Email and website fraud, often referred to as "phishing" or "Spoofing" involves a criminal sending you an email or pop-up advertismenet that claims to be from a legitimate company or organization that you deal with.
The email may instruct you to update or validate your account inforamtion, including Social Security number and passwords and will usually state that the information is needed urgently to get you to respond quickly.
Typically, you will be instructed to respond via email or directed to a phony website that looks like the site of the legitimate business.
By following the email instructions, you unkowningly will provide your personal information to a criminal, not to the legitimate company. The information is then used to transfer money, make payments and commit other illegal acts.
Be cautious of emails that use a general greeting and do not identify you by name.
Fraudulent emails often contain typographical or grammatical errors.
- Often, in conjunction with email fraud schemes, online thieves will direct you to a fraudulent website that resembles the site of a legitimate comany or organization.
- In many cases, there is no easy way to tell that you are on a phony website because the URL address will be very similar to that of the legitimate business.
- The address of the phony website may use a common misspelling of the comapny's name or may add a symbol, number or word before or after hte name.
- Therefore, even if you do not receive an email directing you to the phony site, you may end up at the phony site simply by mistyping the address of the legitimate site.
Malware or "malicious software" is designed to secretly access a computer system without the owner's knowledge or consent. Software is considered to be malware based on the preceived intent of the creator rather than any particular feature. The term malware covers a wide variety of software including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware and other malicious and unwanted software.
Malware is often used to steal personal information, such as account numebr and login credentials, which can then be used to commit fraud.
How can I protect myself against malware?
- Do not respond to or click on links in pop-up advertisements asking for personal or financial information as they are likely fraudulent.
- Do not open and install attachements and free software from unknown sources.
- Avoid downloading files from file sharing and social networking sites, which can be distribution points for malware.
- Install and run anti-virus spyware software on your computer and keep them up-to-date.
You can help protect yourself and your account information by information by following these simple steps:
- Delete suspicious emails from unknown sources without opening them.
- Do not click on links in an unsolicited email or pop-up advertisement asking for personal information.
- Do not open and install attachements and free software from unkown sources.
- If you receive an email that warns you, wiht little or no notice, that an account will be shut down unless you reconfirm your personal information, do not reply or click on the link in the email. Call the company cited in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine to confirm if the request is authentic.
- Do not send confidential information such as account numbers and passwords over the internet in an email.
- Before submitting confidential information through a website, make sure the conncetion is secure. Normally, the URL address will be gin with https://. You should also see a locked padlock icon at hte bottom of your browser window.
- Always log off websites where you have netered a user ID and password when you are done with your online banking session.
- Install virus protection software on your ocmputer and remember to update it frequently.
- Keep your online banking password secure. Do not share your password or use obvious or easily obtainable information such as your name or date of birth. Select a password that uses both letters and numbers to make it hard to guess.
If you suspect identity theft or fraud involving any of your St. Jean's Credit Union accounts, including your ATM or Debit Card, please notify us immediately. You may either call 781.592.5420 or visit your nearest branch location. Based on the information you provide, we may recommend that you close your account and obtain a new account number.
As you contact the organizations mentioned ont his page, keep a log of all conversations inculding dates, names and phone numbers. Note the time spent and any expenses you incur in case you are able to request restitution in a later judgement or conviction against the thief. Confirm conversations in writing.
Send correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Keep copies of all letters and docuements.
- You should also immediately contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three credit bureaus to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report, inculding a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accoutns in your name.
- Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief fro opening more accounts in your name. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert.
- The credit bureau you call is requried to contact the other twe. Fraud alerts are usually placed for 60 to 90 days, but you can request that the time period be extended to 7 years.
Federal Trade Commission
You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by phone: 1.877.ID.THEFT (438.4338) online by clicking here or by mail:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvannia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
The FTC's Identity Theft website is a one-stop national resource that provides detailed information to help people protect themselves from identity theft and helps victims of identity theft repair damage to their credit records. A uniform affidavit form is avialble on this site that most creditors will accept.
Local Police and Sherrif's Department
- You should also contact your local police or sherrif's department to repor the crime.
- Ask for a copy of the report
- When you rpovide your police report to the credit bureaus, they must remove the fraudulent accounts from your credit record.
- Keep the phone number of your investigator and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case.