IBEW & UNITED WORKERS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
KEEPING CURRENT- JANUARY 2022
THE EVOLVING FACE OF FRAUD AND HOW TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM!
By: Barbara Mathey, IBEW & United Workers Federal Credit Union
We have talked about fraud scams in several articles over the years. Unfortunately, fraud continues to be a major problem and threat and the schemes continue to modify and evolve. Most of us have become frequent users of electronic research, shopping, and communication. The use of electronic channels seems to have made us more vulnerable to this activity. At the Credit Union we see fraud and suspicious activity daily, so it is important for us to share some of the scams that are happening more frequently and causing losses to our members and to the Credit Union. It is our wish to keep everyone from becoming a victim and we encourage you to be vigilant and cautious.
- Over the last few months, we have seen cases of what we would call device and/or account “take-over,” where a member receives a call from someone alleging a problem with their computer and an offer to fix the problem. These calls may come from someone identifying a connection with Windows or Microsoft. The caller then goes through a list of personal questions, obtains the answers and gains access, and takes control of the member’s equipment and accounts. We have had to close membership accounts and some members have had to totally replace their computer and phone equipment. Do not accept anyone’s unexpected offer to “fix your computer “remotely. People making these calls have no honest knowledge of a problem with your computer
- People calling and posing as the IRS or Unemployment office saying your social security number is being used by someone else. They then ask for personal information and or account information to “verify” your identity. State or Federal government offices will never do that.
- If you are on a website and it starts to re-direct you to another site, exit out unless you are very certain that the secondary site is valid. It is always best to exit and sign into another site directly.
- Never give out information when someone calls and asks for your credit union or bank account information even if they say they are from the institution. Unless you are waiting for a return call and you can truly identify the caller, do not give out any information. Hang up and call the institution directly.
- Someone calls and tells you that if you let them have access to your phone and/or computer they can help you to detect problems or improve the efficiency. This is designed to allow them to gain access to all the private information stored on these devices and to allow them to use your phone in the future for costly foreign calls.
- Use great caution when looking at “pop-up” ads when you are online or on social media. Many of these are fraudulent and designed to obtain your personal information including credit card numbers. You may not get the items you thought you were purchasing, and you may see fraudulent charges appearing on your card. Get out of these ads and look for the items on a reputable site that you are familiar with.
- Check out any site that is asking for donations for the new causes that have come about with the current community challenges. Research the charities with “Charity Navigator” or the State Attorney General’s office. Be sure your money is going where you intended it to go.
- Never open an email from someone you do not know and are not expecting and if you open the email, do not open an attachment that may contain malware.
- We have also had members coming into the Credit Union lately asking us to wire money to a “boyfriend or girlfriend” in a foreign country they met online. These scams are particularly cruel since they target older, lonely individuals and they ask for large sums of money.
- Finally, do not fall for the age-old Nigerian fraud schemes telling you of an inheritance or a lottery win that is waiting for you. NEVER send money that they “require” so that your “winnings” can be sent to you. These scams usually target older people, so please educate your vulnerable family members.
We have members that have been taken advantage of as a result of every one of these items. We encourage you to be extremely cautious and to teach other family members and children not to give out confidential information over the phone. Remember, if it seems too good to be true—it is!
On another note, your Credit Union is planning for 2022 and we are looking at enhancing our services to add greater security and convenience for all of our members. In 2022, expect to see new loan products, expanded ways to contact us and conduct secure transactions, a streamlined way of applying for, getting loan approvals, and obtaining new plastic cards. Finally, we will be doing all of this with an expanded, caring, and well-trained staff dedicated to providing exceptional member service.
January 17, 2022 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 21, 2022 - Presidents Day