New Malware Affecting Home & Small Business Routers

Federal officials and cyber security experts have been reporting about a newly disclosed malware known as “VPNFilter.” Security researchers are estimating that over 500,000 small business and home office routers could be affected. Among the devices identified are routers from Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, TP-LINK and QNAP. While the list of devices reported is not all inclusive, these are the brands identified at this time.

The malware is destructive and it is important for home users to take precautionary steps. Below are some recommended best practices to help protect you and your home network:

  1. Modem/Router Reboot: A simple reboot of your modem/router can help prevent your device from becoming infected. This can be accomplished by unplugging the device from the electrical outlet, waiting at least 10 seconds, and then plugging the device back in.
  2. Proper Password(s): Always make sure any device at home that connects to the internet have unique passwords and never the default admin passwords that come with the device.
  3. Patch/Update Firmware: Many routers and modems receive security updates from time to time, but if you are not sure, contact your Internet Service Provider or go to your router’s website for the most up to date firmware or update for your router. Netgear and Linksys have already established how-to guides on their websites.

Important Tax Fraud Alert

The Internal Revenue Service has issued an alert on erroneous federal tax refunds resulting from an emerging fraud scheme effecting thousands of people. Real taxpayer information including bank account and routing information for direct deposit has been stolen from tax professionals and used to file fraudulent returns. The fraudster contacts the taxpayer posing as an employee of a debt collection agency on behalf of the IRS with instructions on returning the money. If this happens to you, the IRS requests you contact the Automated Clearing House department of the bank/financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return it to the IRS. Taxpayers are also asked to contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 (individuals) or (800) 829-4933 (business) to explain why the direct deposit is being returned. For more information,

Tax Topic Number 161, Returning an Erroneous Refund

Trusteer Rapport

Trusteer Rapport is lightweight security software that helps to protect your online banking communication from being stolen by criminals. Trusteer Rapport is highly recommended by Citizens Bank as an additional layer of security to your own online security best practices, including anti-virus or security software you already use. By protecting your internet connection and creating a tunnel for safer online communication with Bank-By-Net, Trusteer Rapport blocks many malicious attempts to steal your money or account information. 

Even as effective as Trusteer Rapport is, nothing can guarantee complete protection from fraudulent or criminal attacks. Therefore, it is always recommended that you be constantly vigilant about your computer’s security and that you continue to monitor your bank accounts for any suspicious activity. 

To install Trusteer Rapport on your computer, login to Bank-By-Net, and you will be presented the option to download the Trusteer Rapport software. Citizens Bank customers can also download Trusteer Rapport by visiting Trusteer Rapport for Consumers or Trusteer Rapport for Businesses.

Important Debit Card Information

To protect your security and account, it may become necessary for Citizens Bank to temporarily block Debit MasterCard® activity in certain countries and areas. Citizens Bank Debit MasterCard® transactions are currently blocked for the following: 

  • Australia
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Cyprus
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates 

If you plan on traveling, please be sure to check the blocked list before using your Citizens Bank Debit MasterCard® . If you would like to use your card in one of these areas, please contact customer service at 866-882-2265. For your convenience, the list will be updated on a regular basis. 

As the level of fraudulent activity decreases, we will lift the block on a particular state or country. 

ATM based PIN transactions will still be permitted for obtaining cash.

Privacy and Security

Citizens Bank is committed to protecting customer confidentiality. As we explore new technological innovations that allow us to better serve our customers, we will ensure that privacy and information security standards are upheld.

Citizens Bank does not share non-public information about our customers with other companies except to conduct our business, comply with applicable law (s), and to protect against fraud. For example, we may disclose information to third parties about your accounts if:

  • We have entered an agreement to have another party provide Bill Pay service
  • For completing transfers and bill payments
  • To verify the existence and condition of a payment account for a payee holder of a check issued by use of the Bill Pay service
  • To comply with laws, government agency rules or orders, court orders, subpoenas or other legal processes or to provide information to regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies in accordance with applicable law
  • You give us written permission
  • We will not sell your name or other non-public information to other companies

We have established and continually maintain security standards and procedures to protect you from unauthorized access to confidential information via the Internet. Bank-By-Net customers enjoy the protection of our multi-factor authentication process including personally selected images and challenge question features.

For our complete Privacy Policy click here

Fraud Protection Center

At Citizens Bank keeping your information secure is one of our most important responsibilities. Whether you choose to Bank-By-Net, Bank-By-Phone or bank in person at one of our locations, your financial security is our top priority.

We want to provide some helpful information for you to protect yourself from identity theft and other scams as well as resources for the unlikely event that you are affected by a lost or stolen ID. 

If You Are Contacted By Citizens Bank, REMEMBER 

  • Be positive you know with whom you are speaking on the phone BEFORE giving out credit card, Debit Card or bank account numbers 
  • Citizens Bank will NOT ask for your ATM or Debit Card PIN (personal identification number) for any reason
  • Citizens Bank will NEVER contact you via e-mail regarding sensitive financial information
  • If you receive a phone call from someone identifying himself or herself with Citizens Bank and you are unsure of the person's identity, hang up and call us back to verify the authenticity of the person with whom you are speaking

Using Credit & Debit Cards Safely

Whether you are traveling, enjoying a night out or shopping, be careful and aware of your surroundings when using your credit cards and Citizens Bank Debit MasterCard® for purchases and cash withdrawals from ATMs. Guard your card numbers and pin numbers carefully and be especially aware of people holding cell phones near you. With camera phones becoming popular, thieves can take a photo of your card and have your name, number and expiration date which they could then use to make purchases on your account.

What If My Wallet Is Lost or Stolen?

  1. Prepare a list of everything in your wallet including account numbers and telephone contact information (or photocopy the front and back of all of your cards) so that you have the information to quickly report the loss. Keep this list in a safe place other than your wallet. If you are traveling keep a copy of your passport for identification. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your wallet is stolen, which proves to credit providers that you were diligent.
  2. Cancel your credit cards immediately if they are stolen. However, the key is having the toll-free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. 
  3. Immediately call the three national credit-reporting organizations and place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. This alert notifies companies that review your credit that your information was stolen and that you must be contacted by phone before new credit can be authorized. The phone numbers are listed in the “Useful Links and Phone Numbers” section below: 
  4. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your wallet is stolen, which proves to credit providers you were diligent.

E-mail Fraud

Citizens Bank as well as other institutions such as the IRS, FDIC and Department of Homeland Security will not request personal, financial or security information from you via email. This practice is known as “phishing” and is used by thieves to steal your identity.

Other Tips For Added Protection

  1. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
  2. Don’t pre-print your telephone number on your checks.
  3. Consider using your PO Box or work address on your checks instead of your home address.
  4. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks.
  5. Make a photocopy of the contents of your wallet - copy both sides of your driver’s license, credit cards, etc. Keep the photocopy in a safe place, NOT IN YOUR WALLET.
  6. Carry a photocopy of your passport when you travel here or abroad.

Useful Links and Phone Numbers

Credit Reporting Agencies:

Identity Theft Resources: