Posts Tagged 'e-mail'

Credit card phishing alert

Alarming news from the NCUA:

The purpose of this fraud alert is to inform all federally-insured credit unions about a recent phishing attempt to obtain member credit card account numbers, expiration dates and electronic signatures. In cases reported to NCUA, the perpetrator(s) sent fraudulent e-mails, representing to be from the NCUA, to credit union members and the general public. The emails state the NCUA will add $50.00 to the member’s account for taking part in a survey. The link embedded in the message directs members to a counterfeit version of NCUA’s website with an illicit survey that solicits credit card account numbers and confidential personal information.

We are highly concerned about the risk of imitating the NCUA website and the use of the NCUA official logo to potentially make the scam appear more authentic to unsuspecting members. NCUA will never ask credit union members or the general public for personal account or personally identifiable information as part of a survey. Any e-mail that alleges to be from NCUA and asks for account information is fraudulent and should be treated as suspicious.

The NCUA recommends keeping up to date on virus protection software and security updates. Also, if you receive a scam e-mail, send it to Phishing@ncua.gov.

And by all means, do not give our your account information to just anyone that asks.

UPDATE: We just got another report of credit card phishing activity. This time, the caller claims to be with Visa or MasterCard, already has your credit card number, and asks for the three-digit number on the back of the card.

Whatever you do, don’t give them any more information than they already have.

“The member should be advised to note the telephone number of the caller and follow up with Visa or MasterCard by calling the 800 number on the back of the card to report the incident,” Jay A. Slagel, VP or Risk Management for Allied Solutions, advises. “The member should also contact their credit union to advise of the call and what specific requests were made.”

Your e-statement questions answered

E-statements

UPDATE: E-statement subscribers – your tax documents should be posted to the system by now. Thanks!

Over the past few months, we’ve heard from lots of members about e-statements – the efficient, convenient way to check your statements. For some members, e-statements are a brand new idea, and some may feel nervous about checking your account activity on the Internet.

For some members, e-statements won’t make sense. We understand that, and respect each member’s personal preferences.

But we can try to help clear up any misgivings about how the process works, and how safe it is.

We’ve heard you. And we want to help.

“I DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER.”

For members who don’t own a computer, the idea of e-statements probably seems silly. Why check your statement on the web when you can’t access the web?

However, ask yourself: do you open your statement when it arrives in the mail?

If you honestly don’t, e-statements are a good way to clear out your real-life mailbox. It’s one less piece of clutter you don’t have to toss out or recycle. And since “reduce” comes before “recycle,” reducing your mail is a good way to help the environment.

But if you don’t have a computer and you really do check your American 1 statement each month, then by all means – continue to receive the regular paper statement.

“I’M WORRIED ABOUT SECURITY.”

American 1’s home banking system uses the same Internet encryption that large online retailers use.

To test it, visit american1fcu.org. Look up at the address bar. At the beginning of our web address, it will say “https://” and then our secure web address. The “s” at the end of “http” means our site is protected by high-grade online security.

But that only protects your information on our side. If you’re really worried about security, the worst that could happen is someone finds out about your online banking username or password. To prevent that kind of identity theft, keep a username and password combo that’s easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess, and keep that information safe and secure.

Thousands of account transactions are posted to American 1’s home banking site each week, with no breaches in security. Odds are, your account information will remain your account info.

“I DON’T TRUST E-MAILS SENDING MY ACCOUNT INFO.”

Rest assured, e-statements are not sent over e-mail. Rather, a reminder is sent to your e-mail each month letting you know your e-statement is ready for viewing.

To view e-statements, you must log on to American 1’s A1@home online banking site. Your e-statement is stored there, and is not sent via e-mail. We do this to keep a copy of your electronic statement secured on our end, not sitting in your e-mail inbox for anyone to see.

“MY KID’S/JOINT/SHARED ACCOUNT DOESN’T NEED E-STATEMENTS.”

If you manage someone else’s account at the credit union, share an account with family, or oversee your child’s Eagle Earners Club account, e-statements are the perfect way to cut down on mail clutter.

Or if you have an American 1 account to simply make your loan payment, you may not need a paper copy of your statement each month. E-statements are perfect for these kinds of pass-through accounts that you probably don’t need to manage on a month-to-month basis.

A FEW OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Signing up for e-statements is a good way to store your statements as well, since we keep past copies of your e-statements archived on our system. E-statements are actually more secure than paper statements because they can’t be stolen out of your mailbox, missplaced, or accidentally wind up in the wrong hands.
  • Once you start receiving e-statements, you may not miss your old mailed statements. And it could be a gateway to more cost-effective banking options like online Bill Pay.
  • E-statements are a great way to see copies of your cleared checks. You can view them free with each monthly e-statement you receive.
  • If you’re away a lot on business, out of town at school, or if you move often, e-statements are a great way to ensure you receive your American 1 account information. Combined with online banking, it’s the perfect way to manage your account from anywhere.

