Posts Tagged 'ID theft'



Would you take advantage of another Shred Day?



The last time we had a free shred day, we had a few folks show up to shred and recycle their personal and confidential documents. American 1 believes in shredding personal documents because it helps fight identity theft (thieves can’t steal your identity when it’s in a million pieces, right?), and the company we use even recycles the paper.

Our January shredfest was a hit, but it wasn’t a big hit.

Lately, however, we’ve had quite a few members and non-members call and ask when we’re having another shredding day.

So what do you think – would you come and shred your personal documents? Which day would work best for you? Have you been waiting for American 1 to do another free community shredfest?

Let us know in the comments!


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.


Are you cramming, shaving, or minting?

cramming shaving minting?

You can tell a lot about a person by what they search for.

Consider the picture above – that’s how people found our post on new scams used by identity theives.

But what does it mean? Are people doing research on these new frauds? Were they a victim? Are they looking them up to learn how to use them to steal people’s identities?

There’s no answer. But every other day or so we get the same three search terms popping up in our WordPress dashboard, and it got me curious.

Shred your junk mail, win a $50 credit on your Visa

Goodbye junk mail

So we have this big “Operation: Your best interest” project running right now, where we’ve done all this research on big bank credit cards.

Part of the whole operation is our offer to shred your credit card solicitations (otherwise known as “junk mail”). When we do, we’ll enter you to win a $50 credit on your American 1 Visa for every solicitation you bring in. It’s limited to credit card mailings, though, so please don’t bring in your 1976 tax forms.

We’re doing this for a few reasons.

  • It fights identity theft. The less paperwork with your name and address sitting in your trash can, the less likely a thief can steal it and grab a credit card in your name. By all means, get a shredder for your own household.
  • Our shredders rock. I’m not bragging, but we have those industrial-strength cross-cut shredders that mince paperwork into hamster bedding. These things are cool.
  • Junk mail is wasteful. Think about all the postage and paper and fuel wasted just to send you a bunch of credit offers. How many of those can you actually use? Think about all that waste.
  • We want your story. We’d love to film you shredding a big stack of Visa or Discover Card offers and post it on our Top Secret Visa web site. Bonus points if you do a little dance while it’s shredding.

Our Shred Day back in January was such a hit we thought it would be cool to do this just for credit card solicitations. It helps protect your identity, and it’s a lot of fun to do. And hey – it could win you $50 on your Visa.

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

ScamWatch: Five new credit card scams

The Consumerist.com, a consumer-advocate blog from Gawker Media, posted four (five, technically, but #1 is actually a credit card practice) new scams that include “cramming,” “shaving,” “minting,” and “skimming.”

The skimming scam (say that five times fast) is one we’ve heard before from local police officers, and involves thieves setting electronic scanners that read your debit/credit card information when you swipe it at machines and terminals.

As always, keep a close eye on your credit card number and card.

Check out our ScamWatch page to learn more ways to protect yourself from identity thieves.

ScamWatch: Keep safe this tax season

With tax season and the news of the upcoming tax rebate checks, it’s important to safeguard yourself against fraud and scams. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe. Continue reading ‘ScamWatch: Keep safe this tax season’


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