Fraud Prevention
Know how to recognize and avoid fraud.

Fraud and scams are an ever-increasing danger to the security of our personal information and financial data. Today’s digital environment demands you recognize the schemes and systems used by cybercriminals to gain access to your money.

Please remember:

  • Knowledge is power. The more you know about the latest scams and fraud tricks, the better you will be able to spot and avoid them. Stickley on Security articles offer the inside details to the latest scams. Topics addressed are updated regularly.  cyber security
  • Report it. Do not be embarrassed if you have become a victim of fraud attacks. It can happen to anyone at any time. The important thing is to report it to your financial institution and to the Federal Trade Commission. The U.S. Government collects information on fraudulent activity to help track and shut-down scammers.
  • Never give out your personal or financial data by email, text or by phone to someone that has contacted you. If you suspect someone contacting you is not who they say they are, you should hang up, or delete the email/text message. Never provide login IDs, passwords, or access codes. Call the represented company or person to verify they have tried to contact you. Today’s cybercriminals can spoof company names, text numbers, and phone numbers on caller IDs to fool you.
  • When making outbound calls, Skyward does not ask for personally identifiable information or account numbers, passwords, or access codes. We use member contact information provided by the member for their account information. When a member phones us, we may ask them to confirm information on the account to verify it.
  • Terms to Know

    What is Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?

    Personally identifiable information is any piece of information that is personal to you. It includes your social security number, birthdate, address, phone number, email address, license number, tax ID, account or credit card number.  

    What is Multifactor Authentication and why is it important?

    A multifactor authentication is a method that requires you to enter two pieces of information known only to you before giving you access to website application such as online banking. This is usually done by receiving a code by text, phone call or email. Or, sometimes a token code is provided by a third-party security app.


    A caller disguises the information on your caller ID to appear as though they are calling from a specific number or place.


    A scammer impersonates a business or person to trick you into giving out your personal information. They may use emails, texts, or websites to steal this information from you.

    Mail Fraud

    Letters that look real but are from fake businesses, charities or people. They ask you to send money or personal information to get something valuable that doesn't exist.

    Imposter Scams

    Someone pretending to be a charity, or a local, state or federal official (such as the I.R.S.) tries to get you to send them money. Caller IDs can be faked. Always verify the organization by finding their official contact information and call them back.


    Scammers use text messages that appear to be from reputable companies in an attempt to gain your personal information.

    Card Skimmer

    A skimmer is a small device attached to a card reader that collects your account information stored on the magnetic strip (not the chip) for criminals to access and use. Always use caution when using a card reader (at gas stations, ATMs, etc.) and look for anything that looks out of place such as a newer keypad or different card slot. If it looks suspicious, don't use it and report it to the business. To avoid having your account info stored on a card skimmer, use the chip reader, tap-to-pay feature, or Apple/Google/Samsung Pay instead.

  • How to Protect Yourself

    Beware of phone calls asking to verify your account

    Skyward will never call you and ask for access codes, passwords, or personal information. We may call to verify charges made against your account. If you are in doubt, hang up and reach us by phone or through your online account.

    Do not answer mail and email requests for personal information

    Malicious emails, and even regular mail, can be tools for cyber criminals to obtain information on your bank accounts. Look for these clues to a suspicious request.

    • The sender’s return address, or email address, isn’t correct.
    • The sender doesn’t seem to know the addressee
    • Embedded links have weird URLs
    • Language is off, or spelling and grammar is incorrect
    • Content is bizarre or unbelievable. 

    If you suspect any email or letter, do not click on buttons or links, open attachments, or even reply directly to the email. Do not offer personal information on forms to be mailed back.

    Set up alerts in Online Banking to identify fraud

    Awareness is the first step in protecting your account. Security features in Online and Mobile Banking can alert you when unwelcomed account activity is taking place. 

    • Set up Alerts: Use Online Security Alerts (located under the “Services” menu in Online and Mobile Banking), to set up alerts and be notified of over a dozen account actions. 
    • Set up Delivery Preferences: Alerts can be sent to your email address, as a text message, or as a phone call. Click on the link at the top of the Online Security Alerts page to select or edit your delivery preferences. 

    We ask that you please take the time to set up Online Security Alerts and review the method of delivery. If you need assistance, contact us and we will be glad to help you.

