Fraud Alert Center
To enhance your protection against fraud, we provide a range of general fraud alerts and tips to safeguard your personal information and finances. In an ever-present landscape of fraudulent activities, it is crucial to remain vigilant, as fraudsters often attempt to exploit unsuspecting individuals. By being aware and informed, you can effectively avoid falling into fraud traps and maintain the security of your valuable assets.
The Federal Credit Union Act promotes financial literacy as a core credit union mission. Each year scam artists and identity thieves steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting consumers. The thieves’ goal is to steal your information or trick you into handing over YOUR money.
PROTECT yourself by educating yourself and increasing your own consumer awareness. This link provides insight to frauds and scams, identify theft, online security and fraud resources
USFCU’s Member Experience Center is available Monday-Friday to answer your questions. Call 423.989.2100 if you have any questions or concerns during normal credit union business hours.
VARIOUS TYPES OF FRAUD:
Fraud can take on many faces and can target anyone. Learn more about each type below.
Beware of phishing scams, which often take the form of urgent emails appearing to be from reputable companies. These messages request your account information, citing system requirements, account closure threats, or potential fraud. Authentic-looking logos, slogans, and websites may deceive you, even if they appear secure.
To protect yourself:
- Avoid clicking on suspicious email links, as they can install viruses or retrieve personal data.
- Refrain from providing personal or financial information through email or unsecured websites.
- Keep your computer updated with virus protection and pop-up blockers.
- Manually type website addresses for online transactions.
- Verify that a website's URL starts with "https" and look for the lock icon.
- Don't be alarmed by urgent messages; contact the sender using a known valid address or phone number.
- If victimized, contact the company directly, place alerts on your credit files, and monitor your accounts closely.
- Report suspicious emails and calls to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov/idtheft/ or call 1-877-ID-THEFT.
Stay alert and safeguard your personal information against phishing attempts.
Vishing, a form of fraud similar to phishing, aims to trick you into revealing your account numbers. Instead of email phishing, vishing involves receiving phone calls from automated dialers. The caller may claim that your credit card has been used illegally and ask you to dial a fake 1-800 number to confirm your account details and credit card number.
This fraudulent activity is facilitated by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which enables inexpensive and anonymous Internet calling. With disguised phone numbers on caller ID, it becomes challenging for consumers to differentiate between fraud and genuine contacts. Remember, never provide personal or financial information over the phone unless you initiated the contact.
Tips to protect yourself from Vishing:
- If someone asks for credit card or personal information over the phone, hang up and call your credit union or the financial institution using the phone number on the back of your card or statement to report the attempt.
- If someone claiming to be from your financial institution asks for the three-digit code on the back of your card, hang up immediately.
- Delete email messages asking you to call a toll-free number to verify account information. Never provide personal or account information based on email requests.
- Be cautious of regional phone numbers displayed by the caller; they may have been spoofed using VoIP.
- Exercise suspicion if phone or email contacts do not use your first or last name.
- Never dial a call return number or reply to an email regarding any financial matters.
Stay vigilant and protect yourself from vishing attempts by following these tips.
ATM skimming involves criminals tampering with card readers to steal your information. They may create a situation where your card appears jammed, prompting you to re-enter your PIN. While you give up and leave, the thief retrieves your card and their device. They can use your card and PIN to withdraw money or capture your PIN through a hidden camera. Skimmers attached to the card reader or fake PIN pads can also capture your card information and PIN. Even if you get your card back, the thief can replicate it to make fraudulent transactions or intercept your cash by trapping it inside a modified cash dispenser.
To protect yourself from ATM skimming, stay alert. If an ATM looks suspicious or tampered with, avoid using it. Additionally, be wary of individuals near the ATM or observing it from a distance. Choosing a different machine is a safer option in such situations.
SAFETY & SECURITY TIPS
- Password protect all mobile devices.
- Change your password on a regular basis.
- Turn off bluetooth capability when not in use. (Hackers can view and download the content of your phone via the Bluetooth connection without you knowing it).
- Never disclose personal information via text message.
- Purge text messages regularly (if using the text based method).
- Delete cached data from mobile browsers often.
- Do not allow mobile browsers to store online access credentials (enter information manually every time you log in).
- Do not leave your phone unattended.
- Visit trusted sites only when browsing.
- Install antivirus software if none is installed to keep your device from “crashing”.
- Do not click on suspicious e-mail messages or embedded links.
- Re-format old phones before turning them in or donating them.
- Do not modify the device as this may disable important security features.
- For Android devices, do not enable the “install from unknown sources” feature.
- Contact US to deactivate old phones.
- Contact your wireless provider and US immediately if phone is lost or stolen.
- Check your accounts frequently and notify US immediately if you notice any unauthorized charges.