We care about the online safety of our members as well as any type of fraudulent activity against them.Educating our members is the best defense against Cybercrime, fraud, identity thefts, plastic card safety, phishing attacks and more. Your best defense is knowing how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of criminal scams. Below is informational material that will help you guard yourself against such attacks, as well as what to do if you become a victim of such attacks.
Did you know?
NCPW.gov serves as a one-stop destination to find tips for avoiding fraud and scams; protecting your identity; managing money, credit, and debt; and much more. Partner organizations offer free resources on these and other topics. The NCPW blog (ncpw.gov/blog) also provides advice from consumer protection experts from a variety of federal and nonprofit groups.
Identity Theft Victim Checklist
Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission now for 13 years running. The FTC's annual look at its Consumer Sentinel Network database of complaints found that the agency received more than 2 million complaints overall in calendar year 2013, with 14% related to identity theft. The average loss from the misuse of a victim's personal information is more than $4,900. 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:
* Close accounts--including share drafts/checks or ATM cards--that have been tampered with or used fraudulently. Contact all financial institutions and lenders, credit card issuers, utility companies, 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 insist on getting a copy of the report or the report number.
* File a complaint with the FTC. Visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft for more information or call 877-IDTHEFT.
Keep your identity to yourself
Identity theft is the No. 1 consumer complaint, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But there are ways to protect yourself. First, always take steps to shield your identity. For example: Never give out personal information unless you know whom you're dealing with, keep passwords on your accounts, and shred all personal financial documents. Finally, order a credit report at least once a year. Scan the reports for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
What do crooks do with your personal information
* Go on spending sprees with your credit/debit account numbers
* Change mailing address on your credit card accounts
* Take out loans in your name
* Establish phone service in your name
* File for bankruptcy in your name to avoid paying debt
* Give your name during an arrest
Carlessness can cost you
Many Americans are concerned about someone stealing their credit card, check, or debit card numbers, but they may be ignoring one easy way thieves can access financial accounts: receipts. Disregarding receipts that have valuable information greatly increases the risk of credit and debit card fraud. Thieves easily can find receipts with valid account numbers in trash cans. Some easy steps you can take to prevent thieves from stealing your financial information:
* Shred all preapproved credit offers, credit and debit card receipts, insurance forms, financial statements, and other paperwork containing personal and financial information
* Check credit union statements and other financial statements monthly for discrepancies and order a credit report once a year to make sure no one else is using your personal information to obtain credit cards or services
* Don't print your Social Security number on your checks and don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet
* Be hesitant about giving personal or financial information over the telephone--make sure you know the caller and know how the information will be used.
Don’t sweat it--shred it!
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 seconds to shred, but months or even years to clear your record once scammers set up fraudulent accounts in your name.
Don't get hooked by a phishing attach
If you have Internet access, you may be under attack--a phishing attack, that is. This high-tech scam involves three components:
Spoofing is creating a replica of an existing Web site.
Spamming is unsolicited, or "junk" e-mail.
Phishing is the act of using spoofing and spamming to lure unsuspecting victims, hoping to deceive you into disclosing your Social Security number, credit card and checking account numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following tips to help you avoid getting hooked:
If the IRS calls, hang up
If the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) calls, hang up. Crooks pose as IRS agents, hoping callers will give out enough personal information so the crook can commit ID theft. Remember: The IRS will never call you and ask for credit card numbers or financial account numbers over the phone. If an "agent" does call you, get the agent's name and contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 to confirm that the call is legit.
Protect yourself from cybercrime
Download the latest software versions. Updates often fix security flaws. If you have out-of-date software, you’re vulnerable.
Create strong passwords. Mix numbers, letters—upper and lower case—and special characters, and make your password at least eight characters long. Use different passwords for different sites and services, or consider using a secure password manager to help keep track of them.
Question everything. An email claiming you just won an iPad may grab your eye, but its intent likely is to scam you and your wallet. And don’t count on all online scams containing grammar and spelling mistakes as a tipoff.
Back it up—now. Some online attacks do irreparable damage. Save yourself a lot of pain with a simple and regular backup procedure.
Secure your mobile device. You may have secured your PC, only to put vulnerable data on a mobile device lacking any security checks at all. Android mobile phones are targeted with an increasing amount of malicious code. Many iPhone users still don’t use a PIN to lock their screens.
Counterfeit check scams come in many guides
If someone you don't know offers to send you money, watch out. It's probably a counterfeit check scam. There are lots of variations of these scams, but one thing is for sure--you'll be out money if you comply. Sure, it might be tempting to cash a check for free money. Counterfeit checks look so real that even financial institution employees can be fooled. If the check is a fraud and bounces after you've cashed it, you're the one who will be held responsible. Counterfeit check scammers hunt for victims by scanning newspaper and online ads for people trying to sell things and people seeking employment. Scammers even send random emails and faxes hoping that someone takes the bait.
These scams take many guises, but the main thing to watch out for is someone you don't know who wants to send you a check or money order for a large sum of money--but requests that you wire a portion of the money back. If you fall for this, you can be sure of three things:
If you get a check that you're suspicious about, don't cash it. Report scams to the National Fraud Information Center/Internet Fraud Watch at fraud.org.
Save your identity with e-Statements
Reduce your chances of being a victim of mail fraud--receive your Boulevard Federal Credit Union statement electronically. Even though identity thieves are finding new ways to steal information over the Internet, the original theft--for example, taking out a credit card in your name--tends to be a low-tech crime. According to the Federal Trade Commission, about half the country's victims know how their information was swiped, and in many cases the breach was paper--bills, credit card solicitations, and financial statements--pilfered from garbage cans and mailboxes. Banking and paying bills online not only cuts off thieves' access to the papers they need to commit ID theft, but also helps detect the crime sooner. This is because consumers who bank online check their accounts much more frequently--nearly four times a month compared with once a month for those who receive statements by mail. Receive your statement electronically and enjoy safety, timeliness, and convenience. Sign up for our e-banking & e-statements today!