Protect yourself against fraud

At Bank of Hawaii, we are pleased to offer our customers the latest in electronic banking services. As with all new technology however, the potential for abuse comes hand in hand with the promise of added convenience.

While we do everything possible to ensure that your transactions are safe and tamper-proof, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the chance that you’ll be a victim of fraud or electronic theft.

To assist you, we’ve created the following informational packet for you to download and use:

Account Fraud Care Kit (PDF)

Vishing (Voice Phishing) Alert

Please be aware of fraudulent voice calls being received by customers. The callers will make their phone number appear as if they are calling from Bank of Hawaii, often times notifying you that there is possible fraud activity on your account. The fraudster will then ask for your account information to be able to log into your Bank of Hawaii Online Banking account. As a reminder, Bank of Hawaii will never contact you asking for your information such as your account credentials, PIN, passwords, or your one-time code sent to your phone. Please see below for more information on vishing and what you can do to protect yourself.

Vishing (Voice Phishing)

Vishing is a type of fraud that uses phone calls to trick victims into divulging personal, financial or account information. These phone calls can appear to be calling from a local area code or even from an organization you know. The goal is to get you to either call a phone number or use your phone’s keypad to divulge your account number or other sensitive account details. The message is often urgent; for example, notifying victims that their bank account has been compromised.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Do not respond to phone calls or automated voice messages that request personal or confidential information.
  • Do not share your full banking details with anyone. Bank of Hawaii will never contact you asking for your information such as your account credentials, PIN, passwords, or your one-time banking passcode sent to your phone.
  • Do be on your guard when answering phone calls, especially from numbers you do not recognize. Watch out for unusual, high-pressure, or urgent phone calls, especially if they ask for any personal information or your login details.
  • Do verify phone numbers before calling anyone back. To confirm if a Bank of Hawaii phone call is legitimate, you can call the Customer Service Center at 808-643-3888 or toll-free at 1-888-643-3888.

Your computer

  • Control physical access to your computer. Prevent unauthorized persons from using it, and when you leave your computer, log off or lock your workstation.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and ensure your anti-virus and anti-spyware is up to date by downloading updates regularly. Thoroughly scan your computer, removable media, and email for viruses and other malicious content.
  • Open emails and download software only from trustworthy sources. Be careful about clicking on links and opening email attachments. Download applications directly from reputable websites.
  • Regularly install security updates for your operating system (e.g. Windows), browser (e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer) and all application software such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat. This will help ensure that your computer is safe from the latest vulnerabilities.
  • Consider using a personal firewall. Firewalls prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer, especially if you connect to the Internet via a DSL or a cable modem.
More resources

National Cyber Security Alliance

Your online transactions

  • Use a strong password. Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess. Avoid choosing names and words found in a dictionary. Use a mix of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters.
  • Change your passwords often. Memorize your password and do not share it with anyone. Don’t use the same password for all your online accounts.
  • Don’t send sensitive personal or financial information unless it is encrypted on a secure website. Look for the presence of “https://” in your browser’s address bar and a “lock” or “key” icon in your browser’s status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Always sign off from your online banking session.
  • Do not use email for conducting financial transactions. Confidential information should be encrypted when being sent over the Internet. Bank of Hawaii Online Banking users are encouraged to use the Message Center to communicate with Bank of Hawaii about their accounts.
  • Turn off the “auto fill” or “auto complete” functions on your computer. Some computers will remember your username and passwords for you. To avoid this information from being automatically populated, turn off these functions on your computer and phone.
  • Do business only with companies you know and trust. If you suspect a website is not what it purports to be, leave the site immediately.
More resources

Federal Trade Commission

Advance fee fraud

Advance fee fraud is a scheme where victims are conned into paying an “advance fee” in order to “claim” a fictitious winning, inheritance, or other large sum of money. Examples of this include a letter stating that you’ve won a lottery in a foreign country. In order to claim the prize, however, the letter instructs you to pay taxes and transfer fees upfront as required by that country’s laws. You pay the fees, but you’re never awarded your prize money.

