NEWS ALERT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sparta, MI (June 5, 2017) – As the local community bank, ChoiceOne Bank helps customers reach the American dream of owning a home. But Imagine you are ready to buy your dream home and you falsely wire your funds to a crook! Unfortunately, this is a wire scam that is happening across the country today and the fraudsters are getting personal.
“Attempts at wire fraud using bogus emails that appear to be from a trusted source are becoming more prevalent today,” said Kelly Potes, President and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank. “We have seen wire scams with businesses, unfortunately we are now starting to see these email and wire scams with consumers, particularly with real estate purchases.”
Email compromise is a problem that is being addressed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI has said that about one in four U.S. victims respond by wiring money to fraudsters. In some of those cases, authorities have been able to identify the crimes in time to help victims recover the funds from banks before the criminals pulled them out of the system.
In a real estate transaction, the consumer’s email or their Realtor’s email can get hacked. These personal emails are watched and when the time comes to close on the real estate transaction, the bogus email will go out alerting consumers where to wire their funds. The scammers will have the down payment amount and the title company information correct so the emails appear legitimate.
All consumers need to be aware of fraudulent emails and wire scams today. ChoiceOne Bank urges the public to remain vigilant when making wire and other electronic payments.
Here are eight safety tips consumers can use when making wire and electronic payments:
“Email impersonation is happening and knowledge and awareness are key to keeping personal information out of the hands of these scammers,” said Potes. “Keeping our customers financially safe is a primary goal at ChoiceOne Bank. We have put necessary controls in place to help prevent this fraud, and our employees are trained to ask very specific questions when asked to move large sums of money. We urge the public to please stay vigilant.”
About ChoiceOne Bank
ChoiceOne Bank is a full service financial institution with offices in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Newaygo Counties. ChoiceOne Bank offers insurance and investment products through its subsidiary, ChoiceOne Insurance Agencies, Inc. ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc. is the holding company headquartered in Sparta, Michigan and the parent corporation of ChoiceOne Bank. The company is publicly traded and is available on the OTCBB under the symbol “COFS.”
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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PROCEDURES FOR OPENING A NEW ACCOUNT
To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial Banks to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.
What this means for you:
When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We must also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.
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