SC Telco Federal Credit Union will not ask for personal information such as online credentials, account numbers or card numbers through email, voice or text messaging. If you have concerns that you may have compromised your personal information, please contact us immediately.
INDIANAPOLIS (02/10/15)--The breach to befall Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc., the second largest health insurer in the United States, may be one of the most harmful yet.
Anthem announced last week that hackers had infiltrated its servers and nabbed names, addresses, social security numbers, birthdays, emails and employment information of up to 80 million current and former customers (The New York Times Feb. 6).
While the hackers were unable to obtain medical record data, experts say the cybercriminals can still easily commit medical identity theft and fraud.
Given the size of the breach, credit union members and consumers may be wondering what steps they can take to protect themselves if they're an Anthem customer.
Michelle Dosher, CUNA market research and consumer education managing editor, said customers should be on the lookout for scammers mimicking emails puportedly sent from Anthem asking for personal information.
"If you receive an email from a company regarding a security breach, don't automatically open it," Dosher told News Now. "First, go to the company's website or call to make sure the information online matches the email you received."
Or, if you've already opened the email, Dosher said make sure not to click any links until the information has been verified with the company online or by phone. Emails from fake Anthem accounts have already been sent by scammers to consumers, according to The New York Times.
To protect against medical fraud, consumers also could consider making copies of their own medical files so they have accurate versions of their histories before hackers have the opportunity to make any changes, according to Pam Dixon, World PRivacy Forum executive director (The New York Times).
Jury duty scam makes resurgence in Charlott, Fayetteville areas
According to recent reports from the Charlotte Observer and North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ), scammers are once again trying to use a common jury duty scam to steal money and/or personal financial information from citizens.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Financial Crimes detectives said scammers have been calling residents, claiming to be with the CMPD Warrant Division. "Victims are told a warrant has been issued for them, because they failed to appear for jury duty," the article stated.
Acoording to detectives, the scammers then tell victims to buy Money Pak cards to pay off the warrant and then meet the caller at police headquarters. But before that happens, the scammers call the victim again and ask for the serial numbers from the back of the MoneyPak cards, which they then use to access the money for themselves.
Meanwhile in the Fayettevill area, citizens have received phone calls from a man who claims to be a Cumberland County Sheriffs' Deputy. Similar to the scam in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the caller is told that you'll be arrested for failing to appear for jury duty unless you pay a fine immediately.
"These calls aren't legitimate and are trying to scare you into paying money you don't really owe," said Attorney General Roy Cooper in a message posted July 9.
And this scam is not isolated to North Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs also reported similar activity back in June.
Other versions of the jury duty scam include pre-recorded messages vs. live calls, and scare tactics to fool people into providing personal financial information which the scammers can then use to steal money and commit identity theft.
To avoide jury duty scams, remember:
--No law enforcement agency will ask for personal information or seek payment for fines or fees over the phone or by email. Most court related correspondence takes place through the mail
--Never agree to send money to someone who calls you out of the bule. Many scams ask you to wire money or send it via a Green Dot MoneyPak Card.
--Never share personal information, such as your Social Security Number or bank account number, with anyone who contacts you.
If you receive one of these calls, immediately hang up and report it to your local police departent or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint. The FTC places the reported information into a secure consumer fraud database and shares it with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
CMPD warns about jury duty scam (Charlotte Observer)
Don't be guilty of falling for a jury duty scam (NCDOJ)
State warns of new twist in jury duty scam (WSPA)
Don't Fall for Jury Duty Scam (FBI 2006 Report)
Cyber Crime Bust
On the popular websites where cyber criminals buy and sell software kits and help each other solve problems, hackers issued warnings about police visits to their homes. The hackers quickly guessed that a major crackdown was underway on users of the malicious software know as Blackshades. The mail ware sells for as little as $40. It can be used to hijack computers remotely and turn on computer webcams, access hard drives and capture keystrokes to steal passwords -- without victims ever knowing it.
Beware, your computer may be watching you:
Criminals have used Blackshades to commit everything from extortion to bank fraud, the FBI said. Last week, watching it all play out were about two dozen FBI cybercrime investigators holed up in the New York FBI's special operations center, high above lower Manhattan. The sweep, capping a two-year operation, is one of the larges global cybercrime crackdowns ever. It was coordinated so supects didn't have time to destroy evidence. Among those arrested, in Moldova, was a Swedish hacker who was a co-creator of Blackshades.
