Your privacy and the security of your non-public personal information is important to us. We work hard to ensure that the proper security and procedures are in place to protect you. We continually review and update what we use to protect you and your accounts to safeguard your personal information from fraud and security risk.
This page provides you with important information about protecting yourself from fraud.
Text Message & Phone Call Scams | www.mycreditunion.gov
In this popular scam, identity thieves will present themselves as credit union representatives and contact consumers either by text message or phone call. Consumers are led to believe their account information has been compromised and they are instructed to either click a link or provide personal information to authenticate their accounts which can put you at risk. Consumers should avoid providing any personal information when not initiating the call or text message. Please note that CPCU will never request personal information via text message or email.
Mystery Shopper Scams | www.consumer.ftc.gov
Some retailers hire companies to evaluate the quality of service in their stores; they often use mystery shoppers to get the information. They instruct a mystery shopper to make a particular purchase in a store or restaurant, and then report on the experience. Typically, the shopper is reimbursed and can keep the product or service. Sometimes the shopper receives a small payment, as well.
In mystery shopper scams, the consumeris hired to be a secret shopper, given a check to deposit it in their account and withdraw a specific amount in cash. The consumer is told to take the cash to a specified store or money transfer service, purchase prepaid cards or send the money to a person via electronic transfer. The consumer is supposed to evaluate their shopping experience however, there is no one to accept the evaluation.
Many legitimate and safe mystery shopping positions do exist and guidelines are presented in the above link, but they will never involve wiring or sending money back to a person.
Sweepstakes Scams | www.consumer.ftc.gov
If you receive a letter and an accompanying check in the mail stating you’ve won a prize, however you do not remember entering a contest, it is most likely a scam. There are a number of contests run by reputable marketers and non-profits, but every day, people lose thousands of dollars to prize scams. A sign of this scam is that you are instructed to pay for your prize. Legitimate sweepstakes will not require you to pay taxes, shipping and handling charges, or processing fees to get your prize and legitimate sweepstakes will also never ask you to wire money to someone, especially to someone in a foreign country.
We work hard to ensure that the proper security and procedures are in place to protect you. We continually review and update what we use to protect you and your accounts to safeguard your personal information. Here are some easy steps you can take to protect what’s most important to you.
- Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year, to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date before you apply for a loan, lease a car, get a credit card, buy insurance, or apply for a job. Help guard against identity theft. If identity thieves use your information to open new account in your name, those unpaid accounts get reported on your credit. Order your FREE reports: www.annualcreditreport.com
- Shred your sensitive documents. This includes receipts, credit offers and applications, account statements, unused checks, and other similar documents that contain your private information. CPCU has public Shred Days during the year, so look for our announcements on when and where the next Shred Day is being held.
- Review your billing statements and account statements. If there are mistakes on your statement or it doesn’t get delivered to you on time, contact CPCU right away.
- Guard your personal information. Legitimate companies will never ask you for personal information via email, text or phone messages. If you receive messages requesting things like your Social Security number or credit card number, delete them or disregard their phone call.
- Use only secure or encrypted websites when you bank or shop online. Encrypted websites have “https” at the beginning of the web address (the “s” stands for secure).
- Create strong passwords for your online accounts that include letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use the same password on more than one account.
- Keep your computer protected by using anti-virus and anti-spyware software and regularly update when available. Do not open files, click on links, or download programs sent to you by people you don’t know. It could expose your system to a virus or malicious software that captures your passwords or other sensitive information.
More resources about protecting your identity can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself if you suspect someone has stolen your identity.
- Flag your credit reports. Call one of the three national credit reporting agencies and request a fraud alert be placed on your report. Whichever one you call must work with the other two agencies so they as well can flag your report. The initial fraud alert is good for 90 days.
- Order your credit reports. Read the reports carefully, as they can slightly differ from each agency. If you see errors or signs of fraud, contact the agency reporting it immediately.
- Contact CPCU so we can review your accounts. Identity theft can also impact your account balances if your debit card or checks have been compromised. Completing a full review of all your accounts will help you find errors faster.
- Create an Identity Theft Report. This can help you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop companies from collecting debts caused by identity theft, and help you get additional information about the fraudulent accounts. To create one of these reports:
- File a complaint with the FTC. Call 1-877-438-4338. You will receive an FTC Affidavit after filing a complaint.
- Once you receive the Affidavit, take it to your local police department and file a police report. Be sure to get a copy of the police report for your records.
Additional information on what to do if your identity is stolen can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.