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A Letter from our CEO | Press

A Letter from our CEO

Let me be the first to welcome you to LaPorte Savings Bank! Since 1871, we have worked to bring LaPorte County and Northwest Indiana communities quality banking products and people they can trust. With a mere 400 depositors and a single shared office at the end of our first year in business, today we have grown to serve more than 26,000 customers from eight full-service banking centers. We are excited at the growth our company has experienced and look forward to bringing our "Community Bank" way of doing business to more communities in the years ahead.

One thing that has remained constant throughout our existence is our commitment to providing quality personalized service and taking a vested interest in the communities that we serve. This is your community bank...we welcome your ideas and suggestions to better serve you!

Your Bank - Lee A. Brady

We hope that your visit to our website has been enjoyable as well as informational. Should you have additional questions about the products and services we offer, please visit with one of our knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives at any of our convenient locations.

We appreciate your loyalty and thank you for choosing LaPorte Savings Bank.

Sincerely,
Lee A. Brady
CEO

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Press


Karin Contri Named Westville Branch Manager

Karin Contri Named Westville Branch ManagerLa Porte Savings Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Karin Contri to Westville Branch Manager.  Contri is a native of Michigan City and a graduate of Michigan City High School.  In banking for 10 years, she previously served as a teller, customer service representative, and personal banker before joining La Porte Savings in 2012 as Michigan City Assistant Branch Manager. Contri specializes in mobile home lending in addition to providing consumer lending and deposit services.

Contri is an active volunteer for the In-Patient Unit of Hospice - Franciscan Communities of St. Anthony Hospital in Michigan City.

Contact her at La Porte Savings Bank–Westville, 1 Parkman Drive, or by calling (219) 785-7280.

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Sherry Price Named Manager of Eastside Branch

Sherry Price Named Manager of Eastside BranchLa Porte Savings Bank is pleased to announce Sherry Price has been named Manager of their Eastside Branch.  Price has more than twenty years of retail banking experience.  She joined    La Porte Savings Bank in 2005 and has served as a Mortgage Loan Originator, Customer Service Representative, and most recently as Branch Manager at the La Porte Savings Bank-Westville location.  Price can provide mortgage and consumer loans expertise, as well as, offer retail and business deposit products in her role as Branch Manager.

Price is a graduate of Ball State University and Leadership La Porte County.  Visit her at the La Porte Savings Bank–Eastside, 310 Boyd Boulevard, or call (219)326-0500.

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La Porte Savings Bank Named MAXI Award Winner

La Porte Savings Bank won a MAXI Award at the Mega Conference of the Indiana Bankers Association (IBA) on April 30 in downtown Indianapolis. MAXI Awards are presented annually to IBA-member institutions to recognize bank marketing excellence in Indiana. La Porte Savings Bank won the Maxi for couchloans.com in the category of loan campaigns.

La Porte Savings Bank locations serve northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan and provide lending services to customers throughout the United States. La Porte Savings Bank common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under LPSB.

La Porte Savings Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member of the FDIC.

S. Joe DeHaven (left), president & CEO of the Indiana Bankers Association, presents the MAXI Award for marketing excellence to Liz Kaminski, Marketing Manager, La Porte Savings Bank.
S. Joe DeHaven (left), president & CEO of the Indiana Bankers Association, presents the MAXI Award for marketing excellence to Liz Kaminski, Marketing Manager, La Porte Savings Bank.

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Heartbleed Update

Recently, the media have reported on an Internet security issue that’s being called the “Heartbleed” bug.  La Porte Savings Bank’s online banking site does not use the impacted version of the OpenSSL framework and is not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.  Although we have found no vulnerabilities, updating your online passwords regularly is a recommended security practice.

General password best practices:

  • Update your bank password every few months
  • Use different passwords on different sites and systems
  • Do not choose a password that can be easily associated with you, such as kid’s name, pet names, hobbies, etc.
  • Use a mixture of unusual characters or a phrase that uses letters, numbers and special characters such as !LuvLaP0rt3!
  • Use a password that contains at least 8 characters

To change your password, please log-in to your Online Banking account.

