Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity fraud happens when someone steals personal information such as your account number or Social Security number and then uses this information illegally to make withdrawals from your accounts or apply for credit in your name.
Take these precautions to protect your information:
- Be cautious when providing personal information such as your Social Security number and account or credit card information over the telephone, in person or on the Internet. Don't give out this information unless you are sure with whom you are dealing.
- Protect your Social Security number and the Social Security numbers of your children and other family members by not carrying them in your wallet.
- Report lost or stolen checks, credit or debit cards immediately. First Central Credit Union will block payment on the check numbers or account numbers involved.
- Limit the number of credit card pre-approved offers that you receive by removing your name from the marketing lists of the three credit reporting bureaus. Visit www.optoutprescreen.com to remove your name from their lists now.
- Store cancelled checks, new checks and account statements in a safe place.
- Notify the credit union of suspicious phone inquiries such as those asking for account information to "verify a statement" or "award a prize."
- Review your credit report at least once every year. Make sure all information is up-to-date and accurate.
- Memorize your PIN (Personal Identification Number) and refrain from writing it, your Social Security number or credit card number on a check.
- Tear up or shred any pre-approved credit offers to which you do not respond. Thieves can use these offers to assume your identity.
- Keep mail secure. Don't mail bills or sensitive information from your home or unsecured mailboxes. Retrieve and review your mail promptly. Thieves may use the personal information contained in your mail to steal your identity.
- If you do not receive your regular bills when expected, call the company to find out why.
- Review your monthly account statements thoroughly. Investigate suspicious items immediately to head off any possible fraud before it occurs.
- Do not carry your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate unless needed that day.
If you are a member of First Central Credit Union and you think you are victim of fraud, immediately contact us by calling 254-776-9333 so we can flag your account. To report ID Theft or Fraud on your First Central account, you must file a police report, supply us with the case number or a copy of the police report, and fill out the Sworn Statement. The form may be filled out prior to coming to First Central Credit Union.
Fraud Prevention Information
Fraudsters Impersonate Financial Institutions Fraud Center
Cardholders are being contacted by phone moments before actual card fraud is being committed. Fraudsters impersonate the financial institution card fraud prevention department and coerce members to give out as much personal sensitive information they can obtain. Fraudsters then commit card fraud while they are on the phone with the cardholder. The impersonators may even guide the cardholder through how to accept all charges as valid to allow future fraud charges -- under the guise of "not to inconvenience them (the cardholder) in the future." These imposters then leverage all the information gathered to determine if further theft could possibly be committed in other areas of the cardholder's financial arena.
A valid card fraud prevention team DOES NOT:
- Explain detailed information of the fraud rules and why the card declined
- Discuss the dispute process
- Discuss account related information
- Have information as to how the card was compromised
- Remove blocks in the lost/stolen department
- Speak to anyone that is not listed on the card
- Adjust limits or restrictions on cards
- Opt cardholders out of the Fraud Center
- Change a cardholder's PIN
- Activate a card
"Phishing" Fraudulent E-Mail Seeking Credit Card Information
A fraudulent e-mail seeking credit card information (known as a "phishing fraud") has been circulating nationwide. This fraudulent phishing email appears to be from NCUA and contains a link purportedly to obtain a subscription for the NCUA Express Subscription service. When that link is used, the recipient is directed to a "clone" of the NCUA Express Service site that seeks credit card information from those to whom the phish was sent. If you receive such an email, please ignore it, as it is fraudulent. The NCUA does NOT charge for the Express Subscription service and does NOT solicit credit card information over the Internet. If you have questions or comments, please contact the NCUA Fraud Hotline at 800-827-9650 or, during off duty hours, at 703-728-0700.
"Smishing" Scam Targets Credit Unions via Text Messaging
Credit unions across the country are reporting that their members are receiving unsolicited text messages. It's an attempt at Smishing, the latest form of phishing. In Smishing, an e-mail tries to lure a recipient into giving personal information via SMS, the communications protocol used to send text messages to a wireless device. The recent scam is targeting credit union and other financial institution members.
In smishing, the members receive a text message via cell phone, warning that their account has been closed due to suspicious activity. It then tells them they need to call a certain phone number to reactivate the account.
Unsuspecting callers who dial the number provided in the text message will be taken to an automated voice mail box that prompts them to key in their credit card or debit card number, expiration date, and PIN to verify their information.
If you have been a victim of this scam, take these steps immediately:
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, ask for a free copy of your credit report, and review those reports for evidence of accounts you didn't open. Fraud unit contacts are:
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Close accounts--including share drafts/checks or ATM cards — that have been tampered with or used fraudulently. Contact all financial institutions and lenders, credit card issuers, utility companies, and the Social Security Administration to notify them of the fraud. Follow up each conversation with a letter.
- File a report with law enforcement and insist on getting a copy of the report or the report number.
- File a complaint with the FTC. Visit this site for more information or call 877-IDTHEFT.