Safety & Fraud Prevention
Study Up on School Safety
From the National Safety Council
Back-to-school season is a hectic time for families. The National Safety Council shares a checklist with transportation and school environment tips that will help keep students safe and healthy throughout the school year.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to make sure your child safely travels to school:
Walking to school
- Review your family’s walking safety rules and practice walking to school with your child
- Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available; when on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic
- Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing and always cross streets at crosswalks or intersections
- Stay alert and avoid distracted walking
Riding a bicycle to school
- Teach your child the rules of the road and practice riding the bike route to school with your child
- Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in single file
- Come to a complete stop before crossing the street; walk bikes across the street
- Stay alert and avoid distracted riding
- Make sure your child always wears a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing
Riding the bus to school
- Teach your children school bus safety rules and practice with them
- Go to the bus stop with your child to teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus
- Teach your children to stand six feet (or 3 giant steps) away from the curb
- If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the side of the road until they are 10 feet ahead of the bus; your child and the bus driver should always be able to see each other
Driving your child to school
- Stay alert and avoid distracted driving
- Obey school zone speed limits and follow your school’s drop-off procedure
- Make eye contact with children who are crossing the street
Many school-related injuries are completely preventable. Follow these steps to ensure your child’s safety at school:
Preventing backpack-related injuries
- Choose a backpack for your child carefully; it should have ergonomically designed features to enhance safety and comfort
- Ask your child to use both straps when wearing their backpack to evenly distribute the weight on their shoulders
- Don’t overstuff a backpack; it should weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of your child’s body weight
- Rolling backpacks should be used cautiously since they can create a trip hazard in crowded school hallways
Preventing playground-related injuries
- To reduce strangulation hazards on playgrounds, have your child leave necklaces and jackets with drawstrings at home
Checklist provided by The National Safety Council:
How to Protect Yourself & Others from Elder Fraud
From the Kansas Department of Children and Families
- Don’t sign blank checks allowing another person to fill in the amount.
- Don’t leave money or valuables in plain view.
- Be aware of scams (either by phone or through the mail).
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t give strangers access to your bank accounts.
- Check your financial statements frequently and carefully for unauthorized withdrawals.
- Don’t sign any document you have not completely read or fully understand.
- Don’t be pressured by family members, friends, caregivers, or anyone else to do anything you don’t want to do.
- Don’t sign over property deeds, titles, etc., without legal review.
For more tips and resources from KS-DCF, visit: APS Financial Exploitation Trifold (ks.gov)
In addition, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a free Money Smart Resource Guide for Older Adults:
SPREAD THE NEWS, STOP THE SCAMS
May is Older Americans Month and a great time to help the people you care about learn how to avoid fraud. Share free materials from the FTC that alert people to scammers’ schemes. Learn more at: Share FTC materials here, there, and everywhere | FTC Consumer Information
5 Ways to Add Muscle to Email Security
These tips from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) can help you build stronger email security and reduce email spam and scams.
- Be wary of unsolicited attachments, even from people you know. Just because an email message looks like it came from someone you know does not mean that it did. Many viruses can “spoof” the return address, making it look like the message came from someone else. If you can, check with the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it’s legitimate before opening any attachments. This includes email messages that appear to be from your Internet service provider (ISP) or software vendor and claim to include patches or anti-virus software. ISPs and software vendors do not send patches or software in email.
- Keep software up to date. Install software patches so that attackers can’t take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities . Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it. (See Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information)
- Trust your instincts. If an email or email attachment seems suspicious, don’t open it, even if your anti-virus software indicates that the message is clean. Attackers are constantly releasing new viruses, and the anti-virus software might not have the signature. At the very least, contact the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it’s legitimate before you open the attachment. However, especially in the case of forwards, even messages sent by a legitimate sender might contain a virus. If something about the email or the attachment makes you uncomfortable, there may be a good reason. Don’t let your curiosity put your computer at risk.
- Save and scan any attachments before opening them. If you have to open an attachment before you can verify the source, take the following steps:
- Be sure the signatures in your anti-virus software are up to date.
