Fraud Prevention



Cornerstone Bank takes extensive measures to protect your account information and privacy. In addition to our safeguards, you also play an important role in protecting your information. Please review this information to learn specific actions you can take to limit your exposure to Identity Theft and other types of fraud (phishing, web spoofing, etc.). Remember:

Contact the bank immediately at 252-243-5588 if you notice any suspicious or unusual activity related to any Cornerstone Bank account.



What You Can Do – The Fraud Prevention Checklist:

  • Add your phone number(s) to the national Do Not Call Registry at or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Once you are added to this list, have heightened awareness about any unsolicited sales calls you receive from companies you are not already doing business with -- it is likely a scam.
  • Examine your credit card and financial institution statements immediately upon receipt to determine whether there were any unauthorized transactions. Immediately report any unauthorized transactions to the financial institution.
  • Keep track of account transactions via Cornerstone Bank's Online Banking where you can view your activity as it is posted.
  • Consider switching from paper statements - which are vulnerable to mail fraud - to electronic statements which you receive via secure email or by logging into a secure account. Most banks and credit card companies, including Cornerstone Bank, offer secure access to electronic statements.
  • Refuse to provide any account or personal information via phone unless you initiate the call to a trusted and verified entity. Cornerstone Bank, and all other reputable financial institutions, will never text you to request information such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account number or PIN.
  • Do not open emails from unknown sources. Be suspicious of emails stating to be from a financial institution, government agency, or anyone requesting account information, account verification, or banking access credentials. You should never provide your usernames, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PIN). Opening file attachments or clicking on web links in suspicious emails could expose the computer to a malicious code and thereby enable the computer to be hijacked.
  • Store your Social Security card in a secure location at your home and not in your wallet or car.
  • Refrain from including personal information, such as your Social Security number and driver's license number, on your checks.
  • Keep your new and cancelled checks in a safe place.
  • Remove all items containing personal information from your vehicle when you are not in it (i.e. purse, wallet, checkbook, or any other forms of identification).
  • Shred all documents containing banking or credit information, especially pre-approved credit offers, before throwing them away. Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-567-8688.
  • Keep your PINs and passwords a secret. Do not write them down or share them with anyone.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit file if you suspect your identity has been stolen by visiting or by calling 1-800-525-6285. By placing a fraud alert with Equifax, you will automatically have alerts placed at Experian and TransUnion.
  • Review your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to one free credit report annually through or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Request a copy of your Social Security statements at and review it make sure no one else is using your Social Security number for employment.
  • Opt out of pre-screened credit offers by calling 1-888-567-8688 or at

Identity Theft

Identity Theft is the most popular and profitable form of consumer fraud. It occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Below is an overview of the most common identity theft techniques.

“Old Fashion” Stealing

Thieves steal wallets, purses, brief cases, etc. containing confidential information.

Dumpster Diving

Thieves dig through trash looking for bills, financial or other personal information.

Change of Address

Thieves modify or redirect your billing statements to another address by completing a "change of address" form with the United States Post Office.

Phishing and Spoofing

Thieves send unsolicited email messages pretending to be a financial institution or a company, prompting you to click a link to update or confirm your personal or login information.

  • You receive an email message asking you to click on a link in order to update sensitive personal information.
  • The link will redirect you to a "spoofed" website, which is designed to look like a legitimate website.
  • The website will ask you to input personal information such as your account number(s), PIN(s), or Social Security number.

A common phishing scheme – bank error messages:

An increasing common scheme involves spoofing bank error messages.
How it works:

  • Fraudsters will send you an email message about a data or site maintenance error at a financial institution such as Cornerstone Bank.
  • The email will prompt you to click on a link, which will redirect you to a site that installs malware on your computer.
  • This malware allows scammers to intercept your password and bypass the dual authentication system many financial institutions, including Cornerstone Bank, use to secure online banking.
  • The next time you attempt to login to your online banking service, scammers attempt to steal your password and may quickly drain your account.

To avoid spoofed websites:

  • Login to your account only after entering a trusted web address into your browser as opposed to clicking on a link from an email. For example, always enter “" into your browser when logging into Cornerstone Bank Online Banking.
  • Do not click links to update or confirm confidential information.
  • Do not fill out forms in emails. A reputable financial institution will not request personal information via an unsecure email form.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files, regardless of who sent them. When in doubt, delete suspect emails.
  • Be cautious when opening mass email messages as they can contain links to phishing or other unsavory websites.
  • Be wary of emails from people or sources you don’t know or trust.
  • Watch out for poor grammar and/or misspelled words in emails from unknown sources asking you for personal information. This is often a clue the email is part of a phishing scam being operated outside of the United States.
  • Never share confidential information over email or text. Reputable companies and organizations will never ask you to divulge this type of information in an unsecure format.
  • Be cautious when entering contests or responding to special offers sent via email, especially from companies you are not doing business with, as they can be fronts for a phishing scheme.
  • Remember: if an offer or email you receive is too good to be true, it most likely is.