Please feel free to talk with your local banker or contact our customer service center at 866-362-7511 if you have any questions.

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LaPorte Savings Bank Wins American Advertising Federations ADDY Awards

LaPorte Savings Bank was a winner in the recent ADDY Awards held in Downtown South Bend at the WNIT Studios.  The Banks mortgage campaign, couchloans.com, won both a Gold ADDY and a Best of Show: Print ADDY Award.  Best of Show award winners are selected from the gold winners. 

Industry professionals and students attended the awards program, the advertising industry’s version of the Oscars, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation of Michiana.

The competition is the first level of a three-tiered national completion conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation. The ADDY Awards, founded in 1960 and implemented by the AAF in 1968 as a national advertising competition, is the largest creative competition of its kind and features more than 50,000 entrants each year. The competition comprises three judging phases; local, regional, and national. Having won at the local level, La Porte Savings Bank will advance further in the competition and compete in the upcoming regional contest.

LaPorte Savings Bank Wins American Advertising Federations ADDY Awards

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National Wear Red Day - Play for Jake Day

La Porte Savings Bank staff members were all smiles when they sponsored a staff jean day in honor of Heart Month and National Wear Red Day.   Proceeds from the event support the Play for Jake Foundation

The Play For Jake Foundation provides local students with heart screenings that are not provided during a typical school physical.  More than 7,000 young people under 18 year of age die from undetected heart conditions each year. One-third of these deaths may have been prevented through a simple, inexpensive heart screening.

The Play for Jake Foundation was founded to honor Jake West, the 17 year old football and lacrosse player from La Porte that collapsed unexpectedly during football practice last Fall.  It was later discovered that he had an undetected heart condition called ARVD – Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy. 

National Wear Red Day – Play for Jake Day

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Karol Organ Joins LaPorte Savings Bank as Mortgage Loan Originator

Karol Organ Joins LaPorte Savings Bank as Mortgage Loan OriginatorLa Porte Savings Bank is pleased to announce the addition of Karol Organ as a Mortgage Loan Originator.  Organ has over sixteen years of banking experience with the past 13 years at La Porte Savings Bank serving as a teller, a branch manager, in the trust department and most recently as Lending Operations Manager. She brings a strong background of customer service and banking experience to her position.   An active member of the community, Organ serves as the co-captain for the La Porte Savings Bank Lifesavers Relay for Life Team which has been honored with the Team Excellence Award for most money raised during Relay area events the past two years.

Contact Karol at La Porte Savings Bank – Michigan City, 2000 Franklin Street, or by calling (219) 879-5364.

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Joe Ault Promoted to Mortgage Loan Originator

Joe AultLa Porte Savings Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Joe Ault to Mortgage Loan Originator.  A lifelong resident of La Porte, he received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University.  Prior to joining La Porte Savings Bank Ault worked in the field of baseball journalism and communications-media relations.  Ault has worked with the mortgage, credit operations, and mortgage warehouse lending departments while at La Porte Savings Bank.  For information regarding your next home loan, contact Ault at the La Porte Savings Bank - Main Branch, 710 Indiana Avenue, or by calling (219)362-7511.

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Siwietz Joins LaPorte Savings Bank

Karol SiwietzKarol Siwietz has joined the La Porte Savings Bank – Chesterton as a Mortgage Loan Originator.  Siwietz is a native of Northwest Indiana with over thirty years’ of residential lending experience.  A graduate of Davenport University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Siwietz specializes in construction loans, end loan financing, FHA, VA, Jumbo and Rural Development loans.   She is a member of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana.  Contact Siwietz at the La Porte Savings Bank-Chesterton, 851 Indian Boundary Road or by calling (219) 926-8961. 

