What is Skimming?
Today’s highest ranked fraud is called “Skimming”. With this type of fraud, thieves use skimming devices to collect private data from debit, credit and ATM cards.
Some of the devices used to collect, or skim, your information include fake card slots, cameras, and even mobile phones. Skimmers often target gas stations, retail stores, and ATM locations. Handheld skimming devices can also be used at restaurants as you hand your card to a server to pay for a meal.
Although City CU continues to optimize its security, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim!
At Gas Pumps
- Check the pump for any loose or tampered card slots.
- Choose credit over debit to avoid entering your PIN.
- If you must use a PIN, cover your hand when you enter it.
- When in doubt, go into the station and pay the attendant.
- Be aware of your surroundings and leave immediately if you feel unsafe.
- Check the ATM for any loose parts like the card slot, money dispenser, or ATM screen cover.
- Cover your hand when entering your PIN.
At Restaurants and Retail Stores
- At checkout, choose credit over debit to protect your PIN from being detected by a skimming device.
- When in doubt, pay cash and check your statements often to spot any suspicious activity.
City CU urges all of its Members to observe basic safety precautions and exercise discretion when using an ATM or night deposit facility. Here are some tips to help:
- Prepare for ATM transactions prior to approaching the ATM or night deposit facility.
- Retain your receipts, do not lend your Debit card to anyone, and do not leave your card or any other documents at the ATM or any night deposit facility.
- Treat your Debit card the same as cash and keep it in a secure place.
- Keep your PIN secret and memorize it. Do not give anyone information regarding your card or PIN over the telephone.
- When using an ATM, place your body in a position to prevent others from observing your PIN when entered.
- At any ATM or night deposit facility, keep a lookout for any suspicious activity near the facility and make sure all approaches to the facility are well lighted.
- Conceal cash received from the ATM to the best of your ability and count it after you have left the ATM.
- If anyone offers assistance while you are operating an ATM, do not accept it. If you have started a transaction, consider canceling the transaction and leaving the ATM location.
- Compare your receipts to your monthly statement and notify us immediately if you suspect that an error or unauthorized transaction has occurred.
- In the case of a lost or stolen Debit card, please contact City CU immediately at (214) 515-0100.
When is a credit repair offer a scam?
With the economy slowing and lenders becoming increasingly picky, many people are looking for fast, easy ways to fix or even erase damage to their credit history” said Steve Cox, spokesperson for the BBB. “People need to be very careful when searching for or using a credit repair agency. In some cases consumers are being charged for work they could have done on their own for free, and in the worst case scenarios, consumers are unwittingly encouraged to engage in illegal activities.”
Offers for miraculous credit repair are common in radio, television, newspaper and direct mail advertising. The Internet is home to countless credit repair sharks, some requiring consumers pay large fees upfront – upwards of $1,500 – and in return may promise to erase any blemishes on credit records, get new Social Security numbers for clients, or allow consumers to piggyback on someone else’s credit record.
The BBB is counseling consumers that the truth is, no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report, that it’s nearly impossible to get a new Social Security number, and that piggybacking on someone else’s credit may be considered as loan fraud.
The BBB advises anyone using a credit repair service to beware of companies that:
1. Do not tell you your legal rights and what you can do legally for free;
2. Recommend that you not contact a credit bureau directly;
3. Want you to pay for credit repair services before any services are provided;
4. Advise you to dispute all information in your credit report;
5. Take any action that seems illegal, such as creating a new credit identity by obtaining a federal employer identification number to use instead of a Social Security number, or
6. Offer to let you “piggyback” on other consumer’s good credit.
Before contacting a credit repair service, consumers can check them out first with the BBB by easily accessing BBB Reliability Reports free of charge at http://www.bbb.org/.
“Tax Season” is quickly approaching, and the Identity Theft Resource Center warns this means added opportunities for thieves to steal your identity. The documents taxpayers send and receive this time of year contain all the information identity thieves look for: your name, address, bank and financial account information, and most importantly, your Social Security Number.
The Identity Theft Resource Center reminds businesses and consumers to be careful when handling tax-related documents and information. Following are tips on how to minimize the risk of identity theft:
- Paper security. Keep tax paperwork in a safe, locked location. Financial documents don’t belong in a briefcase. They can be lost or stolen if left unguarded in your car for even a few minutes.
- Document Disposal. Put papers you no longer need through a cross-cut shredder. These include receipts, papers with credit card account and Social Security Numbers (such as health benefit payment and income reporting forms), and loan documents.
- Computer Security. If your computer is linked to the internet, make sure to have updated firewall, antivirus, and spyware software to protect you from invasion.
