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Tech Safety

Fraudulent schemes (scams and cyber crime)

E-Mail “phishing” - 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.

Telephone “vishing” - 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.

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.

Reduce your risk of becoming a victim

  • Never provide personal information if you did not initiate the contact.
  • Never click on the link provided in an email you believe may be fraudulent. It may also contain a virus that can contaminate your computer. Go to the company’s website directly.
  • 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 AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.

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 Priority One Credit Union’s name, send it to the Credit Union at info@priorityonecu.org. Also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. 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.

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 fraudulent scheme such as e-mail phishing scam and entered Priority One Credit Union account, debit card or PIN information in the site, please call the Credit Union immediately at 877.762.8663.

Malware and other cyber attacks

Malware – Malicious software – or malware - is used to gather sensitive information, gain access to private systems or to spy on consumers.  Malware can affect any device from your phone, computer, tablet and even ATMs! Be sure to run anti-malware software and enable auto-updates.  If you believe that you may have been a victim of malware, be sure to clean your device from any malware before entering and/or accessing sensitive information.

Ransomware - This is a popular malware that denies access to the user.  Ransomware may prevent you from accessing files, programs or other important items in your infected device.  Precautionary measures are the best way to prevent ransomware.  Be sure to keep backup copies of your sensitive information offline, such as external storage devices. 

Data Breaches – Data breaches at retail and service companies are on the news more often than ever before.  While most of the breaches are the result of “insiders” and “human error,” some data breaches are caused by malware. If you use your debit cards at a retailer with a data breach, Priority One will take proper action to inform you and replace your debit card.

Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

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