    Security Freeze for Prevention

    Placing a security freeze on your credit file will prevent others from opening accounts that require a credit check in your name. A freeze can be placed with each credit reporting agency (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Just remember that a freeze on your credit file will not keep someone from taking over existing accounts. If you need to apply for credit yourself, it's a simple task to contact the credit reporting company to unfreeze your credit file for your application.

    Online security tips for protecting your financial information

    Cyber security starts with you and best practices for protecting your online financial information and personally identifiable information. This sentence bears repeating again and again: Never give out your personal or financial data by email, text or by phone to someone that has initiated contact with you. The National Cybersecurity Alliance offers these basics for online safety. 

    1. Keep all software on your computer updated, especially for security.
    2. Create long, unique passwords for each account.
    3. If any of your accounts are breached, change the password immediately.
    4. Enable multi=factor authentication.
    5. Think before you click.
    6. Report phishing attempts.
    7. Do not use unfamiliar or unsecure Wi-Fi connections, such as as at a cafe, hotel, or store.
    8. Back up important work and files and store them safely.
    9. Check your settings for optimal privacy and security.
    10. Share and post online with care.

    Other helpful habits for maintaining security with your financial information are:

    • Browse carefully and on secure sites (i.e., website addresses that begin with https)
    • Use your own mobile device or computer when accessing accounts.
    • Review all correspondence from your financial institutions, to look for unfamiliar or unauthorized transactions, missing funds, incorrect updates to address, email for phone number.
  • Elder Financial Abuse

    Unfortunately attempts to steal account information from elder members in increasing. Cyber criminals target the elderly because they are viewed as the most vulnerable section of our society. It’s important to recognize the tactics used to gain access to your financial information. Here are some scams reported by our own members:

    • Government impersonation scams: Please note that the IRS will never call and demand money. Nor, does the IRS initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. There are circumstances when the IRS will call, including when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, a delinquent or unfiled tax return or has not made an employment tax deposit. But the IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening voice messages.
    • Sweepstakes scams: Elders are called and told they are winners in a sweepstakes or contest. They are instructed to purchase gift cards as part of the process for claiming their prize. They are then directed to contact the individuals back and they provide the gift card information over the phone. Funds on a gift card cannot be recouped, so the money is lost. We have seen several of our elder members lose thousands of dollars to this one.
    • Computer tech support scams: This scam starts with an unsolicited message on your computer that there is potential damage to the computer causing a security or software issues. The message prompts you to click on a link to get “help” with updating security software or to “clean” your computer from the “virus.”  If you click on the message, and enter your credit card information, the message will disappear. The attacker has now gained access to your computer and your account number and can begin making fraudulent charges and stealing information from the computer. Do not ever click on a spontaneous popup message on the computer screen. It’s best to close the browser down and run an antivirus program to be clean up any hidden viruses. 
    • The grandparent scam: Designed to prey upon a grandparent’s desire to help a grandchild out of trouble, this scam has caused several older Skyward members to lose a lot of money.  A caller impersonating a grandchild calls the victim and says they are in jail, the hospital, or other similarly traumatic situation.  They ask for bail money or to have the hospital paid, and the money must be wired.  Further instructions are to be discrete and not tell anyone why they are sending the wire. This situation has happened to Skyward members and has been averted because the teller recognized the signs of a fraud situation. Please note that when the wire is sent, funds are gone for good and not retrievable. The bank is unable to recover any funds sent in a wire. Because of this, tens of thousands of dollars can be easily lost forever, and maybe drain a life’s savings.

    To read more on how to avoid scams on older adults, visit the National Council on Aging.

  • What to Do When Fraud Happens

    Who to Contact concerning possible fraud

    Immediately contact Skyward when you suspect fraud or scams on your accounts.

    Also, report fraud and scam activity to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission at

    How Skyward handles fraudulent transactions

    The staff at Skyward are fully trained on payment systems and operations with processes for detection of bank fraud and reporting procedures. We have strict policies for the deterrence and prevention of financial exploitation. Additionally, we follow federal regulations for reporting suspicious activity. When making outbound calls, Skyward does not ask for personally identifiable information or account numbers, passwords, or access codes. We use member contact information provided by the member for their account information. When a member phones us, we may ask them to confirm information on the account to verify it. Do not ever give out personally identifiable information or account information to any phone call you receive.