Scam artists are nothing new — they've been trying to fleece us out of our money since the beginning of time. What is new, however, is the increasing use of sophisticated techniques and technology. Each year the number of people victimized increases. It's up to each of us to educate ourselves on how to avoid being taken.

Equifax Breach:  Important Information On How to Protect Yourself

Equifax has set up a Web site — https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com — that anyone concerned can visit to see if they may be impacted by the breach. The site also lets consumers enroll in TrustedID Premier, a 3-bureau credit monitoring service (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) which also is operated by Equifax.

According to Equifax, when you begin, you will be asked to provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Based on that information, you will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been impacted by this incident. Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, the company says it will provide everyone the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier. The offer ends Nov. 21, 2017.

Monitor Your Credit

Each member is entitled to get a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. Just go to annualcreditreport.com to get yours.

Credit Bureau Contact Information

Equifax
888-567-8688

Experian
888-397-3742

TransUnion
800-680-7289

Some Definitions

  • Phishing – A criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication; typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to a legitimate one.
  • Smishing – A form of criminal activity using social engineering techniques similar to phishing; typically carried out by SMS/text message, and often directs users to download a program/file which turns out to be a virus.
  • Vishing – The criminal practice of using social engineering over the telephone, the term is a combination of "voice" and "phishing"; typically used to steal credit card numbers or other information.

ATM Skimming On The Rise

Use extra caution when inserting your card at an ATM or a retailer, especially if it is unattended (such as a gas station pay at the pump). Fraudsters are getting more aggressive and we have seen a sharp rise in skimming-related card fraud in the first quarter of 2017.

Here are a couple of things you can do to help prevent this from happening:

  • Examine the ATM: Never enter your PIN in an ATM that doesn't look genuine or has been modified. Thieves may place a thin reading device into or around the card slot to capture the data in the card's magnetic strip.
  • If it's hard to insert your card, if the surface is sticky, or if the slot is scratched, it might contain a reader
  • Before you insert your card, take hold of the place where you insert it on the machine. If it feels loose, do not insert your card.
  • If you insert your card and can wiggle it around, remove the card immediately and report it to the merchant and your financial institution immediately.
  • If using a gas pump, pay inside if possible.

Other tips for keeping your card safe:

  • Protect your PIN: If they have your card data, next they need your PIN.
  • There are many ways to hide a tiny camera on or near an ATM, such as in the light panel or brochure holder. Always use your free hand to cover your PIN every time you enter it.
  • Never write your PIN on the back of your card.
  • Never keep the card and PIN together.
  • Never divulge your PIN to another person who is not on the account.

Much of the fraud we see related to purchases is because the person made the PIN accessible to someone else, even family members.

If you find a withdrawal or a purchase on your account and you did not make that withdrawal or purchase, you must report it immediately. Check your accounts often through online banking or our mobile app. At minimum, review your statements monthly. If you are a victim, and do not report it within 60 days, you may incur the loss.

For more information, see the FBI's article on this topic.

lp-atm-skimming

Fraudulent Checks

We have been made aware of fraudulent checks in circulation, appearing to be made out by Destinations Credit Union. These appear to be payments for things like mystery shopping. These checks are not issued by Destinations and we ask that if you are presented with one, that you provide the check and all documentation to:

Email info@destinationscu.org or mail to Fraud Department, Destinations Credit Union, 8767 Satyr Hill Rd., Baltimore, MD 21234.

Free e-Book

Download our 90-page e-book, "Twists of Fake,"  that covers a wide range of scams and ID theft schemes.

Visit Our Blog: Reaching Your Financial Destinations

Subscribe to our blog for e-mail updates on posts. Search by keywords such as "fraud" or "scam."

How to Protect Your Identity When Shopping Online

Useful information on how to shop online safely: Article by Camilla Taylor

Identity Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend

The Federal Trade Commission offers good information on detecting identity theft, defending yourself against ID theft, and helps victims through the process of recovering when their identity has been stolen. This site offers streaming video demonstrating how identities are stolen and the devastating effects it can have on individuals.

Should You Purchase ID Theft Protection? See what the FTC has to say on the subject.

U.S. Postal Inspection

View this document from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to learn about a wide range of mail fraud scams.