Baylake Bank Provides Tips to Keep Finances Festive Baylake Bank. Helping Build the Good Life.

December 15, 2011 --  You're getting ready for company, preparing a huge holiday meal, finalizing Christmas lists, and busily wrapping gifts. The last thing you want to worry about right now is your money; your guard is down, and scammers know it.

Scams occur year-round, but the holidays are prime time for criminals to take advantage of preoccupied shoppers and merry-makers. They prey upon unsuspecting consumers by contacting them and asking for specific account information, such as PIN, account numbers, and other personal information. If successful, the scammer gains access to the victim's bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial assets.

There are three basic steps to prevent scammer disaster during the holidays and throughout the year:

1. STOP Do not respond immediately to voicemails, e-mails or text messages requesting personal information. Request the caller's name and contact information; oftentimes, scammers will hang up if they sense your suspicion. Never give out any of your personal information unless you have initiated a phone call, and have verified the legitimacy of the phone number you are calling.

2. THINK Ask yourself why your bank would need this information when they already have it. A legitimate financial institution will never request specific account information via phone, e-mail, or text message. They can look that information up in their records.

3. CALL call the number for your bank that appears on your bank statement, not the number in the voice message or e-mail soliciting your information. Contact local law enforcement if you think you've been a victim of a scam.

One of the most common tactics used during the holidays, which is also peak shopping season, is a message notifying the consumer that their bank account has been frozen and they must call an 800 number or respond to an email with their account information in order to have it reinstated. Remember: Stop even though the temptation to respond immediately is pressing, resist giving out any personal information; Think if your account had truly been frozen, your bank would ask you to visit your local branch or office, not give out your information; and, Call call your bank (using the number on your statement) and verify your account's status. They will be able to help you sort out the situation.

So, as you scurry through the holidays, remember that scammers are equally busy targeting their next victims. Just remember to "Stop, Think, Call" and you'll be free to enjoy the festivities!

Baylake Bank, a Baylake Corp company and Member FDIC/Equal Housing Lender, serves its Wisconsin communities from financial centers in Brown, Door, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Waupaca, and Waushara counties and from its website at www.baylake.com. For more information call (920) 743-5551 or 1-800-267-3610
.Member FDICEqual Housing Lender.