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PROTECT YOUR FINANCES: How to avoid a scam

Four signs that its a scam
  1. Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know. They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.
  2. Scammers say there's a problem or a prize. Some will say there is a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information or that you won money but have to pay a fee to get it.
  3. Scammers pressure you to act immediately. They want you to act before you have time to think. If you're o the phone, they might tell you not to hang p so you can't check their story.
  4. Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. They often insist on using cryptocurrency or by putting money on a gift card and then providing them with the numbers on the card.
To help avoid scams, you should never give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn't expect, block unwanted calls and text messages, resist pressure to act immediate and be aware of the signs above.
Contact Community West Bank Customer Service immediately at (800) 298-1775 during business hours if you believe you have fallen victim to fraud or are suspicious about transaction activity with your Community West Bank account. Scams should also be reported to the FTC at 


Identity Protection

Protecting your business and personal identity online, at home or out and about requires ongoing education and daily effort to thwart the negative impact created by identity thieves. Community West Bank provides extensive safeguards to secure our customers’ financial relationships and is committed to offering education and helpful resources to help protect your business and personal information both online and off.

For more information on how you can protect your identity in general, click on the tabs below.
Prevention Tips

As a consumer, you have little ability to stop or prevent identity theft. However, there are some positive steps to take which will decrease your risk:

  • Don’t carry your Social Security number, memorize it and keep the card at home
  • Watch for the timely arrival of monthly bills and statements in the mail
  • Mail your bills inside the post office, rather than using a mailbox near the street
  • Don’t share your account numbers over the phone or anywhere others can hear you
  • Keep your eye on your credit card at all times while making purchases – a dishonest clerk may distract you and swipe it through a second scanner that records your information
  • Keep track of all credit card receipts and shred any you don’t need
  • Shred any unneeded documents that contain bar codes, account numbers or other sensitive data

Helpful Links & Videos

Monitor your credit report annually

You can obtain a free credit report annually from each of the three nationwide reporting companies at or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

A credit reporting company may charge you a fee for an additional copy of your report within a 12-month period. To buy a copy of your report, contact:

If you believe your identity has been compromised, please refer to the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Recovery Plan. 

FTC's Identify Recovery Plan

Prevention Tips

Business identity thieves and fraudsters are clever and determined, and can quickly take advantage of business owners that do not take basic precautions to protect their business. To better protect your business we support the following guidelines:

  • Use a computer that has industry standard operating systems
  • Install industry standard anti-virus software and make sure that it is updated regularly
  • Install and maintain an industry standard anti-virus email spam filter and malware filter
  • Maintain a separate computer for banking and business applications
  • Use complex formats or passwords between your internet modem and your home PC
  • Keep all application software updated with the latest releases
  • Avoid opening any email that you do not recognized. When in doubt, delete
  • Keep security settings at recommended levels
  • Monitor and reconcile bank accounts daily to recognize fraudulent activity and report unusual transaction activity
  • Never share your password with anyone
  • Turn off your modem when not using your computer for internet activity. Reducing the time that your modem is actively broadcasting limits a hackers’ opportunity to successfully gain control of it

Helpful Links & Videos

If you believe your identity has been compromised, please refer to the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Recovery Plan.

FTC's Identity Recovery Plan (PDF 1.1MB)

Note: This list is not meant to be exhaustive, or reflect any particular industry standard at this time. Customers using the Internet to conduct online financial transactions do so at their own risk and must recognize that the Internet is inherently vulnerable to unauthorized access and attacks. The Bank disclaims any liability associated with such unauthorized access or attacks and does not make any representations, implied or direct, that the listed precautions will prevent or otherwise protect against the same

Tips for Consumers

When you are online be wary about who you give your personal information to, follow the tips provided below:

