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Alerts and Fraud Tips

Putnam Bank is dedicated to educating you about fraud by providing important security information. We hope you find this information beneficial, and encourage you to share it with your friends and family.

Here are some tips we thought might be helpful:


  • Insufficient router security - The router is the heart of your home interconnectivity. All your devices with internet connection are linked to it, your smart TV, smartphone, personal computer or laptop. For convenience's sake, many install with the default settings pre-configured by your ISP. You should always take steps to secure your router with password protection, so you can browse the internet safely.

  • Insufficient multi-layered authentication - Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA), is a simple way to add an extra layer of security. The most common 2FA method used by popular online services is a text message with an authentication code sent to your phone. If fraudsters are missing one piece of the information, they cannot get in, which might make move on to an easier target elsewhere.

  • Reusing passwords - To simplify the need to memorizing passwords, some resort to reusing the same password or passphrase, perhaps only changing a character or two. Avoid this practice. If fraudsters obtain one of your passwords, they have a much better chance of guessing the rest of your passwords.

  • Failing to Patch - your computer pester you to install an update? Maybe the latest patch for your smartphone's OS has been issued. Keeping up to date with the latest version of software can save you from a headaches in the long run.

  • Social Media Privacy - Social media is a great place to reconnect, share, and learn. However, social media privacy settings isn't the only way to protect yourself. Click here to learn more.

  • Suspicious Links - Spam is an all too common part of everyday life. Sometimes it's a harmless ad, but it can also be something more sinister. You may receive an email trying to persuade you to click a link to claim a prize. Or see an ad that sounds too good to pass up. If you have even the slightest doubt: avoid clicking. The link may contain malware that could wreak havoc on your>

  • Don't be a target - It is difficult to anticipate if an internet, breach will directly affect you. New malware may appear or a service that you use may get hacked and your password can be leaked. All probabilities that you should be aware of. Prevention goes a long way in securing your connected presence.

  • Upgrade to a passphrase - It's actually easier and more secure to create a passphrase rather than a password. Think of a phrase or sentence with at least eight words. It should be something easy for you to remember but hard for someone who knows you to guess. It could be a line from a favorite poem, story, movie, song lyric, or quotation you like.
    • Keep your passphrase private-never share it with anyone else
    • Do not write it down
    • Avoid using a pet or person's name, as well as key dates such as birthdays or anniversaries, etc.
    • Use a passphrase consisting of at least 12 characters or more (longer is better)
    • Use a combination of numbers, special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters and in all of your passphrases • Use special characters as substitute look-alike characters for letters or numbers
      • Samples:

      • Replace "t" with "+"
      • Replace “a" with “@"
      • Replace “s" with “$" .
  • Digital Inheritance - What happens to our digital presence when we die or become incapacitated? Click here to learn more.

  • Business Identity Theft - Amid threats from cybercriminals, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry urged employers large and small to step up cybersecurity protections against business identity theft. Click here to learn more.

  • Messaging / Smishing Attacks - One of the most common ways cyber attackers attempt to trick or fool people is by scamming you in email attacks (often called phishing) or try to trick you with phone calls. Click here to learn more.

  • Shopping Online Securely - Many of us will shop online in search of great deals and to avoid noisy crowds. Unfortunately, cyber criminals will be active as well, creating fake shopping websites and using other tactics to scam people. In this newsletter, we explain how you can shop online safely and avoid becoming a victim. Click here to learn more.

  • Four Simple Steps to Staying Secure – Making the most of technology safely and securely can seem overwhelming and confusing. However, regardless of what technology you are using or how you are using it, here are four simple steps that will help you stay secure. Click here to learn more.

  • Scamming You Through Social Media  – The more savvy we become at spotting and stopping  email attacks, the more cyber criminals try other ways of contacting and scamming us.Click here to learn more.

  • Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams –  E-mail, Fraudulent telemarketers based in Jamaica are calling people in the U.S., telling them that they've won a sweepstakes or foreign lottery. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Jamaican Constabulary Force say most of these promotions are likely to be phony — a trick to get you to part with some money — and they are working together to stop them.


    The fraudulent telemarketers typically identify themselves as lawyers, customs officials or lottery representatives, and tell people they've won vacations, cars or thousands — even millions — of dollars. “Winners" need only pay fees for shipping, insurance, customs duties or taxes before they can claim their prizes. Source: Federal Trade Commission

  • Got Backups?  – If you use a computer or mobile device long enough, something will eventually go wrong. Click here to learn more.

  • IRS and Tax Scams  –  E-mail, Phishing and Malware Schemes involve emails which are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.


    IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam is an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. Source: Internal Revenue Services

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)  – Protect your online activities and privacy with something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Click here to learn more.

  • Dark Web  – What is the Dark Web and what does it means to you. Click here to learn more.

  • A Career in Cybersecurity – There is a huge demand for people trained in cybersecurity to help defend against this growing threat. Click here to learn more.

  • Protecting Against Ransomware – Ransomware is a type of malware threat used to infect computers and encrypt files until a ransom is paid. Click here to learn more.

  • Making Passwords Simple – Passphrases: a type of strong password that uses a short sentence or random words. Click here to learn more.

  • Disposing of Your Mobile Device – What may be on your device and how you should securely wipe it before disposing of it. Click here to learn more.