Protecting Your Privacy: A Team Effort
Fraudulent activity and the security of consumer information has been a hot topic in the news lately. The recent data breaches that have occurred in stores throughout the United States have brought concerns about protecting one’s privacy to the forefront. The balance between security and convenience is a struggle that has been made more difficult with the rapid advances in technology. In the old days of banking, all that was needed was a vault, good locks on the doors and windows, and a security guard. These days, it takes 128-bit encryption, virus protection, heat sensors, and a wellrounded, robust security program. Investments in human and technological resources are a must in order to keep the bad guys at bay.
The Credit Union has developed and maintains a comprehensive matrix of safeguards to protect the information and assets that we are charged with protecting. But security is a two-way street—it takes vigilance by each member and us, working in partnership with one another. The following are some helpful tips and general fraud awareness points to keep in mind to better protect yourself:
What are some things I can do to avoid scams and deter fraud?
- Never give out private or personal information, including financial details, unless you initiate the contact or can clearly verify the identity of the person or organization contacting you.
- Don’t respond to texts or emails coming from a contact you don’t recognize, and don’t click on links. Instead, if you need to check on your account, type the site address you want to visit into your browser and securely log into your account.
- Don’t send money to strangers; scam artists often insist that you wire money, especially overseas, because it’s difficult to trace the transaction.
- Continuously monitor your statements and account activity, and be sure to notify us if anything appears to be out of the ordinary.
What kind of fraud do I need to watch out for?
A social engineer is a scam artist who contacts individuals via phone, email, text message, or even in person to gather information for the purposes of fraud, data system access, identity theft, and more. They may conduct fraud such as:
- Phishing: A social engineer uses a fake email to trick recipients into giving up credit card information, passwords, or other sensitive information. The email may appear to come from a trusted source, such as a reputable company or bank, and often includes personal details so that it appears the sender knows you.
- Smishing: Similar to Phishing, a social engineer sends a fake Short Message Service (SMS) text message to your cell phone, announcing that you’ve won a prize or an offer from a trusted company or bank and then giving you a link to a website and a code to enter. Clicking the link can expose your phone to malware.
- Pretexting: When a social engineer impersonates someone with authority and creates a fake scenario to trick unsuspecting individuals into sharing private or sensitive information.
Working with you as a team, UMassFive has deterred and will continue to deter fraud and protect your privacy to the very best of our ability.