Important Customer Alerts

Notice to Customers Concerning the Equifax Breach

On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced the records of approximately 143 million Americans were breached between May and July of this year. Customer information maintained by Santa Cruz County Bank has not been breached. For helpful information on protecting your identity please click here. Concerned about the Equifax breach? See our FAQ to learn more about the breach and how to protect yourself.

  • I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?
  • Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

  • Was my information stolen?
  • If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: equifaxsecurity2017.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Potential Impact," enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.

  • How can I protect myself?
  • Enroll in Equifax’s services.

    Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

    Monitor your credit reports.

    In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.

    Monitor your bank accounts.

    We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.

    Watch out for scams related to the breach.

    Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.

  • Should I place a credit freeze on my files?
  • Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.

    How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?

    Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit the Equifax website

    Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit the Experian website

    TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit the TransUnion website

  • Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?
  • You can learn more directly from Equifax at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

    You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach at: The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do.


Contact us immediately if you suspect fraud or identity theft on your accounts.

We encourage you to read all the information and links provided below for your education and identity protection.

Online security is our top priority.  Here are current resources for your online banking awareness and education.

For Individuals:   Account Authentication & Online Banking Guidance
For Businesses:   Business Risk Assessment & Layered Security Guidance

For Individuals and Businesses: Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, and has ranked as one of the top consumer concerns for the past several years. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has produced a multimedia presentation to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft. The presentation provides information on steps consumers should take to secure their computer and protect themselves from identity theft, as well as actions consumers should take if they become a victim of identity theft.

Please be aware of phishing schemes, phone scams, text messages and emails that may be fraudulent.

In an effort to protect your identity and your accounts, Santa Cruz County Bank will never email you asking for account information. If you receive an email asking for any non-public information, please contact us immediately.

Text Scam:
Please note that Santa Cruz County Bank does not send unsolicited text messages to our clients to request information. If you receive a text relating to your accounts with Santa Cruz County Bank, please disregard the message requesting you to call an 800 number and report this to us immediately by calling 831.457.5000.

Phone Scam:
If you receive a phone message from Santa Cruz County Bank requesting personal information, transaction information or account information, you can always verify with us the validity of the call by contacting us directly at 831.457.5000.

Online Banking, Data Security & You
When it comes to your online security, one of the most important tools is to understand the safety and security measures you can take to ensure maximum protection. We encourage you to read the information provided in the link below to help you safeguard your information.

Preventing Identity Theft:
Santa Cruz County Bank is pleased to provide you helpful information on how to protect yourself from Identity Theft. Click here to open a printable brochure.

FDIC Insurance Information:

What amount of insurance coverage do I have for my accounts?
The FDIC Standard Maximum Deposit Insurance Amount (SMDIA) for deposits has been permanently increased to $250,000 per depositor per insured financial institution.

FDIC Coverage Over Basic Insurance
The FDIC provides separate insurance coverage for deposit accounts held in different categories of ownership. It is possible to qualify for more than the current $250,000 in coverage at one insured bank if you own deposit accounts in different ownership categories. The ownership categories are (1) single, (2) joint, (3) revocable trust (informal revocable trusts such as Payable-on-death accounts and formal revocable trusts such as living/family trusts created for estate planning purposes), (4) irrevocable trusts, (5) certain retirement plans, (6) employee benefit plans, (7) business (corporation, partnership, unincorporated associations), and (8) government. For more information on coverage, visit fdic.gov .


Important Information for our Businesses and Individual Taxpayers:
As a reminder to our local business owners and individual taxpayers, the government issued a regulation that provides the Federal Tax Deposit coupons will no longer be accepted. The IRS recommends the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), which is a free service from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. EFTPS is a convenient way to make federal tax payments online or by phone, 24/7. It's secure and easy to use. To enroll, visit eftps.gov or contact EFTPS Customer Service at 1-888-434-7338.


Foreclosure Information:
If you cannot afford your monthly mortgage payments and wish to avoid foreclosure, you may be eligible for a loan "workout" or modification. We determine eligibility for loan "workouts" on a case-bycase basis. Among other things, we will consider the value of your property and your ability (based on your current income) to make monthly mortgage payments in accordance with the "workout." You may also qualify to refinance your current loan with us, including a short term payment deferment.

If you are interested in exploring any of the options listed above, you will need to provide us with certain financial information, including the following: your most recent paystub, list of current monthly expenses, your most recent tax return, bank statements, a current valuation of your property, if available (such as an appraisal) and a written explanation detailing your need for a loan "workout" or modification.

If you would like to discuss your options to avoiding foreclosure with us, please call the Loan Administration Manager or Chief Credit Officer of Santa Cruz County Bank at 1-866-776-6807. You may also contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to find a HUD certified housing counseling agency by calling 1-800-569-4287. Additional information is made available by HUD on its website at http://www.hud.gov .