- Mail Theft Prevention. Be sure to retrieve your mail every day. Uncollected mail is an invitation for an identity thief. When mailing your tax documents, always take them directly to the Post Office, preferably dropping them in a box inside the Post Office.
- Tax Preparers and Personal Privacy. Be selective about who works on your taxes. Investigate tax preparation companies with the Better Business Bureau, especially new or seasonal offices. Ask how your information will be stored, what computer security software is used, and if the person working on your taxes has undergone a thorough background screening.
- Tax Time Scams. If you receive an email asking for your Social Security Number or financial information, delete it or notify the Federal Trade Commission for investigation. The IRS does not send emails stating you are being electronically audited. They also don’t contact you by email about refunds which require you to provide checking account information.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, credit cards, checks or driver’s license without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States.
How does identity theft happen?
Despite your best efforts to manage the use of your personal information, skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to gain access to your data. Some of these methods include stealing wallets and purses, as well as changing the address on credit accounts to divert mail to another location. They also steal mail from mailboxes or rummage through garbage looking for personal data.
How do I reduce my risk of identity theft?
Here are a few tips to minimize your risk:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card, passport, or birth certificate with you except when necessary.
- Carry only necessary credit cards and identification information.
- Don’t give out your Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name or account information over the phone unless you are sure the caller is legitimate or you initiated the call.
- Don’t place paid bills in your mailbox for pickup, and have your mail held by the post office if you will be away from home.
- Shred all credit card receipts, solicitations, cancelled checks and other financial documents before throwing them away.
- Have your name removed from mailing and solicitation lists. (Note: City CU policy prevents us from providing your personal information to non-affiliated parties.)
- To opt out of receiving pre-screened unsolicited credit card offers, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).
What should I do if I become a victim?
Contact your local police department immediately and report and identity theft offense. If you are in Dallas, call 214-744-4444; otherwise, call 877-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338). Most fraudulent use of cards or checks takes place within days of the items being lost or stolen. Notify the creditor and City CU (214-515-0100) immediately, and keep a record of any conversations and correspondence. Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus and request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your name and Social Security number. Retailers and financial institutions often use these three major bureaus in lending decisions. The fraud alert may help prevent someone from using your identity to get credit.
Three major credit bureaus:
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN or 1-888-397-3742
- Equifax (CSC in Texas): 1-800-759-5979
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This can be done by calling the Identity Theft Hotline at 877-IDTheft (877-438-4338), or online at the FTC’s ID Theft website.
If your Social Security Number has been used fraudulently, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Email Phishing Scams
Phishing is a scheme used by fraudsters posing as a trusted financial institution, ATM/debit network, credit card company, online retailer or other service provider to trick unsuspecting individuals into disclosing person and/or financial information. Typically, you receive an unsolicited e-mail or phone call appearing to be from an organization you readily recognize asking you to verify personal and/or financial information. Many times these are organizations that may be in some way connected to your checking and/or savings account, such as your financial institution, utility company or an online payment company. To encourage immediate action, the request usually warns that an unauthorized transaction has taken place on your account, or that your service may be interrupted or shut down unless you confirm your information. If the phishing attack is in the form of an email, it may use the name, logo and Web site attributes of the legitimate business.
CITY CU WILL NEVER EMAIL OUR MEMBERS TO REQUEST OR VERIFY PERSONAL INFORMATION.
How to Safeguard Yourself:
- Do not reply to any unsolicited email or pop-up message asking for personal or financial information.
- Do not click on any email link if you suspect the message is fraudulent, not even to “unsubscribe.” Instead, call the business using the number on the back of your card or on your monthly statement to confirm the legitimacy of the email. Never send personal information via email.
- If you initiate an online transaction and are required to provide personal data, look for indicators that the web site is secure, like the “https” in the URL or padlock icon.
- Do not let your debit card out of your sight when purchasing goods and services.
- Use anti-virus software, anti-spyware and a firewall and keep them up to date.
- Review account statements regularly to verify all transactions.
- Report all phishing attacks at once. Notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by filing a complaint on their web site at www.ifccfbi.gov and forward the email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. The IC3 was established by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research and refer to federal, state, local or international law enforcement for investigation.
- Change your debit card PIN periodically.
If you have given out personal or financial information in response to a fraudulent request, report the incident to your account provider(s) as soon as possible. Keep a record of the names, account numbers and customer service numbers for all financial accounts you maintain. Also, report the theft to the three major credit-reporting agencies.
- Review your credit report every year.
If you have any questions regarding identity theft or email phishing scams, call (214) 515-0100 and ask to speak with our City CU Fraud Specialist.