from Common Scams & Phishing Schemes
You've heard all the stories. Someone gets an email "Your account will
be deactivated unless you go here and re-enter your username and
password." The person complies, only to later have account emptied of its
These stories are frightening, but you
shouldn't panic. The more you keep your cool, the less you're likely to
fall for a scam. You can call the credit union
any time you get a suspicious email or phone call. Be sure to watch out
for other family members, also. The elderly are often targets for identity
theft. Do what you can to make sure older family members are aware
that these scams exist and to call the credit union directly with
questions or problems.
"Emergency Alert" Messages
While fake emails threatening to block your account
access have been circulating for several years now, they're now
appearing on text messages as well.
Just as email scams can fake their return address, fake text
messages can fake their incoming phone number.
Quite often, these "emergency alert" phone calls and text messages
arrive late at night when your credit union is closed and you're too
tired to react with a clear head. Don't let them scare you into reacting
before you've had a chance to think things through!
Old Credit Card "Verification" Scam Gets a New Twist
Credit card thieves frequently bribe waiters and store
clerks to copy the front of the credit cards processed at their store. To
combat this form of theft, credit card companies now put a three-digit
code on the BACK of the credit card. You cannot make a credit card
purchase online or over the phone without also knowing this three-digit
To get around this obstacle, credit card thieves have added
an extra step to their scam. Armed with the name from the front of your
credit card, they simply need a phone book to find your phone number and
home address. They then call your home.
In an official-sounding
voice they repeat your name, card number and home address. Then they ask you to
"verify" this information by giving them the three-digit code on the back
of your credit card.
Never give ANY private financial information out
over the phone unless you initiate the phone call.
If the caller threatens to cancel your card or freeze your account,
it's a sure tip-off to a scam. Offer to call them back with this
information, and ask for a phone number. Then report this incident to your credit union or
the phone number on the back of your credit card,
and give them the fraudulent phone number. They'll also help you close
this account and issue a new credit card.
Never give ANY private financial information out over the
you initiate the phone call.
To report a lost or stolen DCU VISA Credit Card, call 1-800-449-7728 anytime
day or night. To report a lost or stolen ATM or VISA Cash/Check card, call
Fraud Prevention Tips
Identity theft is usually more low-tech than you expect. Many identity
thieves simply sift through garbage cans and dive into dumpsters. With that in
mind, you should shred any old documents that contain account numbers, names,
social security numbers, etc., before you throw them out.
Other identity thieves pay low-wage workers to collect credit card
information. When shopping or dining out, try not to let your credit card out of
your site. You never know who might see it and copy down the numbers.
Don't be afraid to say "no". Say you respond to an ad in the paper
for an apartment or used car, and the seller immediately asks
for private financial information. Just say no. It
could be that the seller is getting lots of calls and hoping to
weed out those who aren't seriously interested. Or it could be an identity
thief. If the seller isn't willing to continue the conversation unless you
reveal private financial information, you're better off going elsewhere.
Your identity and your credit rating are as important as your actual money,
and all should be guarded equally. It's not wise to carry a thousand-dollar bill
around, but a Social Security card is worth just as much on some markets. Both
are better off at home and out of your wallet, under most circumstances.
If You Suspect Fraud...
If you think your identity has been stolen, here’s what to do:
- Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus
(listed below) to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts.
As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts.
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or
- File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors
and others that may require proof of the crime.
- File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps the FTC learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that they can better assist you.
Check your credit report on a regular basis. We suggest getting a free
credit report every 4-months. For example, view your Equifax report at the
end of April, your Experian report at the end of August and TransUnion at the
end of December.
To get your free credit report,