Whether you’re using the web or checking your e-mail, we care about your security and privacy, so please take a moment to look over the following information as a resource for fraud prevention.
Phishing, Vishing and Identity Theft
Phishing is when someone fraudulently attempts to get your personal information posing as a legitimate financial institution, retailer or government agency. An example and the most common form of phishing would be via email. However, text and voice message attempts have become more common, as well. A “spammer” (a term used for these offenders) will send out an email which they create to look almost identical to a legitimate organizations. They may use the company logo and create an email address very close to that organizations. Most of these fraudulent emails will ask you to click on a link to a website that would be almost identical to the organizations, once you’ve reached that website, they may ask you to login using your user name and password. Once you’ve done that, they have your information and will be able to access your accounts by creating cards with your information.
Vishing is another form of a scammer fraudulently attempting to acquire your confidential bank or credit union account information. This happens when you receive a call on your home or mobile phone from someone pretending to be from your bank or credit union. These calls are typically an automated system that leaves a message stating there is a problem with your account and asks that you call back a phone number or visit a website, then asks for your personal account information. As in a phishing scam, if you offer your information, they will be able to access your accounts by creating cards with your information.
Other forms of scams are via text messaging on your cell phone.
It is important to note that if you do relinquish your information by responding to any of these types of scams you may be liable for any losses incurred to your accounts.
How can we prevent this from happening?
- The problem with phishing and vishing is that financial institutions, retailers and government agencies cannot directly control it. Scammers are setting up fake sites and emails, and sending them out to thousands (in some cases millions) of consumers. There’s really no way to address this problem without implementing new standards and software throughout the Internet. It is important to understand that data security at a financial institution or other organization is not compromised when these attempts to gain personal information from individuals are made. The only way information becomes compromised is if the individual falls prey to the scam and actually gives out their personal information.
- Since we can’t prevent it from happening, the best way to minimize the impact is through education. If you ever receive an email like this, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS PROVIDED IN THE TEXT OF THE EMAIL MESSAGE. If possible, don’t even open the email message – simply delete it, or add the sender to your blocked list – because it is obviously spam.
- DO NOT FORWARD CHAIN EMAILS. Often, chain emails are sent as a ploy for spammers to gather email addresses (they are sitting on the back end, collecting the email addresses of everyone you forward chain emails to). They then turn around and sell those email addresses to spammers who intend to launch phishing attacks, and other tactics of identity theft. When you receive chain emails, you should delete them and not forward them to anyone. By forwarding them to others, you are potentially exposing their email addresses to criminals, and opening them up to future attacks.
For even more information about phishing scams and how they work, this link is a good place to start www.phishinginfo.org
If you have received an email message, text message or voice message claiming to be from Our Community Credit Union and asking for you to give out personal, confidential information it is fraudulent, delete it immediately. Our Community Credit Union , would never ask you to give your personal and confidential information through an email message, text message or voice message. If we initiate contact with you, then we already have this information on record and would have no need to ask.
IMPORTANT: Credit Union Members: If you are a OCCU member and you have received one of these fruadulent messages and DID give out your personal information please contact the Credit Union immediately at (800) 426-5657.
Non-Members: If you are not an OCCU member, received one of these messages and gave out your personal information, you should contact your Financial Institution immediately.
It only takes a few seconds to become a victim of financial fraud, but it often takes months to recover!
Armed with discarded credit card receipts, checks, or deposit slips, today’s crooks are making unauthorized transactions from victim’s accounts, and even opening new fraudulent credit card and checking accounts.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your identity from theft:
- Examine all your financial statements. Promptly reconcile your monthly checking account statement. Save check stubs and credit, debit, and ATM receipts. Report discrepancies between your records and monthly statements to the appropriate company. Check credit bureau reports at least once a year.
- Limit the paper trail. It lowers the chances of criminals stumbling upon useful information. Store receipts and check carbons in a safe place. Or rip them up, especially areas where account numbers are visible. Destroy blank checks from closed-out accounts and expired or unused credit cards. And tear up any credit card receipt carbons.
- Guard your purse or wallet. Thieves often target unoccupied vehicles, unlocked office drawers, and health club locker rooms.
- Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Never keep your ATM PIN in the same place as your card.
- Beware of phone scams. It’s almost impossible to tell who is and who isn’t a criminal over the phone. So, never give your PIN or any other personal financial information to an unknown caller.
- Check your mail. If you haven’t received mail for a few days, you may be the victim of mail diversion fraud. This scam involves a crook forging an individual’s signature on a change-of-address form to divert your mail and obtain financial information. If you suspect your address has been changed without your permission, contact the post office.
- Track financial statements. Find out when financial statements and plastic cards are due to arrive. If they’re late, contact your Credit Union or appropriate issuer.
- Protect yourself on-line. New technology allow on-line vendors to assure customers reasonable security from on-line theft. If you doubt the security of the vendor, order the items over the telephone.
To learn more about identity theft fraud safety visit www.idtheftcenter.org. If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft. If you believe your Social Security Number is being used fraudulently contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
It’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report each year from each credit-reporting agency.
The three major agencies are:
Experian: www.experian.com; credit report copy – (888) 397-3742; fraud unit – (888) 397-3742
Equifax: www.equifax.com; credit report copy – (800) 685-1111; fraud unit – (800) 525-6285
TransUnion: www.transunion.com; credit report copy – (800) 888-4213; fraud unit – (800) 680-7289