Of Interest by pengtt


									                               First Minnetonka
                                   City Bank                                              Of
14550 excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka, Mn 55345 952-935-8663 •11500 Highway 7, Minnetonka Mn 55305 952-935-5995• www.fmcbank.com

       Don’t get caught in a scam!
                                             An ounce of prevention
                                             can safeguard your finances
                                             and identity
                                            We’ve heard it since we were kids: If it
                                            seems too good to be true, it probably
                                            is. Still, many people let the promise
                                            of a quick profit cloud their good
                                            judgment. They fall for scams—and
                                                                                         Tom                   Del
       there are a lot of them out there—that can cause some big headaches and
                                                                                         Rogers                Smith
       leave victims remorseful over having been fooled. To make matters worse,
       modern scammers from halfway around the world have 24/7 access into              From the Chairman of the
       your home through the Internet. The good news is that you can avoid              Board and the President
       becoming a victim by arming yourself with information and ratcheting up
       your internal alarm system.                                                      Dear Clients,
       When a stranger approaches you with a great deal or a                            Consumer fraud is an unfortunate
       promise of putting money in your pocket, ask yourself one                        reality, and it’s a special concern for us,
       question: “Why am I this person’s new best friend?”                              as bankers. We take the responsibility
                                                                                        of watching over your accounts very
       • Did you solicit the offer? Generally, beware of offers from unknown            seriously, so we’re always looking for
         persons or businesses that come out of the blue; if something comes            better ways to ensure your money
         looking for you, it could be a scam. Know who you’re dealing with              is safe in our hands. If sometimes
         before you hire someone or sign a contract. And never give out personal        one of our security practices seems
         information in response to an unsolicited offer. You’re opening the door       a little inconvenient, we hope you’ll
         to having your identity stolen.                                                understand: It’s for your protection.
                                                                                        In this issue, we’ll review some of the
       • Who’s calling? No more “Minnesota nice” when some unknown                      current scams out there, many of which
         caller asks for your personal or financial information. Legitimate             have red flags to warn you, and suggest
         businesses won’t do this. Be firm, don’t engage in conversation, ask that      some small precautions that can save you
         they remove your name from their calling list, then politely say goodbye       big trouble. As always, best wishes from
         and hang up.                                                                   our family to yours. Have a safe and
       • Are your credit and bank cards safe? Enterprising thieves can “skim”           happy autumn.
         the data stored on your card’s magnetic strip. Skimming devices can
         also capture keypad information at ATMs and gas pumps. Deal with               Good Advice
         reputable businesses, don’t use machines with unfamiliar devices               Know who’s nearby when you use your
         attached, and try not to let your card out of your sight at a store. Protect   credit card, advises personal banker
         your debit card just as you would a credit card. If yours is lost, call us     Rachel Merfeld. “Clever scammers can
         right away—and don’t respond to a call from “the bank” or “the police”         use a cell-phone camera to record your
         asking for your PIN. It’s likely the thief waiting to access your account.     name and account number,” Rachel says.
                                                                       …continued       “And always take your receipt with you.”

                                                                                                                  september 2008
…How to avoid scams (continued)                                             If you own a business…
• Have you been “phished”                                                   Small business owners can be hit
  and caught?                                                               especially hard if they’re victimized
  Anyone getting e-mail gets                                                by a scam. Know your clients, guard
  spam, those bogus messages                                                your records, check out prospective
  that may seem to be from                                                  employees, and put some due diligence
  legitimate organizations,                                                 procedures in place to protect everyone.
  including the IRS. If the                                                 Before you extend credit, do a credit
  subject line warns you to                                                 check; be wary of untraceable TTY
  open the mail instantly                                                   calls from “clients” you don’t know. For
  or face the consequences,                                                 existing clients, be sure to take every
  that’s a red flag. A scammer                                              possible measure to safeguard their
  is likely “phishing” for                                                  personal information. Send out invoices
  your personal information.                                                and checks in secure mailboxes, and be
  Banks will never ask for account or Social Security numbers online; let   sure you receive mail in a secure spot.
  us know immediately if you receive such an e-mail purporting to be        Know your vendors too—scammers
                                                                            might send false invoices or call your
  from us.
                                                                            office, disguising themselves as vendors
                                                                            to sell a product.
• Is it real or a fake? Unless you’re sure the Web site is legitimate or
  you’ve accessed it directly yourself, be wary of e-mail links to Web      Educate yourself about scams specific
  sites; you may be getting directed to phony sites where you’ll be         to your industry, and look twice at
  asked to give personal information, a practice called “pharming.”         unsolicited offers to buy your business,
  Delete all suspicious e-mails unopened; opening them or selecting         especially if you’re asked to pay a fee to
  the “remove my name” option only alerts scammers that you got             “evaluate” its worth. Many businesses
  their message.                                                            like being listed in a directory—just
                                                                            make sure the directory exists before
• Who sent you that check? When you sell something online or                you sign up for a listing.
  through the paper, be aware that crooks are out there searching for       Do background checks before you hire,
  victims. Fake money orders and checks—even cashiers cheques—              especially anyone who’ll be handling
  mean real trouble; if the check you’ve deposited turns out to be          money or have access to your books.
  bogus, you’re responsible for making good on it. And watch out            Set up direct deposit for paying salaries,
  if you’re asked to accept an overpayment from a third party who           and encourage employees to take
  “owes the buyer money.” You’re being scammed. You could be out            advantage. At least monthly, reconcile
  the money you’re asked to send to the buyer and left holding a bad        your books, watching for errors and
  check. Report any dealings of this nature to the National Consumers       unauthorized expenses. The sooner you
  League at www.fraud.org.                                                  rectify the problem, the better. Just call
                                                                            us if you need help with a problem or
                                                                            with setting up procedures.
• Have you been targeted in person? Don’t be scammed by door-
  to-door home-repair businesses that promise reasonable prices and
  excellent work. Too often homeowners are left with shoddy or no
                                                                            Want more tips to prevent
  repairs and depleted funds. Work with licensed professionals, talk to
                                                                            identity theft?
  references, and check with the Better Business Bureau. Watch out          If you’d like more information about
  for people who need your help for some suspect reason, or who are         guarding your privacy, stop in the
  too eager to assist you, which can spell trouble. It may be better to     bank for a free booklet from the
  call 911. Always be aware of your surroundings, and safeguard your        Office of Minnesota Attorney General
  wallet—and your identity.                                                 Lori Swanson.

                     The coffee’s always on during business hours. Drop by and say hello.

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