password.

Once a scammer’s fake, but legitimate-looking website gets indexed by search engines, it will appear in search results based on the search words you type.

Even if you are a seasoned internet user, it is easy to fall prey to the sophisticated techniques that are used in website spoofing. With the wool pulled over your eyes, you could inadvertently give phishers extremely damaging information. The best way to handle spoofed websites is by exercising caution at all times.

Finding your way onto a spoofed website usually happens by using vague or incorrect search engine terms. It also can happen if you type a web address too quickly and accidentally transpose two letters or misspell the web address.

How to spot spoof websites

There are several ways to spot a fake website:

  • Misspellings and grammar mistakes: While most fraudulent websites try to make it look as close to the actual website they’re trying to spoof as possible, misspellings or improper capitalization of words sometimes creep in. Also look for missing periods or commas
  • Take a close look at the URL: If the URL isn’t what you expect it to be, it’s probably a spoof website. Close that website as soon as possible.
  • Blurry logos or images: Because spoof websites don’t have access to original company logos and images, the ones they’ll use are lower resolution and likely will appear to be blurry on the spoof website.

If you see any of these red flags, don’t click on any links.

How to prevent visiting a spoof website

If it is a website you visit often, such as your bank website, bookmarking the website and accessing it directly via the bookmark will prevent you from accidentally typing in the website address incorrectly.

Also, be extra careful when using a search engine. Ensure the words are spelled correctly.

Before clicking on a link, hover over it and read the true website address at the bottom left of the browser. If it isn’t familiar, don’t click on the link.

By taking your time and being careful, you should be able to avoid most problems.

What to do if you suspect a spoof website

If you happen across a spoofed website, you can report the fake website to the federal government here:

You can report it to Google as well here:



Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, Member FDIC.

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Phishing – What is it?

Phishing can cause the loss of personal information or identity theft, so it is important to understand the red flags and know what to do if you receive one of these messages.

keyboard with fish hook

Phishing is fraudulent scheme that scammers use to obtain personal information, such as account numbers, passwords, and banking information. Scammers take this information to access important accounts, commit identity theft or steal from bank accounts. Phishing is usually done through scam email or text messages, and over 150 million scams are sent globally per day.

How to Detect Phishing

Although our spam filters catch around 90% of messages, that still leaves a 10% risk of phishing. This which leads to the question, how do you detect a fake email? Many email scams pretend to be a company, someone you know or do business with. Often these messages have spelling errors, attachments or a sense of urgency. Other red flags to detect a phishing email or text message include:
• The sender asks you to click on a link to make a payment, claim a prize, or confirm information.
• The sender says they noticed suspicious activity or log in attempts.
• The subject line and message do not relate to one another.
• The message has grammatical errors, is out of the ordinary or sent at a random time.

What to do if you Suspect Phishing

If you receive a message with any red flags or suspect it to be a fraud, do not click on any links. In some cases, even clicking on the message can give information access to the scammer. If the email is suspicious and claiming to be from someone you know, do not directly reply to the sender. Instead, create a new message to the person you are familiar with asking if they sent the email. Do not click on any links or attachment in the text message or email. Instead, hover over the email link and look for random numbers or letters that may look odd or suspicious. Finally, delete all messages that are suspicious. Deleting the message will ensure that you do not accidentally click a link or respond.

Report Email Scams

If you received or think you received a phishing email or text message, report it to your company, email provider, a government body, or the organization the message was allegedly from. Ways to report phishing:
• Many companies have a policy when it comes to phishing emails. If you are unsure what this policy is, ask your IT team before you receive a potentially harmful email.
• Most email providers have a place on their website to report phishing. When users report phishing or spam, providers can adjust accordingly to update spam/junk folder filters.
• The government has a place to report phishing as well. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) helps protect victims of phishing and prevent it from happening. To report a phishing email to CISA, you can forward the email to [email protected]
• If the scammer is pretending to be an organization, you can often report the email to that organization. Many companies have a place on their website to report a phishing email or message.
Phishing messages are sent every day, at all times of the day. Although your spam folder may catch most of them, many still come through. Phishing can cause the loss of personal information or identity theft, so it is important to understand the red flags and know what to do if you receive one of these messages.

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What is Malware?

Criminals use malware to steal personal information, commit fraud, send spam or monitor and control online activity.


Malware, otherwise known as malicious software, is a type of fraud that uses viruses, spyware, or other software to intentionally damage a computer, server, device or computer network. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, commit fraud, send spam or monitor and control online activity.

There are many different types of malware, including spyware, viruses, worms, adware and ransomware. Your computer may contain malware if you are experiencing one or more of the following problems:
• Your computer slows down, crashes or displays constant error messages.
• You cannot shut down or restart your computer.
• Unexpected messages and ads frequently pop-up on screen.
• You lose access to computer files.
• Settings on your browser change, such as the toolbar or home page.


