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Fraud Alerts

Date: February 10, 2016

The Michigan State Police reports a phone scam involving the Internal Revenue Service has been reported in the Jackson area.
Scammers, posing as IRS employees, are reportedly calling residents and telling them they owe additional money, according to a press release from the MSP Jackson Post.
The scammers threaten that if the balance is not paid, that the residents could face an arrest warrant, suspension of business license or deportation.

John Koskinen, IRS commissioner, warned of criminals impersonating IRS agents in a press release from the government agency. "Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams," he said in the release. "Don't be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money."We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us; then you're not hearing from us."According to the release, the MSP has confirmed that these calls are a scam as the IRS contacts citizens via mail and never the phone.

See below for tips from the MSP on how to avoid falling victim to a scam:
  • Do not give personal information to unknown callers
  • Do not respond to unsolicited emails from unknown senders
  • Confirm the identity of a contact by calling back and independently speaking with the identified source
  • Use a reliable source, such as a phone book, to confirm the contact's phone number or email
  • Report any suspicious contact to police

Date: February 5, 2015
Security Breaches Could Result in More Bogus Emails

As home-improvement giant The Home Depot revealed late last year that hackers stole more than 53 million customer email addresses during their security data breach, customers need to be on guard for possible email phishing scams. If you receive emails from The Home Depot or other companies, you need to scrutinize if they are authentic or not. If you are in doubt, call the company's customer relations department.
Phishing email scams will often have typos and will have a different email address than the inquiring retailer. DO NOT click on any links in a suspicious email. Hackers often use persuasive emails fool customers into providing sensitive data, like social security numbers, credit card numbers and passwords, under the guise of making their account more secure.
After the announcements from The Home Depot, Target and Michael's Arts & Crafts, here is a reminder about the steps you need to take if you become a victim of identity theft.

1. Place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports and check them regularly through Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below or visit their websites (you only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert on all three).
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

2. Close any accounts you believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Call the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of everything you send and a record of every conversation.

3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can do this on their website or by calling the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.

4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Include a copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint form and supporting documentation. Ask the officer to incorporate the ID Theft Complaint into the police report. The FTC ID Theft Complaint, along with the police report, can constitute what is known as an "Identity Theft Report". This Identity Theft Report can be used to (1) permanently block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report; (2) ensure that debts do not reappear on your credit report; (3) prevent a company from continuing to collect debts that result from identity theft; and (4) place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.

Date: January 23, 2015
Farmers State Bank's top priority is safeguarding customers' funds so because of a recent sizable increase in local debit card fraud, effective January 26, 2015, we will be blocking all signature (Credit) debit card transactions including those in Michigan. You will still be able to use your debit card using your PIN (Debit). If you do not know your PIN, or want to change it, call 1-800-992-3808 for a 24 hour automated attendant. If you shop online, or go places that do not take PIN based transactions, we recommend using one of our prepaid card options. Farmers State Bank will be waiving the initial issue fee from now until February 28, 2015. Please feel free to contact any Farmers State Bank office for additional information.

Date: July 25, 2013
Fraud Indictment: 160 Million Cards

5 Charged with Hacking Global Payments, Others
By Tracy Kitten, July 25, 2013. Follow Tracy @FraudBlogger

Federal authorities have indicted five Russians and Ukrainians linked to Heartland hacker Albert Gonzalez for the roles they allegedly played in a credit and debit card fraud scheme that compromised more than 160 million cards stolen from payments processors Global Payments and Heartland Payment Systems, grocery chain Hannaford Brothers and others.

In this new indictment, Gonzalez is named as a co-conspirator for allegedly helping the others infiltrate payment card numbers. The scheme, which is believed to have lasted seven years, cost three of the victim companies more than $300 million, according to the indictment released by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of New Jersey. It also included attacks against NASDAQ, 7-Eleven, Carrefour S.A., JCPenney Inc., Wet Seal Inc., Commidea Ltd., Dexia Bank Belgium, JetBlue Airways, Dow Jones Inc., Bank A, Euronet, Visa Inc., Discover Financial Services Inc., Ingenicard US Inc. and Diners Club International.

Vladimir Drinkman, Aleksandr Kalinin, Roman Kotov, Mikhail Rytikov and Dmitriy Smilianets, Russians and Ukrainians who allegedly specialized in malware designed to compromise payment card data, have been charged with stealing credit and debit details and later reselling the information in underground forums. Ultimately, the stolen card data was used to create so-called white payment cards that were used to conduct fraudulent cash withdrawals at ATMs or to make fraudulent purchases for goods, the indictment claims.

Authorities allege that from as early as August 2005 through at least July 2012, the defendants and co-conspirators led a hacking ring that attacked several networks and resulted in numerous high-profile breaches. According to the indictment, the ring attacked the networks of several of the world's largest payments processors, such as Global Payments, as well as retailers and financial institutions, to steal personally identifiable information, such as usernames and passwords, as well as card numbers.

In addition to Gonzalez, Damon Patrick Toey, Vladislav Anatolievich Horohorin and another unnamed individual also have been named co-conspirators in the indictment. But so far, only Horohorin has been charged.

Authorities say this case grew out of the investigation into Gonzalez, who had been helping law enforcement track other hackers involved with a worldwide cybercrime ring known as the "Shadowcrew."

In March 2010, Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his cybercrimes, the longest sentence at the time handed down for computer crime in a U.S. court.

A press conference hosted by the U.S. Attorney in Newark, N.J., about this latest indictment is scheduled for 11 a.m. July 25.

Date: December 21, 2011
Recently a small number of Farmers State Bank Debit Card holders experienced fraud against their accounts. Card information was stolen and fraudulent transactions took place in Arizona and Illinois. To help prevent fraud, Farmers State Bank has initiated a new program to more intensely monitor card activity. Our first step is to block signature based transactions in Arizona and Illinois. Pin-based transactions will still be available.

We once again stress the importance of monitoring your own accounts. We offer free online banking, mobile banking and TouchTone Banker 24 hours a day. Help us stop fraud. Farmers State Bank takes account security and privacy very seriously. If you have questions, please contact us.