Protect Yourself from Internet, Mobile and Survey Scams

Beware of Online Surveys: Many of the trusted organizations that you do business with – including SF Fire Credit Union – will seek out your valued opinion as they strive to improve the products or level of service they offer. When visiting your favorite (or regular) websites be wary of fake ‘pop-up’ surveys that do their best to appear as a legitimate feature of the website.

Tip: Never respond to a survey which asks you to provide ANY INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF – including your name, address, birthday, account numbers or Social Security Number. A survey conducted on behalf of SF Fire Credit Union will never ask or require you to provide information about yourself.

Tip: Never respond to a survey which promises to send you a FREE GIFT if you complete it. This is a common tactic of identity thieves to lure you into their scam.

Beware of “Phishy” Emails: The most common form of phishing are emails pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, organization or government agency. The sender asks you to “confirm” your personal information for some false reason:

  • Your account is about to be closed
  • An order for something has been placed in your name
  • Your information has been lost because of a computer problem
  • Claim to be from the fraud departments of well-known companies and ask you to verify information because they suspect you are a victim of identity theft

Tip: Never provide information about yourself or accounts you hold that is solicited through an email or phone call.

Ignore “Smishy” Text Messages: Identity thieves have moved on to a new realm of attack. Smishing is the practice of sending phoney text messages with the hope of luring the recipient to a fraudulent website or convincing them to call a fake phone number using similar types of bait as in phishing scams.

Tip: Never click on links which are sent via text message to your cell phone. If prompted to dial a particular phone number, verify that number before calling – and if you do call never provide information about yourself or any accounts you hold.

Don’t Click on Links that Ask for Personal Information: Fraudsters use these links to lure people to phony websites that look just like the real sites of the company, organization or agency that they’re impersonating. If you follow the instructions and enter your personal information on the fake website, you’ll deliver it directly to the identity thieves.

Tip: To check whether the message is really from the company, call it directly or go to its website (using a search engine to find it).

Beware of “Pharming”: In this latest version of online identity theft, a computer virus or malicious software is secretly planted in your computer and hijacks your web browser. When you type in the address of a legitimate website, you’re taken to a fake copy of the site without realizing it – and any personal information you provide at the phony site (such as account numbers and passwords) can be stolen and fraudulently used.

Tip: Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spy software – and keep them up to date. Go to www.onguardonline.gov to learn more about how to keep your computer secure.