Phishing, vishing and smishing are all ways for a thief to use current technology to get you personal account information to use for fraudulent purposes.

Phishing

This is a scam that uses email or pop-up messages to trick you into disclosing your credit card number, bank account information, Social Security number, password or other sensitive information. These emails will claim to be from a business or organization you deal with - such as your University Credit Union, bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The email usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information. It often threatens dire consequences if you don't respond. The message directs you to a website that looks just like the legitimate organization's web site, but is not. The idea is to get you to enter your information so they can capture it.

Vishing

Also known as "voice" phishing over the phone. This is another way for scammers to steal credit card or debit card numbers and other information used in identity theft scams. Be suspicious of any message you receive claiming to be from University Credit Union asking you to provide sensitive or confidential financial information.

Smishing

A text message is sent to the member's cell phone that asks the member to call a toll-free number once that call is refunded, they will ask for personal information such as Account Number, Credit/Debit card number or Social Security Number.

The U.S. Department Of Justice (DOJ) recently issued three simple recommendations - Stop, Look, and Call - that Internet users can follow when they see E-mails, text messages, Websites or hear a voice mail that may be fraudulent. The DOJ's recommendations are listed below.

1.  Stop. A phishing E-mail, voice mail or text message will typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements with one purpose in mind. They want people to react immediately to that false information, by clicking on the link and inputting the requested data before they take time to think about what they are doing. Internet users, however, need to resist the impulse to click immediately. No matter how upsetting or exciting the statement in the E-mail may be there is always enough time to check out the information more closely. The same is true for text messages and voice mails. Think carefully before responding.

2.  Look. Internet users should look more closely at the claims made in the E-mail, think about whether those claims make sense, and be highly suspicious if the E-mail asks for numerous items of personal information such as: Account Numbers, User Names, or Passwords. For example: If the E-mail, voice mail or text message indicates that it comes from a financial institution where you have an account or a credit card account, but tells you that you have to enter your account information again, that makes no sense. Legitimate banks and financial institutions already have their customers' account number in their records. Even if the E-mail says a customer's account is being terminated the real bank or financial institution will still have that customer's account number and identifying information.

If the E-mail, voice mail or text message says that you have won a prize or are entitled to receive some special "deal," and then asks for financial or personal data, there is good reason to be highly suspicious.

Legitimate companies that want to give you a real prize don't ask for extensive amounts of personal and financial information before you are entitled to receive the prize.

3.  Call. If the E-mail, voice mail or text message states it is from a legitimate company or financial institution, Internet users should call or E-mail that  company directly (get the number yourself- don't use the one in the message) and ask whether the E-mail is truly from that company. To be sure that they are contacting the real company or institution where they have accounts, credit-card account holders can call the toll-free customer numbers on the back of their cards, and financial institution customers can call the telephone numbers on their monthly statements.

Did You Know?


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