View Points Newsletter | Fall 2016

Defending Your Happy Holidays

This is one of our favorite times of the year. Yes, the holidays are wonderful, but the shopping also adds something magical to the season. However, criminals can put an end to your happy holidays whether you’re shopping online or at a physical store.

There really is too much going on during the holidays to stay vigilant 100% of the time. Thankfully, there are things you can watch for whether you’re shopping online or at the mall.

Online Scams

When shopping online, it’s important to trust the retailer. If you don’t know who they are, or if they even exist, you can do some quick research.

  • Do they have a toll-free customer phone number? If so, call it.
  • Do they take credit cards? If not, it can be a huge red flag.
  • Do they use a secure website at checkout? Look for a HTTPS in the URL to be sure.
  • Type the company’s name and “Scam” into Google and see if anything comes up.
  • Check other fraud and scam reports, including those at,, and
  • Verify that they are listed with the Better Business Bureau at

Email Scams

This time of year, your email box will fill up with potential scams. That’s because it’s easy for criminals to mimic any email style, send an email to you, and then ask for your private account login information. This is called Phishing.

A phishing scam usually seems legit. The email will appear to be from a trusted online retailer or a financial institution. There’s even a link in the email that will take you to a website that also appears to be valid. However, if you give the thieves any of your data, including your account number, it could mean plenty of headaches for you.

Rest assured, we will never ask for your account or private information via email. If you get a suspicious email from us, give us a call immediately at 503.397.2376.

Retail Scams

Criminals are getting more sophisticated all the time. This year, consumers are already falling victim to high-tech card skimmers.

A skimmer works by recording digital information from a swiped card. The skimmer either sits over a portion of the retailer’s card reader or is added to the swipe portion of the reader. Either is almost undetectable. Even retailers don’t always notice them. With a skimmer in place, the criminal gets access to your card number and the PIN you enter. Often, those criminals are nearby, retrieving the data via blutooth or other means.

We’re Here to Help

If you have questions about these and other scams, or if you think your credit card information may have been stolen, give us a call at 503.397.2376 or stop any branch. If it’s after hours, call 800.275.6434.