Man typing on laptop.


Avoid Online Shopping Scams.   FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that Americans lost millions of dollars to non-payment and non-delivery scams. 

Recognize Warning Signs
• Products and services advertised at incredibly low prices— significantly lower than competitors.
• Sellers that only accept payments by wire transfer, money orders, gift cards, or peer-to-peer payment services like CashApp, Venmo and Zelle.
• Vague or non-existent contact details or information about returns, exchanges or privacy policies.
• Websites with poor spelling or grammar.

Practice Good Cyber Habits
• Be wary about clicking links, especially unsolicited ones you receive via text, social media, or email.
• If you receive a message about updating your account information or password, do not assume it is safe. Contact the company directly on a verified number, rather than in the message received, to confirm.
• Only enter your payment information on sites with a URL that includes “https,” as those sites are more secure.
• Avoid using the same password for every account.

Do Business with Companies You Trust
• Do your research, check reviews or ratings and search for complaints on a company before buying.
• Verify contact information on sites to ensure they are legitimate.
• Be wary of sellers who claim to be U.S. residents, but say they are currently out of the country.
• Avoid buyers who request purchases be shipped using certain methods to avoid customs or taxes.
• Monitor the shipping process and obtain tracking numbers.

Your Payment Method Matters
Never wire money directly to a seller, because it is unlikely you will receive a refund is there is a dispute.
• Only use peer-to-peer payments services with people you know, trust, and have met in-person.
• Be wary of sellers who only accept gift cards or pre-paid debit cards. They may never send what you ordered, and you may be unable to be refunded.

Department of Commerce Warns of Unclaimed Funds Scam.

The Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans that, “Unclaimed Money Discovery,” has emailed Ohioans saying that a recovery agent has been assigned to help them find and claim their unclaimed funds. The email asks that the recipients pay a fee for the service. Once the fee is paid they send a claim form to a legitimate unclaimed fund site to complete the process. The department noted that Unclaimed Money Discovery is not registered or authorized to perform this service. The Ohio Department of Commerce wants Ohioans to know that a fee is not required to claim funds that are rightfully theirs. It is unfortunate that during the holiday season there are people trying to take advantage of others for their own personal financial gain.


Familiarize yourself with these phishing tip offs in texts, emails, and phone calls. 

The Pataskala Banking Company wants to help you keep your personal information safe. We realize in today’s electronic world, your personal data is more at risk than ever before and your personal information is more valuable than ever before. Please review our helpful tips to maintain your personal security and the security of those you love:

  • NEVER share or verify your social security number to ANYONE over the telephone or on the web; simply hang-up the telephone.
  • The bank will NEVER call you to verify your account number(s), PIN number, social security number, date of birth, of any other personal information.
  • Contact the bank if you receive a suspicious call and DO NOT answer any questions about your personal information over the telephone or on the web; simply hang-up the telephone.
  • Notify the bank of any changes to your address, telephone number, or email addresses.
  • Contact the bank at once if you have a lost or stolen credit or debit card. (Click on Lost or Stolen Card on our website for afterhours telephone numbers.)
  • Memorize your PIN # and NEVER write it on your card or share it with anyone.
  • Review your monthly statements; bank and credit, to verify all transactions are legitimate. Verify your receipts against your statements. Balance your accounts monthly.
  • Plan on traveling out of the area? Notify the bank and provide location and dates if you plan on using your credit or debit card.
  • The I.R.S. will NEVER call you to verify any of your personal information, including your social security number; simply hang-up the telephone.
  • A law enforcement agency will NEVER call you asking you to wire funds to release a family member from jail. Hang-up and IF you want to verify the claims made over the telephone, call your family member and speak directly to them.
  • Watch out for “mystery shopper” scams. You will receive a “check” to pay you for mystery shopping and the amount will be greater than you should have received. You will then be asked to return the overage by wire. Once the funds are wired out of your account you learn that the “check” is worthless, and not only do the scammers have the money you wired to them, but you have to pay the bank back for the entire amount of the check.
  • BEFORE swiping your debit/credit card at the gas pump or ATM, be sure that the scanner is permanently affixed and not a detachable skimmer used by scammers to collect your credit or ATM card information. Before you leave the pump or ATM, the scammers will have shared your debit/credit card information.
  • If you have not entered a sweepstakes or lottery and you receive a letter stating you have won a cash prize and you only need to pay a small fee now to obtain your winnings, STOP; more than likely this is a scam. Many people have lost thousands of dollars paying fees for a potential pay out only to be asked for more money and never receive any winnings.

The Better Business Bureau is warning people to be aware of scammers looking to cash in for Christmas.

