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Protect Yourself Against Fraud

Steps to take to ensure security.

At Bank of Hawaii, we are pleased to offer our customers the latest in electronic banking services. As with all new technology, however, the potentential for abuse comes hand in hand with the promise of added convenience.

While we do everything possible to ensure that your transactions are safe and tamper-proof, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the chance that you’ll be a victim of fraud or electronic theft. We've listed some of them below:

Protect Your Computer:

  • Control physical access to your computer - Prevent unauthorized persons from using your computer. When you leave your computer, log off or lock your workstation.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software - Ensure your anti-virus and anti-spyware is up-to-date by downloading updates regularly. Thoroughly scan your computer, removable media, and e-mail for viruses and other malicious content.
  • Open e-mails and download software only from trustworthy sources - Be careful about clicking on links and opening e-mail attachments. Download applications direct from reputable websites.
  • Install security updates - Regularly install security updates for your operating system (e.g. Windows), browser (e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer) and all application software such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat, to name a few. This will help ensure that your computer is safe from the latest vulnerabilities.
  • Consider using a personal firewall - Firewalls prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer, especially if you connect to the Internet via a DSL or a cable modem.

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Protect Your Online Transactions:

  • Use a strong password - Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess. Avoid choosing names and words found in a dictionary. Use a mix of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters.
  • Change your passwords often - Memorize your password and do not share it with anyone. Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts.
  • Do not send sensitive personal or financial information unless it is encrypted on a secure website - Look for the presence of “https://” in your browser’s address bar and a “lock” or “key” icon in your browser’s status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Always sign off from your online banking session.
  • Do not use e-mail for conducting financial transactions - Confidential information should be encrypted when being sent over the Internet. e-Bankoh users are encouraged to use the Message Center to communicate to the bank about their accounts.
  • Turn off the “auto fill” function on your computer - Some computers will remember your user name and passwords for you. To avoid this information from being automatically populated on the logon screen, turn off the “auto fill” function on your computer.
  • Do business only with companies you know and trust - If you suspect a website is not what it purports to be, leave the site immediately.

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Shield Yourself from Advance Fee Fraud:

Advance fee fraud is a scheme where victims are conned into paying an “advance fee” in order to “claim” a fictitious winning, inheritance or other large sum of money. Examples of this include a letter stating that you’ve won a lottery in a foreign country. In order to claim the prize, however, the letter instructs you to pay taxes and transfer fees upfront as required by that country’s laws. You pay the fees, but you’re never awarded your prize money.

Another example revolves around selling goods via the Internet – a buyer will send you a realistic looking counterfeit check for over the price of the purchase. The buyer will ask you to send back the difference via a cashier’s check or wire transfer, knowing that the original check is a fake.

If something sounds too good to be true, it is.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not respond - If you receive unsolicited e-mail that offers you a commission for assisting in the transfer of funds into an overseas bank account or tells you that you have won a sweepstakes or lottery you never entered, simply ignore the e-mail.
  • Never pay “advance fees” or “service charges” - It is illegal for anyone to charge any fees or taxes in advance for processing your application, guaranteeing your loan, or claiming a prize.
  • Determine the legitimacy of the proposal - Contact the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Washington D.C., for help in determining whether the foreign business proposal is legitimate.
  • Warn your family and friends - Tell your family, friends, and associates about any scams you receive and how not to respond to it. Public awareness can help prevent advance fee fraud.

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Guard Against Con Artists and Other Scams:

This age-old practice takes place when someone wins your confidence through smooth, convincing narratives - typically verbal conversations or written/electronic correspondence. These “con artists” are trained to win your trust in order to extract important information about you, your job, your family and your finances. The information they obtain is then used to commit fraudulent acts.

Be on the alert if the message conveyed tells you any of the following things:

  • You must “act now” or the offer won't be good.
  • You've won a “free” gift, vacation or prize, but you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
  • You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier. (You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.)
  • You don't need to check out the company with anyone else before responding to the caller's offer.
  • You don't need any written information about their company or their references.
  • You can't afford to miss this “high-profit, no-risk” offer.

If you receive these instructions - or similar lines from a unfamiliar source, do not act on it and appropriately terminate the correspondence.

Tips to protect yourself:

Be careful who you give your information to - Do not give out personal information such as your Social Security number, credit card or bank account numbers, check routing codes, or loan numbers over the phone to anyone who has called you, without first confirming who you are speaking to, why they need the information, and that they are who they claim to be.

  • Be wary of extravagant claims, gifts, or prizes - Be on guard for suspicious e-mails or phone calls asking you to “verify you as a lucky winner.” Get all promises in writing and review them carefully. If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.
  • Never pay for a “free prize” - If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes or processing fees, he or she is violating federal law.
  • Resist high pressure sales tactics - Legitimate businesses don’t oversell their product. Don't be afraid to hang up the phone if you are not interested.
  • Verify the organization - Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box. Call the given phone number to see if the number is correct and working. Check out the company with your local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau, or the Attorney General’s Office.
  • To confirm if a Bank of Hawaii e-mail or phone solicitation is legitimate - Forward the e-mail to or call our 24-Hour Customer Service Center: 643-3888 or Toll-free: 1-888-643-3888.
    • If Bank of Hawaii calls you, the representative may ask you to verify your identity with account information that you should be able to provide. The information will not require full disclosure of personal identifying information or confidential identifying financial information; such as 9-digit SSN, userid, passwords, PINS, credit card numbers, account numbers, etc…

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ATM Safety Tips:

Your convenient access to a global network of ATMs is a priority at Bank of Hawaii. As part of that ongoing commitment to you, we want to remind you to follow these security tips:

  • Prepare in advance for your transaction - Be ready with your card and have your transaction deposit envelope ready to deposit. Take an extra envelope for next time, too.
  • Take a look around - Check your surroundings and stay alert. Don’t use an ATM if anyone suspicious is around. After dark, consider having a friend along.
  • Don’t hesitate to cancel your transaction and leave, if needed - If at any time something seems wrong, cancel your transaction, take your card and go to another ATM.
  • Never display cash - Count your cash where you feel secure. If there’s ever any discrepancy, you can always call our 24-Hour Customer Service Center: 643-3888 or Toll-free: 1-888-643-3888 or visit your nearest Bank of Hawaii branch.
  • Report anything suspicious - If you spot anything unusual, please call the police or notify us by calling our 24-Hour Customer Service Center: 643-3888 or Toll-free: 1-888-643-3888.
  • Protect your card - Your card accesses your money, so keep your card safe at all times. If your card is lost or stolen, inform us immediately.
  • Keep your personal identification number secret - Memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Don’t write it on the card. And don’t lend your card or tell anyone your PIN. Stand close to the ATM and away from others in line to avoid detection of your PIN or other account information. Consider using your hand to block the view of the other entering your PIN to further protect your code.
  • Practice safety at a drive-up ATM - Keep your distance. Don’t be blocked in. Let any car at the ATM completely pull away before you drive up. When waiting in line, leave space in front so you can pull out if necessary. Also, keep your car running and your doors locked both in line and at the machine.
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