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La Porte Savings Bank Receives 2013 Relay for Life Team Excellence AwardLa Porte Savings Bank Receives 2013 Relay for Life Team Excellence Award

The La Porte Savings Bank was recently honored by the American Cancer Society - Lakeshore Division with the 2013 Relay for Life Team Excellence Award.  This recognition marks the second consecutive year the La Porte Savings Bank Lifesavers received the award for raising the most money during Relay for Life area events.  The LaPorte Savings Bank Lifesavers team was made-up of La Porte Savings Bank staff, friends and family, and raised $13,622 to be used for cancer research, information and services.

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Consumer Tips

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Protecting Against Data Breaches

The possibility of the average consumer becoming a victim of a data breach grows with each new advancement in electronics. A data breach occurs when sensitive or confidential information—driver’s license numbers, medical records, Social Security numbers, bank or credit card account numbers—is stolen, copied or used by an unauthorized person.

In 2004, only one state required businesses to alert consumers if their personal data had been stolen. Since then, legislation has passed in 45 additional states, including Indiana, to ensure that affected consumers are contacted should their personal information be lost or stolen.

While news spreads quickly when there is a major breach affecting millions of accounts, large companies are not the only ones that suffer from such thefts. Smaller companies can be compromised by an employee, a partner or an external computer hacker.

Prevention

Consumers can take the following steps to protect against a personal data breach:

  • Review credit card and bank statements for fraudulent charges at least once a month. If there is a suspicious charge, contact your financial institution.

  • Request that your financial institution close any accounts that you suspect were compromised, and ask for replacement cards with new account numbers and PINs.

  • Determine if there have been unusual requests, such as change-of-address or attempts to secure additional or replacement credit cards.

  • Instruct the card issuer not to honor any requests regarding your card without your written authorization.
  • Credit card issuers offer a variety of e-mail and/or text notices. You can ask for a notice when charges over a certain amount are made, or when your balance reaches a certain level.

Follow Up
If you have been the victim of identity theft, contact the three credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to place a security freeze on your account:

Report the identity theft to the police, as you may need to provide a copy of the police report to your bank, creditors and credit reporting agencies. If the local police are not familiar with investigating information compromises, contact the local office of the FBI or the U.S. Secret Service.

To ensure that an identity thief has not opened a new account in your name, you should review your credit report. To obtain a free copy of the report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com. If there are any accounts on your report that you did not open, contact the credit bureau to report the fraud and dispute the charges.

This information is provided with the understanding that the Association is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a professional should be sought. Provided as a public service by the Indiana Bankers Association.

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Security Tips for Online Bill Payment

When it comes to paying your monthly bills, you have three main options. You can (1) pay in person with cash or a check; (2) mail in a check using traditional mail; or (3) pay your bills online using some form of electronic bill payment and presentment. When considering these choices, it is important to understand the risks associated with each, and the ways to reduce those risks.

For most people, the first option of paying bills in person is unrealistic, due to the time and effort involved. That leaves two remaining options-paying either by check or online.

Paying through traditional mail may seem attractive, but this option carries a higher risk of identity theft. Identity thieves can access mail to collect information from account statements or bills. Worse yet, mailed checks can be stolen or altered. To reduce this risk, do not leave outgoing mail with checks in an unsecured location.

Paying bills online also involves risks, but many are preventable. Generally speaking, there are two ways to pay your bills online: through a Web bill pay function that is included with an Internet banking product provided by your bank, or by logging in to a biller's website and using a credit or debit card. Regardless, the following six tips can help protect personal information while using online technology:

  1. Do not use a public computer. If you are using a computer that others have access to, thieves can easily install a key (logger software) that can collect your user ID, PIN numbers or credit/debit card information.

  2. Do not use a public Wi-Fi network. All it takes is a moderately tech-savvy criminal and a low-cost scanner, and your information can be plucked out of thin air. Note to travelers: Be aware that hotel Wi-Fi networks are not secure.

