By North West Bank—
WARREN, Pa. — To help online banking users protect against identity theft, which is the disguising of a communication, such as a call or text, from an unknown source as coming from a known and trusted source such as a financial institution, Northwest Bank has compiled a list of best practices for protection and remediation.
“Complaints of alleged internet crime increased by 7% in 2021 compared to the previous year, in addition to an increase in reported loss of money due to various online scams,” said Lance Spencer, head of Information Security, Northwest Bank. “With cybercriminals becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is important that all online banking customers remain vigilant.”
Northwest provides the following information and recommendations:
- If you haven’t contacted your bank and you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from your bank, ignore the text or email, or disconnect the call. Then immediately call your bank using a phone number from a known source, such as online banking or your statement.
- Never send personal information by instant messaging, SMS or e-mail. Phone inquiries for personal information are almost always a scam.
- Banks will never contact you and ask you to provide a code sent by SMS or email to access your account. Text verification codes should only be initiated by you, the customer, and entered by you through channels such as online banking.
- Check online banking regularly to make sure there have been no unauthorized logins. If you have identified unauthorized logins, immediately update your user ID and password and review your transaction activity, reporting anything suspicious to your financial institution.
- Do not use the same user ID and password to access different websites.
- Do not use your email address as an online banking user ID and change your online banking ID and password regularly.
Additionally, for those who are victims of identity theft, Northwest recommends the following next steps:
- Visit or call your financial institution immediately.
- File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at consumer.ftc.gov or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
- Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file—
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
- File a police report, which is important to protect yourself if an identity thief starts using your information to commit crimes.
“At Northwest, security is our number one priority, and we provide security advice and alerts to our customers via email, from our local offices and northwest.bank/security-center,” Spencer added. . “We encourage our customers to contact one of our offices or call 1-877-672-5678 if they have questions or concerns regarding fraud.”
About Northwest Bancshares, Inc.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Northwest Bancshares, Inc. is the bank holding company of Northwest Bank. Founded in 1896 and headquartered in Warren, Pennsylvania, Northwest Bank is a full-service financial institution offering a full range of business and personal banking products, employee benefits and wealth management services. As of December 31, 2021, Northwest operated 162 full-service community banking offices and eight self-contained drive-thru facilities in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Indiana. The common stock of Northwest Bancshares, Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (“NWBI”). Additional information about Northwest Bancshares, Inc. and Northwest Bank can be found online at www.northwest.com.