Internet scams hit locals, bank offers assistance

Ortonville- Shock.
That’s what Leslie Wills, a village resident felt when she checked her bank account on-line at about 10:30 p.m. and noticed an unauthorized $10,000 electronic fund transfer was posted to her account.
‘She checks her on-line banking accounts three times each day,? said Wayne Wills, husband of Leslie. ‘My wife uses EFTs for accounts payable, and receivable during the week. We make sure to check our account each day, but what really scares me that if you don’t check your account daily and rely on a bank statement each month to reconcile your account. For many it may be too late.?
The Wills were the victims of ‘phishing? (pronounced fishing) where an e-mail user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise scams the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. In the Wills case it was a simple e-mail address.
Ronald Philpot, senior vice president of corporate security for Chase Banks, Detroit office says new security issues like the Wills situation are emerging each day.
‘Unfortunately many people that get scam don’t realize it until they receive over-due or collection notices from companies,? said Philpot.
Philpot says people should be aware of overdue notices received in the mail, or leaving bill payments in the mailbox where they can be removed and personal information stolen. The crime is termed ‘check washing,? where common household cleaning products or chemicals are used to rewrite stolen checks to themselves, increasing the amount payable.
One of the latest scams, Philpot said includes using a ‘skimmer,? a device attached to an ATM, to steal personal information from cards when they are swiped in the machine.
‘The ‘pay at the pump,? is a popular way of paying for gasoline right now,? said Philipot. ‘We’ve been notified by customers that it’s also become a way of stealing identification. Since most gas stations have card readers at the pumps out there, it’s become a frequent target..?
Philpot says to contact local law enforcement right away and file a police report cancel your cards and to check with the credit bureau twice a year.
‘It’s a problem across the country, it’s important to keep tabs on your account each day.?
Wayne Wills agrees.
‘When it was all done three attempts were made to scam our account for $10,000,? said Wills. ‘If Leslie had not been watching our account like she does that’s $30,000 since we have overdraft protection.?
The Will’s credit union tracked the perpetrator to an alleged address in Great Britain through a third party biller with eBay where his wife frequently shops. Wills said their PayPal password, used to pay for eBay items had been stolen.