- Save the file to your computer or a disk.
- Manually scan the file using your anti-virus software.
- If the file is clean and doesn’t seem suspicious, go ahead and open it.
- Turn off the option to automatically download attachments. To simplify the process of reading email, many email programs offer the feature to automatically download attachments. Check your settings to see if your software offers the option, and make sure to disable it.
Additional tips and other resources are available at: Using Caution with Email Attachments | CISA
Don’t Let a Scam Artist Do a (PIN) Number on You.
Here are tips to prevent Personal Identification Number Scams
Taking a few simple steps can help keep scam artists from using your ATM, phone or other login PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) and accessing your money or other personal information. Remember to NEVER write a PIN down where others may see it (on the card, on a paper kept in your wallet, or on a paper in general) and try to make the numbers easy for you to remember and difficult for others to guess. Avoid variations on your (or a family member’s) birthdate, sequential numbers, any part of your social security number, address, or phone number.
Other tips include:
- Stand between the ATM keypad and the person around you so that they don’t see you in-putting your PIN.
- Guard your PIN as you enter it in the machine.
- If the ATM does not appear to be working correctly, contact bank staff. Don’t let a stranger assist you.
- Do not give your ATM PIN to someone else to run a quick errand for you. You give out your ATM PIN, you’ve just given access to your bank account.
- Do not leave your ATM card unattended.
- Use an ATM with adequate lighting.
- Never give out your PIN over the phone.
- Use the Word Method for PIN selection. Convert the digits of a word to the keys on the telephone. For example, if your word is DOGS, the equivalent from the keypad on your phone would be 3647.
Report Identity Theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338
File Away These Tips to Avoid Fraud During Tax Season
- File Early: File your tax return as soon as you’re able giving criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
- File on a Protected Wi-Fi Network: If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi-Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
- Use a Secure Mailbox: If you’re filing by mail, drop your tax return at the post office or an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home. Some criminals look for completed tax return forms in home mailboxes during tax season.
- Find a Tax Preparer You Trust: If you’re planning to hire someone to do your taxes, get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
- Shred What You Don’t Need: Once you’ve completed your tax return, shred the sensitive documents that you no longer need and safely file away the ones you do.
- Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or refund. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS. Be wary of emails and websites that may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information.
- Phone Scams: Phone calls, emails, or text messages from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as con artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things.
- Identity Theft: Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number.
- Fake Charities: Be on guard against groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. Be wary of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations.
- Inflated Refund Claims: Taxpayers should be on the lookout for anyone promising inflated refunds. Be wary of anyone who asks taxpayers to sign a blank return, promises a big refund before looking at their records or charges fees based on a percentage of the refund.
The DOs & DON’Ts of Safe Online Use
These tips from www.usa.gov can help you keep your computer and personal information safe when going online:
- Learn how to spot common scams and fraud. Learn the warning signs of internet fraud, phishing, and other online scams.
- Keep your computer software updated. Download the latest versions of your operating system, web browsers, and apps.
- Talk to your kids about being safe and responsible online. Find out how you can protect your kids online by teaching them about the risks.
- Don’t share your passwords or sensitive information with anyone you don’t trust. It’s also important to learn how to keep your laptop safe from identity theft when you’re in public.
- Don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Try to make your passwords unpredictable and avoid using names, dates, or common words.
- Don’t give out personal information over unencrypted websites. Only trust encrypted sites that begin with “https” (the “s” means they’re secure). They convert your information into a code that prevents exposure to potential scammers
Tips to Prevent ID Theft
IDENTITY THEFT happens when someone uses your personal information (name, Social Security number, credit card number, etc.) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. This is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences as some victims must spend hundreds of dollars and many hours repairing their good name and credit record.
Bank of Labor will do whatever it takes to keep your online identity safe. The following are some helpful tips that will assist you in preventing identity theft.
Beware of Phishing
Phishing is a scam where online criminals try to lure personal information such as credit card numbers or bank account information from unsuspecting victims. Be aware of spoofed email or websites that look like they come from your bank or another trusted source in an attempt to deceive you.
