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Recognizing an email scam is not always easy. The Internet thieves who use email and online fraud to gain access to your personal, financial or account information are adopting increasingly sophisticated techniques to deceive consumers. Be wary of unsolicited email containing urgent appeals for security or personal information. You should always confirm the validity of email messages that appear to come from trusted sources. See an example of a spoof website and a phishing email.
To report a suspicious email that appears to be from Bank of the West, please forward the email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you clicked on a suspicious email and gave out confidential Bank of the West account information, please contact us at (800) 488-2265.
Do not click on a web link through an email. Open a new window with your browser and type www.bankofthewest.com. Look for the VeriSign icon on Bank of the West's website. To thwart "spoofing" (also known as page stealing) of our website, we have added an additional layer of security called VeriSign. The VeriSign seal permits consumers to verify the legitimacy of our site. Consumers are able to click to a certification page that authenticates the site, if it is indeed ours.
There are many types of email scams. A recent and increasingly common type of email fraud involves the use of phony emails called "phishing emails" that ask you to provide sensitive personal, financial or account information. You may be asked to supply the information in a return email, in a separate form attached to the email or by visiting a phony website (a "spoofed" website) using a link contained in the email message. The people attempting to get this information may use it to access your accounts directly, including withdrawing money, or to open new accounts or loans in your name using your information.
There are a variety of ways that thieves can attempt to steal your identity. By gaining access to confidential information, thieves can assume your identity to commit fraud. Becoming aware of the numerous methods used to steal confidential information is the first step to minimize your risk.
Firewalls are recommended and they can safeguard your computer by enforcing restrictions on incoming traffic. Firewalls can also mask your computer's identity, so hackers' attempts to probe or scan your computer cannot return the type of information that makes it easy to invade. As a precautionary measure, you should have the most up to date anti-virus and firewall software. For more information about firewalls and other software, please consult a software retailer.
Bank of the West does not send external messages to a customer unless he/she has set up an alert that requested having information sent to a personal email account (e.g. external transfers, account alerts, Online Statements, Online Account Opening). Regardless, Online Banking does not request personal information electronically unless it is through our secure email system, accessible only through an appropriate User Name and Password.
When you install software on your computer, you will have an opportunity to register it with the manufacturer during the installation process. In most cases registration is not mandatory; however it can be very useful. By registering your software, manufacturers can alert you of security and performance updates/patches via e-mail. This is a great way to keep informed of the latest updates and releases of your computer's software.
Your computer should be updated regularly with the newest versions of these types of software:
- Your operating system
- Your Internet browser
Your computer can obtain a virus from an email attachment or from downloading software from the Internet. Viruses can be extremely damaging to your computer's hardware, but they can also be programmed to steal the confidential information that is stored on your hard drive.
To protect your computer from viruses, you should have anti-virus software installed on it. Most new computers come equipped with anti-virus software, but if your computer doesn't, software is available from a number of vendors.
Online Banking customers are required to use a secured browser that supports 128-bit encryption. The 128-bit encryption provides added security when conducting financial transactions on the Internet.
Online Banking is compatible with the following browsers: Netscape®, Internet Explorer®, Firefox®, and Safari®. For best performance, we recommend using the newest release of the browser. If you use Internet Explorer or Netscape as your browser, you can learn more about the latest updates from the following links:
Most browsers allow you to get to Online Banking home page and view informational pages. Online Banking's stringent security standards take effect when you apply for a product, view your account information or do any other banking-related activity that requires high levels of security.
To report a suspicious email that appears to be from Bank of the West, please forward the email to: email@example.com
If you clicked on a suspicious email and gave out confidential Bank of the West account information, please contact us at (800) 488-2265.
- Immediately notify us and your other financial institution(s). You'll need to get new account numbers and select a new PIN. If you are in fact a victim of identity theft, we will offer assistance to help remedy the situation.
- Call the three major credit bureaus: Equifax at (888) 766-0008, Experian at (888) 397-3742 and TransUnion at (800) 680-7289 to request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.
- Call the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft hotline at (877) IDTHEFT to report it. The FTC will take a report, notify law enforcement officials and offer advice.