7000,000 Victims around the world:
Inside the FBI special operations center, six large computer monitors displayed key parts of the probe. Agents kept an eye on one screen showing a popular website where Blackshades was sold. The site was taken down by the FBI. The FBI said that in just a few short years Blackshades has become one of the world's most popular remote-administration tools , or RATs, used for cybercrime. Blackshades has grown rapidly because it was marketed as off-the-shelf, easy to use software, much like legitimate consumer tax-preparation software.
For victims whose personal computers were turned into weapons against them, the arrests bring reassurance. Cassidy Wolf, the reigning Miss Teen USA, received an ominous email message in March 2013. The email, from an unidentified sender, included photos of herself taken from her laptop. And so began what Wolf describes as three months of torture.
A former classmate of Wolf, Jared Abrahams, had installed Blackshades malware on Wolf's laptop. He had been watching her for a year.
Your Hackable House:
Cybercriminals like Abrahams often rely on weak links in computer security, and mistakes by victims, to infect computers.
Many computer users don't update anti-virus software. Many click on links sent in messages on social media sites such as Facebook, or in email, without knowing what they're clicking on. In seconds, malware is downloaded. Often computer users have no idea infection has taken place.
It's easy to make yourself a target. Be careful what you reveal about yourself online. Educate yourself about internet safety. Make your passwords more complicated and unique for each account and change them often.
Medicare Card Scam
How the Scam Works:
Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries across the country report receiving calls from scam operators (frequently with foreign accents), who claim to represent Medicare, Social Security, or an insurance company. These callers claim that new Medicare, Social Security, supplemental insurance benefits cards are being issued or that the beneficiary’s file must be updated. The scam artist asks the citizen to verify or provide their personal banking information, which is then used to commit theft.
Callers involved in this crime ring may be extremely aggressive, calling over and over, and at all times of the day, in an attempt to wear down the potential victim. These criminals will say anything to try to gain a person’s trust. In some cases, the criminals may have already obtained some limited personal information about the citizen, such as his or her name, address, or even Social Security number, which the criminal then uses to try to make the call seem legitimate. In other cases, the callers may claim that they can improve the benefits. Do not believe these claims, and do not carry on a conversation with the caller. Instead, if you receive a call asking you to disclose your bank account or other financial information, hang up immediately. These are criminals, and by speaking with the callers, even to ask them to stop calling, they may be encouraged to continue calling your telephone number.
A Twist on This Scam:
The above is just the latest variation of the Medicare card phone scam. Other callers may ask you to verify your identity in order to receive the new card. They will ask for your Medicare card number, which is the same as your Social Security number, as well as other personal information. With that knowledge, a scammer can easily steal your identity.
If you are a Medicare or Social Security beneficiary, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration do not call you to ask you to disclose financial information in order to get a new card. If you receive such a call, you should report it to these two agencies as follows:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244
Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries
Windsor Park Building
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235
These three tips should help you avoid falling victim to this scam:
1. Remember, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update your information or give you a new card.
2. If someone who calls you asks for your personal information, do not provide it.
3. If calls persist, you may wish to speak to your phone company about calling features that would enable you to be selective in the calls that you accept or receive.
Fraud Alert! Protect yourself from false billing phone calls.
Duke Energy wants to alert you to an ongoing bill payment scam that is happening to some customers in your area. People have reported receiving deceptive telephone calls about their electric service. These customers were contacted by an individual claiming to represent Duke Energy. They were told they must pay their bill over the phone with a prepaid debit card to avoid an interruption in service. We want to help you protect yourself against this fraudulent activity with these important reminders:
1. If you have an unpaid electric bill, you will be notified about your overdue payment over several weeks.
2. Your service will never be disconnected within an hour of notification of an overdue payment.
3. Duke Energy does not require you to pay your bill with a prepaid debit card. Customers can make payments online, by phone, by bank draft, by mail or in person.
