Scam Alert

Phishing, Vishing and Smishing are scams that use new technology in an attempt to obtain personal, non-public information from consumers to be used for fraudulent purposes, most notably identity theft.  The following information provides you with background on how these scams work, and tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.

Phishing

This is probably the most popular.  This scam uses e-mail or pop-up messages via to trick you into disclosing your credit card number, bank account information, Social Security number, password or other sensitive information.  This may also include requesting you to click on a link which may look like your credit union site or may look like any legitimate site; but it is not.  The idea is to get you to enter your information so that they may capture it.

Vishing

Also known as “voice” phishing over the phone.  This is another way for scammers to steal credit card or debit card numbers.  One scam is involves telling you that your account has been “temporarily blocked” and ask that you call a particular number to have the restriction removed.  Once you call that number, the recording will ask you to enter your 16-digit account number and perhaps other sensitive information.

Smishing

A text message is sent to the member’s cell phone that asks the member to call a toll-free number . A text message is a Short Message Service (SMS) and typically the message may be..”we’re confirming you’ve signed up for “X” service.  You will then be directed to a link or phone number wherein the object will be to obtain your account numbers, passwords and/or security codes.

Tips to safeguard yourself from Phishing, Vishing and Smishing:

  • Never respond to unsolicited e-mails or text messages; especially coming from people or companies that you do not have a relationship with or regarding services you have not contracted for.  Contact the merchant, credit union or business via the regular channels you use to communicate with them and not through the information they provide.
  • Remember, for privacy and security, financial institutions do not arbitrarily solicit non-public information from you.  Typically they would already have information based on the relationship you have previously established with them.
  • When you are accessing secure accounts online, make it a habit to check for the small yellow lock in your browser window if it’s unlocked – you are not in a secure area of the Website.
  • If you receive a Vishing message, and you do not want to check your account, disregard the recorded number and contact your financial institution through the customer service phone number on your statement or credit card.
  • Pay attention to the URL (Uniform or Universal Resource Locator).  Fraudsters cannot exactly mimic a company’s website URL, but will often insert one letter or symbol to make it appear legitimate.
  • Keep a record of services you sign up for on your mobile devices.  If you receive a Smishing message for a service you don’t think you signed up for – you probably didn’t.  Disregard the message.
  • When in doubt, do not respond to an e-mail, voicemail or text message regarding an account.  Contact the credit union, the Federal Trade Commission or Internet rime Complaint Center immediately.

Federal Trade Commission:  www.ftc.gov
Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov