New Twist on “how” the Phishers Continue to Phish Credit Union Members!
Phishers seek every opportunity to find individuals who are willing to provide information for the criminals to tap into a financial gain from credit union members. Once a member provides the personal and /or financial information, the fraudsters are off and running to create financial losses to the credit union and its members.
The phishers continue to change their phony e-mails by including false fraud protection techniques as a new twist to convince members the e-mail is from the credit union with the added educational information. Because of everyone’s fraud awareness, the phishers lure members to “take action” and provide the information by using an “online banking” log-in which will re-direct this site to the fraudster.
The “take-action” the phishers are asking members to perform is:
- Deactivate their card(s) temporarily to guard against fraud
- Activate their card(s) by having them log on to an “online banking system” where the phishers are able to obtain member’s card information.
The phishers convince members there is no need to contact the credit union to validate the email or telephone request involving the deactivation and activation process.
Loss Control Recomendations
- Never click on any links provided in an e-mail you believe is fraudulent.
- Do not open an attachment to an unsolicited e-mail unless you have verified the source.
- Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggest dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify information.
- If you believe the contact is legitimate, go to the company’s website by typing in the site address directly or using a page you have previously book marked, instead of a link provided in the e-mail.
- Use the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) website, www.onguardonline.gov. Consumers can take interactive quizzes designed to enlighten them about identity theft, phishing, span and online-shopping scams. Elsewhere on the site, consumers can find detailed guidance on how to monitor their credit histories, use effective passwords and recover from identity theft.
Identity Theft Checklist
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
- CALL THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, 1-877-438-4338, TO FILE AN ID THEFT REPORT.
The Federal Trade Commission representative will obtain personal information from you and confirm how and when the fraud occurred.
You will be given a reference number which will be required on the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Affidavit. This affidavit form is sent to those creditors who have opened fraudulent accounts in your name. (Further information on sending this affidavit form is listed below under #4.)
- CALL THE THREE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES TO PLACE A “FRAUD- ALERT” STATEMENT ON YOUR CREDIT REPORTS.
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
The “Fraud-Alert” statement requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. This alert stays on the account for 90 days.
After calling, it is recommended you send a written request to each of the credit reporting agencies to extend the “Fraud-alert” statement beyond 90 days. You may request the maximum allowed time, which is 7 years.
You will receive a free detailed credit report from all three agencies within 7-10 business days. If you want additional reports there is a $9 fee per report.
- FILE A POLICE REPORT WITH THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT.
Once the report is filed, you will be given a report/confirmation number.
This report/confirmation number will be required on the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Affidavit form when you dispute fraudulent accounts reported on your credit reports.
- COMPLETE THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION ID THEFT AFFIDAVIT TO DISPUTE FRAUDULENT ACCOUNTS ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT.
Once you receive the credit reports from all three agencies, check for fraudulent accounts being reported.
Contact the creditor(s) who have opened the fraudulent accounts in your name. Request to have any account(s) closed that you feel have been tampered with or were open fraudulently.
Complete the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Affidavit to dispute the fraudulent account(s.) This affidavit form can be found on the Federal Trade Commission Webpage at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. Make several copies if there are several creditors to contact.
Attach a copy of the police report, along with a copy of the credit report, to a notarized copy of the completed Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Affidavit form. Each copy of the Federal Trade Commission Id Theft Affidavit form being sent will have to be notarized. Keep a copy for your own records.
Mail the above forms to each creditor(s) who has opened fraudulent accounts in your name.
The creditors will investigate the fraudulent account(s) and determine if the account(s) can be deleted from your credit reports.
- IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED WHEN YOU OPEN A NEW ACCOUNT WITH Minuteman Community FCU
Place a password on your account.
Have your ID scanned.
Request new plastic cards (i.e. EZ Checks, VISA, and MasterCard) if you suspect they have been fraudulently used.
Anyone in the Member Service Department can assist you with these steps.
Minuteman Community FCU telephone number: 605.394.2505 or 605.394.1772
- FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, TO STOP PRE-APPROVED OFFERS OF CREDIT OR INSURANCE, CALL THE OPT-OUT HOTLINE AT 1-888-567-8688 OR VISIT www.optoutprescreen.com.
Identity theft is more common offline with paper than online
A recent study released by the Better Business Bureau shows that most instances of identity fraud occur through traditional channels that are paper-based, not Internet-based. Computer related crimes accounted for only 11.6% of all known-cause identity fraud in 2004, and much of that could have been avoided with updated security measures.
Most identity theft and fraud can be tied to paper information such as lost or stolen wallet or checkbook, stolen paper mail, fraudulent changes of address, or information taken from the garbage.
The majority of identity fraud is self-detected. Individuals who access accounts online can provide earlier detection of crime than those who rely only upon mailed monthly paper statements. Victims of identity theft who detected the crime by monitoring accounts online experienced an average of $551 in losses compared to $4,543 when detected from paper statements.
Based on the latest findings, the following tips have been issued for consumers to protect themselves against financial identity fraud.
- Replace paper bills, statements and checks with Internet (paperless) versions.
- Consider moving to an electronic bill payment service.
- Before discarding, shred all private documents.
- Sign up for automatic payroll deposits (direct deposit).
- Retrieve paper mail promptly and place outgoing checks or other sensitive documents in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox.
- Keep passwords hidden (even in your own home) and change them frequently.
- Don’t discard a computer without deleting all sensitive data.
- Use and regularly update firewalls and anti-virus software.
- Be suspiciously reluctant to release Social Security or account numbers, particularly to those requesting such information by eMail or phone.
- Contact your financial provider if you fail to receive statements on time.
- Review your credit report at least annually.
- Victims of theft should notify their financial providers, begin monitoring their accounts more frequently, and place an “alert” through a credit bureau such as Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
To see if you are at risk of becoming an identity fraud victim, go to www.idsafety.net
and take the Better Business Bureau Identity Safety Quiz.