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Fraud Prevention and Security

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Social Engineering

Have you given your personal information to anyone recently? Social engineering can happen through a phone call, text message, email, or in-person. These communications are designed to get you to do something, click on a link, enter your information into a website, or make you think something is wrong and that they have the solution. The messages typically create a sense of urgency.

Fraudsters can get your personal information from data breaches, social media, or by theft to name a few. They use the information to build a profile and socially engineer you. One of the more common social engineering scams we see takes place over the phone or text message. A member might receive a text claiming to be from the Fraud Department, asking you to verify recent charges on your account. The best thing to do when someone calls you claiming to be from the credit union is to

Call Inspirus' Member Contact Center at 888.628.4010. Inspirus will never ask you over the phone for your full account number, online banking username, online banking password, ATM, debit, or credit card pin, CV2 (the 3 digit code on the back of your card), or your expiration date.

How to get a free copy of your credit report

The nation’s three consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – have established a centralized and secure credit report request service, annualcreditreport.com, to process requests for free credit file disclosures, as required by law.

More information about requesting a free credit report

The site is for exclusive use of consumers requesting their free credit report every 12 months under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). Annualcreditreport.com is the only service authorized by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Consumers should not provide their personal information to any other company or person in connection with requesting free annual credit file disclosures under the FACT Act. To get your free reports, request them online through annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. For help in interpreting your credit report, you’re welcome to call BALANCE®, the free, confidential financial-counseling service for credit union members. BALANCE counselors are available Monday through Saturday by calling 888-456-2227 or by linking to BALANCE.

Identity Theft: Reduce Your Risk

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name or personal information, such as your Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit card number, telephone number or other account numbers, without your permission. Identity thieves use this information to open credit accounts, bank accounts, telephone service accounts, and make major purchases – all in your name. Information can be used to take over your existing accounts or to open new accounts. Identity theft can result in damage to your credit rating and denials of credit and job offers.

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

Identity theft commonly begins with the loss or theft of a wallet or purse. But there are many other ways that criminals can get and use your personal information in order to commit identity theft. To learn more and see examples of identity theft, read this article on PrivacyRights.org.

Protect Your Identity

While there is no guarantee that your identity will never be stolen, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk:

  • Sign up for and use online banking to reduce the amount of paperwork with your personal information on it.
  • Reduce the number of credit and debit cards you carry in your wallet.
  • Shred any documentation with personal or financial information on it.
  • Do not use debit cards at all when shopping online.
  • Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, and investments — the account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of the customer service departments.
  • Never give out your SSN, credit or debit card number or other personal information over the phone, by mail, or on the Internet unless you have a trusted business relationship with the company and you have initiated the call.
  • Install security software that protects against viruses and scans for spyware to protect your computer.
  • Never permit your credit card number to be written onto your checks.
  • Watch the mail when you expect a new or reissued credit card to arrive.
  • Order your credit report at least once a year.
  • Create strong passwords and PINs (personal identification numbers), do not use the last four digits of your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, your birth date, middle name, pet’s name, consecutive numbers or anything else that could easily be discovered by thieves.
  • Memorize all your passwords, don’t write them down.
  • Shield your hand when using a bank ATM machine.
  • Do not carry your SSN card in your wallet except for situations when it is required.

For more resources and ways to keep your identify safe, see PrivacyRights.org's article How To Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft .

If You're a Victim
  • Sign up for and use online bankinContact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus. Request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your file and include a statement that creditors must get your permission before any new accounts are opened in your name. For more information, visit the Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion websites. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau so that you can dispute any inaccurate information.g to reduce the amount of paperwork with your personal information on it.
  • File a police report. Contact the non-emergency line at your local station to report the information. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of a crime.
  • Create an ID Theft Report. Use the FTC Online Complaint Assistant to create your ID Theft Affidavit. Visit the Federal Trade Commission website for more information reporting identity theft.
  • Contact all the creditors involved. Let them know that your accounts may have been compromised, or that new accounts have been opened in your name. If your accounts have been used fraudulently, ask that new cards and account numbers be issued to you. Check your billing statements carefully and report any fraudulent activity immediately. If unauthorized accounts have been opened in your name, many bank and creditors will accept the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit in order to close the fraudulent account and remove the information from your credit report.
  • For more resources and details related to the tips above, Read Identity Theft: What to Do if it Happens to You on PrivacyRights.org.
Additional Resources
Identity theft resource center
BALANCE® Financial Fitness Program
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Social Security Administration SSA Fraud Hotline
U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Avoid Phishing scams

Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a type of online financial fraud where a con artist uses e-mail and a phony Web site to trick you into giving out your personal data.

More Information about phishing scams

Here’s how it works: A con artist sends an email that looks like it’s from your bank, credit union, or credit card issuer. The email asks you to provide information to the company through its website, and the scammer has conveniently provided an embedded link for you to click. The link takes you to what looks like the bank or credit union’s legitimate site. But, in fact, it’s a counterfeit site set up to collect all sorts of data – account numbers, passwords, credit card data, and Social Security numbers – that the con artist will use to defraud you.

The “phisher” has a variety of “hooks” in his tackle box. Many play on fears that fraudulent activity already has occurred on your account. They encourage you to act now to stop further abuse and might include phrasing like:

  • “We need to verify your personal information.”
  • “We’ve placed a hold on your account due to failed log-ins or suspicious activity.”
  • “Failure to respond leaves us no choice other than to close your account.”

When well-meaning consumers respond, the next thing they know, their checking accounts have been emptied, their credit cards maxed out, and their personal data used to open fraudulent accounts in their name!

Until now, customers of big banks and Internet merchants have been the main targets. (Crooks like to cast thousands of e-mail hooks knowing some “phish” will bite.) But as one of the state’s largest credit unions, we can’t dismiss the possibility that phishers will try to con our members, too.

What you can do to avoid getting "reeled in"

  • Know that we’d NEVER e-mail you asking you to verify personal data or correct problems with an account. Nor do we send emails with embedded forms soliciting sensitive information. If you receive an email like that, call us right away at 1-888-628-4010 or forward the email to accounts@inspirusCU.org!
  • Type our URL into your browser when connecting to our website (or bookmark it). We have only one website: www.inspirusCU.org. We have only one website: www.inspirusCU.org.
  • Don’t trust any unsolicited email asking you for personal information, credit card numbers, ATM PINs, etc. If you ever doubt an e-mail that says it’s from us, call and check it out. We can verify if one of our employees really did send you an e-mail.
  • Use the latest version of your browser. Also, periodically visit your browser-software vendor’s Web site to download security patches.
  • Check your online accounts regularly. If you see anything suspicious, let us know!
  • Review all statements promptly and compare any charges to your receipts. Your statements are often the first clue to fraudulent activity.

The three biggest tip-offs to “phishing” and other fraudulent e-mail:

  • They’re usually not personalized with financial institution information like your account name and number.
  • They often list scenarios (showing negative consequences) if you don’t act immediately.
  • They may contain flawed grammar or spelling errors.