If you’re unsure about how the system works, ask a Member Service Specialist at any branch to walk you through the setup. E-statements are easier than ever to access, and we’d love to show you how to do it.

Why it’s good to have a backup plan



The collapse of Washington Mutual was called the “biggest bank failure of all time,” meaning that – in today’s times – no one is “too big to fail.”

So it’s good to have a backup plan. That’s what blogger Khoi Vinh recommends, especially when it comes to anything you have stored online.

This advice is applicable to most areas of our lives: fire escape plans, fire-proof lock boxes for valuables, generators for power outages, etc. Planning “just in case” can be a real lifesaver.

Just this week, I had an instance where I’m glad we made a backup plan. Our marketing department stores our files (ads, newsletters, web site graphics, etc.) on a network disk. That network disk has failed before, and the first time we had no backup plan. We lost all our files in an instant. Then we started to store our files on our work computers, and copy them to the network disk. But that didn’t always happen, so when our network drive went down again, Marketing had a big scare. Luckily, we were able to recover most (but still not all) of our files.

After that crash, we bought an external hard drive to backup all of our files. I do this personally every other day or so: move files from the network disk to the external disk. So when we lost our network drive again this week (thankfully, only briefly), I didn’t freak out. We had a backup plan.

Do you? If you store files online, like we do over at our Flickr account, do you have them stored somewhere physical? What about your money? Do you have a few dollars of spare cash hidden somewhere, just in case? Maybe a spare gas can for those “uh oh” moments?

Vinh’s bigger point is that, anymore, no one is “too big to fail”:

The size of a company is certainly not a reliable shield against failure, but being small doesn’t necessarily guarantee a company will be around in the long term, either. I just don’t think that it’s realistic to assume that all of the data we’re storing online is safe. So a friendly reminder: back up.

He makes the point about online items (Facebook profiles, e-mail messages, banking information), but the point can go further to life in general.

What about American 1? What’s our backup plan?

For one, American 1 prepares for tough times by setting aside extra funds for things like delinquent loans. A lot of financial institutions get in trouble by not saving enough for a rainy day. Not us. We like to make sure there are enough reserves set aside to cover ourselves during times like these.

You know, just in case.

You don’t have to be a paranoid person to realize that unexpected things happen. A wise person will set time aside to think about the “what ifs” life throws at us, and plan for them as much as possible. That’s what American 1 is doing. How about you?


You won $1 million!…and other famous e-mail hoaxes



How many former Nigerian treasury ministers do you have to hear from before you learn that a lottery check isn’t in the mail?

The old Nigerian lottery scam is just one of the e-mail frauds Info World shows us.

The others include the old “cellphones pop popcorn” trick and any offer to send in a fee so the e-mailer can send you back an even bigger prize. Sadly, we get these fake checks all the time at the credit union, and members seem none the wiser. Says Info World:

The saddest part is, the only reason annoying e-mail keeps filing your inbox is because it works. No matter the number of reports detailing e-mail hoaxes gone bad and tales of spammers taking people for all they’re worth, people just keep on clicking.

Why do e-mail scams work? Simple percentages: even if only 0.1% of people who receive e-mail scams respond to the offer, it’s still a profitable deal for the scammers.

Snopes.com is a great way to find out if the e-mail that just landed in your inbox is authentic or not. In fact, they publish a Top Urban Legends list that can come in handy – especially during the political season, when all kinds of falsehoods are spread. On the financial side, it’s always best to keep that old rule in mind: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


ScamWatch: IRS warns of tax rebate scams

The IRS has posted new warnings about phone and e-mail scams, both tied to this year’s economic stimulus payments and tax season, by fraudsters seeking to acquire taxpayers’ financial institution account numbers and other sensitive data.

In one of the scenarios, people have been contacted by phone and told by the caller that they need to provide their account numbers in order to get the stimulus payments. But IRS isn’t calling or e-mailing people for this information; it’s making the payments based on information in taxpayers’ tax returns.

In another case, people are receiving an e-mail with a link to a form where recipients are told they must provide information to receive their payments by direct deposit. IRS says the senders are probably really trying to get recipients’ personal and financial information so they can clean out their accounts. And taxpayers that want to receive tax refunds, or stimulus payment, by direct deposit are already instructed to provide the required information on their tax returns, it notes.

//Source: NAFCU, via IRS


American 1 Federal Credit Union