The following list of  “12 Scams of Christmas” comes from the Better Business Bureau:

  1. Misleading Social Media Ads: As you scroll through your social media feed, you often see items for sale from a small business. Sometimes the business even claims to support a charity to try to get you to order, or they offer a free trial. BBB Scam Tracker receives reports of people paying for items that they never receive, getting charged monthly for a free trial they never signed up for, or receiving an item that is counterfeit or much different from the one advertised.
  2. Social Media Gift Exchanges:  A newer version of this scam revolves around exchanging bottles of wine; another suggests purchasing $10 gifts online. Another twist asks you to submit your email into a list where participants get to pick a name and send money to strangers to “pay it forward.”
  3. Holiday Apps: Apple’s App Store and Google Play list dozens of holiday-themed apps where children can video chat live with Santa, light the menorah, watch Santa feed live reindeer, track his sleigh on Christmas Eve, or relay their holiday wish lists. Be wary of free apps, as they can sometimes contain more advertising than apps that require a nominal fee. Free apps can also contain malware.
  4. Alerts About Compromised Accounts: BBB has been receiving reports on Scam Tracker about a con claiming your Amazon, Paypal, Netflix or bank account has been compromised. Victims receive an email, call, or text message which explains that there has been suspicious activity on one of their accounts, and it further urges them to take immediate action to prevent the account from being compromised. Be extra cautious about unsolicited calls, emails, and texts.
  5. Free Gift Cards: Nothing brings good cheer like the word ‘FREE’. Scammers have been known to take advantage of this weakness by sending bulk phishing emails requesting personal information to receive free gift cards. If you have received an unsolicited email with gift card offers, do not open it. If you opened the email, do not click on any links.
  6. Temporary Holiday Jobs: Retailers typically hire seasonal workers to help meet the demands of holiday shoppers. Shippers and delivery services are top holiday employers this year because of the increase in online orders and the need to get most of these packages delivered before Christmas. These jobs are a great way to make extra money, sometimes with the possibility of turning into a long-term employment opportunity. However, jobseekers need to be wary of employment scams aimed at stealing money and personal information from job applicants.
  7. Look-Alike Websites: The holiday season brings endless emails offering deals, sales and bargains. Be wary of emails with links enclosed. Some may lead to look-alike websites created by scammers to trick people into downloading malware, making dead-end purchases and sharing private information. If you are uncertain about the email, do not click any of the links. Instead, hover over them to see where they reroute.
  8. Fake Shipping Notifications: More consumers are making purchases online, there is also an increase in the number of notifications about shipping details from retailers and carriers. Scammers are using this new surge to send phishing emails with links enclosed that may allow unwanted access to your private information or download malware onto your device. They may also try to trick people into paying new shipping fees.
  9. Pop-Up Holiday Virtual Events: This year, many local in-person events such as pop-up holiday markets or craft fairs, have moved online. Scammers are creating fake event pages, social media posts, and emails, charging admission for what used to be a free event. The goal is to steal credit card information.
  10. Top Holiday Wish List Items: Low or ridiculously priced luxury goods, jewelry, designer clothing, and electronics are almost always cheap counterfeits and knockoffs. Be very cautious when considering to purchase these high-value items from individuals through social sites.
  11. Puppy Scams: Many families, especially those with children, may be considering to add a furry friend to their household this year. However, you could fall victim to a pet scam, which are on the rise this year. Request to see the pet in person before making a purchase.
  12. Fake Charities: Typically, 40% of all charitable donations are received during the last few weeks of the year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations had to cancel their usual fundraising events and awareness campaigns and are now inviting donors to support online. Donors are advised to lookout for fraudulent charities and scammers pretending to be individuals in need. Verify a charity at BBB’s or on the Canada Revenue Agency website. Where possible, donate to the charity through their website and use a credit card.

Email Scams

  1. Avoid clicking suspicious links

If an email pressures you to click a link — whether it’s to verify your login credentials or make a payment, you can be sure it’s a scam. Banks never ask you to do that. It’s best to avoid clicking links in an email. Before you click, hover over the link to reveal where it really leads. When in doubt, call your bank directly, or visit their website by typing the URL directly into your browser.

  1. Raise the red flag on scare tactics

Banks will never use scare tactics, threats, or high-pressure language to get you to act quickly, but scammers will. Demands for urgent action should put you on high alert. No matter how authentic an email may appear, never reply with personal information like your password, PIN, or social security number.

  1. Watch for attachments and typos

Your bank will never send attachments like a PDF in an unexpected email. Misspellings and poor grammar are also warning signs of a phishing scam.

  1. Be skeptical of every email

In the same way defensive driving prevents car accidents, always treating incoming email as a potential risk will protect you from scams. Fraudulent emails can appear very convincing, using official language and logos, and even similar URLs. Always be alert.