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Bank of Star Valley blocks fraud attempts on debit cards

Debit card fraud was attempted on some the Bank of Star Valley customer accounts Sunday, January 10, 2021. BOSV security systems identified the fraudulent activity before any funds were removed from customer checking accounts and blocked all transactions on those accounts. Customers whose accounts were affected were notified and are being issued new debit cards.

Duke Dance spoke with BOSV officials on the SVI Radio Network Weekday Wake-Up the following morning about what happened, what banks are doing to prevent fraudulent activity and what customers can do to protect themselves.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW

“This fraud attempt focused on debit cards,” said Brook Merritt, Executive Vice President and CFO of BOSV. “Some bad actor got a partial number from a place like the dark web and then attempted to run charges under a major merchant’s name using sequential numbers from the first number. This is a difficult and generally ineffective process as they were guessing a card number, but also had to guess expiration dates and the security number – the CVV number on the back.”

The BOSV fraud detection system worked. Banks use complex systems to identify criminal fraud attempts and stop them. This attempt to make fraudulent charges was quickly identified and several customer debit cards were frozen, making theft impossible. Customers were notified of the problem and have been assisted in making their funds available for authorized use.

“Unfortunately, the automated fraud calls from our security systems may sound like phishing calls that know your information,” said Merritt. “Ideally, we would like to have local staff fielding the calls, but that is not possible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and this happened on Sunday afternoon.”

Banks everywhere invest immense time and resources monitoring for fraud and ensuring that their systems are effective.

“There is a lot of fraud,” said Rod Jensen, BOSV President. “In 2017, around $4 Trillion [worth] happened in internet identity security fraud. So, we are spending our time, resources and efforts to make sure this doesn’t happen, but there are a lot of bad actors out there.”

Jensen compared identity protection to an athletic event. “Think about this as running a football game. The bank is running defense for you. We have got systems in place. We are monitoring. We are ready to shut down. We are ready to contact you. We are ready to do whatever we can to protect you, but you cannot win a game by playing only defense. The customers – you – play the offense.”

Encouraging customers to actively protect themselves, Jensen encouraged them to use the mobile app made available by their bank and recommended constant control of their debit card.

“I guarantee you right now, my debit card is turned off,” said Jensen. “When I go make a charge, I use my face ID, turn on the debit card, make the charge, then turn it off. It removes it from the world. What a beautiful way to protect yourself! Any time a charge happens on my debit card, I get a text. I don’t wait for a security system. I know exactly what is charging.”

Additional precautions recommended by Jensen included ensuring that your bank has your most current contact information so they can contact you in an emergency or for other service needs. Monitor your accounts online. Verify what charges have been made and completed. Get a credit monitoring service. Be proactive about protecting yourself, your identity, and your money.

“This is a REAL game,” Jensen emphasized. “There are bad actors out there. Join the game. Let’s run offense and defense and show these criminals the end of their world.”

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