With so many scams out there -- don't become a victim! At University Credit Union, we take protecting your personal information very seriously. With so many scams out there, we believe that only through awareness can the risk of becoming a victim be minimized.
Phishing is a scam to steal valuable information such as credit card and Social Security numbers, user IDs, and passwords. In phishing, an official-looking e-mail is sent pretending to be from a bank, credit union or retail establishment.
Vishing (Voice phishing) is the voice counterpart to phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a website, an e-mail message asks the user to make a telephone call. The call triggers a voice response system which asks for the user's personal or financial information.
Text Message "SMISHING"
Smishing (SMS Phishing) is the mobile phone counterpart to phishing. A text message is sent to the user's cell phone with some ploy to click on a link and send personal information through text messages.
The newest scam...
Mail "LETTER PHISHING"
This new scam is where a letter is sent through the mail to individuals to respond by calling a phone number. The letter advises the individual that they must respond for their own protection.
Don't Be A Victim -- Fight Back!
- Never provide personal information if you did not initiate the contact.
- Never click on the link provided in an e-mail you believe may be fraudulent. It may also contain a virus that can contaminate your computer. Go the the company's website directly, instead.
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges and transactions are correct.
- If you never entered the lottery, you can't win. You can't win a prize in a lottery if you didn't buy a lottery ticket.
- Look at the sender's e-mail address. Most scammers use free e-mail accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, etc.
Spread the Word!
Unfortunately, people fall victim to these types of scams primarily because they are unaware or the offer seems so real. Only your non-response to this activity will help make it disappear. That is why it is so important to spread the word and tell everyone you know -- your family, friends and co-workers -- about these clever scams and how not to fall victim to them.
If you have any questions about phishing, please call University Credit Union at (310) 477-6628, ext. 1 or go online for more information on phishing and ID theft at www.ucu.org (click the "ID Theft Info" tab for more information).
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What do you do if you receive an e-mail that looks like a phishing attempt?
- Never enter personal information, Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or PINs in response to an unsolicited e-mail.
- Do not click on the link. It's tempting -- but don't! Once transferred to the phisher's Web site, some Web sites will try to infect your computer with a variety of harmful computer viruses - just by going to the fraudulent Web site. Keep up-to-date virus software, to help guard against any e-mail or Internet intrusions.
- Report the incident. If you receive an e-mail phishing attempt with University Credit Union's name, send it to the credit union at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also report it to the Federal Trade Commission (a link to the FTC Web site is on the University Credit Union Web site at www.ucu.org). Law enforcement needs to know.
- Don't feel pressure to divulge information: Scare tactics like threatening to close an account or suspend services are often used to try to get action on a phishing e-mail. If you feel pressure, contact the merchant (using the phone number you look up) to confirm anything before you act.
- Educate family and friends about the epidemic. Explain what is happening with e-mail scams so others don't become victims (especially to novice computer users, who may be trusting of all e-mails). When people recognize the scams and stop responding to them, the criminals will stop sending the e-mails.
- Delete the e-mails from your computer. Immediately erase the phishing e-mails so they can never be accessed by accident.
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Have you responded to a phishing attempt?
Many people don't realize they've responded to a phishing attempt until they see their statement, get a call from a financial institution about unusual activity or realize what they've done when they read notices like these.
If you think you have entered personal information of any kind in response to an e-mail, notify the business immediately. The sooner the business is notified, the sooner they can reduce the possibility of a theft.
If you think you responded to any e-mail phishing scam and entered University Credit Union account, credit card or PIN information in the site, please call the credit union immediately at (310) 477-6628, x1.
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Ways to Protect Yourself Against All Forms of Identity Theft
Besides "phishing" there are other ways thieves try to steal your personal information. Identity Theft is the likely outcome if the right information falls in the wrong hands. Here are some tips for protecting yourself from other threats.
On Your Computer
Install and use anti-virus and firewall programs to protect your computer. Keep software up-to-date.
- Protect Account Numbers and PINs: Use caution when sharing your personal information, account numbers, credit card number or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) with others. Don't carry PINs in your wallet.
- E-mail and Web sites: Delete suspicious e-mails without opening them. E-mails and Web sites linked from e-mails may contain computer viruses.
- Monitor your Accounts: Use Web sites or automated phone systems to regularly check your accounts for suspicious activity.
The items that are in your possession are also susceptible to thieves, if not handled properly.
- Protect Your Statements: Keep account statements in a safe place. Use a shredder to dispose of unwanted financial papers or other mail containing personal information.
- Sign Your Plastic Cards: Always sign new credit, ATM and debit cards when you receive them. Notify the card issuer immediately if your card or card number is ever lost or stolen.
- Phone Scams: Before e-mail phishing appeared, criminals would run the same scam by phone. Never give out personal information on the phone unless you initiated the call, or you know and trust the caller.
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