How you can protect yourself
Email and Web site scans
Criminals have capitalized on the broad power and wide availability of the Internet and electronic mail (e-mail) to defraud unsuspecting people. It is critical that each of us maintain constant vigilance over the way we use the Internet and all forms of electronic communication. Phishing (pronounced "fishing") as in fishing for confidential information - is a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining information by sending an e-mail that appears to originate from a trusted source, such as a financial institution, government agency or other entity.
This is how it works:
- A consumer receives an e-mail, which appears to originate from a financial institution, government agency, or other well-known/reputable entity.
- The message describes an urgent reason you must "verify" or "re-submit" personal or confidential information by clicking on a link embedded in the message.
- The provided link appears to be the Web site of the financial institution, government agency or other well-known/reputable entity, but in "phishing" scams, the Web site belongs to the fraudster/scammer.
- Once inside the fraudulent Web site, the consumer may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords or other information used to identify the consumer, such as the maiden name of the consumer's mother or the consumer's place of birth.
- When the consumer provides the information, those perpetrating the fraud can begin to access consumer accounts or assume the person's identity.
Below are current links with information regarding phishing: http://www.youtube.com/user/FTCvideos Vishing is a socially engineered technique for stealing information or money from consumers using the telephone network. The term comes from combining "voice" with "phishing," which are online scams that get people to give up personal information. It is one of the latest breakthroughs in telecommunications-Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, which enables telephone calls over the web. Pharming refers to the redirection of an individual to an illegitimate Web site through technical means. For example, an Internet banking customer, who routinely logs in to his online banking Web site, may be redirected to an illegitimate Web instead of accessing his or her bank's Web site.
Web Site Spoofing
Spoofing is another trick used by criminals. Criminals steal a Web site's code the technical programming that makes the Web site work and use it to create a fake Web site that "spoofs" or appears to be the legitimate site.
The difficulty for unsuspecting consumers is that these sites look legitimate.
To help protect yourself, be aware of how you're accessing the site.
- Don't follow a link in an unsolicited e-mail if you have any doubts about the sender (see "phishing", above)
- Type all Web site addresses carefully, or use Favorites or Bookmarks to store frequently accessed sites especially financial-related sites. Misspelling, even by one letter, the address of the Web site you are trying to access may send you to an incorrect, possibly fraudulent, Web site.
OnGuardOnLine.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
For additional information about safe online banking and avoiding online scams, visit http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/guard/
Lottery/Sweepstakes Letter scams
If you receive a letter, accompanied by a check from Almond Credit Union, that claims you have won a lottery, a sweepstakes, have been chosen to be a paid "secret shopper" or a similar variation of a popular contest, be advised that these are scam letters and fraudulent checks since Almond Credit Union will not send those winning messages via letter or email.
If you contact the sender as requested, you will be instructed to negotiate the check and forward the sender money through a wire transfer or money order. Please do not negotiate these checks, as they are not authentic Almond Credit Union checks.
If you receive one of these letters and/or checks, you should report it to your local U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when personal information is stolen, such as a Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth, to commit fraud and other illegal activities.
A thief can use this information to obtain credit cards, mortgage loans, cell phones, as well as withdrawing money from personal bank accounts. Some criminals will even use this information to commit crimes and acquire jobs in the victim’s name.
Stolen Identity can be a difficult and costly burden for the victim. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure that you are aware of the types of activities that a criminal can do to obtain your personal information and what you can do to prevent it.
How does Identity theft Occur?
Identity thieves use many ways to steal someone’s personal information.
They can search through your trash or hack into your personal computer.
The following are just a few examples of items identity thieves look for:
- Stealing mail or going through garbage containing personal information called Dumpster Diving.
- Stealing payment or identification cards, either by pick-pocketing or by getting information through a compromised card reader called Skimming.
- Impersonating a known company or financial institution in an e-mail to obtain personal information called Phishing.
- Retrieving information from personal equipment, like disposed computers where personal information was not properly deleted.
- Researching information about the victim on the internet.
- Eavesdropping on public transactions to obtain personal data
- Stealing personal information in computer databases.
- Advertising fake job offers (either full-time or work from home) where the victims will reply with their full name, address, telephone numbers, and banking details.
- Browsing internet websites for personal details that have been posted by you (Ex. MySpace, Facebook)
- Changing your address to divert billing statements to another location to either get current legitimate account info or to delay discovery of fraudulent accounts.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
The following steps can decrease the threat of identity theft:
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know the person who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
- Order a copy of your credit report at least annually to ensure all information is accurate and includes only authorized transactions.
- Adequately guard all passwords and PIN numbers for credit and debit cards. Avoid using easily available information such as date of birth, mother’s maiden name, SSN or a phone number.
- Secure all personal information in your home. Remove your new mail from the mailbox promptly and send outgoing mail from the post office or other secure mailboxes.
- Shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, medical information, checks and bank statements. If available, receive your account statements online instead of on paper.
- In order to closely monitor fraudulent activity, you should review all monthly account statements or frequently review transactions online or by telephone
When You are a Victim or Identity Theft
If you believe that your personal information has been used to commit any fraudulent activity, the following are steps to take in order to protect against further damage:
- Place a "fraud alert" on your credit file at the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). A "fraud alert" tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. Call any one of the three major credit bureaus as they share "fraud alert" notification. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days. Request that all three credit reports be sent to you, free of charge, for your review.
- Close any accounts where you believe identity theft has occurred.
- File a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call the FTC Identity Theft Hotline.
- Complete the Identity Theft Affidavit, which may be required in reporting a new account opened in your name by an identity thief or to obtain application or transaction records from a company the identity thief dealt with.
- File a police report and/or an Identity Theft Report with your local police department where the identity theft took place. Ask for a copy of the report; often credit card companies and others will need proof of the crime to erase the debts caused by identity theft.
- The key to proving you are a victim of identity theft is to get the right documents to the right people.
The following are tips to help you resolve credit problems resulting from identity theft.
- Credit reports: Call the Credit Bureau and inform them of the information on your credit report that you believe is inaccurate. Follow up in writing and include copies (not originals) of your documentation such as a copy of the police report or your credit card statement with circles around the items in question.
- Credit cards: Write your credit card company or other provider to inform them of fraudulent charges. Send your letter so that it arrives at the creditor within 60 days from when the first bill containing the charge was sent to you.
- ATM cards, debit cards and electronic fund transfers: If your ATM or debit card is stolen or lost or you find a fraudulent transaction on your statement, visit the nearest Almond Credit Union or call customer service at (765) 819-2154
Identity Theft Resources and information
Federal Trade Commission
- Federal Trade Commission
- 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
- To report fraud, call: 1-(765) 819-2154
- To write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
- To report fraud, call: 1-(765) 819-2154
- To write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
- To report fraud, call: 1-(765) 819-2154
- e-mail: email@example.com
- To write: Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Additional Resources
- Social Security Number Theft and Misuse
- to report fraud, call: (765) 819-2154
- Mail Theft
- Phone Fraud
Reporting Identity Theft and Fraud
It is important note that Almond Credit Union does not contact its clients or anyone else by e-mail to confirm credit card or financial transactions, or to confirm or request personal account information or any other type of sensitive information.
If you are concerned that you have received fraudulent email, disclosed confidential information or believe your personal information has been compromised and/or stolen regarding your Almond Credit Union account(s), please contact us immediately at (765) 819-2154 8:30AM ~ 4:30PM (ET) or visit the nearest Almond Credit Union branch.
Children's Online Privacy Protection
For more information, please call customer service at (765) 819-2154 or contact us online.Contact Us