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Fraud Awareness

Protect yourself with these tips

Computer safety

Protecting your computer means more than just signing-out of websites. To help prevent malware (e.g., viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware) from invading your computer, install and update anti-virus and internet security software. Regularly scan your computer to make sure it’s free from malware and help avoid performance issues and lost data.

Download the latest authorized system and application updates, which may include security patches. Use spyware detection software tools to identify and delete unknown code that may monitor and collect your keystrokes and send personal information to third parties.

Enable an updated firewall, especially when using DSL or a cable modem to access the internet. Always sign out and close your browser after using a secure website.

When you use Online Banking, type the entire www.tdecu.org address directly into your browser. Avoid completing online forms in unsolicited email messages that ask for financial information. If your security software identifies malware on your computer, remove it and immediately change your Online Banking password.

When your computer is not in use, consider shutting it down or disconnecting it from the internet.

Home wireless security tips

Home safety comes from locked doors and other precautions. Keep your wireless connections just as secure by following a few simple steps. Review your wireless online help guide for more detailed instructions.

Change your Service Set Identifier (SSID), the default “address” that identifies your wireless connection. Hackers know the most common SSIDs and changing your SSID can thwart their efforts.

Check your SSID features and disable SSID Broadcast. SSID Broadcast allows others to find your wireless connection and gain unauthorized access to your network.

Control Access Point Coverage to lessen the opportunity for others to use your network and gain access to your information. If possible, use directional antennas at the perimeter directing their broadcasting inward. Radio signals used to broadcast your wireless network are visible to others trying to use your network. Any wireless signal that spills outside of the desired area could provide an opportunity for a hacker to access the network without entering the premises.

Turn on the encryption feature. The signal from your wireless network is broadcast throughout your surrounding area. Encrypting data allows only the intended recipient to access the information you’re sending.

Change the default password on a regular basis. Many people use familiar passwords that hackers easily access. Combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols changed frequently are the best defense against this type of system hacking.

If your wireless network is tied to a Media Access Control (MAC) address, enable MAC filtering to prevent or permit specific PCs to access your wireless network.

Disable File and Print Sharing features to limit the ability to steal data or commandeer resources if encryption is bypassed.

These suggestions should reduce the likelihood of security breaches but do not guarantee total wireless security. Guard your information carefully and know what to do in the event that your wireless network is hacked.

Phishing and internet related fraud

Phishing is a common type of scam that usually involves a spammed email message, phone call, voicemail, or text message being sent to illegally capture your personal information. The messages may appear to come from legitimate companies such as banks, credit card companies, government agencies, or internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Phishing scams may carry urgent-sounding information. The content may claim that your account will close if you do not confirm or authenticate your personal information immediately. It may claim that the bank has lost important security information that needs to be updated or it might request that you update this information online and provide you with a link or internet address to a counterfeit website.

If you receive a suspicious message, do not click on any links, open any file attachments, return phone calls, or use an internet address provided in a text message. TDECU will never send emails requesting personal information—because of potential fraud with Online Banking and other accounts—or attach files that are not expected.

Simple steps to help avoid phishing scams:

  • If you receive a suspicious email message that appears to come from TDECU, do not respond to the message. Instead, forward the message to emailfraud@tdecu.org then delete the message from your mailbox. If you respond to the fraudulent email or have specific questions, call us at 800-839-1154.
  • Phishing emails may contain telltale signs that could immediately alert you to fraudulent intent. The text contained in the email as well as the URL can provide clues that you may have received a phishing email and not an authentic email from TDECU.
  • Carefully review the contents of any email claiming to be from TDECU. Poor spelling or grammar and urgency in the message are warning signs that should make you suspicious of a phish.
  • If you ever doubt the authenticity of a link, check the URL. In a phishing email, the URL may look like it goes to www.tdecu.org, but the link may actually go somewhere else like, for example, to an overseas website.
  • If you receive a text message that claims your credit union debit card has been or will be deactivated for security reasons, this message is fraudulent and an attempt to steal your identity. These text messages may claim that you must call an 800-number and provide personal information to reactivate your cards. This activity is commonly known as “smishing” (SMS phishing).
  • Never provide personal information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or telephone calls – even if they appear to be from a legitimate business. You should never click on links provided in unsolicited e-mails or text messages. TDECU does not send unsolicited electronic messages asking you for your personal information.
  • If you have any questions about the validity of communication that claims to be from TDECU or another financial institution, you should contact the institution directly by telephone or in person.
  • Be aware of any unsolicited message that asks you to enter personal information
  • Be on the look out for improper grammar and misspellings
  • Never open an email or attachment, or click any links from an unknown or suspicious sender
  • Never log in to your account through a link or internet address provided in an email or text message
  • Be selective when providing your email address to sources you are unsure of
  • Only enter your credit card information on sites that have the "lock" icon at the bottom of the browser and "https" preceding the URL
  • If you are a victim of fraud, contact the proper law enforcement agency

The following tips will help you avoid becoming a smishing (SMS phishing) identity theft victim:

  • Assume unsolicited text messages are fraudulent.
  • Become familiar with policies businesses use for communicating with customers.
  • Upon receipt of an unsolicited text message, call the actual business at a telephone number that appears on a statement, a credit card, or the telephone directory.

To report fraudulent text messages, emails or telephone calls seeking personal information, contact the Texas Attorney General’s Office at 800-252-8011. Also, we ask that if you encounter an e-mail seeking personal information that claims it is from TDECU we request that you forward us a copy of the email to emailfraud@tdecu.org

If you believe you are the victim of consumer fraud

TDECU members are advised to report situations of consumer fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.

The FTC enters Internet, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Notify your local law enforcement agency to report abusive and threatening calls and/or to file an Identity Theft Report. Notify the major credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) to request a "fraud alert" on your file that will require creditors to call you before they open any accounts in your name. The major credit reporting agencies are:

Equifax: 800-525-6285
Experian: 888-397-3742
TransUnion: 800-680-7289

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is a federal crime. It occurs when your personal information is unknowingly stolen and then used to commit fraud and other crimes. The most common ways fraudsters steal consumers' personal information online is through spoof emails and websites, social engineering, and other scams.

Learn more about protecting your identity
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