March 5, 2010
In order to detect fraud and identity theft and then protect yourself from becoming a victim, you first have to know what it is. In the past, Land of Lincoln Credit Union has been the target of several scams which were primarily of the phishing variety. “Phishing” is when a con artist asks you to verify or update personal financial information so that they can attain access to your identity or money and steal it. They do this by sending bogus e-mails, letters, faxes and phone calls. The phishing scam LLCU faced involved e-mails, plus a new method – text messaging. E-mails and text-messages were sent to randomly selected recipients advising them that their account at LLCU would be closed if they didn’t respond to their request for sensitive information.
Another form of identity theft involves dumpster diving where thieves dig through trash to find sensitive information that was not shredded or otherwise properly destroyed. The con then obtains credit in the unsuspecting consumer’s name and charges thousands of dollars to the victim’s social security number without their knowledge. Later, fraudulent charges appear on their credit report that takes weeks or even years to clear from their credit file.
To protect yourself from identity theft: Never give out personal information to anyone who contacts you that you do not know. Never give out personal information to anyone claiming to be a credit union, bank or financial institution. (If they are your financial institution, they already have your information on file and do not need for you to update their records). Never throw away documents that contain your personal information. Be safe!
By Nancy Shields, Fraud Specialist, LLCU