Knowledge Is Key To Prevention

Colony Bank takes fraud prevention very seriously. Your personal information is the key to your financial identity and your online identity. We are dedicated to offering information and tips to help protect yourself. The first step in protecting yourself from fraud is to educate yourself and learn about the various schemes and methods that fraudsters use to obtain your personal information. Visit for more information and tips on how you can protect your accounts.

Always remember that:

  • Colony Bank will never ask you to send your personal or financial information in response to or via a link in an email
  • Our staff will never initiate a phone call asking for financial information such as your account numbers, social security number or account balances
  • When you call Colony Bank, we may ask you for specific information in an attempt to verify your identity before disclosing financial information

Visit the Federal Trade Commission's website for an up-to-date list of nationwide scams to be aware of.

If you suspect any fraudulent activity on your Colony Bank accounts, please visit our Fraud Report and Recovery page for tips and actions to take.

Types of Financial Fraud

Identity Theft

Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as name, Social Security number, credit card number, without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Below are some tips to help protect yourself from Identity Theft:

  • Shred your personal documents
  • Limit the amount of data you share about yourself
  • Use strong passwords for all of your online accounts
  • If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don't label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place
  • Install Antivirus and Antispyware on your computer
  • Closely monitor your bank statements

Counterfeit Checks

Counterfeit check scams come in many forms, from cashier's checks and money orders to corporate and personal checks. Counterfeiters use high quality printers and scanners to create very realistic, yet fraudulent checks, including authentic-looking watermarks. These counterfeit checks are printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions. Even if the bank, the account, and routing numbers listed on a counterfeit check may be real, the check can still be a fake.

The best way to protect yourself against a potential fake check scam is to throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or gift and never wire money to strangers. If you are selling something, do not accept a check for more than the selling price and if you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn by a bank or a bank with a local branch so that you can make a personal visit to make sure that the check is valid.

Impostor Scams

Impostor scams are extensive and include real estate scams, IRS scams, tech support scams, bank impostor scams, and family emergency scams. These types of impostor scams will convince you to wire money, pay with a gift card or obtain sensitive information. It is important to know how to recognize and avoid these scenarios by never giving sensitive information over the phone.

The best way to avoid an impostor scam is to never send money to someone that you do not know and never send money to someone who has contacted you, even if you feel like you know the person or they say they are your friend or related to you. Resist the urge to act immediately and call a phone number that you know is genuine to confirm that the request is legitimate. Report possible fraud to or by calling (877) FTC-HELP.

Email Spoofing/Pharming

Many forged emails will ask you to supply, confirm or update personal information by clicking a link in the email. The link will connect you to a web page or login that appears to belong to the company mentioned, but it is merely a “spoofed” site that is illegitimate. The spoof may be a pop-up window or an embedded image over the actual site. The goal of the criminals is to get you to enter your personal data so they can steal your information.

Colony Bank will never ask you for personal or sensitive information via email. We advise our customers to never reply to or open any attachments from unsolicited emails. We also advise to never respond to emails requesting your password, login or any financial information. If you have provided sensitive information online or feel that you have been a victim of spoofing/pharming, please contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 873-6404.

Email Phishing

Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam email or pop-up messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, and deceive you into disclosing your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information. Phishing emails or pop-up messages are sent claiming to be from a business or organization that you associate with like your bank, Internet service provider, online payment service, or a government agency. Although they can be difficult to spot, the phishing emails usually ask you to click a link back to a fraudulent website to provide, update or confirm your personal information.

Colony Bank will never advise a customer via email. If you are uncertain of any email that you receive, which appears to be sent from, or on behalf of, Colony Bank, please contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 873-6404. You may provide a copy of the wording to our Customer Service tem member, but please delete any personal sensitive data.

ATM Skimming

ATM Skimming is a method used by criminals that install wireless devises, called card skimmers to capture data from the magnetic stripe on the back of an ATM card. Devises used are small and often fastened in close proximity to, or over the top of the ATM’s factory-installed card reader.

The best way to protect yourself against ATM Skimming is to make sure your credit or debit card stays in sight whenever possible. Limiting the amount of time your card is unattended in someone else’s possession (i.e. waiter, salesperson, etc.) will reduce the risk of ATM Skimming. Since this is not always possible, pay close attention to your card statements and make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If a card-reading machine looks tampered with or altered, use caution and alert the management of the establishment.

If you find that you may have been a victim of ATM Skimming, please call our Customer Service Department as soon as possible at (800) 873-6404.

Text & Smishing

Smishing is a type of phishing that specifically uses SMS or text messaging to get your private information. People tend to be less aware of threats that come in via text message and are more trusting of links. In order to combat Smishing, remember:

  • Colony Bank will never ask for your sensitive information in a text message.
  • Do not open links or attachments in a text message from a number that you don't recognize.
  • Scammer can change their number to reflect a number that you trust. If a number that appears to be trusted send you attachments through a text message, call and verify that it was actually intended for you.


Malware (short for malicious software ) includes viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software that is downloaded with out your consent to your computer or mobile device. Malware works by installing software on your computer that allows the scammer to access your files or watch what you are doing on your computer.

The best way to avoid Malware is to avoid opening attachments or click on any links in emails or social media messages you've received from strangers and just delete them. Always use a reliable source rather than an unknown web link. Be wary of free downloads and website access and always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software. If you believe you are a victim of malware, please report your incident with the CISA here.


Malicious advertising, known as Malvertising, is when criminals use ads to spread malware or use ads to trick users into providing sensitive information. When browsing a webpage, if you click on a malicious ad, you may be taken to a phony login page or fake retail site to ask for your sensitive information. Follow these steps to stay safe from malicious ads:

  • Think before you click.
  • Stay up-to-date with security patches on your device and your browser.
  • Install a reputable ad blocker for your browser, this will help from these ads being displayed

Elder Abuse

Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support fraud, and lottery or sweepstake scams. Criminals gain their targets’ trust or use tactics of intimidation and threats to take advantage of their victims. Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain.

Learn more about scams that target seniors:
Safe Banking for Seniors - Scam Awareness Training

Thumbprint Signature Program

Check fraud costs consumers, as well as banks, millions of dollars each year. In an effort to combat crime and protect our customers,Colony Bank has joined the Thumbprint Signature Program. This program will help stop criminals from committing check fraud. When fraudulent activity does occur, law enforcement agencies will have thumbprints as evidence to use in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible.