Category: SECURITY

Phone scams have been around almost as long as phones. Sadly, the prevalence of automated robocalls has exploded and appears to invade our lives almost daily. Three general warning signs your call may be a scam: You get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to work for a government agency or Microsoft. None of them …

Watch out for these scams

Phone scams have been around almost as long as phones. Sadly, the prevalence of automated robocalls has exploded and appears to invade our lives almost daily.

Three general warning signs your call may be a scam:

  1. You get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to work for a government agency or Microsoft. None of them will call you unless you have already contacted them.
  2. The caller asks for your Social Security number or to “verify your identity” in any way.
  3. The caller threatens consequences if you do not provide payment or personal information.

Beware of these particular scams that are sweeping the nation:

The IRS Swindle

A threatening phone caller “from the IRS” (or “from the Federal Reserve”) says you’re guilty of tax evasion and must pay the penalty at once with your credit or debit card, or else face jail time or revocation of your driver’s license. Some folks with complex financial lives may pay up, assuming they made a mistake on their taxes. Wrong—the IRS never demands payment over the phone. Self-defense: Don’t pay. Report the scam to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General’s office at 1-800-366-4484.

The “Family member” Scam

The person claims to be a family member in trouble and needs your help, asking you to send them money or use your credit card. You might be asked to guess who’s on the line. If so, don’t give out any names. You ask the caller to identify who they are. Then ask them to describe something you know only the real person would know like a special occasion or trip together, a gift you gave or received or something in your home that they would know. Self-defense: Be absolutely sure you know who you are speaking with and do not give out any information until you know for sure who it is you’re talking with.

The “Computer Crash” Con

You get a phone call from a self-described “computer security expert” who warns that your Windows PC or laptop may be infected with a fatal virus. You might be asked for money to protect your system or to remove this nonexistent malware. If you agree to download a fix or allow remote access to your computer, the crook can ask for your passwords—and may actually install malware that you then have to pay to get rid of. Self-defense: Hang up on this scammer. No legitimate IT security pro will ever cold-call you in this way.

Security Notes: EMV Chips and Ransomware

EMV Chip Payment Cards

EMV, or Chip Cards, are the new, more secure type of payment cards that are being rolled out across the USA. Long used in Canada and Europe, these cards feature an embedded computer chip which creates a unique transaction code that’s used to process the credit or debit card transaction. This is much more secure than the old magnetic strip, which had static, unchanging information. Our Visa® Credit Cards already have EMV chips. Beginning this quarter we’ll be upgrading our Visa Debit Cards as they expire. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Ransomware

Here is some timely information for anyone who is online. Ransomware is an insidious bit of malware that takes control of your computer and holds it hostage—unusable and unable to get your information back—until you pay a ransom to the perpetrators. Most frequently, ransomware is spread by email, by double-clicking on a malware attachment or link in an email. So, be very careful. Make sure that any links you click or attachments you open are not only from a trusted source, but that they are truly sent by that trusted source. And consider installing security (anti-virus) software with an up-to-date subscription. Most importantly, be sure to have good backups of your important data so that if you are infected, you can get your data back without caving in to the hackers.

In short, a credit union is a cooperative financial institution where people work together to make everyone’s lives better. Everyone who has an account here is a member. And every member is an owner.

Rather than making profits to send to far-off shareholders, Compass CCU reinvests in our credit union. Which means we reinvest in YOU. That’s why we say that, at Compass Community Credit Union, we guide you to better banking.