Customer Question: “What is a merchant card data breach?”

Thursday, December 29 at 01:30 PM
Category: Personal Finance
Customer Question: “What is a merchant card data breach? Is it safe to use my debit card?”

A merchant data breach is when an unauthorized party accesses a merchant computer network and steals cardholder data. In these types of breaches, the impacted cardholders are those who used their cards at the breached merchant. They typically impact cardholders at multiple banks.

Unfortunately, merchant data breaches are becoming more common with 974 publicly disclosed data breaches in the first half of 2016 alone, according to the Breach Level Index*. 

Arvest, along with other banks in the region, is seeing some fraudulent transactions on less than one-half of one percent of our debit cards as a result of a merchant data breach at one or more merchants. This is NOT an Arvest security breach and includes cards from other banks. 
 
Please know our teams regularly monitor our debit card activity watching for fraudulent transactions. If unusual activity is observed, we will contact you immediately.
 
As a reminder, you should also regularly monitor your accounts for any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity and report it immediately. If you see suspicious activity on your Arvest account, please contact Customer Service at (866) 952-9523 or visit your local branch.
 
It is important for U.S. Visa consumer debit and credit cardholders to know they are protected against fraudulent purchases with Visa’s Zero Liability Policy*.  
 
Remember to practice good financial security by monitoring your accounts and reporting suspicious activity to your card issuer immediately.
 
Thank you for this question.
 
If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it using the Ask Us Anything tool on the right side of the blog page.  

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution. 

Tags: Credit Cards, Customer Question, Debit Cards, Financial Education, Fraud Alert
 

Fraud Alert: Phishing Phone Calls

Friday, November 18 at 02:20 PM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Bank has become aware of a phone phishing scam, which some customers have experienced. In the scam the customer receives an automated phone call from a number with an 844 area code saying the customer’s card has been blocked. The message prompts the customer to enter their credit/debit card number. These calls are fraudulent and are not generated by Arvest Bank.

If you received a phone call like this and entered your personal information, please contact us immediately at (866) 952-9523, so we can protect your account. 

If you received a phone call like this but did not divulge confidential information, please notify us via email at reportfraud@arvest.com. If possible, please include the phone number the call came from and the type of information asked for (e.g., card number, account number).

Phishing scams come in a variety of forms. While some are similar to this one, others come in the form of emails, customer service surveys or text messages. While it can be difficult to identify spoofed text messages, email messages, websites and automated phone systems, it is not difficult to know if any of these may be related to a fraudulent phishing scam. The key is knowing that legitimate businesses do not send messages or make automated calls to customers prompting them to divulge confidential information. If you receive such a message, or automated phone call, no matter how genuine it may appear, assume it to be fraudulent and please notify the legitimate business immediately.

For more information on phishing scams, identity theft and other helpful information, please visit our consumer protection resource center.
 
Tags: Consumer Protection, Fraud Alert, Privacy and Security
 

Protect Yourself from Card Skimming

Tuesday, October 18 at 09:30 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Become an educated consumer to help protect yourself from ill-intentioned people who may try to skim your debit or credit card. 

What is a Card Skimmer? 
A card skimmer is an electronic method of capturing a victim's personal information to be used by thieves. The skimmer is a small device that scans a credit or debit card and stores the information contained in the card’s magnetic strip. 

Installed Skimmers
Skimmers are often installed where you normally swipe your card – on ATMs, gas pumps and payment machines at merchants. They are difficult to see and could be just a piece of plastic over the normal card slot, but with a tiny computer inside.

Skimmers can quickly read everything they need when you use your card, and they store that information for thieves to use later. Some skimmers send the information wirelessly, which reduces risk for thieves.
 
In many cases, skimmers do not interfere with your transaction, so you don’t know your card number has been stolen. Your card passes right through the skimmer, and everything seems normal.

Handheld Skimmers
Skimmers can also be “mobile” devices, tucked away in a pocket. For example, when you hand your card to a dishonest waiter to pay for dinner, it only takes a second to run your card through a skimmer while walking back to the cash register.

In addition to the card reader, skimming scams often use hidden cameras and other equipment to capture your personal identification number (PIN). Popular camera locations include: in the card reader, mounted at the top of the ATM or in plastic cases holding brochures.
 
Another technique is to alter the keypad (possibly by placing a fake keypad over the original one) with a device that records your PIN. Heat-sensitive cameras on mobile devices can also help with figuring out your PIN.
 