  3. Keep your browser up-to-date. No matter what browser you are using, make sure you keep it updated. If you are not updating your browser, your security could be compromised. When those pesky boxes pop up telling you to update your browser, take the time to do it. Also look for a secure connection, as evidenced by a secure padlock located in the address bar or in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser - this symbol indicates that your information is encrypted. Last, make sure that any page you use to pay bills online has "https" in the URL (address), signifying a secure connection.

  4. Use anti-virus/anti-malware. If you use your own personal computer to access the Internet, you need to have anti-virus and anti-malware software running and current.

  5. Passwords, passwords, passwords! Don't even think about using "1234" or "abcd" as your password. Take the responsibility to secure your information with a strong password. It is very important to change your password on a regular basis. A strong password should contain uppercase and lowercase alpha characters (but no words or names) and numeric characters, and be at least eight characters long. Use a special character as well, if the site allows one. If you are having problems managing your passwords, consider using password management tools, such as KeePass Password Safe.

  6. Don't click on links. Either bookmark the website in your browser, or type in the website address. Do not click on a link provided by your bank or a biller in an email. These links can lead you to fake websites that attempt to capture your information when you log in using your ID and password.

By following these six security tips, online bill payment is not only cost-effective and convenient, but also reliable and secure.

This article is not intended as legal advice with the understanding that the Association is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a professional should be sought. Provided as a public service by the Indiana Bankers Association.

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Important Email Fraud Notice

It has been reported that a fraudulent email is circulating announcing that, if you click on the link in the email, LaPorte Savings Bank will be issuing you a $1,000 Visa gift card. The email includes a link to provide an address to which to mail the gift card. If this email message is received, consumers are being urged NOT to open the website link.

At LaPorte Savings Bank, we would like to remind our customers that we will never request your address, card information, or PIN number over the phone, through an automated system, or via email. We ask that all customers diligently protect their account information to prevent fraudulent activity from occurring.

For additional clarification of this information, please contact our Risk Management Department at (219) 362-7511 or 1-866-362-7511 during normal business hours.

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Vishing Fraud Alert

LaPorte Savings Bank has become aware that persons in the surrounding communities have received phone calls that appear to be vishing attempts.  Vishing is a practice of using social engineering over the telephone, to gain access to private and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward. The term is a combination of “voice” and phishing. Vishing is typically used to steal credit card numbers or other information used in identity theft schemes from individuals.  Although the use of automated responders is preferred by the vishers, there have been reported cases where human operators play an active role in these scams, trying to persuade the victims.

The recent attempts have involved a recorded message asking the person receiving the call to enter information such as a credit or debit card number or a PIN to reset their account or change their credit card interest rate. Consumers should be highly suspicious when receiving messages directing them provide account or PIN numbers.

When you are contacted via phone regarding any account information, it is a best practice to disconnect from the call that was initiated and, instead, reference the back of your card, a statement or a phone book and call the company back directly.   This practice ensures that you are really talking to the party to whom you think you’re talking. 

In many cases, the fraudulent phone calls are made outside of regular business hours to prevent victims from immediately contacting their financial institution.  If you feel your LaPorte Savings Bank debit card or ATM card has been compromised and the Bank is not open, you should call 1-866-546-8273 to immediately deactivate your card.  Then, please call our Operations Department during regular business hours to request a replacement card.  If you feel credit card information has been compromised, contact your card provider immediately.  In most cases, including LPSB credit cards, that number can be found on the back of your card.

LaPorte Savings Bank will never call its customers and ask them to enter a PIN or account number.  If you are ever asked to do this, we recommend that you refuse and disconnect the call.  If you receive a message similar to the one described above, please contact us immediately at (219) 362-7511 or 1-866-362-7511.

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Special Alert From FDIC On Fraudulent Emails

FDIC – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of fraudulent e-mails that have the appearance of being from the FDIC.

