Have you ever experienced fraud or identity theft? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky! Security.org says that banking accounts are the second most common type of personal accounts to be taken over, comprising 32 percent. Criminals have become more and more clever in how they get your information.
Below is a story of how a Red Crown member was almost a victim of an account takeover:
A member was contacted by a scammer claiming to be an online shopping representative saying there was an issue with her account. She gave the representative access to her computer to fix the problem. The scammer logged into her online banking and made her account look like it had more money in it, then asked her to send money back to them.
The member became suspicious and called Red Crown about her account. After listening to the member and reviewing her account, we believed that this was a scam. We suggested that she turn off her computer and disconnect from the internet. Luckily, she called us before sending money and did not fall victim to this scam. When something seems off about your account, contact your financial institution immediately.
Throughout this blog, we will be informing you on different types of account takeovers, criminal techniques, and prevention methods.
Type of Account Takeovers
Criminals can take over many types of accounts. Below are a few examples of different types of account takeovers.
- Financials: They can take over your credit card, checking, or savings account.
- Travel: They can use your frequent flyer miles.
- Government Benefits: They can use your information to get money back or steal your incoming checks.
- Insurance: They can use your information to get money from you and the insurance company.
- Cell Phone Contracts: They can take control of wireless phone contracts, calling people and receiving calls and texts on your dime.
Card cracking happens when someone responds to a solicitation for money through the internet. The scammer will get their account information to make purchases or withdrawals on their account. People who fall victim to card cracking will give scammers their debit card information, PIN, and online banking credentials.
Tip: Criminals are targeting people through social media platforms. They typically target college students, newly enlisted military, and single parents. Do not give your personal information through social media.
Hackers can figure out your password by using a computer program. The program will try different password combinations till it finds the correct one.
Tip: Make sure your password is strong by using more than eight characters, add a special character, use a different password for different accounts, and do not use a common password. On some accounts, you can use multifactor authentication or a face identifier. Doing this will provide extra security on your account.
Email phishing scams are when criminals send you an email that looks official in an attempt to get your data. The email will entice you to open a link or click an attachment that can cause harm to your computer. They may also ask for your data, such as credit card information, SSN, and online banking information.
Tip: When you first receive an email, check the domain for that company. You can hover over the email address and if it looks off, research it. Remember, do not open attachments from unknown sources.
Common Prevention Steps
- Credit Report: Look at your report regularly.
- Financial Statement: Always check your statement to see if you recognize the transaction.
- Alerts: Set up alerts on your account.
- Identity Theft Protection Program: Sign up for a program to help monitor your personal information and help detect any potential fraud.
Follow these tips to help decrease your chances of an account takeover. If you have fallen victim to identity theft, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/ or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. You should follow their recommended steps to make a recovery plan.
*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to prevent identity theft. Individual results may vary.