Bank of Labor will NEVER request personal information by email or text message including account numbers, passwords, personal identification information or any other confidential customer information. Fraudulent emails may be designed to appear as though they are originated by Bank of Labor. Do not respond to any email request asking for personal or confidential information and do not click any links listed on that e-mail. These communications are not from Bank of Labor! Never give out any information that the Bank already has if you are contacted by phone, text message, or email.
If you contact us we may verify your information to confirm your identity but we will never contact you and ask for your debit/credit card number. If we need to contact you, it will always be done in a manner that protects your personal, confidential information and we will clearly identify ourselves. If you are unsure, contact us directly using our contact information on your card, statement or our website.
Protect Yourself Online
- Install anti-malware software including virus and spyware protection and be sure to keep it up to date.
- Ensure your mobile device and computer are updated with the latest software patches for your installed programs and Operating System.
- Be sure and use a firewall when browsing. Firewalls help prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private networks.
- Never click on links in unsolicited emails.
- Don’t surf to pages you are unsure of.
- For additional information on what you can do to protect yourself online, go to www.onguardonline.gov.
Check Your Credit Report
Make a habit of checking your credit report. You can get a free copy of your credit report from the big three reporting agencies each year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
Practice ATM Safety
As with all financial transactions, please exercise discretion when using an automated teller machine (ATM) or night deposit facility. For your own safety, be careful. The following suggestions may be helpful.
- Prepare for your transactions in advance (for instance, by filling out a deposit slip) to minimize your time at the ATM or night deposit facility.
- Mark each transaction in your account record, but not while at the ATM or night deposit facility. Always save your ATM receipts. Don’t leave them at the ATM or night deposit facility because they may contain important account information.
- Compare your records with the account statements you receive.
- Don’t lend your ATM card to anyone.
- Remember; do not leave your card at the ATM. Do not leave any documents at a night deposit facility.
- Protect the secrecy of your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Protect your ATM card as though it were cash. Don’t tell anyone your PIN. Don’t give anyone information regarding your ATM card or PIN over the telephone. Never enter your PIN in any ATM that does not look genuine, has been modified, has a suspicious device attached, or is operating in a suspicious manner. Don’t write your PIN where it can be discovered. For example, don’t keep a note of your PIN in your wallet or purse.
- Prevent others from seeing you enter your PIN by using your body to shield their view.
- If you lose your ATM card or if it is stolen, promptly notify us. You should consult the other disclosures you have received about electronic fund transfers for additional information about what to do if your card is lost or stolen.
- When you make a transaction, be aware of your surroundings. Look out for suspicious activity near the ATM or night deposit facility, particularly if it is after sunset. At night, be sure to use a facility (including the parking area and walkways) that is well lit. Consider having someone accompany you when you use the facility, especially after sunset. If you observe any problem, go to another ATM or night deposit facility.
- Don’t accept assistance from anyone you don’t know when using an ATM or night deposit facility.
- If you notice anything suspicious or if any other problem arises after you have begun an ATM transaction, you may want to cancel the transaction, pocket your card and leave. You might consider using another ATM or coming back later.
- Don’t display your cash; pocket it as soon as the ATM transaction is completed and count the cash later when you are in the safety of your own car, home or other secure surrounding.
- At a drive-up facility, make sure all the car doors are locked and all of the windows are rolled up, except the driver’s window. Keep the engine running and remain alert to your surroundings.
- We want the ATM and night deposit facility to be safe and convenient for you. Therefore, please tell us if you know of any problem with a facility. For instance, let us know if a light is not working or there is any damage to a facility. Please report any suspicious activity or crimes to both the operator of the facility and the local law enforcement officials immediately.
Call (913) 321-4242 if you notice suspicious account activity or experience customer information security-related events.
Need to reach us? Please contact us at the number below and our team will gladly assist you. If you would like to open an account or speak to a personal banker visit us at any of our locations located in the Greater Kansas City Metro Area.