This time of year often brings enhanced feelings of generosity and kindness. While it is a time of celebration, consumers can fall victim to a number of scams and frauds. Please be especially vigilant and aware of protecting your account and personal information. Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Do not respond to unsolicited spam email.
- Be cautious of email claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
- Never put your credit card information in an email.
- Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
- Always compare the link in the e-mail to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.
- Log directly onto the official website for the business identified in the e-mail, instead of linking to it from an unsolicited e-mail.
Package Delivery Scam
- If you receive an email with the subject line reading “USPS Failed Delivery Notification,” or something similar, do not open it. The emails claim to be from the Postal Service and contain fraudulent information about an attempted or intercepted package delivery. The emails instruct customers to click on a link to find out when they can expect delivery. Clicking on the link activates a virus, which can steal personal information such as user names, passwords or financial account information. These emails look almost identical to official notifications from the real shippers by using legitimate-looking email addresses and even the official logos.
Using public Wi-Fi
- Understand the risks of using unsecured or public wireless networks. If it’s open to the public, it’s possible that your personal information or your device could be compromised. To protect your information when using wireless hotspots, send information only to sites that are fully encrypted, and avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information.
- When shopping online look for the padlock. Secured websites will have an icon of a locked padlock that appears, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar, depending on the internet browser you use. Don’t enter your personal or credit card information into a website if that icon isn’t present.
- Gift cards purchased through online auction sites are often fraudulent or stolen. The safest way to purchase gift cards is directly from the merchant or retail store.
To learn more about ways to stay protected, visit the NCUA’s Fraud Prevention Center at www.mycreditunion.gov/fraud-prevention-center.