Frequently Asked Questions
Fraudulent The Middlefield Banking Company Bank look-alike emails asking for personal and confidential information have recently been sent to some The Middlefield Banking Company customers. These emails are not from The Middlefield Banking Company Bank. Do not respond to these emails or click on any links or attachments contained within them. The Middlefield Banking Company Bank will never ask you to provide your Online Banking sign-in ID or Online Banking password by email. Click on the links below to see examples of recent fraudulent emails sent to The Middlefield Banking Company customers.
How to Report Email Fraud
If you believe you have received a fraudulent email, please forward the email immediately to and then delete the email.
If you have already responded to an email you believe is fraudulent, please contact a The Middlefield Banking Company representative immediately.
Q. What is "phishing"?
A. The term "phishing" comes from the way in which internet scammers "phish" for your personal financial information. This involves sending fraudulent emails that appear to be from a legitimate company that you recognize and do business with, such as a financial institution, in order to trick you into surrendering private information that can be used to initiate fraudulent transactions or complete an identity theft.
In many cases, the fraudulent email will warn you of a serious problem with your account that needs immediate attention, and will threaten to suspend or close your account if your personal information is not updated within a given time frame. The email then directs you to click on a link to a phony website where you are asked to update personal information, such as your Social Security number, passwords, credit card information, bank account numbers and contact information.
Any email you receive that appears to be from The Middlefield Banking Company and requests updated personal information, such as your Social Security number, account number, secret codes, or passwords, is fraudulent. The link contained in the email is NOT to The Middlefield Banking Company Bank's website, even though it may imitate our style and graphics.
Q. Who is sending these fraudulent emails?
A. Often times these email comes from outside the United States such as internet servers located in South America, Eastern Europe, Russa, and China. The FBI has a department that investigates these kinds of emails (and crimes) on a full time bases.
Q. Does The Middlefield Banking Company send out marketing e-mail?
A. Yes. We use e-mail and our websites to inform customers about accounts and services we offer that may be of value to them.
Q. What should I do if I'm suspicious of e-mail bearing the Middlefield Bank logo?
A. If you are suspicious, don't reply to, click on, or enter any information. If it says it's from The Middlefield Banking Company and you're suspicious, you can forward it to or use our online form to report this suspicious activity. If you entered information about one of your Middlefield Bank accounts, you should call us immediately. We investigate each incident and take steps to prevent further unauthorized e-mail from being sent.
Q. How can an e-mail be fake when it says it's from The Middlefield Banking Company, addresses me by name, has my correct e-mail address, and quotes part of my account number?
A. It's the result of an elaborate new type of scam called “spear phishing.” Criminal groups collect data from multiple sources and combine it to create more convincing e-mails designed to convince you to share information that should be confidential between you and the bank.
Q. I get several e-mails a week that claim to be from The Middlefield Banking Company. Why can't you stop them? Why don't you prosecute the people responsible?
A. We can't share all the steps we take, but we are able to stop many scams. First, we try to shut down the server that's sending the e-mails. Then we work with domestic and international law enforcement to track and arrest the criminals responsible. Many, however, are based outside the United States, and disguise their e-mail's origins by sending them from hacked computers.
Q. What is the subject of these emails?
A. The subject line of the email can vary. Any email claiming to be from The Middlefield Banking Company Bank that asks for customer information should be forwarded to immediately. Delete the email after it has been forwarded to us.
Q. I have e-mail that looks like it's from The Middlefield Banking Company. How can I tell if it's legitimate?
A. Looks can be deceiving. As criminals make more credible forgeries of legitimate e-mail and websites, you can no longer rely on seeing familiar graphics like the Middlefield Bank logo. The key to determining the authenticity of e-mail lies in the tone of the message and in the nature of the solicitation. Criminals want you to give them information and they're not very subtle about it. Our goal in marketing via e-mail is to inform you about a product or service we think you might be interested in.
It's not our practice to:
Q. How do the criminals doing the phishing know I have an account with The Middlefield Banking Company?
A. They might not know anything about you specifically, but they do know The Middlefield Banking Company has millions of customers worldwide. Their idea is to cast a very broad net in hopes of catching unsuspecting customers.
Q. I don't have an account with The Middlefield Banking Company, but I'm getting e-mail about my Middlefield Bank account. How does that happen?
A. It works like this: Phishers target the customers of large companies. They phish millions of e-mail accounts, knowing that many of their targets will be among the recipients. In the process, they end up sending mail to many people who aren't customers.
Q. Why can't The Middlefield Banking Company stop these e-mails from being sent to me?
A. We don't know you're getting them because we aren't sending them. When you forward a copy to , we will investigate and work to apprehend the senders.
Q. If I send to . How do I know you received it and what do you do with it?
A. We'll send you an automated response to let you know we got it. If further contact is requested, we'll follow up as soon as possible.
Q. Is The Middlefield Banking Company proactively working to stop phishing?
A. Yes! We aggressively evaluate the messages, work with law enforcement to shut down sites and provide resources to help you become more aware of the issue.
Q. How do other people get my e-mail address?
A. Criminals obtain e-mail addresses through various means, including purchasing mailing lists from reputable companies. Often, they have no idea where you bank or who issues your credit card. They just know that we have millions of customers, and if they phish enough people, they'll eventually get lucky.
Q. What is the "Account Manager" or "Transfer Agent" scam?
A. One of the newest email scams is the "Account Manager" scam, which offers to let you become an "Account Manager" or "Transfer Agent" for a third party, usually in another country.
Scammers will try to solicit you through an email or web advertisement, offering to let you work from home and be an "Account Manager" or "Money Transfer Agent" for them. In turn, they will let you earn commissions for your trouble and offer to increase your fee the more transfers you complete for them. Money is then transferred out of an unsuspecting person's account and into yours. Then you are asked to send the money to them through Western Union under the impression that you will keep a percentage of the money they have deposited into your account.
If you agree to become an Account Manager for the scammers, you have no idea where the money is coming from or where it is going. It could be used for a variety of illegal purposes, including terrorism, and you could be prosecuted if caught. Do not believe any emails or web advertisements offering to let you earn money by transferring cash.
If you receive an email or see an advertisement offering to make you an "Account Manager" or "Money Transfer Agent," forward it immediately to your local Secret Service office or the national Financial Crimes Division at 950 H Street, Washington, D.C., 20001 or fax to 202-406-5031.
Q. How do I protect myself from fraudulent emails (phishing)?
A. The Middlefield Banking Company Bank will never ask you to provide your Online Banking sign-in ID or Online Banking password by email. Use the following tips for preventing email fraud and identity theft.
If you are suspicious of any email you receive that appears to be from The Middlefield Banking Company Bank, contact us immediately.
Q. If I have replied to an email I believe is fraudulent, how do I report my card as stolen?
A. Phone a The Middlefield Banking Company representative in your area to report your card as stolen.
Q. I have already replied to one of these emails and given out my personal account information. Who else should I contact if I think I have been a victim of phishing?
A. After you have contacted The Middlefield Banking Company and alerted us to the situation, you may also want to contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether or not you need to place a fraud alert on your file. This will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
You may also want to report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or 1-877-IDTHEFT.