The e-mails appear to be sent from various "@fdic.gov" e-mail addresses, such as
"subscriptions@fdic.gov," "alert@fdic.gov," or "accounts@fdic.gov." They have subject lines that read: "FDIC: Your business account" or "FDIC: About Your Business Account." The e-mails are addressed to "Business Customer" or "Business Owner" and state "We have important information about your bank" or "…financial institution." They then ask recipients to "Please click here to find details." They conclude with, "This includes information on the acquiring bank (if applicable), how your accounts and loans are affected, and how vendors can file claims against the receivership."

These e-mails and the link included are fraudulent and were not sent by the FDIC. Recipients should consider the intent of these e-mails as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users' computers. Recipients should NOT access the link provided within the body of the e-mails and should NOT, under any circumstances, provide any personal financial information through this media.

Financial institutions and consumers should be aware that other subject lines and modifications to the emails may occur over time. The FDIC does not directly contact consumers in this manner nor does the FDIC request personal financial information from consumers.

For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's Website at
www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2011/index.html. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through email, please visit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html. Questions related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using
an online form that can be accessed at http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp.

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Phishing Alert Email Claiming To Be From Nacha

NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association has received reports that individuals and/or companies have received a fraudulent email that has the appearance of having been sent from NACHA and signed by a non-existent NACHA employee. Specifically, this email claims to be from the "Electronic Payments Association" and appears to be coming from the email address "payments@nacha.org." See a sample of the email below.
 
Be aware that phishing emails frequently have attachments and/or links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not open attachments or follow Web links in unsolicited emails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.
 
NACHA itself does not process nor touch the ACH transactions that flow to and from organizations and financial institutions. NACHA does not send communications to individuals or organizations about individual ACH transactions that they originate or receive.
 
If malicious code is detected or suspected on a computer, consult with a computer security or anti-virus specialist to remove malicious code or re-install a clean image of the computer system.
 
Always use anti-virus software and ensure that the virus signatures are automatically updated.
 
Ensure that the computer operating systems and common software applications security patches are installed and current. 

Additional information and guidance on phishing is available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
    
Be alert for different variations of fraudulent emails.
 
 
= = = = = Sample Email = = = = = =
From:payments@nacha.org [mailto:payments@nacha.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 7:32 AM
To: Doe, John
Subject: ACH transaction rejected

The ACH transaction, recently sent from your checking account (by you or any other person), was cancelled by the Electronic Payments Association.

Please click here to view report
------------------------------------------------------------------

Otto Tobin,
Risk Manager
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

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FDIC Consumer Alert

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports from consumers who received an e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC. The e-mail informs the recipient that "in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, federal, state and local governments…" the FDIC has withdrawn deposit insurance from the recipient's account "due to account activity that violates the Patriot Act." It further states deposit insurance will remain suspended until identity and account information can be verified using a system called "IDVerify." If consumers go to the link provided in the e-mail, it is suspected they will be asked for personal or confidential information, or malicious software may be loaded onto the recipient's computer.

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Fraudulent Website Shut Down

LaPorte Savings Bank would like to notify the community that the website associated with a fraudulent email circulating this morning has been disabled.  It is believed the emails originated at approximately 4:24am CST this morning, and as of approximately 10:30am CST, the website hosting the fraudulent link was shut down.  Community members that called to alert the Bank to the email and the quick response of the Bank’s team in researching the issue led to the site being shut down quickly. 

If you received this email and clicked the link within, as a precautionary measure, contact your nearest LaPorte Savings Bank branch location or call 1-866-362-7511 to close and reopen your accounts.

As a policy, LaPorte Savings Bank will never ask customers to click a link contained within the body of an email that may be received on behalf of the bank. Online banking users should always enter the bank’s URL in the address bar of their internet browser to ensure they are accessing the bank’s official website before entering any of their login information.

For more information, please contact LaPorte Savings Bank at (219) 362-7511 or 1-866-362-7511.

