Help Protect Yourself - Internet Crime Prevention Tips
Internet crime schemes steal millions of dollars each year from victims continue to plague the Internet through various methods. Preventative measures that will assist you in being informed prior to entering into transactions over the Internet.
We maintain the highest standards in both lending and savings, consistently receiving the best rating for safety and soundness by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), our federal regulator. This is a reflection of our conservative lending guidelines and the fact that we do not make “sub-prime” loans.
Members' deposits with AgFed are insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA. Different types of account ownership may increase the amount covered by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (an arm of the NCUA).
Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
Emails purporting to be from financial institutions continue to be a significant problem on the Internet. These scams, usually referred to as "phishing", bait unsuspecting users into clicking on links to allegedly update or verify their information. In fact, you are not connecting to the financial institution's site at all if you use the supplied link. Instead, you are going to a site the scammer has set up to get your personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, etc.
The big problem is that the fake "phishing" e-mails look official and real: They appear to be from trusted banks, retailers or other companies. The e-mail often says the company needs to verify your information, such as account numbers or passwords, for supposed security purposes. They often use scare tactics, like the example above, threatening to suspend your account. They're slick and well-designed, using official-sounding language and real company logos to make them look and feel authentic.
How can you protect yourself from phishing scams?
Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether over the phone or over the Internet. Emails and Internet pages created by Phishers may look exactly like the real thing. They may even have a fake padlock icon that is used ordinarily to denote a secure site. If you did not initiate the communication, you should not provide any information. Hint: look on the address bar to confirm whether a site is secure--the web address will begin with https. If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself. You can find phone numbers and websites on the monthly statements you receive from your financial institution, or look them up in the phone book. The key is that you should be the one to initiate the contact, using contact information that you have verified yourself. Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who may suggest dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information. Never click on a link provided in the email you believe is fraudulent. It may contain a virus that could contaminate your computer. Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request. A financial institution would never ask you to verify your account information online. Thieves armed with this information and your account number can help themselves to your savings. Review account statements regularly to ensure that all charges are correct. If you account statement is late arriving, call your financial institution to find out why. You may even view your account activity online periodically to catch suspicious activity.
If you fall victim to an attack, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files. Monitor your account statements and credit files closely.
Take the Sonic WALL Phishing and Spam Quiz to determine if you can differentiate a legitimate email from a phishing email.
Report suspicious e-mails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission or by calling (877) 438-4338.
Beware of Vishing
Vishing is similar to phishing. It is an attempt to get consumers to divulge their Personal Identifiable Information (PII) by claiming their account has been terminated, deactivated or suspended. Recipients are directed to contact their bank via a phone number provided in an email or an automated recording. The recipient is greeted with a request for their card number. Under no circumstances would we ask you for this information. Never provide your personal information via phone or email unless you are 100% certain that you are speaking with someone from your financial institution. If you feel you have been a victim, please contact our Member Service Department at (800) 368-3552.
While you can't completely eliminate the risk of someone fraudulently obtaining and using your personal information, here are some ways to minimize the risk:
- Don't put outgoing mail in an unsecured personal mailbox. Mailboxes have been raided and checks duplicated – it's happening in our own backyard!
- Don't give out social security numbers or account information over the phone or by internet or mail unless you know who's requesting it.
- Keep items with personal information on them in a safe place. Shred credit card, check card and ATM receipts, old account statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them out.
- Get your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus at least once a year and make sure all entries actually belong to you.
- Don't store personal or financial information on a laptop computer unless absolutely necessary.
- Delete personal information before disposing of any computer.
- Protect your personal identification numbers and other passwords. Don't use passwords that are easy to figure out such as your date of birth or the last four digits of your social security number.
- Don't carry around your social security card.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
- Pay attention to your accounts' billing cycles. If your bills don't arrive on time, it could mean that someone changed the billing address.
If you think your personal information has been stolen:
- Notify all three major credit bureaus. Order your credit report to see if any fraudulent accounts have been opened.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently and stop payment on any stolen checks.
- File a report with the local police or in the community where the theft occurred. Keep a copy of the police report – you'll need it later.
- Call the FTC at (877) 438-4338.
- If it appears that someone is using your social security number, contact the Social Security Administration at (800)772-1213 to verify the accuracy of your reported earnings.
To order your report, call (800) 685-1111. To report fraud, call (800) 525-6285.
To order your report, call (888) 397-3742. To report fraud, call (888) 397-3742.
To order your report, call (800) 888-4213. To report fraud, call (800) 680-7289.
For more information about identity theft visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Page. To learn more about internet fraud or to file a complaint, visit the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC). The IFCC is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).