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Tips, Tools, & Calculators

Types of Fraud

The best protection against many types of fraud and identity theft is knowledge. The best way to safeguard your personal, private information is to NEVER give it out via telephone or email. We will NEVER solicit personal information from you.

The only time we will ever ask you to verify information is when we have reason to believe your accounts may have been compromised. When this occurs, we will call you and ask you to verify your past several transactions. We will never ask you to provide additional information. We will never ask you to verify your PIN, any of the numbers on the back of your card, your member number, or any other personal, private information. If you have any reason to question whether the person is actually calling on behalf of US, please call us: 703.526.0200 to verify the caller’s identity. We’ll be happy to authenticate the reason for the call and will never be offended by your asking.

Identity Theft

Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in the USA. It occurs when someone steals someone else’s personal, private information and then pretends to be that person… usually in the commission of a felony. Here are a few tips to help you minimize your risk of identity theft:

  • NEVER give out personal information over the phone/Internet unless you initiated the transaction

  • Do NOT carry your Social Security card in your wallet

  • Make copies (front and back) of all cards and pieces of information you carry with you, so that if your wallet is stolen, you have the numbers you will need. Be sure to keep the copies in a secure location

  • Be careful with pre-approved credit card offers – be sure to destroy all unused offers immediately – possession and regular usage of a personal shredder is a good idea

  • Remove mail promptly from your mailbox each day. If you plan to be out of town for an extended period of time, ask the Post Office to hold your mail until you return

  • Check your FREE credit report annually to ensure all information is accurate and that there is no incorrect information present

Phishing

Phishing scams are generally “spoofed” emails and fraudulent websites that often contain stolen images from trusted sources to make it appear they’re being sent by someone (or organization) you already know. These emails then ask you to provide or “verify” your personal, private information (passwords, credit card numbers, account numbers, etc…). Phishing solicitations for personal information can also take place over the telephone. 

  • To avoid phishing, be cautious when using the Internet, responding to telephone solicitations

  • Be suspicious of any email that is marked urgent request and asks for personal information

  • If you are not sure if an email is authentic, do not click on the links in the email

  • Look for https:// to appear in front of  a web address when giving your debit or credit card info

  • Review your statements regularly

  • Be suspicious of emails that claim to be from your financial institution (if they request information from you)

  • Install a firewall, as well as an anti-spyware, program on your computer

  • Update your browser with security patches regularly

Skimming

Skimming is the act of capturing magnetic info from a credit or debit card, then using it for fraudulent purposes. To help prevent your card from being skimmed:

  • If an ATM or credit card machine looks tampered with, don't use it

  • Protect your PIN with your hand when you enter it into an ATM or credit machine

SMIShing

SMiShing is a form of criminal activity using text messages to prompt individuals to provide the “SMiSher” with their personal, private information usually for the purpose of financial gain. The term is a combination of “SMS”, the technical term for texting, and “phishing”. SMiShing victims usually receive a text message which reads something like, “We’re confirming you recently applied for a credit card at ABC Credit Union. You will be charged a fee of $50 unless you cancel your application on this URL:  www.???.com.” When visiting the URL, the member is prompted to download a program which turns out to be a Trojan Horse and extracts other private, personal information from the member sending it to criminals responsible for the fraud.
NEVER respond to such text messages. We will never text you requesting personal, private information.