Protecting your confidential account information is one of our highest priorities at Southern Bank. That’s why we want you to know about a new type of online fraud that is impacting people and businesses worldwide.
Southern Bank has state-of-the-art internet security technology in place to protect your confidential personal and financial information. However, sophisticated identity thieves are now targeting home and business computers directly to access sensitive and confidential information. Once criminals are able to tap into your computer system, they can capture and use your user IDs and passwords to pose as you and get into other computer systems to access your accounts, including your Southrn Bank accounts.
Under this scenario, when we receive an electronic transmission that uses the proper user ID and password, we have no way of knowing whether the person initiating the transaction is you or an imposter. It is important for you to understand and remember that, according to the agreement that governs our online banking services, we consider a transaction to be authorized by you and will honor online instructions we receive when the proper user ID and password are given. We will not assume any responsibility for losses you sustain if your user ID and password are stolen through an unprotected computer unless we are required by federal consumer protection laws to reimburse your account.
This identity theft technique does not involve a breach of the bank’s security systems — rather, it involves what is called “keylogging spyware.” Criminals use spyware embedded on your computer to record and steal your user ID and password combinations. The spyware can enter your computer system when you visit a Web site online or through a variety of other methods, including “phishing” attempts (fraudulent e-mails that ask for confidential information or simulate bank or other internet sites) or viruses distributed through e-mail. Public computers at hotels or libraries may also contain viruses or spyware, so use caution.
Once embedded on your computer, the spyware captures and transmits to the criminals the keystrokes you make when you enter your user ID and password to access any online account. The threat is not limited to the user ID and password you use to access online banking services at Southern Bank — it also extends to every account or Web site you access by use of a user ID and password. For example, the criminals could use information they capture from you to access your online brokerage account or your account with an online merchant. The biggest challenge to you is this: It may be difficult for you to detect the presence of keylogging spyware on your computer or determine whether your user IDs and passwords have already been compromised.
With respect to online banking services, the greatest threat from this type of fraud is that the criminal will use the information obtained from the keylogging spyware to transfer funds electronically from a deposit account using wire transfer, Bill Pay or Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) systems. Funds withdrawn from the account are typically routed to banks in the U.S. and credited to accounts opened by the criminals or their accomplices. The funds are then promptly withdrawn or wired overseas, making recovery extremely difficult.
Important Information for Personal and Business Online Banking Customers
We strongly advise you take the following actions in order to guard your information and finances as securely as possible:
Ensure your home and business computers are protected and scan for viruses daily. Also, don’t rely solely on your online service provider for anti-virus protection.
Make sure your computer uses up-to-date anti-spyware and anti-virus software. You can download some popular anti-virus products, such as (please note: there is a charge for some of these products):
AVG anti-virus (for private, non-commercial and single home computer use only)
Additional Precautions for Business Online Banking Customers
If you are a business customer who uses Southern Bank Business Online Banking (BOB) product to access online banking services, we strongly encourage you to take the following additional precautions:
Implement controls and limits that come with the BOB Preferred ACH and wire transfer service options. For wire transfers, these controls determine your employees’ ability to create, modify, delete and approve wire transfers or conduct transactions over a specific dollar amount or daily amount. For ACH, these controls include employee debit and/or credit dollar limits and transaction type limits (disbursement, concentration, etc.). Both services also enable you to require multiple approval levels before a transaction is released, which is one of the strongest steps you can take to prevent fraud.
Reconcile your accounts weekly (including all outbound ACH and wire transfers).
Look for new information about fraudulent activity through alerts published on BOB and BOB Preferred.
As an added safeguard, Southern Bank may call you for approval to release certain outgoing ACH and wire transactions.
If you suspect a fraudulent transaction has occurred, please immediately call the Southern Bank Customer Contact Center toll free, 1-800-441-7461.