How to Avoid Skimming Scams
  • Know your location: It’s best to swipe your card in secure areas, and avoid insecure areas.  
  • Protect your PIN: When you enter your PIN, no matter where you are, cover your hand (with your other hand). This makes it harder for cameras to record your PIN and prevents anybody from watching what you enter.
  • Check for Tampering: If something looks odd, such as a different color or material, graphics that aren’t aligned correctly, or anything else that does not look right, walk away and use a different machine. Skimmers sometimes stick out an extra half-inch, but many of them are extremely well-designed and difficult to spot. 
  • Don’t accept “help”: If you get offers to help from strangers hanging around the machine, decline the offer and leave. They may say they were having trouble also, and you just need to enter your PIN again.
We regularly monitor for unusual activity on your account and will contact you if we detect suspicious charges. If you suspect your card has been skimmed or see unauthorized charges on it, please contact us at (866) 952-9523. 
By learning tactics thieves can use to skim cards, you can become more alert and help protect yourself and your cards.
 
Tags: Fraud Alert, Privacy and Security
 

Text Message Phishing Scam Alert

Friday, October 23 at 02:30 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Arvest Bank has become aware of a text message phishing scam (also referred to as a smishing scam) directed at individuals in our market areas. Some recipients are Arvest Bank customers, but some are not. As a part of this scam, the perpetrators sent a text message with a web link, crafted to look like it was from Arvest Bank, asking customers to go to a website asking for personal information. 

If you received a text message like this and entered your personal information, please contact us immediately at (866) 931-9743, so we can protect your account.
 
If you received a text message like this but did not divulge confidential information, please notify us via email at reportfraud@arvest.com. If possible, please include the content of the text you suspect is part of the smishing scam.
 
Phishing scams come in a variety of forms. While some are similar to this one, others come in the form of emails, customer service surveys or telephone calls. Please be aware while most phishing scams direct you to fake websites, others may ask you to call a phone number where an automated phone system prompts you to divulge confidential information.
 
While it can be difficult to identify spoofed text messages, email messages, websites and automated phone systems, it is not difficult to know if any of the above may be related to a fraudulent phishing scam. The key is knowing legitimate businesses do not send messages to customers prompting them to divulge confidential information. If you receive such a message, no matter how genuine it may appear, assume it to be fraudulent and please notify the legitimate business immediately.
 
For more information on phishing scams, identity theft and other helpful information, please visit our consumer protection resource center.
 
Tags: Fraud Alert, Privacy and Security
 

Tis the Season to Prevent Identity Fraud

Tuesday, October 06 at 09:45 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Nothing can spoil the holidays like discovering that someone has stolen your credit card information, Social Security number, or other personal information. Here are 10 smart ways to protect yourself from identity theft during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

  1. Never carry your Social Security card with you unless you need it for a specific purpose. Carry your checkbook and credit cards only when you need them.
  2. Keep your credit cards in sight during in-person transactions to prevent “skimming.” This crime occurs when employees run your card through a separate device to steal its information.
  3. When entering your PIN at an ATM, stand close and block the keyboard with your body so that others can’t see your PIN.
  4. When shopping online, be sure to use only secure (password protected) networks. Never shop on public computers, such as those in libraries or classrooms.
  5. Do not save credit card information on any online shopping websites. Even companies you trust can be victims of security breaches.
  6. Beware of phishing scams. Thieves know that during the holidays, many people are distracted, making it easier to trick you into sharing private information online. Stay alert, and never provide any personal information via email.
  7. Keep mobile devices like smartphones and tablets locked with passwords, and do not store confidential information on them.
  8. Don’t leave package deliveries unattended at home. Thieves can not only steal the merchandise you’ve ordered, but any personal information that may be included in the package as well. If you can’t bring a package inside when it’s delivered, ask a friend or neighbor to help you out, or arrange to pick up the package from the delivery service’s office.
  9. Look over all bank statements, credit card statements and other bills as soon as they arrive to make sure no unauthorized charges appear. If they do, notify the bank and/or biller immediately.
  10. Activate your credit file monitoring and Total Identity Monitoring with IDProtect™. They will check your credit reports to monitor them for unauthorized activity, such as collection notices on accounts you have not used or new accounts that you did not open; as well as provide continuous monitoring of over 1,000 databases including credit, public records, property records and more.
Tags: Consumer Protection, Credit Cards, Financial Education, Fraud Alert, IDProtect, Privacy and Security
 

A Text Message Mess

Tuesday, July 07 at 09:05 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Let me set the scene: your friend John is rushing to get his daughter from school and his son to the soccer field, and he still needs to stop at the grocery store because there’s nothing in the fridge. In the midst of this everyday madness, he gets a text message from Google with a verification code. He thinks, “That’s weird. Maybe I should log in to my email and see what’s going on.”

Before he has a chance, he gets another message. It says:
“Google has detected unusual activity on your account. Please reply with the verification code sent to your mobile device to stop unauthorized activity.”

What should John do? Read advice* from the Federal Trade Commission on next steps if you’re in a similar situation.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution. 
 
Tags: Fraud Alert, Privacy and Security, Technology

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