Security Tips from American Bank

New Scams and Threats

Contact American Bank immediately at 1-888-509-9292, if you find fraudulent transactions on your card, or if you have been a victim of a scam.

Active Scams and Threats:

Beware of Fake Mobile Banking Apps

Target Card Data Compromised

Fake Cashier’s Checks

Scammers Prey on Taxpayers

BBB Warns of Virus Protection Scam

“Gameover’ Malware Targets Bank Information

Telephone Scams

Beware of Fake Mobile Banking Apps

March 24, 2015

Criminals may develop and publish fake mobile banking applications that look like American Bank applications but are in truth designed to steal your online banking credentials.

As more banks develop apps for mobile banking services, more cyber criminals are developing new ways of stealing from mobile device owners.  Suddenly, many smartphones are the key to bank accounts – often to several accounts at the same time. This offers many cybercriminals the opportunities to make illegal profits.  Not surprisingly, these cybercriminals have been quick to embrace these new opportunities.

Quite often, banking Trojans work in partnership with computer Trojans; Faketoken is one example. When the user's computer is infected with a banking Trojan, it waits until they visit their online banking account. Then the malware program becomes active and displays a window to the user, asking them to download an Android app which is allegedly required to securely confirm the transaction. Gullible users obediently install Faketoken on their smartphones. After that, it is only a matter of time: the malware on the computer steals the credentials, and the cybercriminals gain access to the user's bank account. They make a transaction and Faketoken intercepts the one-time confirmation code sent by the bank in an SMS.

The fact is it's fairly easy to protect yourself against these and other sophisticated mobile threats. Many mobile platform developers build in security, but it is the user who is often the weakest link.  As with Online Banking, you will want to practice good, safe behaviors around Mobile Banking.

We recommend that you practice the following simple rules.

  • On an Android phone, disable the option of installing software from untrusted sources.
  • Install a mobile security product on your phone. It will analyze all applications before installation.
  • Try not to follow any links arriving in SMS, even if they come from people you know.
  • If you do follow a link in an SMS, do not accept any downloads or installations.
  • Never download an app being promoted on a third-party site or somewhere other than the official app store for your mobile device.
  • American Bank does not charge for mobile app downloads. If there is a charge for downloading, it is not our app.

Remember, American Bank will never contact you asking for personal or banking information. Assume any unsolicited text request is fraudulent. Giving this information places your finances and privacy at risk.

Target Payment Card Data Compromised

Target Corporation recently announced that card data from debit and credit card transactions completed at its stores from November 27 through December 15, 2013, may have been compromised. If you made a purchase at a Target Store during this time period, American Bank will replace your card.  You will be contacted via a letter with actions you and American Bank need to take to protect your account.

If you find fraudulent transactions on your card, please contact us immediately at 888-509-9292 (after 5 p.m. CST, please call 800-236-2442).

For more information on this compromise, visit  Target Important Notice

What can you do to protect your bank accounts in the future?

  •  Monitor your accounts frequently through online banking.
  • Sign up for text message or email alerts that notify you of purchases or changes to your accont.
  • Contact us immediately if you notice any unauthorized transaction, no matter the dollar amount
  • When shopping online, confirm that you are using a secure website. Look for “https” in the web   address or the closed padlock icon.
  • Never store your PIN with your debit card.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately to your financial institution.
  • Do not reply to emails, phone calls, or text messages that request your personal information.


Fake Cashier’s Checks

You’ve won!  That’s what the letter states that you’ve just received in the mail and they’ve included a cashier’s check with your name on it.  The letter says that the check included is to help cover taxes and any fees with claiming your prize money.  All you need to do is deposit the check and wire back the taxes and fees to the sender and you keep the rest.  There is only one problem, the check is not real and the sender will want the funds wired before your bank finds out the cashier’s check is a counterfeit.   Fake or counterfeit check scams are growing; so how can you avoid something like this happening to you?

  • Do not enter into any foreign sweepstakes or lotteries.
  • Do not deposit a check from someone that you don’t know.  If the check is bad, you will owe the bank money that you took out based on that check deposit.
  • Throw away any mail that you get that asks you to pay to get your prize

Scammers Prey On Taxpayers                                                                                                                                       

(as published by the Post Crescent January 25, 2014)  It’s that time of year again when we’re all thinking about our taxes. Unfortunately, the scammers are thinking about your taxes, too.

In fact, many of them are calling people pretending to be IRS agents and demanding that they pay taxes they don’t even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid debit card or sending it via a wire transfer. If the intended victim doesn’t pay immediately, the “IRS agents” threaten jail time, deportation or the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.

Earlier this week, a man received a call from someone with a thick accent, claiming to be from the IRS and threatening to arrest him if he didn’t pay up. Fortunately, instead of paying up, he hung up.

Another consumer wrote to the BBB that she received a similar call, and realized it was a scam immediately because the “IRS agent” was calling on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday. Another consumer said that as soon as she started asking some basic questions, the scammers got frustrated and hung up.

The IRS reports that the people perpetrating this scam use common names and fake IRS badge numbers. Often times, they know the last four digits of their target’s Social Security number — and recite it back to them in order to appear more credible. They use “spoofing” devices in order to make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling. They’ll even call a second time claiming to be the police or the Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

According to the IRS, it contacts people first by mail — not by phone or email — about unpaid taxes. The agency won’t ask for payment using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. It won’t ask for someone’s credit card number over the phone either.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what the IRS suggests you do: Read More

Better Business Bureau Warns About New Scam

Rebecca Chamblee never thought she would be the victim of a scam. "I was just appalled when I realized it was a scam, that I had been taken by somebody that can talk and that I believed what they said," Chamblee said.

Chamblee got a call from someone claiming to be microsoft employee. The caller told Chamblee her computer was infected with a virus, but not to worry because for a small fee she could purchase a new virus scan that would protect her computer for a full year.

"I ended up buying one of the programs for $190," Chamblee said. But Chamblee says virus protection was never installed and now she's out $190.

We checked with microsoft and the company says it will never contact you to sell virus scans or make unsolicited phone calls.

"He sounded convincing very convincing," Chamblee said.

Vee Daniel with the Better Business Bureau tells us Chamblee is not alone. She has had several calls about this Microsoft scam. The scary part about it, Daniel says the scammer will convince you to let him access your computer remotely, so he can "show" you how the virus scan works."Getting into your computer they have access to all of your information so right there is identity theft," Daniel said.

Chamblee is still angry with herself for falling for this scam. "I asked myself what in the world have I done and it was done so innocently and I can't believe I did that," Chamblee said.

'Gameover' Malware Targets Your Bank Account Information

In January, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, published an article on the latest cyber scam, a phising scheme that sends emails which look like they are coming from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB), or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). These unsolicited emails state that there is a problem with your bank account or a recent transaction, and to correct it follow the link that is provided. The link goes to a bogus website where you unknowingly initiate the download of the Gameover malware.

Telephone Scam

Area banks have become aware of a telephone scam in which callers claim to be a representative at the individual’s bank. The caller claims the individual’s accounts have been compromised and for security purposes, the bank needs to change all account numbers. DO NOT give account numbers out over the telephone or via email unless you initiated the contact.