Fraud Alerts

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If you think you may have been a victim of fraud contact us immediately. 

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Fraud Awareness

Protect Yourself

The rate of identity theft-related fraud continues to rise. In 2016 alone, over $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers*. The following information has been provided to help protect you from the many types of financial fraud and identity theft. Select a topic below to learn how to identify a fraud or scam, how to protect your personal information and how to report it if you have become a victim of fraud.

Scammers will pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. They may promise lottery winnings if you pay "taxes" or other fees, or they might threaten an arrest, a lawsuit or jail if you don't pay supposed debts. Do not send money. Government agencies and Federal Employees do not ask for money for prizes or unpaid loans. They are not permitted to ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card.  

These scammers will use a variety of tricks and lies to get your attention. They may even have your name, address and social security number.

Protect Yourself:

  • Never wire money
  • Don't pay for a prize
  • Don't give the caller your your personal information, or confirm your personal information, such as credit card numbers, social security number or bank accounts.
  • Put your number on the national Do Not Call Registry. Register your phone number at donotcall.gov.

Phishing is an internet scam in which e-mail spam or pop-up messages are used to deceive you into divulging personal or financial information over the internet. Phishers will send you an email or a pop-up message that appears to be from a company that you deal with – your credit card company, credit union or a government agency. The message usually requests that you update or validate account information and it will direct you to a website that looks just like the legitimate organization's website, but it isn't. The purpose of the bogus website is to deceive you into entering your personal information so the scammer's can steal your identity and commit crimes in your name.

Protect yourself:

  • Don’t click on links in emails that ask for personal information. Legitimate companies don't ask for personal information via email.
  • Never open unexpected attachments.
  • Don't cut and paste the link from the message into your Internet browser — phishers can make links look like they go to one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
  • Delete suspicious messages, even if you know the source

Vishing is a scam where criminals persuade victims to hand over personal details or transfer money, over the telephone. They may use "spoofing" where the phone number looks like it's coming from a company that you deal with. They may already have some of your personal information that you would expect a genuine caller to have.

Protect yourself:

  • Never give your personal information over the phone. If you feel a call is suspicious, call the company directly to verify the authenticity of the call.
  • Beware of organizations asking for charitable donations. If you want to donate money, contact the organization yourself to make sure that your money is going to the appropriate place.

sMishing uses text messages or SMS to persuade victims to provide personal or financial information. They may use URL's or an automated voice response system to collect your information. 

Protect Yourself:

  • Never give your personal information over the phone.
  • Delete unsolicited text messages from your phone.

A data breach occurs when your information is stolen or accidentally left vulnerable to theft, enabling thieves to steal your identity. You may read about a data breach in the news or receive a notice from your financial institution or a retail store saying that your data has been compromised. A data breach can result from computer hacking, computer virus, the physical theft of documents or computer equipment, or by accident (such as emailing information to the wrong address). Companies and government departments are required to notify you once they discover a breach.

If you suspect or have been notified that your information has been compromised due to a data breach first determine which information was stolen.

Password - If it is an online account that has been breached, change the password on the account immediately. If the same password is used on other accounts, change those too.

Email Address - If it was an email address, watch your inbox for messages requesting information or requesting you to click on a link. If you receive a suspicious email from a company you do business with, call the sender to verify that they did indeed send it.

Credit Card Number - If a payment card number has been stolen, contact the financial institution that issued the card and explain that the card is at risk of fraud. Ask them to issue a new card with a new number.

Social Security Number - Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies and have them place a fraud alert on your account. That agency will then be legally bound to notify the other two agencies to do the same. An alert lets lenders know to take extra care verifying personal information before issuing credit and entitles you to a complimentary credit report from each agency. Review this for suspicious activity. A fraud alert is free and can be renewed every 90 days.

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information, such as social security number, date of birth, address and financial account numbers. Once this information is obtained, the thieves will assume or take on your identity, allowing them to illegally purchase items or obtain credit. These acts can damage your credit and you may not know you have become a victim of ID theft until you suffer financial consequences such as a mysterious bill or loan denial.

Protect yourself from ID theft.

