A UMB associate recently shared a story with me about his mother-in-law who joined Facebook to keep up with friends and family. She received a friend request from a widowed, retired serviceman around her age and the two developed a friendship. The gentleman asked if she could send money to help him come for a visit. What she didn’t know was that he was a social engineer‡. Her family and local law enforcement were eventually able to convince her that she had been part of a Facebook romance scam‡, but not before she lost nearly $60,000. Sadly, stories like this are more common‡ than you might imagine, and the threat is real. In this video, you’ll see how phishing scams and social engineering takes shape and what you can do to prevent being lured into one.

Every year, cyber criminals become more sophisticated and harder to stop. We already know consumers globally lost $158 billion to cybercrime in the past year, and in the United States alone, the figure is nearly $30 billion. As technology continues to change, so does the way criminals try to get your personal information to commit fraud. While we are committed to providing helping customers stay secure year-round, we try to make special notice of it during October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)‡.

NCSAM is designed not only to bring online threats to the forefront, but also to help individuals take better care of their online information. So how can you protect yourself, your family and your electronic devices?
Keep a clean machine

  • Links that you have received that are still stored in emails, social media direct messages and other online communications may be used to try and phish your personal data. A compromised email gives access‡ to sent email conversations revealing detailed information on you including  attachments you may have forgotten to delete.  Make a plan to move suspicious message to your Junk Email folder and to check your disable links and warnings feature in your email settings.
  • Did you know memory sticks‡ and other external devices (like phones and tablets) can be corrupted and give your computer what they’ve been infected with? Use antivirus software to scan them too.

Protect your personal information

Get the kids involved – Online gaming

Online gaming can be a fun way for kids to connect with others, but it’s important for them to understand the risks, to know how to handle certain situations. My son was recently the victim of a social engineer while gaming online. He took the bait from someone he thought was a new friend and lost a bunch of virtual currency – that was purchased with real dollars, and while that was disheartening (especially since I thought I’d taught him plenty about social engineering), it could have been even worse. Talk with your kids about:

  • Malicious users posing as “site administrators”
  • Never sharing account names and passwords – which allow the fraudster access to mom or dad’s credit cards
  • Buying fake virtual goods
  • Always using the legitimate site for the game. Never engage in transactions outside of the site.

Know that your mobile devices are targets too

  • Most of your mobile devices (smartphone, wearable technology‡, tablet and even laptop) contain significant information like contact numbers, photos, location and more. It’s important you treat your personal information in these like its valued currency.
  • Connecting to public wifi hotspots‡ that are not secure could be harmful. Avoid using these especially when logging into email or financial accounts.

For more tips you can use to keep your home and office safe online, visit StaySafeOnline.org‡.  In addition, you can visit UMB’s Security and Privacy page to help you stay current on security best practices as well as see how we’re working to protect you.


Remember, while you can’t prevent every attempt at cyber crime, you can take steps to prevent and respond quickly if it does happen.



When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.