Ransomware is a type of malware designed to hold data hostage. Ransomware encrypts or conceals access to your files in attempt to get you to pay a ransom to regain access. This is a growing threat for both individuals and businesses alike. The most common targets for ransomware attacks are small to medium-sized businesses, school districts, municipalities, health¬care institutions and financial institutions.

How to Prevent Malware

Most common malware attacks occur on the internet and email. To prevent malware, use up-to-date security software and firewalls. Do not change the security settings on your browser and pay attention if you receive a security notification from your browser. More tips to protect yourself from malware:
• Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
• Do not download any unknown software or click on links in email, text messages or social media.
• Do not click on pop-up ads or banners that show up on your computer.
• Back up your data regularly.
• In emails, you should never click on a link you do not know or recognize.

Report a Scam

If you think your computer has malware, report it to the Federal Trade Commission here. You can also file an incident with the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency here. If your personal information is compromised or fraud has occurred, call your bank immediately and call a credit reporting agency such as Equifax to place a fraud alert on your account. You can also contact your state Attorney General to report fraud.

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Top 4 Holiday Scams


‘Tis the season for shopping, gifts, cheer and scams. Scams? That’s right; every year fraudsters prepare to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Fake ads and websites try to lure you into spending for items you may never receive. Imposter charities tug on your heartstrings to get a donation. Gift cards are duplicated or stolen before they are used by your loved ones. Learn how to sniff out these common scams and limit your risk this holiday season.

Debit Card Details Phishing

Fraudsters are smart and know that during the holidays we utilize our debit cards often. To seem “helpful,” scammers are calling debit card customers pretending to be Fraud Department employees to verify a customer’s debit card details. The fraudsters already have the 16 digit card number and expiration date. They are then asking you to confirm the 3 digit security number. Once they get that from the customer, they are then running free making purchases with the card. Remember, the RCB Bank Fraud Department will never ask for such information when they call. While this type of phishing scam is happening currently, it can happen year-round. Stay vigilant, friends!

Online Shopping Scams

During this holiday season, more people than ever are buying gifts online. Scammers prepare for this influx of web traffic with several schemes to steal your money, personal information or both. A common tactic fraudsters use is to create fake social media campaigns and websites that imitate major brand ads, but with great deals. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), be wary of ads that promise “last minute deals,” “flash sales” or “limited quantities.” In many cases, you will not receive the item you ordered or you may receive an inferior counterfeit item. Your credit card information can also be stolen, used to commit identity theft or sold on the dark web.

Gift Card Scams

The most common gift card scam involves tampering with the racks of gift cards displayed in stores. The criminals will use handheld scanners to get the barcode information and periodically call the retailer to see if they have activated the card. Once the card is purchased and activated, they either order material online or create a counterfeit card. The less sophisticated fraudsters will simply scratch off the PIN, record the barcode and wait for the card to be activated. Other gift card scams will create fake websites that offer gift cards to major retail chains in exchange for giving them information.

Charity Scams

Don’t let scammers take advantage of your generosity. Similar to real non-profits, scammers will solicit you through email, letters and phone calls. They may even have a website that looks legitimate. It is a red flag if any charity pressures you to donate right away or asks you to donate through a wire transfer or in gift cards. If you are unsure, check the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance or Charity Watch to verify the organization.

What can shoppers do to protect themselves?

  • Does the holiday deal seem too good to be true? Make sure you know the merchant when shopping online. Research the BBB rating for the business and stick with direct manufacturer websites for products.
  • Do not click on a link in an advertisement or email as it could contain malware or take you to a cloned website where fraudsters steal your card information, address, etc.
  • Giving is always a wonderful, positive and uplifting thing to do. Plan to give to certain organizations that you know, especially so you can see the fruits of your good work!
  • If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft, put in a fraud alert immediately. Details on how to file a fraud alert can be found here. Then report it to the police, your bank and credit card companies. If you feel that you lost your identity due to online activity, please file a report with



Scam, Fraud Alerts – Protect Your Digital Identity (

Inside the FBI: Holiday Scams — FBI

Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) | Home Page

Scams and Safety — FBI

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It’s Tax Fraud Season. Be Aware.

Woman alarmed by phone call

Don’t be another victim.

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to fake IRS communication scams, according to the IRS. Here are important reminders from the IRS about tax fraud.

​Two most important things to know about the IRS.

  1. The IRS DOES NOT initiate contact by email, text messages or social media with taxpayers to request personal or financial information.
  2. The IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

​Telltale signs of tax fraud.

​IRS-impersonation telephone scams

You are told you owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. You may also be told you have a refund owed to you and the caller needs personal information in order to process the refund. If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave an urgent callback message.

Scams targeting tax professionals: The objective is to steal their clients’ data so they can file fraudulent tax returns that better impersonate their victims.

​Email, phishing and malware schemes

You receive an official-looking email from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. Their name and logo appear on it. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Be alert to bogus emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information, nor do they require life insurance and annuity updates from taxpayers or a tax professional.

​Taxpayer Advocacy Panel scams

Some taxpayers may receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails try to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link.

