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Be aware of current scams and take steps to help protect yourself

Be aware of current scams and take steps to help protect yourself

There are currently several scams and viruses being reported that we want our members to be aware of when they receive phone calls or emails.

Current scams and viruses:

Microsoft scam – People receive a pop-up alert on computers to call Microsoft at an 800 number to remove a virus. When called, the person on the line requests access to the computer, and then does a scan to search for usernames, passwords, account numbers and debit/credit cards.  They may also request payment via debit card for removing the virus.

Anti-Virus/Tech company scam – People are contacted saying they purchased software several months ago and one of several things is happening: the company is going out of business, the software is faulty or they want to issue a refund for a purchase. They then direct people to login to their online/mobile banking account as well as a site that allows the scammer direct access to the online/mobile banking account. People are duped into thinking money has been deposited into one of their accounts that shouldn’t be there and are asked to pay the difference back to the caller, usually with iTunes gift cards purchased from Walmart.

Government scam – People are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS demanding money or they will be sent to jail, or that they’ve won a government grant and need a processing fee to be paid. These scammers are requesting payment by iTunes gift cards.

Google Docs phishing email – On May 3, people received an email saying that someone they know has shared a Google Doc with them. People who clicked on the link were prompted to provide access to their Google contact list and Google Drive. People can report phishing attacks within Gmail by clicking the downward arrow in the top right of the inbox and selecting “Report Phishing”.

WannaCry virus – This is a ransomware virus that struck globally May 12-15, and primarily impacted large companies and institutions running unpatched versions of Windows. This particular virus is no longer a threat, but new versions are likely to appear.

Here are some general rules to keep in mind with some of the scams currently circulating.

Requests for personal/confidential information
Companies should not be calling or emailing to request confidential or personal information from you. If you receive a call, hang up! Do not provide confidential information and do not respond to any automated prompts, especially with an affirmative response like “yes” or “I agree”. If you have a smartphone, there are multiple free apps available including Call Blocker, Mr. Number and Hiya that will either block these callers or notify you that an incoming call has been reported as spam – search “call blocker” in the App Store or Google Play.

Emails requesting personal information are often scams where you are directed out to a site that has been created to look like the actual company website, with the intent of getting you to “login” and provide confidential information. Always go to a company’s website by using a bookmark you’ve created in your browser, typing their website address into the address bar of your browser or through a search site like Google to login to your online account with the company to provide confidential or personal information.

Requests for access to online/mobile banking
Credit Union of America will never call and ask you for access to your online/mobile banking. If we’re not asking you for access to your account, why should anyone else? If someone calls or emails you asking for login information to your online/mobile banking account you should hang up or delete the email.

Requests for payments via gift cards
A request for a payment by gift card is a major red flag! A legitimate company and their employees will never ask you to make a payment to them with gift cards. If you purchase a gift card and provide someone with the gift card information you will not be able to recover the funds, since you directly purchased the gift card.

Protecting your computer from viruses
Make sure you are running an operating system on your computer that is still being supported. Apply patches to your computer as they become available, install software updates provided by the software company (like Adobe for Flash updates) to limit vulnerabilities, install anti-virus software, and exercise caution with emails you receive. Avoid clicking on links within emails and don’t open attachments you’re not expecting, especially ones that have extensions like .exe.


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