How to Protect Your Personal Information
As a HAPO Community Credit Union member, the security of your financial accounts and personal information is important to us. We believe that through educational resources we can empower you to make smart decisions for your financial accounts and personal information.
The following information is provided by HAPO to help you understand how different types of scams that are designed to elicit your personal information work, and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of one.
Security Awareness Videos
To help combat fraud, phishing and identity theft we have provided educational videos on how to better protect your financial accounts and personal information. Please feel free to watch these videos to learn how to better protect your accounts.
Understanding the different types of scams: E-mail Scams - Phishing
E-mail scams are one of the fastest-growing forms of fraud today.
Fraudulent e-mails, also known as "phishing" (pronounced "fishing"), attempt to steal information by tricking people into visiting a website and providing personal information such as credit card numbers, PINS, account numbers and/or SSNs.
If you receive an e-mail that contains an attachment that you weren't expecting, we recommend deleting it. If you receive an e-mail that you weren't expecting with a link and directions to click on it, we recommend you delete it.
Malicious attachments and links are common tools used by people who are attempting to install malware on your computer that enables them to steal personal information including bank account numbers.
Phone Scams - Vishing
Fraudulent phone calls, also known as 'vishing', attempt to steal information by tricking people into providing personal information such as credit card numbers, PINs, account numbers and/or SSNs. This scam is normally delivered using an automated system with prompts or a call back number. However, it is not always an automated system. An unsuspecting person might also get a call from someone pretending to be with a company that he or she may or may not do business with.
If you did not initiate the phone call do not give out any information unless you are absolutely sure the call is legitimate. We always recommend calling the company back by looking up the phone number yourself and calling them back as a way to verify they are who they say they are.
Fraudulent Phone Calls made to Members:
HAPO was notified recently of some automated phone calls that members are receiving indicating that their debit card is being restricted from online shopping. The phone calls are coming from a blocked phone number and they do not state a specific financial institution’s name. The message asks that the member “dial 1” to speak to a representative.
These phone calls are not from HAPO.
Should you receive a call like this you should not provide any personal information to these callers and call HAPO at 509-943-5676 if you have concerns about your account. There may be times when we will call you to verify unusual transactions on your account, but we will not ask you to provide your debit/credit card information as we already have it.
Text Message Scams - Smishing
Fraudulent text messages, also known as 'smishing', attempt to steal information by tricking people into providing personal information such as credit card numbers, PINs, account numbers and/or SSNs. You should NEVER reply to a text message asking you for any personal information such as a credit card number, account number, SSN, PIN, etc. The message might give you a link or phone number to call. We recommend you delete the message. Do NOT respond.
No reputable financial institution will ever ask its customers to verify their personal information via an unsolicited text message, e-mail or even a phone call. If you receive a text message, an e-mail or a phone call indicating it is from the credit union and asking for personal identifying information, please call the credit union immediately at 509.943.5676 or toll free 800.284.4276. Please give us as much detail as possible (i.e. exact verbiage of the e-mail or text, phone numbers provided, etc.).
All of the above scams rely on social engineering. Social engineering is defined as the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
The perpetrator pretends to be someone they are not. For example, someone calls or e-mails saying they are from Microsoft and he or she wants to assist you with some computer issues. You are then either directed to go to a certain website address, at which time malware and/or viruses can be downloaded to steal your personal information, or you are asked for your credit card information to validate your copy of Windows. This scam has been around for years. Microsoft does not make unsolicited contact to help you fix your computer nor would they ask you for your credit card number to validate your software license.
There are multiple scams based on social engineering. Be sure you know who you are talking to and never provide personal information unless you initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient of the information.
Online fraud is in no way limited to e-mail. Pop-up ads, phony websites and other online scams can be designed to entice consumers to reveal personal or financial information that can lead to identity theft and other serious crimes.
If an offer looks too good to be true it most likely is. For example, the Nigerian Scam, also known as the 419 or Advance Fee Scam, starts with an e-mail from someone who pretends to be a wealthy foreigner who needs help moving millions of dollars from his country and promises a hefty percentage of the fortune for assistance in getting it moved. The con artist offers to transfer millions of dollars into your bank account in exchange for a small fee. If you respond to the initial offer, you may receive "official looking" documents. Typically, you're then asked to provide your bank account numbers, as well as some money to cover transaction and transfer costs and attorney's fees.
If you receive an offer via e-mail from someone claiming to need your help getting money out of any country, forward it to the FTC. If you're tempted to respond to an offer, the FTC suggests you stop and ask yourself two important questions: Why would a perfect stranger pick you - also a perfect stranger - to share a fortune with, and why would you share any of your personal information, including your bank account numbers, with someone you don't know?
Protect Your Money, Protect Your Privacy
Any user of technology knows and appreciates the convenience it can provide. One thing to remember though - as more consumers move online to take care of business, so do thieves interested in profiting at someone else's expense.
If you have provided personal information in response to an e-mail, call or text message, you should act immediately to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
Here's what to do:
- Report the incident to any bank, credit union or other creditor where you have an account and believe your information may have been compromised. Restrict access or close your account and open a new account if you've provided information that may allow an unauthorized person to access your account.
- Contact the credit bureaus and request that they flag your accounts with a "fraud alert."
Equifax Fraud Hotline 800-525-6285
Experian Fraud Hotline 888-397-3742
TransUnion Fraud Hotline 800-680-7289
- Contact credit card companies if you provided credit card account information in any scam. If you voluntarily close an account make sure the creditor flags it as "closed at customer request."
- Request a credit report if you believe there may be inaccurate information on it due to identity theft. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) entitles you to one free credit report per year.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
You can either complete the form online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call their Identity Theft Hotline at 877-438-4338.
- Report fraud associated with your social security number. You may either complete the form online at www.socialsecurity.gov or call the SSA Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271.
As part of our ongoing efforts to help you prevent fraud from happening to you, following is a list of resources that contain good information. The information provided on these sites help you recognize scams, what you can do if you’re a victim of identity theft and guidelines for protecting yourself and your family while online:
Resources on Identity Theft
Resources on E-mail and Other Scams
Resources to Help Protect Your Privacy