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Customer Safety Tips

Online Banking and ATM Safety

At Merchants Bank of California, N.A. we have no higher priority than the security and privacy of your personal and financial information. We value your trust and we make every effort to protect your information while providing you with exceptional customer service. Our privacy policy explains the precautions we take to protect your personal and financial information. Merchants Bank also wants to help you protect yourself from identity theft, email “phishing” and other crimes targeting consumers. The following information is provided to help you protect yourself from becoming a victim. In addition, we have provided some action items for repairing your good name if you become a victim of identity theft.

Online Banking Safety Tips - Protect Yourself

Access Secure Site for Merchants Bank of California, N.A.

Never click on a link in an email that directs you to our website, you should always access Merchants Bank’s website by typing the correct website address, www.merchantsbankca.com, into your browser. Never provide any personal information in an email or website that you did not directly access.

Verify your banking session is secure

There are two indicators to verify that your session is secure. The first indicator that your session is secure is the use of https:// in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – some browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, change the color of the URL window when you are in a secure session. The second indicator that your session is secure is the presence of a digital certificate represented by a padlock or key in the bottom right-hand corner of the site – double click the padlock/key icon to see details about the organization with which you are in a secure session.

From time to time, Merchants Bank of California, N.A. may send you an email notice or alert. However we will never ask you to:

  • Provide any personal or account information via email.
  • Give us your Login ID or Password via email.
  • Send personal or account information via unsecure email.

Email And Website Fraud


Email fraud scams are commonly referred to as “phishing” or “spoofing”. In this type of scam, a consumer receives an email directing them to a fraudulent website. In most cases, the criminal has designed the website to closely resemble that of a legitimate organization, making it very difficult to detect that it is a bogus site. Criminals usually use this scam with businesses that are well known and that are normally considered trustworthy by consumers. In recent years, government agencies, financial institutions, auction sites, electronic payment services and other legitimate organizations have had their websites “spoofed”. The “spoofed” website will typically ask the consumer to verify or confirm personal and financial information and the criminal will then use the information obtained to commit fraud or other crimes.


"Pharming" (pronounced as “farming”) is another form of online fraud, very similar to phishing. “Pharmers” set up bogus websites to obtain confidential information and perpetrate online scams. However, pharming scams are much more difficult to detect than phishing scams because criminals are not dependent upon the victim accepting a “bait” email. Instead, rather than relying on users clicking an enticing link in a fake email message, pharmers redirect victims to a bogus website even when they type the correct website address in their browser. The criminal then proceeds to load spyware and adware on the victim’s computer to collect personal information and use it to commit fraud or other crimes.

Online Banking Safety Tips - How We Protect You

At Merchants Bank of California, N.A., protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our clients’ information has always been a priority. Our privacy policy extends to online banking and we are committed to ensuring measures are in place to mitigate the potential of having your confidential information compromised while visiting our website.

Information Collection

Various tools are provided on our website to help clients and potential clients learn about the products and services we offer. When browsing our website and using tools such as calculators, we do not collect, capture or retain your personal information. We use website browser software tools such as cookies and web server logs to gather information about the usage of our website in order to constantly improve our site and better serve our clients. We also use website log files and IP addresses to analyze trends, administer the website, track user movements and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Security Procedures

We want you to use our website with confidence, knowing that the information you submit to us is secure. The encryption strength varies depending on the browser you are using, however, most current browsers offer 128 bit encryption. Additionally, many browsers display a secured lock symbol to indicate a secure connection. Emails that you may send to us outside our online banking service may not be secure unless we advise you that security measures will be in place prior to your transmitting the information. For that reason, we ask that you do not send confidential information such as social security or account numbers to us through an unsecured email. We provide a secured email option on our “Contact Us” page, which can be utilized for encrypting and securing email messages.

For clients, when you login to Internet Banking the SSL protocol is used to establish a secure and encrypted session with our service providers. This encryption is designed to ensure the privacy and integrity of the information exchanged. You can tell whether your browser is in secure mode by looking for the secured lock symbol on your browser window. To obtain details about the encryption,position your mouse over a blank area on your screen and right-click to select “properties” information about the page being viewed (Note: the title for “properties” will vary by browser). The properties or page information section will indicate the encryption strength being used to view the secure page.

