COVID-19 Scams Are On The Rise
We are seeing an uptick in phishing scams for personal data and other confidential credentials. Phishing scams can take the form of emails, text messages, and social media messages that appear to be from a reputable source such as The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Elder fraud is another major scam we have been seeing amid this pandemic. An example would be a fake phone call from a loved one claiming to need money for treatment for COVID-19. Be cautious of requests for charities that ask for your personal account information over the phone or online as well. These fake charities often try to guilt you into donating. For more information on these scams you can click here and view the article on COVID-19 from the CDC.
IRS Identity Theft Central
"Tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit tax fraud. Your taxes can be affected if your Social Security number is used to file a fraudulent return or to claim a refund or credit."
Learn more to safeguard your identity at IRS Identity Theft Central.
Scam Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission.
SmartPhone and Mobile Device Security Tips
Lock Your SmartPhone
Set up a screen lock so the phone cannot be accessed or used without a password. Use a real alphanumeric password, not a 4-digit pin, and ensure the screen is set to lock automatically after 1 to 5 minutes of being idle.
Don't Leave your SmartPhone Unattended
Don't leave your SmartPhone sitting around in public spaces...it's easy to do. Put it in your coat, pocket, briefcase, purse, wherever it can be out of view when not in use.
Don't Give your SmartPhone to Strangers
If someone needs to make an emergency call home and asks to use your phone...don't. Rather than give the person your phone, make the call for them and put it on speaker.
Keep your SmartPhone Up-To-Date - You know those system updates you've been ignoring for a while? Install them. Most SmartPhone system updates include enhancements to device security. When updates are provided by the manufacturer, install them.
Use 'Find My iPhone' or Similar Service
There are free, very easy SmartPhone tools available that allow the tracking and wiping service for Androids, iOS, Windows and Blackberry phones. These tools and services allow the user to lock, track, or wipe their SmartPhone remotely if lost. This not only protects your personal data, but it could help you recover a lost or stolen device.
Don't Download Apps from Untrusted Sources
Do not enable the "non-market Apps" setting on your SmartPhone. These types of Apps are riddled with vulnerabilities. Only install Apps from the SmartPhone manufacturer's approved online App Store.
Do 'SmartPhone Apps' Due Diligence
Do your homework! Read the 'Permissions' screen when you download and install new Apps to your SmartPhone. Many Apps will let you know that they are accessing your location, call history, contacts, and other personal data. Realize too when these Apps deliver your SmartPhone information to other third-party companies for other uses.
Watch Those Attachments!
Be careful about opening attachments sent to your SmartPhone by people you don't know. Many attachments are used by hackers to deploy malicious software and viruses.
Encrypt SmartPhone Data
Most new SmartPhones make it relatively simple to encrypt the contents of the phone. This ensures that even if the phone does fall into the wrong hands and is accessed because the screen lock was bypassed, some level of protection still remains for your personal data.
Identity thieves have learned how to "Call-Forward" telephone numbers to a fraudulent call center where criminals are stealing identities. Although Arrha Credit Union has implemented the necessary precautions and procedures to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of its membership's confidential information to these thieves, it is highly recommended that you contact your local telephone service company and request that "Call-Forwarding" be disabled, and enable "Password-Protection" on your telephone number, if available.
Scam Awareness Videos from The Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc. with DA's Office, Anthony Gulluni, DA Hampden County
If You Are Like Me
Did You Know
Free copy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and FDIC’s Money Smart for Older Adults brochure.
MA Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
It is important to always remember, Arrha Credit Union will under NO circumstances send an email or leave voicemail messages on a mobile or home telephone requesting a member to reply to an email or call in to update or verify financial account information.