WASHINGTON (12/2/13)--Holiday shoppers are targets for cybercriminals out to steal money and personal information, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an announcement from the Internet Crime Complaint Center last week.
Credit unions can remind their members to closely monitor financial transactions and correspondence from financial institutions. Cybercrooks target banking accounts for account takeovers and for creating new accounts with stolen identities, said the FBI.
Warn members to never click on a link embedded in an e-mail from their financial institution. Instead tell them to open a new Web page and manually enter the URL or Web address. Phishing scams often begin with phone e-mails featuring a financial institution's name and logo.
Other cautionary tips credit unions can give to members:
- Use only reputable sites when shopping online. Avoid specials on the Web or e-mail offers that look too good to be true. These capture personal identification information such as credit card numbers, addresses and phone numbers to make fraudulent transactions.
- Monitor credit reports every year and review account statements each month. Scrutinize credit card bills for any fraudulent activity. Unrecognizable charges listed on a card statement often are the first indication that a consumer's identity has been stolen.
- Take precautions in using search engines to locate a company or item and scrutinize the results list before going to the website. Avoid automatically clicking on the first search result. Fraudsters' websites may appear ahead of the legitimate company's on popular search engines. Their sites will be a mirrored version of the company site with a slightly different URL. Look for misspellings or extra characters such as a period or comma in the URL. When clicking on the payment page of a website, verify the URL again and make sure it is secure by starting with "https" instead of "http."