  • Keep your passwords private and use strong passwords with letter, numbers, special characters, etc.
  • When making a transaction online, make sure it is over a secure, encrypted site. A “lock” icon on the status bar of your browser means your information is safe when transmitted
  • Do not e-mail personal or financial information, because email is not a secure method to transmit personal information
  • If a company that claims to have an account with you sends an emails asking for personal information, don’t click on the links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site, and contact them through the customer service or call the Customer Service number listed on your account statement
  • Don’t over share your personal and private information on Social Networking site
  • Before you dispose of a computer or a mobile device, get rid of all the personal information that it stores
  • Think before you click! If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Stay up-to-date with security patches on your device and your browser.
  • Install a reputable ad blocker for your browser. Ad blockers help protect you from malvertising by preventing ads from being displayed.
Cybersecurity Consumer Resources

Tips for Businesses

Small businesses have valuable information that cyber criminals seek, below are some tips to help keep your small business cyber secure: 

  • Protect computers and networks
  • Require strong authentication
  • Control access to data and computers and create user accounts for each employee
  • Teach employees the basics - establish security practices and policies for employees and appropriate internet usage guidelines
  • Train employees to be careful where and how they connect to the Internet
  • Train employees about the dangers of suspicious emails
  • Patch software in a timely manner
  • Make backup copies of important systems and data
  • Pay close attention to your bank accounts and watch for unauthorized withdrawals
  • Don't forget about tablets and smart phones
  • Watch out for fraudulent transactions and bills
  • Educate yourself. To learn more about protecting your business, visit the "Stop. Think. Connect." resource from Homeland Security.
  • Think before you click! If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Stay up-to-date with security patches on your device and your browser.
  • Install a reputable ad blocker for your browser. Ad blockers help protect you from malvertising by preventing ads from being displayed.

Cybersecurity Business Resources

Below is a list of suggestions provided by the American Bankers Association's recent article "12 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Device From Hackers."

  • Passcode locks: Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.

  • Logging out: Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.

  • Install mobile security software: Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.

  • Stay up-to-date: Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.

  • Downloading Apps: Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary "permissions."

  • Sensitive Information: Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or asocial security number on your mobile device.

  • Take Action: Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.

  • Shoulder Surfers: The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.

  • Don't leave a trace: Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.

  • Mobile phishing: Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know.And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.

  • Caution to Public Wi-Fi: Public connections aren't very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.

  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Community West Bank cares about your financial safety. To protect yourself and prevent unauthorized use of your VISA Debit or ATM card, follow these simple tips:

Protecting Your VISA Debit/ATM Card: 

  1. Keep your card in a safe place, just as you would your cash.
  2. Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) a secret and change it periodically.
  3. Do not share your card number or PIN via unsolicited requests.
  4. Review your account statements and inform Community West Bank immediately if you see discrepancies.
  5. Notify Community West Bank immediately if your card is lost or stolen.


Using an ATM: 

  1. Be aware of your surroundings, and do not use the ATM if you sense suspicious persons or circumstances. Be cautious when using an ATM at night or if the ATM lights are not illuminated.
  2. Park close to the ATM in a well-lit area, and have your Debit/ATM card ready as you approach the ATM.
  3. Check the ATM for fraudulent devices such as “card skimmers” (devices attached to ATMs by criminals to retrieve card numbers and PINs). Potential indicators are damaged surfaces, loose or extra attachments on the card slot or noticeable resistance when pressing the keypad.
  4. Protect your PIN by using your hand or body as a shield when using the keypad.
  5. If you notice suspicious activity while using an ATM, cancel your transaction, take your card and leave the ATM location. Report the activity to law enforcement as well as to the owner/operator of the ATM.
  6. Never display cash at an ATM. Place cash and your card in your pocket or purse immediately after your transaction, and wait to count cash in a safe location.
  7. Keep records of your transactions and always take your receipt!

Please report any security concerns at Community West Bank ATMs by contacting Customer Service at (800) 298-1775.

For more information and tips on how to protect you and your business, visit our Fraud Education & Alerts and Financial Health Club pages.

For additional information on identity theft and learning how to take measures to protect yourself, visit these additional resources:

Identity Protection/Cybersecurity Videos



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