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Fraudulent Email In Circulation

LaPorte Savings Bank would like to notify the community that a fraudulent email is circulating this morning regarding failed internet banking login attempts.  At this point, the email appears to have gone to both customer and non-customer businesses in our community.  However, the bank urges all community members to be aware of this fraudulent email.  The email states that the users online banking sign on has been blocked due to suspicious activity and asks the user to click a link contained within the email as a means of contacting the bank.

LaPorte Savings Bank urges recipients of the email DO NOT click the link contained within the email. If you have received this email and clicked the link within, as a precautionary measure, contact your nearest branch location or call 1-866-362-7511 to close and reopen your accounts.

As a policy, LaPorte Savings Bank will never ask customers to click a link contained within the body of an email that may be received on behalf of the bank. Online banking users should always enter the bank’s URL in the address bar of their internet browser to ensure they are accessing the bank’s official website before entering any of their login information.

For more information, please contact LaPorte Savings Bank at (219) 362-7511 or 1-866-362-7511.

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Fraudulent Email Alert

A fraudulent email is in circulation currently that provides a message regarding a stopped electronic payment notification. The subject line of the e-mail states: "Unauthorized ACH Transaction." The e-mail includes a link that redirects the individual to a fake Web page. Do not click on the link. Both the e-mail and the related website are fraudulent.

Be aware that phishing e-mails frequently have links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not follow Web links in unsolicited e-mails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.

If malicious code is detected or suspected on a computer, consult with a computer security or anti-virus specialist to: 

  • Remove malicious code or re-install a clean image of the computer system.
  • Use anti-virus software and ensure that the virus signatures are automatically updated.
  • Ensure that the computer operating systems and common software applications security patches are installed and current.
  • Be alert for different variations of fraudulent e-mails.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, or if you believe that you have received this type of email, please contact LaPorte Savings Bank’s Customer Operations Department immediately at (219) 362-7511 or 1-866-362-7511.

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Debit Card Phone Scam

Pre-recorded messages are being received in the Utah area to random banking customers with the warning that the customer’s debit card have been closed or deactivated. When consumers call the telephone number provided by the fraudsters they hear a recording that requests their 16-digit card number and PIN to reactivate the card. Please be aware of this scam and understand that LaPorte Savings Bank will never contact you in this manner. If you receive a message similar to the one described above, please contact us immediately at (219) 362-7511.

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FDIC Consumer Alert - Fraudulent Emails Circulating

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.

The subject line of the e-mail states: "check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage." The e-mail tells recipients that, "You have received this message because you are a holder of a FDIC-insured bank account. Recently FDIC has officially named the bank you have opened your account with as a failed bank, thus, taking control of its assets."

The e-mail then asks recipients to "visit the official FDIC website and perform the following steps to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage" (a fraudulent link is provided). It then instructs recipients to "download and open your personal FDIC Insurance File to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage."

This e-mail and associated website are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, some of which may be used to gain unauthorized access to online banking services or to conduct identity theft.

The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT follow the link in the fraudulent e-mail. 

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IMPORTANT DEBIT CARD FRAUD NOTICE

It has been reported that phone number (845) 765-9464 is being used by criminals to actively collect debit card and PIN information from consumers in the New York area. Text messages are being delivered to random NY area consumers with the warning that their debit cards have been closed or somehow compromised. When consumers call the telephone number they hear a recording that requests a 16-digit card number and PIN. If this text message is received, consumers are being urged not to call this telephone number. The telephone number is still active and should be brought out of service later today.

Reports of the same text message, including the same phone number, have been reported in our community.

At LaPorte Savings Bank, we would like to remind our customers that we will never request your card information or PIN number over the phone, through an automated system, or via email. We ask that debit card customers diligently protect their card and PIN information to prevent fraudulent activity from occurring on their account.

For additional clarification of this press release, or if you are concerned your card has been compromised, please contact our Operations Department at (219) 362-7511 or 1-866-362-7511 during normal business hours. After normal business hours consumers may call MasterCard’s Hot Card Service at 1-866-546-8273.