Visit Duke Energy's fraud alert page for more information.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been receiving calls and reports of financial scam attempts conducted via telephone. In this scam the caller represents himself/herself as an employee of FinCEN and asks for the victim by name, either at the victim’s home or work number. The caller will identify an outstanding debt; this debt may be actual or bogus. The caller will provide the victim with the victim’s account, Social Security or other similar number and demand that immediate payment be made. The caller’s knowledge of the victim’s name, telephone number, account description and personal information serve to legitimize the caller.
FinCEN also has become aware of another financial scam conducted via e-mail and telephone in which an individual claiming to be a representative of the U.S. Department of the Treasury or FinCEN informs the victim that he/she has received a large Treasury Department grant. To obtain the grant, the victim is instructed to provide bank account information and make some type of initial payment or donation.
Those who believe that they are or have been a victim of a financial scam should report this information to local, State, or Federal law enforcement authorities.
Money Smart for Older Adults: Prevent Financial Exploitation
With over 50 million Americans aged 62 and older, Older Adults are prime targets for financial exploitation both by persons they know and trust and by strangers. Financial exploitation has been called “the crime of the 21st century” with one study suggesting that older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation by a broad spectrum of perpetrators in 2010.
A key factor in some cases of elder financial exploitation is mild cognitive impairment which
can diminish an older adult’s ability to make sound financial decisions.
This epidemic is under the radar. The cases tend to be very complex and can be difficult to
investigate and prosecute. Elders who lose their life savings usually have little or no opportunity to regain what they have lost. Elder financial abuse can result in the loss of the ability to live independently; decline in health; broken trust, and fractured families.
Awareness and prevention is the first step. Planning ahead for financial wellbeing and the
possibility of diminished financial capacity is critical. Reporting and early intervention that
results in loss prevention is imperative.
Money Smart for Older Adults is issued by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It is designed to provide us with information and tips to help prevent common frauds, scams and other types of elder financial exploitation in our community.
Click here to view Money Smart for Older Adults.
NCUA has detected an online phishing scam that attemps to persuade consumers to provide their debit card account numbers. The intended victim receives a telephone call from an unknown number with an automated message identifying itself as the National Credit Union Administration. The message informs the consumer that her or his debit cards has been deactivated, and then instructs, "to reactivate, press 1," and "please enter your 16-digist account number."
Consumers should be aware this is not a call from NCUA, and if they receive it, should notify NCUA’s Fraud Hotline, toll-free, at 800-827-9650 or 703-518-6550 in the Washington, DC area.
Tax ID Theft: One million fraudulent returns expected
WASHINGTON (2/5/12)--Although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has tepped up efforts to spot fraudulent tax returns filed by thieves, expect an explosion in tax identity theft--and know that the burden falls on you to protect yourself (Kiplinger's Jan. 28).
According to a recent national Taxpayer Advocate report to Congress, tax-related ID theft has increased 650% since 2008 (Dailyfinance.com Jan 25.) About 940,000 tax returns were filed fraudulently during the 2011 tax year, and the number is expected to reach one million for the 2012 tax year. The sudden boom has caught filers and tax experts off guard.
Scammers hope to beat you to the punch and file before you do. They steal year-end statements, W-2s and other documents containing personal information to file a return in your name. Their preferred method of receiving your refund is prepaid cards because they're just like cash.
Avoid becoming a victim:
--Monitor the mail. Watch for your W-2, 1099, and other tax forms. Follow up with the financial institution if you haven't received the forms and ask when they were mailed. If you suspect fraud, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, ext. 245.
--Ignore IRS emails, texts. The IRS does not use e-mails or texts to contact you, so don't respond. If you click on an attachment that purports to be from the IRS, it may contain a virus or take you to a fraudulent site. Forward suspect e-mails to email@example.com.
--Watch for pop-ups. When filing taxes online, be suspicious of out-of-place pop-ups or a slow-running computer.
--Secure your refund. Choose direct deposit to avoid lost or stolen checks.
--Send your return safely. File online if you can. If you file by mail, never put your return in an unsecured mailbox, an office mailbox, or outgoing mail bin at work. The envelope says "tax return" and can easily be snatched. Take the return directly to the post office and use certified mail.
--Choose preparers carefully. Scammers may pose as tax-preparation companies offering to review your return for errors, but instead they steal your information and your refund. Verify the status of the preparer's license with the Better Business Bureau and the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't sign your return if the preparer didn't sign it, or if the return is incomplete.