Top
Safe Online Banking
Online Banking,
Data Security & You

Partnering for online security

Online banking has grown rapidly into a major new way to bank. Some surveys show that more people prefer to bank online than in the traditional ways. This phenomenal growth has been accompanied by increases in the safety and security measures undertaken by banks and their customers. But cyber-criminals are always looking for new ways to electronically break into the bank and steal your money.

Safe online banking depends on continuing and strengthening this partnership for safe online banking:

Banks invest substantially in security

Lawmakers, regulators and the banking industry have forged substantive standards for safeguarding customers’ personal information.

Uniform examination procedures are in place to monitor and enforce these standards, and bank examiners regularly go on-site to assess how bank security measures are being implemented, understanding that each bank has a different menu of products and services, and therefore differing security requirements. Some of the areas they look at include:

  1. Access controls ensuring customer information can be accessed only by authorized persons, including use of multi-factor authentication when warranted.
  2. Physical restrictions at computer facilities that permit access to authorized persons only.
  3. Data encryption of electronically transmitted and stored customer information.
  4. Modification procedures to ensure that changes are consistent with the approved security program.
  5. Dual control procedures, segregation of duties, and employee background checks.
  6. Monitoring procedures to detect actual and attempted intrusions into customer information.
  7. Response programs specifying actions to be taken by specific individuals when the institution suspects unauthorized access.
  8. Environmental hazard protections against physical damage or technology failures.

Banks partner with you, the customer

Your bank has security measures to protect your account information, but they can’t be effective without your help and cooperation. Many account hijacking attempts come as a result of hacking into individual user accounts, and from there electronically breaking into the bank using your information and security codes.

Some common sense and easily implemented precautions can help you safeguard your personal information:

  1. Strong passwords—advise against using easily guessed passwords such as birthdays or home addresses.
  2. Anti-virus protections —Make sure the anti-virus software on your computer is current and scans your email as it is received.
  3. Email safety—Email is generally not encrypted so be wary of sending any sensitive information such as account numbers or other personal information in this way.
  4. Sign off and log out —Always log off by following the bank’s secured area exit procedures.
  5. Don’t get phished—Crooks are always trying to get your personal information, and they employ some ingenious methods. Don’t respond to any unusual email requests for personal information—when you opened your bank accounts you already gave it. When in doubt, call your bank.
  6. Monitor your accounts —When you check your accounts regularly, you can let your bank know immediately if you encounter anything that does not seem right.

Helpful Hint: Studies show that those who monitor their accounts online often detect fraud earlier than those who rely solely on paper statements.

Free credit reports your best tool

When it comes to guarding against cyber-fraud, one of the most important tools at your disposal is your credit report. It details all of your credit transaction accounts, and will be the first place that unusual charges or entirely new accounts will appear. And you can monitor your report for FREE.

Since Federal law permits consumers to obtain a free report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, cyber-security experts advise that you to get a free report from a different agency every four months. Doing so will allow you to monitor your personal online security all year long.


To order your free credit report,
go to the only authorized source
annualcreditreport.com
1-877-322-8228

Online and mobile threats

Cyber-fraudsters want to earn their money the easy way—by stealing yours.

Understanding how criminals try to trap you is your first line of defense:

  1. Phishing —This is the criminal attempt to steal your personal information through fraudulent emails or smart-phone texts. They are often very believable, luring the victim to a site that asks them to provide (or “verify”) personal financial details such as account numbers and social security numbers. A variation is called Spear Phishing, which are electronic messages that appear to come especially to victims from their employer, usually a large corporation. Cyber-security experts often term the mobile phone version of phishing Smishing, playing off the SMS, or Short Message Service terminology used in text messaging. Remember: your bank will not send emails asking for your personal information—they already have it.
  2. Card Skimming —This is a criminal’s attempt to gain a victim’s personal information by tampering with ATM machines. Fraudsters set up a device that can capture magnetic stripe and keypad information, such as PINs and account numbers. Using ATMs you know and trust—as well as examining the machine closely—can help thwart this type of theft.
  3. Spyware—This is the term used for criminal software that a victim unknowingly loads on a personal computer. Once there, the spyware collects personal information and sends it to the criminal. Up-to-date security software is the best defense.

Helpful Hint: Cyber-criminals often prey on those who are most vulnerable, such as senior citizens or young adults, who may not be as aware of the technical aspects of the threats. Make sure you alert any friends or family members who might be in this category. They’ll appreciate it!



Resources
  1. Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov
  2. Consumer Fraud (Department of Justice Homepage): www.usdoj.gov
  3. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center: www.ftc.gov
  4. Consumer Guides and Protection: www.usa.gov
  5. Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: www.stopfraud.gov
  6. On Guard Online: www.onguardonline.gov
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