What is a phishing scam?
Phishing scams aim to establish contact with the victim to gain access to their personal information by phone, email, online, or text message. For example, the scam could begin with a supposedly urgent request from your financial institution. They might claim your checking account is locked and that you must take immediate action to restore it. Alternatively, they may alert you to a large, unauthorized purchase that was charged to your account. The scammer might even warn that if the charge is not contested immediately you will be responsible for the transaction. There are more variations, but their aim is to convey a sense of urgency to induce panic and trigger your immediate response before you have a chance to think. Once they’ve got their hands on your private information, the scammer could steal your identity, empty your accounts or go on a shopping spree.
What should I do if I receive a fraudulent call or email?
1. Don’t give out personal information to unknown individuals.
When online or answering unknown calls be on guard. If you receive an email from an unidentifiable source, ignore it. If you receive a call from an unknown source, hang up. If your auto loan company, utility or cell phone provider, or financial institution calls asking for personal information, hang up and call them back directly at a number you know is valid. Don’t provide personal information by phone unless you initiated the call.
2. Alert the organization in question.
The best way to stop scammers in their tracks is to report every attempt they make. If you have reason to believe you’ve been contacted by a scammer impersonating Northern Credit Union or another organization let them or us know! Provide as much detail as possible about the email or call you received. We’ll help you mitigate the damage and secure your accounts.
3. Update your passwords.
It’s always a good idea to change your passwords on a regular basis. If you believe you are the target of a scam now is a great time to reset mobile and online banking passwords, as well as your ATM pin, and any other sensitive online information. Never use the same password across multiple accounts, websites or apps. Make sure your passwords are strong and unique and consider using use two-factor authentication—even if you can opt-out, it’s not worth the risk.
4. Alert the authorities.
Remember to write down all the details from the phone call that you can remember or save the email. The more information they have to work with, the easier it will be to locate the perpetrator. You can alert the FTC on their website and help catch these scamming crooks!
What can I expect when I call Northern to ask questions about my account?
To keep your accounts secure, we ask what we call “out of wallet” questions when you call us. An “out of wallet” question is any question that someone would not be able to answer if they stole your purse or wallet. For example, we might ask, “What was the amount of your last direct deposit? or “What is the monthly payment on the auto loan you have with us?” These questions are designed specifically to keep your accounts secure since only you would know the answers. It’s safe to answer these questions when you call us. However, if someone unknown calls you, or the call “appears” to be from Northern, and you’re asked them, hang up and call us back directly at 315.782.0155.
If you have received a suspicious call or email, have questions, or need help securing your personal information, contact us online, call 315.782.0155, or stop into any relationship center for assistance.