Why make it easy for thieves to get their hands on your sensitive information? Thwart dumpster divers by shredding papers containing confidential information-particularly Social Security numbers, credit card offers and statements. It only takes a second to shred, but months or even years to clear your record once scammers set up fraudulent accounts in your name.
Beware of Phishing and Other ID Theft Scams
Phishing - pronounced fishing-is the latest form of identity theft. It's when thieves act as if they are representing us and try to "hook" you into providing personal information. Once you're "hooked," the thieves can do serious damage to your financial accounts. They can dupe you into providing your Social Security number, financial account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, mothers' maiden names and other personal information.
How Does Phishing Work?
The most common form of phishing is by e-mail. For instance, you could receive an e-mail from us, asking you to "reconfirm" your personal information. Unfortunately, this e-mail is not from us, but from a phisher pretending to be a representative of the credit union.
Typically, the e-mail contains a link to a Web site that looks like a near-replica of our site. You click onto the link and add your personal information, which goes right into the hands of identity thieves. It's important not to respond to these e-mails.
Phishers also use the phone to hunt for personal information. Some, posing as employers, call or send e-mails to people who have listed themselves on job search Web sites.
While phishing scams can be sophisticated, the following features are often indicators that something is suspicious:
- Someone unexpectedly contacts you and asks for your personal information, such as your financial account number, an account password or PIN, credit card number or Social Security number.
- The sender, who is supposedly a representative of the credit union asks you to confirm that you have a relationship with us. We have that information on record.
- You are warned that your account will be shut down unless you "reconfirm" your financial information.
"Common-sense" steps to follow to protect yourself:
- Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for personal information.
- Do not click on links in e-mails that ask you to provide personal information. To check whether an e-mail or call is really from the company or agency, call the company directly or go to its Web site (use search engine to find it).
- Do not provide personal information via phone, e-mail or otherwise unless you initiated the contact.
- If someone contacts you via phone or e-mail and says you have been a victim of fraud, verify the person's identity, and contact the organization directly before you provide any personal information.
- If you manage any of your financial accounts online, choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess and use a different password for each of your online accounts. Change the password frequently.
- Make sure the Web sites on which you transact business post privacy and security statements. Be sure to review them carefully.
If you are a victim, take these steps immediately:
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, ask for a free copy of your credit report, and review those reports for evidence of accounts you didn't open. Fraud unit contacts are:
Equifax: 800-525-6285 , P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA. 30374-0241
Experian: 888-397-3742, P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX. 75013
TransUnion: 800-680-7289, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA. 92384-6790
- Close accounts-including share draft account, ATM and Debit Cards-that have been tampered with or used fraudulently. Contact all financial institutions, lenders, credit card issuers, utility, and the Social Security Administration to notify them of the fraud. Follow up each conversation with a letter.
- File a report with law enforcement and get a copy of the report or the report number.
- File a complaint with the FTC. Visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft for more information or call 877-IDTHEFT.