Vishing scams target consumers by “spoofing” text or voicemail messages that ask you to call a phone number and give your personal information.

How it works:

  • You receive a "spoof" text or voicemail message about suspicious account activity.
  • The text or voicemail message will ask you to call a “customer service” number.
  • When you call the customer service number, a recording will ask you to provide personal information such as an account number(s), password(s), Social Security number, or other confidential information.
  • The recording may not mention the company’s name and could potentially be an indication the call is being used for fraud.
Or, you could receive a phone call:
  • The call could be a “live” person or a recorded message.
  • The caller may already have your personal information, which may seem as if the call is legitimate.


Smishing is when personal cell phones and other mobile devices are targeted with mobile spam, usually delivered as an unsolicited text message. The spam, or text messages, attempt to trick consumers into providing personal information.

How it works:

  • You receive a fraudulent text message, which may include a link, asking you to register for an online service.
  • The scammer attempts to load a virus onto your cell phone or mobile device.
  • The scammer may also send a message warning you that your account will be charged unless you cancel your supposed online order.
  • When you attempt to log on to the website, the scammer extracts your credit card number and other personal information.
  • Scammers duplicate your credit, debit and ATM cards and use it for fraudulent activity.
Another popular smishing tactic:
  • Scammers may also send you a text message warning you that your bank account has been closed due to suspicious activity.
  • The text message will ask you to call a customer service number to reactivate your account.
  • When you call the number, you are taken to an automated voicemail box that prompts you to key in your credit card, debit card or ATM card number, expiration date and PIN to verify your information.
  • Your information is used to duplicate credit, debit and ATM cards.


Thieves use a credit/debit card reader device to copy the card's magnetic strip and then use the captured data to duplicate card information without the card owner's knowledge. Many financial organizations are switching to credit and debit cards with an EMV chip to further enhance card security.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams

Lottery/sweepstakes scams target consumers by sending a notification, which arrives via mail, email, or by unsolicited telephone call.

How it works:

  • The notification advises you have won a prize, but you did not enter in any type of lottery or sweepstake by the promoter initiating the letter/email/phone call.
  • The promoter will ask you to send payment to cover the cost of redeeming the prize.
  • In this type of scam, you may rarely, if ever, receive any winnings in return.

Check Overpayment Scams

Check overpayment scams target consumers who sell items through an online auction site or a classified ad. A seller incurs a loss when the “buyer” passes a counterfeit cashier's check, money order, corporate or personal check as payment.

How it works:

  • The buyer sends a counterfeit check for more than the agreed to price.
  • The buyer will ask the seller to wire back the difference after the check has been deposited.
  • The check will more than likely bounce and the consumer becomes liable for the entire amount.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud occurs when your confidential information is stolen or compromised while in transit from the sender to receiver. To protect against mail fraud, follow these best practices:

  • Deposit outgoing mail at the Post Office.
  • Remove incoming mail from your personal mailbox as soon as possible, or use a P.O. Box or locked, secure mailbox.
  • Request a mail hold from the United States Postal Service (call 1-800-275-8777) if you plan to be away from home for an extended period.
  • Know your billing cycles. If bills are late or missing, contact your creditors.
  • Watch for your new or replacement debit cards or credit cards when requested. Most financial institutions, including Cornerstone Bank, will have a new card to you within five business days.
  • Switch from paper statements to electronic statements. At Cornerstone, you can view, print or save your statements through your online banking account. Stop by the branch and we’ll be happy to show you how.

Phone Fraud

Phone fraud occurs when scammers initiate a phone call to you in order to extract confidential information. To protect against phone fraud, follow these best practices:

  • Do not give out personal information, such as your account numbers, card numbers, Social Security number, tax identification numbers, passwords, or PINs, unless you have initiated the call to a trust and verified source. Reputable financial institutions like Cornerstone Bank will not make an unsolicited call requesting your personal information.
  • If you believe you are not talking to a representative of a legitimate company, hang up and call the phone number listed on your most recent account statement or in the phone book.

Computer Security

Cornerstone Bank continually invests in technology to make Online Banking a safe and secure way for you to access account information. In addition to banking with a reputable financial institution like Cornerstone Bank, you should also take the steps below to safeguard your personal information when online:

  • Keep your browser current with the latest security updates.
  • Use up-to-date anti-virus software.
  • Use up-to-date anti-spyware software and consider using more than one to ensure the most thorough scan.
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis to help prevent unauthorized access.
  • Download free software only from websites you know and trust.
  • Do not install software without knowing exactly what it is or what it will do (read the end-user license agreement).
  • Close pop-up ads by clicking on the "X" instead of clicking within the advertisement itself.
  • Review your browser security settings and set them to a high enough level to help detect unauthorized downloads. (Click your browser's "Help" menu for steps).
  • Do not click links inside of emails - especially emails claiming to offer anti-spyware software.
  • Install a personal firewall on your computer. A firewall works like a filter that prevents access to information on your computer.
  • Do not give any of your personal information to any websites that do not use encryption or other secure methods to protect it.