Fraud Awareness & Prevention

 

What Can You Do To Help Protect Your Financial Information?

 

Phone Calls Appearing to be From Us

Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union learned of a scam targeting its members.  A fraudster contacted one of its members claiming to be from the Credit Union’s “Fraud Department”.  The caller ID displayed one of the Credit Union’s published numbers.

This activity is often referred to as a “phishing” scam where fraudsters are looking to gain access to personal information.  To aid in their deception, criminals can easily manipulate caller ID to display whatever phone number they choose (often referred to as “spoofing”).

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from your financial institution, do not ask for a call-back number.  You can always hang up and dial a known phone number for your credit union or bank to verify the caller’s authenticity.  Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution and to appropriate authorities.  Maine Highlands FCU representatives do not ask for personal information when calling members.

Additional Reading:

Scammers Can Fake Caller ID Info, Federal Trade Commission

Voice Phishing Scams Are Getting More Clever, KrebsonSecurity

 

10 Tips to Avoid Fraud

Check out this article by the Federal Trade Commission entitled “Ten Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud”.  These tips cover everything from phishing scams to money laundering.  Remember: if you suspect something isn’t quite right, call us.  We’re here to help!

 

Websites That Look Like Your Credit Union’s Site

Fraudsters are becoming increasingly deceptive at setting up sites that look like official financial institution sites.  In this article by KrebsonSecurity you will find a good example of an imposter site that looks almost identical to the real thing with the exception of one character in the site’s address that utilizes an international character to substitute for the letter “i”.  The simplest advice we can provide: go directly to our homepage and bookmark it.  Use the bookmark to visit us online rather than links from other sites and emails.

 

ATM Skimming

The media has been covering stories regarding ATM skimming attacks where hard-to-identify hardware is placed on ATM’s to capture the information on your cards magnetic strip, as well as your PIN.  We have upgraded our ATM’s with the latest card-reading technology that greatly reduces the chances for skimmer attacks by changing how cards are inserted and read.  Your privacy and security are very important to us!

 

Email Scams

The Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions  issued a warning about fraudsters that pretend to represent a bank or credit union often through email.  Please use extreme caution when clicking links or opening attachments in emails.  If an email appears to be from us, consider going directly to our website rather than clicking links in the email message.  To quote an article by the Maine Credit Union League:

Bureau Superintendent Lloyd LaFountain III said consumers should never disclose bank or credit union account numbers or other personal information by email, text or phone.  “Banks and credit unions will not email, text or call customers asking them to divulge account numbers, PINs or Social Security numbers,” he said.

Always feel free to contact us to verify the authenticity of any email message, text message, or phone call you receive.

 

IRS Scams

Please be aware of continuing IRS scams.  Here are some great tips shared by the Maine Credit Union League regarding scams where fraudsters are pretending to represent the IRS.

  • The IRS will never ask for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone
  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information
  • The IRS does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for financial accounts
  • If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, do not open any attachments or click on any links. Instead forward the email to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov
  • Never provide your personal information on a call you did not initiate