We have implemented multifactor and multilayer authentication, in addition to online banking user security, which requires multiple pieces of information to validate identity while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and FFIEC recommendations. Multifactor Authentication automatically monitors accounts for unusual activity based on account history and requires customers to verify their identity by answering pre-selected challenge questions. We have also implemented site key authentication which allows customers to select an image that will be displayed upon log-in to further verify they are connected to the bank’s legitimate website rather than a fraudulent site. Token solutions for online banking provide hacker-resistant multi-factor authentication protection for online transactions. Based on time-synchronization technology, this authentication device solution generates a simple, one time authentication code that changes at the push of a button. Customers are thus able access their account online by entering the token code following their existing login credentials – resulting in a unique, one-time-use passcode that positively authenticates the customer and only permits access to online banking if the code is validated.


Merchants Bank of California, N.A. uses cookies on our website to help us confirm your identity and keep your online banking transactions secure. Merchants Bank does not collect or retain any personally identifiable information when you do not bank online with us. "Cookies" are a feature of web browser software that allows web servers to recognize the computer used to access a website. They are small pieces of data that are stored on a user's computer by their web browser. Persistent cookies are stored on the computer's hard drive and are accessible until they expire or are manually deleted. Session cookies are temporary and are stored in the computer's memory until the web browser is closed. Information gathered through cookies and web server logs may include information such as the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at the website and the websites visited before and just after a site. Cookies can remember what information a user accesses on one web page to simplify subsequent interactions with that website by the same user or to use the information to streamline the user's transactions on related web pages. This makes it easier for a user to move from web page to web page and to complete transactions over the Internet. You always have the option to set your browser to reject cookies. However, you will have to accept cookies when conducting online banking transactions with Merchants Bank. We encourage you to always complete your online banking transaction and sign off from your Merchants Bank account prior to surfing other sites.


We are not responsible for practices employed by websites of other companies linked to from our site, nor the information or content contained therein. We cannot, and do not, make any representations about the security, practices and policies of these companies, and are not responsible in any way for how these companies use cookies or any information you provide to them. This remains true even where the linked site appears within the parameters or window/frame of our website. Often, links to other websites are provided solely as pointers to information on topics that may be useful to users of our site. Please remember that when you use a link to go from our website to another web site, our Privacy Policy is no longer in effect. Your interaction on any other website, including websites which have a link to our site, is subject to that website's own rules and policies. Please read those rules and policies before proceeding.

Children's Privacy

Our Site is not intended for use by children under the age of 13. We do not knowingly market to, nor solicit data from children.

ATM Safety

Your safety is important to us and we would like to encourage you to keep the following tips in mind when using your card at an ATM:

  • Be aware of your surroundings before conducting an ATM transaction. If you see someone or something suspicious, leave and come back later.
  • When using a walk-up ATM, park as close as possible and check for suspicious persons or circumstances before leaving the safety of your car.
  • Do not leave your car running or the keys in the ignition while at the ATM. As you return to your vehicle, have your car keys ready and check around you and under your vehicle.
  • If possible, have someone accompany you to the ATM and have your ATM card ready before you approach the machine.
  • Use an ATM located in a highly trafficked area for additional security.
  • Check the card reader to ensure it has not been tampered with.
  • Use your body and hands to shield the screen or keypad when entering your PIN..
  • Do not count your money while at the ATM. Put your money, receipt and card away immediately and do not linger at the ATM.
  • Do not discard receipts for ATM transactions. Verify receipts against your monthly bank statement and report any discrepancies immediately.
  • If you are followed after using an ATM, head to a place where activity, people and security can be found. Call the police if necessary.
  • If you are followed after using an ATM, seek a place where people, activity and security can be found. If necessary, call the police.
  • Do not count your money while at the ATM. Put your money, receipt and card away quickly. Always take your ATM receipt, which is stamped with your transaction.
  • When using a walk-up ATM, park as close as you can to the machine. Before leaving the safety of your car, check for suspicious persons or circumstances. Have your ATM card ready before you approach the machine.
  • Do not leave your car running or the keys in the ignition as you walk up to an ATM. As you return after your transaction, have your car keys ready and check around and under your vehicle.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Treat your ATM card like cash and ALWAYS keep it in a safe place.
  • Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) secret. Never write your PIN on our card, tell your code to anyone, or allow anyone to enter your PIN.
  • Do not give out any information about your ATM card over the telephone. The Bank will never ask you for your PIN.
  • If your ATM card is lost/stolen or your PIN is compromised, report it immediately to the Bank by calling 800-887-9622.