  • Do not share your financial account information or Social Security numbers unless you know the person requesting the information is who he or she claims to be.
  • Store your personal information in a safe place, and tear up or shred old credit card and ATM receipts, old account statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
  • Create complex PINs and passwords. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases. Don't share your PINs and passwords with anyone that does not have access to the account.
  • Limit the identification you carry. Take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need and leave your Social Security card at home.
  • Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs. 
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. Contact the credit union if you do not receive a monthly bill. It may mean that an identity theft diverted the bill. Sign up for electronic statements to minimize risk.
  • Check account statements carefully and regularly (within 30 days). Ensure that you authorize all transactions on the statement.
  • Guard your mail from theft. Take outgoing mail to post office collection boxes or the post office. Remove incoming mail promptly. If you will be away have the post office put a hold on your mail.
  • Order your credit report once a year and review it to be certain that it doesn't include accounts that you have not opened. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each credit reporting agency annually. 
  • Opt out of pre-approved credit cards, direct mail lists and telephone solicitation. To opt out, call 1-888-567-8688 or go to optoutprescreen.com.

What to do if you are a victim of identity fraud

Call the companies where you know the fraud occurred.

  • Call the fraud department and explain that someone has stolen your identity. Ask them to close or freeze the accounts. Then, no one can add new charges unless you agree.
  • Change logins, passwords, and PINs for your accounts.

Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports.

To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus. That company must tell the other two. A fraud alert is free and it will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name.

Credit Bureau Contact Details

Equifax
800-525-6285 (Fraud Hotline)
www.Equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance 

Experian
888-397-3742 (Fraud Hotline)
www.Experian.com/fraudalert 

TransUnion
800-680-7289 (Fraud Hotline)
www.TransUnion.com/fraud 

To get your free credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion go to:

www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228

Credit bureaus must provide free copies of credit reports to victims of identity theft. Review your reports. Make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize. This will help you report the theft to the FTC and the police.
 

Report the Identity Theft to the FTC

  • Go to IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. Make sure to include as many details as possible.
  • Based on the information you enter, IdentityTheft.gov will create your Identity Theft Report and personal recovery plan.

file a report

You may want to order new credit or debit cards for any accounts involved in the theft or close the accounts altogether.

For more information on what to do next visit the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft center, or call the identity theft hotline at 877-438-4338. 

IDentity Theft center

 

File a report with your local Police Department

If you choose to file a report you can go to your local police office with:

  • A copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report
  • A government-issued ID with a photo
  • Proof of your address (mortgage statement, rental agreement, or utilities bill)
  • Any other proof you have of the theft—bills, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notices, etc.

Tell the police someone stole your identity and you need to file a report. Ask for a copy of the police report. You may need this to complete other steps.

 

 

Internet Crime

The internet provides scammers, hackers, and identity thieves a place where they can steal your personal information – and your money. But there are steps you can take to protect your computer, your information, and your online files.

Online Security 

  • Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly. If you let your operating system, web browser, or security software get out-of-date, criminals can track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge, or sneak malware onto your computer which they can use to break into other computers or send spam. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files.
  • Backup your files regularly.
  • When entering personal account information, verify that you are on a secure website. If the website is secure, you will find "https" in the address and a closed padlock in your browser's toolbar.
  • Safeguard your personal information online. Never give your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers via e-mail. Your credit union will never request personal information via email.
  • Do not respond to spam email.  Download files with caution. 
  • When you’re online and are asked for your personal information, think about whether you can really trust the request. Before clicking on an offer or ad, research the company by typing the company or product name into the search bar of your favorite search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” . If you can’t find contact information for the company, or there are bad reviews, take your business elsewhere. 
  • Keep your passwords safe. Create passwords that are at least 10 characters long and are a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Don't use the same password for many accounts. Keep your passwords in a secure place out of site and never share passwords on the phone, text or email. 
  • Review your financial accounts regularly and report any discrepancy immediately.

File a Complaint

If you are a victim of an internet crime contact us immediately. Then, report the crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 

file a complaint

Report A Scam

If you have received an email, phone call or text from an imposter, file a complaint at the FTC Federal Complaint Assistant.

report a scam