Scams and Identity Theft
Identity theft, fraud, and other Internet scams are on the rise. For this reason, it is important to be cautious online. Remember: never give your user ID or password information to anyone else. Unless you are logging into your account online, South Metro will never ask for your user ID or password.
South Metro FCU will never contact you to request your member number, username or Online Banking password. Anyone who asks you for this information is NOT an authorized employee of the Credit Union.
Additionally, we will never contact you to ask for credit or debit card numbers or PINs. Unless you call us regarding your account, you should never give this information to anyone claiming to represent South Metro (or its affiliates) who is trying to verify your account information via phone, text, or email.
There’s a type of internet piracy called “Phishing.” It’s pronounced “fishing,” and that’s exactly what these thieves are doing; “fishing” for your personal financial information. Don’t get hooked on a phishing scam!
- Keep your antivirus software up to date on your computer.
- NEVER provide personal financial information, including your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords, over the phone or the internet unless you initiate the contact.
- NEVER open a suspicious email, or click on any links provided.
- DON’T be intimidated by an e-mail, text message or phone call that suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- IF you believe the contact is legitimate, call your company immediately using information from another source, NOT from any information provided in the message.
If you fall victim to an attack, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit cards. Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.
REPORT suspicious e-mails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT.
Identity theft is a crime in which the imposter obtains key pieces of information such as social security and driver’s license numbers to obtain credit, merchandise and services in the name of the victim. This leaves the victim with a ruined credit history and the time-consuming and complicated task of regaining financial health.
Below are some steps to help protect your identity:
- Destroy papers you don’t need. Take special pains to shred papers with sensitive or identifying information.
- Guard your Social Security number. Don’t carry your card with you and resist giving it out unless necessary. Don’t put your social security number on your checks. Keep all personal records in a secure location, such as a safe or vault.
- Limit the number of cards and info you carry in your wallet.
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
- Cancel all inactive credit accounts.
- Use different passwords on all credit cards, bank accounts, and phone cards.
- Match your bills against charges to your credit account each month.
For more information, visit IdentityTheft.gov, from the Federal Trade Commission. If someone has used your personal information without permission, visiting this website should be your first step to limit the damage.
- Look for a padlock symbol next to the address bar.
Before you enter any private information online, check next to the address bar and make sure you see a padlock and “https” in the website address. This indicates more safety protocols in place to protect your data. A website address that begins with “http://” does not use this level of encryption.
- Use your mobile phone network rather than public Wi-Fi.
Many people leave the Wi-Fi option enabled on their mobile phone at all times for the sake of convenience. Turn it off. It’s okay to use for faster service in a safe place such as your home, but you’d be surprised at how unsecure many hotspots actually are. If you’re going to shop from your phone, use your mobile network provider for your internet access.
- If you’re heart rate goes up, so should red flags.
There’s no better way to lure victims to a scam than with tempting offers or dire-sounding threats. It only takes a click to download malware onto your device, so convincing a victim to act before thinking is a successful way to cause trouble.
In short, avoid impulse shopping online. ALWAYS do your homework first. Research companies (or individuals) before doing business with them online. Check their website’s security. Make sure you’re using a private network. If any red flags are appear, walk away.
For more information visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website. This branch of our government is dedicated to educating the public about threats to your financial privacy.
It’s most important to keep your security software current. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats. Many software programs offer the option to automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if this is available on your device.
Keep in mind that you need to protect all devices that connect to the Internet. Your smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware. USB ports and other external devices can be also be infected by viruses and malware. Make sure your security software scans these as well.
For more information, visit StaySafeOnline.org from the National Cyber Security Alliance.
Routing #: 091981646 | NMLS ID # 1059389
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