Despite the attention-getting headlines we see in the news about the latest sophisticated data breach, cybercriminals have learned they can be more successful by exploiting our biggest weakness: human error. As humans, we have come to rely on our technology to keep us safe, from virus protection and firewalls, to identity theft protection subscriptions. Even our phone's caller ID helps us feel safe.
The problem is, cybercriminals have access to technology known as phone number spoofing, which is capable of fooling our caller ID. With this technology, criminals can pretend to be anyone – or any organization or government agency – in the world. Here is where human error comes in. By thinking the caller is someone we can trust, we are enticed into providing personally identifiable information based on what our caller ID displays.
Scam artists can be compelling, building a rapport with you and providing seemingly authentic details until they have conned you into giving them your account number. Billions of dollars are lost each year in phone scams – but none of that money has to be yours.
Here are some strategies to help you stay safe from scam artists trying to gather your financial information:
Screen your calls.
When someone calls you unexpectedly, let it go to voicemail, even if the call appears to be from someone you trust, like TDECU. It is unlikely a scam artist would leave a voicemail, whereas anyone calling with a legitimate need to speak with you likely would.
Verify the return phone number.
When you return calls from voicemails you receive, don’t use the number left on the voicemail. Instead, find a number you can verify. For example, if someone calls you claiming to be from TDECU, call us back using the phone number on your account statement.
Be careful with any caller asking for financial information or claiming there is a transaction, subscription, or shipping problem. Watch for high-pressure tactics such as urgent language, sob stories, or scare tactics, since scam artists commonly use these.
Report fraudulent calls.
If you receive a phone call you’re certain is fraudulent, hang up and immediately report it to the organization or business the caller was trying to impersonate. You can also report scams to Texas state and local consumer agencies.
It is important to remember TDECU will never call you to ask for personally identifiable information, such as your account number or Social Security number, since we already have all the information we need to do business with you. For more ways to stay safe online, visit our Security and Fraud Center.