Today, losing your wallet can often mean much more than losing cash, your driver's license or even credit cards; what about the loss of your identity. A thief armed with as little as someone's name, address, birth date, and Social Security number, thieves are illegally obtaining credit cards and access to checking accounts. Others use the information to apply for employment, loans, a driver's license or passport. Some may commit serious crimes while posing as another person.
If you believe you have received a fraudulent email that appears to be from the CUNA or any other financial institution, please do not provide any of the requested information and delete the email. A recent phishing email targeting Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and other financial institutions requests that you "update your profile" to protect yourself from fraud. This is fraudulent. If you have already submitted your information, please contact UIECU immediately and we will take the appropriate actions to protect your account.
At the credit union, we recognize that identity theft is a real risk with potentially serious consequences for your finances and your good name. In response, UIECU offers members FREE identity theft education, defense, and resolution information through BALANCE, providing valuable protection to members and their family members. This service is FREE to every member and to their family members living at home, (includes spouses and children - age 22 and under). If you think you are an identity theft victim, call the credit union at 217-278-7700 or call 877-678-4328.
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Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, with 900,000 victims reported each year. An identity thief obtains personal information from a victim. The thief attempts to and/or succeeds in using the personal information, without the victim's knowledge, for their own use to commit fraud or theft.
The thief takes advantage of a good credit record, leaving behind a trail of bad credit for the victim. It normally takes an average victim up to a year to detect a problem. Victims of identity theft can spend months/years and thousands of dollars cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. Identity theft costs financial firms $2.4 billion a year on average.
Phishing is an online scam involving the use of email messages that appear to be sent by your financial institution or another trusted business. Instead, the emails are being sent by imposters trying to gain access to your personal and financial information. Phishing emails typically ask you to click on a link to a false web site that asks you to input or confirm your personal and/or financial information such as your account number, credit card numbers, Social Security number, or passwords.
- Be suspicious of demanding messages. Messages that request an immediate response and threaten to suspend or terminate your account should be cause for concern. Legitimate financial institutions or businesses will not request personal or financial information through an email or a non-secure site.
- If you are unsure about the message, contact the financial institution or business. Do not use the telephone numbers or email addresses found on the suspected site.
- Always type in the URL of the web site you need. Phishing scams rely on the links that take you to the false websites to gather your information. Protect yourself by entering the web address directly into your browser so that you know that you are visiting the legitimate site, or use a “favorite” or “bookmark” that you have made for the site.
- Protect your information. Keep passwords and personal or sensitive information in a secure area. For added protection, change your password frequently.
- Guard your social security number. Do not give out your PIN or credit card numbers over the phone unless you initiated the transaction.
- Don’t use the links in an email to get to any web page, if you suspect the message might not be authentic.
- Always ensure that you are using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your web browser.
- Regularly log into your home online accounts and check your financial institution’s statements to make sure that all transactions are legitimate.
- Make sure that your browser is up to date and security patches are applied.
Congress passed the Fact Act and the Accurate Credit Transaction Act which allows you to review your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies once a year FREE. Order yours online at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.