What to do? 

The IRS will only deal with you on these related issues via US mail. 
If you get a call, hang-up and contact the IRS directly.

  • Never respond to an email or fax.
  • Never call the number listed in the email or provided to you by phone.
  • Go directly to the IRS website at for assistance.
  • Read up on IRS Tax Scams Consumer Alerts.

 Ask for Details. Member FDIC.


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You Are At Risk!

Fraudsters Target Small Businesses.

Business Fraud Solutions.

By Stacy Dunn | RCB Bank Information Security

Information is as good as gold.

If you think your business is too small to be a victim of data loss, think again. Cybercriminals find small to medium-sized businesses to be more accessible targets.

While physical securities are a concern (leaving documents lying around or not shredding personal paperwork), the majority of incidents tend to be more hands off.

Hackers like to infiltrate businesses with social engineering tactics:

  • Phishing & vishing
  • Customer account compromise
  • Vendor management intrusion

The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a framework to help businesses protect their work spaces. Each business has unique risks and will require tailored security measures.

Preventive measures:

  • Limit employee access to sensitive data.
  • Use strong passwords that expire.
  • Use multi-factor authentication.
  • Train staff on information security.
  • Reduce risk with effective policies and procedures.
  • Encrypt all data, especially email and mobile devices.
  • Use reliable endpoint protection, firewall and email filtering.
  • Update and patch systems regularly.
  • Protect all facets of your business, e.g., websites and vendor access.

Your network is only as strong as your weakest user.

Hackers are one step ahead in trying to steal information. Take steps to not become their next victim.

Information security training is a must-have in today’s environment.

Invite RCB Bank’s Information Technology and Business Services teams to speak about cybersecurity at your workplace. Call 918-342-7379 to schedule an appointment, or connect with our business services representative in your area.

Invest in your business.


This article is published in Value News, February 2019 Issue,

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. See a business representative for specific questions regarding PosPay details, pricing and fees for your personal situation. Call us at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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Email Extortion Scam Hitting Business Inboxes

Be aware of current bomb threat hoax


By Stacy Dunn, Information Security, RCB Bank

A new email extortion scam (bomb threat hoax) is making its way to the inboxes of several businesses, namely financial institutions. Narrated similarly to a scene in an action movie, the sender suggests an accomplice has planted a bomb within the recipient’s building that will be detonated if a bitcoin ransom is not paid by the end of the workday.

The sender discourages the recipient to contact the authorities and the subject line may read, “I advise you not to call the police.”

The message states:

extortion scam example


Notably, the businesses that have received this message proved to be safe after investigation, though numerous schools closed as a precaution.

Scammers strive on the human element of uncertainty and use whatever methods possible to get what they want.

Extortion emails, ransomware attacks, phishing attempts and various other methods of social engineering are all key parts of a hacker’s repertoire. Recognizing and detecting these instances are imperative to maintaining a safe, secure work environment.

If you receive an email similar to the one detailed above, contact your information security team immediately.

Interested in similar articles? Read this article about wire fraud.

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Fraudsters are targeting ATMs with sneaky tactics

What you need to know about card fraud, skimmers, ATMs & more.

ATM on a wall

By Jamie Andrews, SVP, Senior Operations Officer, RCB Bank

In a recent trend, fraudsters are focusing their attention on ATM terminals. Be aware.

Fraudsters are able to compromise a merchant’s payment system or ATM by use of malware or by attaching a physical device, such as a skimmer, which reads the data in the magnetic stripe and can be used to produce a fake card.

Fraudsters may also use mini cameras to capture PIN numbers used on transactions at ATM terminals. Then, they go on shopping sprees and/or withdraw funds from the bank account attached to those cards.

What is a skimmer?

A device made to fit snugly and invisibly over or inside an ATM card slot or merchant terminal.

How does RCB Bank protect you?

RCB Bank issues EMV chip cards, making it more difficult for fraudsters to counterfeit your debit card. When possible insert your card to complete your transaction.

Some merchants do not have EMV chip terminals and require you to swipe or slide your card. Be more alert when using these types of terminals with the tips below.

RCB Bank uses systems to monitor unusual card activity and will reach out if we see something suspicious. Note: We will never ask you for your PIN number. 

RCB Bank’s ATMs have been upgraded to EMV chip terminals, which provide an additional level of security.

How can you help protect yourself?

  • Before using your card at an ATM, inspect it to see if anything on the card insert looks suspicious.
  • Be aware and report the transaction if it initially errors but then suddenly goes through.
  • Be alert if the insert or swipe of  your card is not smooth.
  • Avoid standalone cash machines in dimly lit areas.
  • When possible use ATMs physically installed at a bank.
  • Cover the PIN pad with your hand when entering your information.

RCB Bank is dedicated to protecting your financial information. When we work together, we can prevent, identify and resolve fraud faster.

If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact our fraud department immediately at 877.361.0814.

Learn more ways to stay alert for fraud in our Learning Center and Security Center.

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