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SBA Warns of Fraudulent Attempts to Obtain Bank Account Information from Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a scam alert today to small businesses, warning them not to respond to letters falsely claiming to have been sent by the SBA asking for bank account information in order to qualify them for federal tax rebates. 

The fraudulent letters were sent out with what appears to be an SBA letterhead to small businesses across the country, advising recipients that they may be eligible for a tax rebate under the Economic Stimulus Act, and that SBA is assessing their eligibility for such a rebate.  The letter asks the small business to provide the name of its bank and account number. 

These letters have not been sent by or authorized by the SBA, and all small businesses are strongly advised not to respond to them.

The scheme is similar in many ways to e-mail scams often referred to as "phishing" that seek personal data and financial account information that enables another party to access and individual’s bank accounts or to engage in identity theft.

The SBA is working with the SBA Office of Inspector General to investigate this matter. The Office of Inspector General asks that anyone who receives such a letter report it to the OIG Fraud Line at 1 (800) 767-0385, or e-mail at OIGHotline@sba.gov.

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IBA Presents Scam Warnings

Member institutions of the Indiana Bankers Association (IBA) have reported recent scams in Indiana:

  • A phone scam states in a recorded message that said the caller is with a local Indiana bank and
         claims that the consumer’s debit card had been suspended. The fraudulent caller then recites a
         phone number to call, allegedly to reactivate the card.

  • A website scam originating in Canada copies bank websites and distributes mass e-mails.
         The e-mails claim that consumers who complete an online "bank" survey will receive $90
         deposited into their accounts.
  • Consumers are advised to be alert and aware, and are invited to contact their trusted personal/business bankers for guidance.

    To view a PDF of this and other IBA news releases, go to: http://www.indianabankers.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=234

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    Scam Alerts Issued by Indiana Bankers Association

    Member institutions of the Indiana Bankers Association have reported recent phishing scams in Indiana:

    • Callers posing as representatives from the State of Indiana or the Department of Financial Institutions have been contacting individuals asking for personal information, including bank account numbers, allegedly to ensure that deposits are insured by the FDIC. These calls are fraudulent.

    • Automated calls claiming to represent banks call individuals and allege that their debit cards have been canceled. The recorded message tells recipients to call a phone number, where they are asked to provide a card numbers, expiration dates and PINs. These calls are fraudulent.

    • People representing themselves as representatives from a company called EppiCard having been sending text messages to consumers. EppiCard is a legitimate card/fraud watch company; however the call back number being left in the text messages is not EppiCard’s number.

    Consumers are advised to be alert and aware, and are invited to contact their trusted personal/business bankers for guidance.

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    Department of Financial Institutions Statement on Phishing

    The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions has received reports that callers posing as representatives from the State of Indiana or the Department of Financial Institutions have been contacting individuals asking for personal information allegedly to ensure that deposits are insured by the FDIC. These calls are fraudulent.

    The Department of Financial Institutions is responsible for the chartering, regulation, examination, and supervision of state-chartered banks and credit unions and also licenses and supervises statutory activities of pawnbrokers, money transmitters, check cashers, budget service companies, rental-purchase agreement companies, licensees under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, and licensees under the Indiana Small Loan Act.

    The Department of Financial Institutions wants you to be aware of these attempts to commit scams against bank customers, especially the elderly, so that you may guard against this type of fraud.  Department of Financial Institution employees will never contact individuals regarding their personal accounts at banks or credit unions.  Be suspicious of phone calls or any contact from someone posing to be a "bank examiner" or an "employee" of your bank or credit union.

    While a scammer contacting consumers might appear trustworthy, the scammer seeks one thing: to obtain personal information - including account numbers and balances, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and any other personal financial information - to fraudulently take money from consumers.

    For more information please contact:
    Troy Pogue, 317.233.6342, tpogue@dfi.in.gov
    Kirk Schreiber, 317.233.4351, kschreiber@dfi.in.gov

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