Tips to protect yourself
  • If you receive an unsolicited email that offers you a commission for assisting in the transfer of funds into an overseas bank account or tells you that you have won a sweepstakes or lottery you never entered, simply ignore the email.
  • Never pay “advance fees” or “service charges.” It is illegal for anyone to charge any fees or taxes in advance for processing your application, guaranteeing your loan, or claiming a prize.
  • Determine the legitimacy of the proposal. Contact the U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington D.C., for help in determining whether the foreign business proposal is legitimate.
  • Warn your family and friends. Tell your family, friends, and associates about any scams you receive and how not to respond to it. Public awareness can help prevent advance fee fraud.
More resources

Advance Fee Fraud Brochure (PDF)

Con artists and other scams

This age-old practice takes place when someone wins your confidence through smooth, convincing stories—typically verbal conversations or written/electronic correspondence. These “con artists” are trained to win your trust in order to extract important information about you, your job, your family and your finances. The information they obtain is then used to commit fraudulent acts.

Be on the alert if the message conveyed tells you any of the following things:

  • You must “act now” or the offer won't be good.
  • You've won a “free” gift, vacation or prize, but you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
  • You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier. (You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.)
  • You don't need to check out the company with anyone else before responding to the caller's offer.
  • You don't need any written information about their company or their references.
  • You can't afford to miss this “high-profit, no-risk” offer.

If you receive these instructions, or similar lines from an unfamiliar source, do not act on it and appropriately terminate the correspondence.

Tips to protect yourself

Be careful who you give your information to. Do not give out personal information over the phone without first confirming whom you are speaking to and why they need the information. Personal information includes your Social Security Number, credit card or bank account numbers, check routing codes, or loan numbers.

  • Be wary of extravagant claims, gifts, or prizes. Be on guard for suspicious emails or phone calls asking you to “verify you as a lucky winner.” Get all promises in writing and review them carefully. If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.
  • Never pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes or processing fees, he or she is violating federal law.
  • Resist high pressure sales tactics. Legitimate businesses don’t oversell their product. Don't be afraid to hang up the phone if you are not interested.
  • Verify the organization. Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box. Call the given phone number to see if the number is correct and working. Check out the company with your local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau, or the Attorney General’s Office.
  • To confirm if a Bank of Hawaii email or phone solicitation is legitimate - Forward the email to or call the Customer Service Center at 808-643-3888 or toll-free at 1-888-643-3888.
    • If Bank of Hawaii calls you, the representative may ask you to verify your identity with account information that you should be able to provide. The information will not require full disclosure of personal identifying information or confidential identifying financial information—such as 9-digit SSN, user ID, passwords, PINs, credit card numbers, account numbers, etc.
More resources

National Consumers League

ATM safety

Your convenient access to a global network of ATMs is a priority at Bank of Hawaii. As part of our ongoing commitment to you, we want to remind you to follow these security tips:

  • Prepare in advance for your transaction. Be ready with your card and have your transaction deposit envelope ready to deposit. Take an extra envelope for next time, too.
  • Check your surroundings and stay alert. Don’t use an ATM if anyone suspicious is around. After dark, consider having a friend along.
  • Don’t hesitate to cancel and leave. If something seems wrong, cancel your transaction, take your card and go to another ATM.
  • Never display cash. Count your cash only where you feel secure. If there’s ever any discrepancy, you can always call our Customer Service Center at 808-643-3888 or toll-free at 1-888-643-3888, or visit your nearest Bank of Hawaii branch.
  • Report anything suspicious. If you spot anything unusual, please call the police or notify us by calling our Customer Service Center at 808-643-3888 or toll-free at 1-888-643-3888.
  • Protect your card. Your card accesses your money, so keep it safe at all times. If your card is lost or stolen, let us know immediately.
  • Keep your personal identification number a secret. Memorize it. Don’t write it on the card, and don’t lend your card or tell anyone your PIN. Stand close to the ATM and away from others in line to avoid detection of your PIN or other account information. If you’re able, use your opposite hand to block the view of others when you enter your PIN code.
  • Practice safety at a drive-up ATM. Keep your distance, and don’t be blocked in. Let any car at the ATM completely pull away before you drive up. When waiting in line, leave space in front, so you can pull out if necessary. Also, keep your car running and your doors locked both in line and at the machine.

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