During the holiday season, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of an upsurge in phishing scams. In all phishing scams, the scammer poses as a legitimate business or service provider where the victim may have familiarity. They may even claim to be a credit union representative.

The scammers usually communicate via email, but they may also use mediums like phone calls, text messages or social media. They convince the victims of their legitimacy by providing personal details about the victim that have been found online.

Next, the victim is lured into providing more information by the promise of compensation, or by claiming the victim needs to verify or update their account. Once the scammer has the information, they can empty the victim’s accounts, track their online activity and/or steal their identity.

Alternately, the scammer may lead a victim into clicking on links that are embedded with spyware. The links go to a website that may looks like a legitimate site but is actually bogus. Since the victim thinks they’re browsing a real company site, they generally won’t hesitate to input usernames and passwords.

You can recognize these messages as scams by remembering that your credit union will never ask for sensitive information through insecure channels. And, here are some tips to help you protect yourself:

1.) Ignore suspicious emails

If you receive an email from an unidentifiable source, ignore it. Don’t reply to the email, click on any embedded links or open attachments. Similarly, never “friend,” or otherwise accept communications with a stranger via social media. As a general rule, it’s best not to share any personal information over the internet.

2.) Alert FSU Credit Union

If you think you’ve been contacted by a scammer who’s impersonating FSU Credit Union or is asking for your account information, let us know! Email us at support@fsucu.org or call (850) 224-4960.

3.) Report all suspicious activity

File your complaint at www.ftc.gov. You can also visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize the fallout of a possible identity theft.

4.) Take advantage of identity theft protection services and free alerts

FSU Credit Union members are eligible to receive discounted identity theft protection services through CyberScout. CyberScout monitors your personal information and alerts you if unusual or fraudulent activity is detected, while providing 24/7 support resolution support from fraud specialists.

CyberScout offers personal credit monitoring, document replacement and reimbursement of up to $25,000 to cover expenses that include attorney’s fees, lost wages and loan reapplication fees in the event that your identity is stolen. CyberScout is available to FSU Credit Union members for just $3.95 per month.

If you are an FSU Credit Union member and would like to enroll with CyberScout now to start receiving identity theft protection services at the discounted rate, visit our Identity Theft Protection page to get started.

FSU Credit Union offers another service to monitor spending on your credit and debit cards in real time. With Alert U, you can receive text message and email notifications when your card is used for purchases over a selected amount, international purchases, online purchases and declined purchases. Alert U is free and easy to use. For more information, or to enroll your card(s), visit our Online Alerts page.

4.) Strengthen your computer’s protection

Efficient antivirus software will prevent your computer from accepting suspicious emails. If your software doesn’t update automatically, be sure to update it manually on a frequent basis.

A strong firewall prevents scams and viruses by making you invisible on the internet and blocking all communications from unauthorized sources. Similarly, the settings on all of your social media outlets should be as private as possible.

Finally, all suspicious email addresses should be added to your computer’s blacklist as quickly as possible. With good precautions and steps toward prevention, you can keep yourself safe from phishing scams!

Want more information? Read about 10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud. Stay safe out there!

Equifax Security Breach website on computerScammer Calling Cell Phone