Popular Scams: Protect Yourself

USECU will never ask for your personal information via email or text message. If you have received a suspicious email, text, or phone call, please do not provide any personal information, and call a USECU member service representative directly at 713-595-3400.

Phishing, Smishing and Vishing Attacks

Phishing has been around for decades and involves scammers using email to coerce victims into providing their personal or financial information for purposes of account takeover. Cyber criminals have skillfully figured out how to create emails that look like they’re coming from legitimate sources, including banks, government agencies, and other services an businesses.

More recently, criminals have begun using other popular channels of engagement. One such approach known as “smishing” entails the use of SMS text messaging. Unwitting victims are enticed to call an 800 number or click on a hyperlink, where they are directed to a scam site and asked to provide confidential information. “Vishing” takes a similar tack using voice communication (most commonly Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP).

Get savvy in recognizing these frauds since often they not only collect your personal and financial information but can also infect your device with malware and viruses.

Tech support scams

If someone claiming to be with a technology company contacts you and wants to diagnose a computer problem you didn’t know you had, or provide tech support you have not requested, stop! If you receive an unexpected pop-up or spam email about an urgent problem with your computer, stop! Scammers are likely using a nonexistent problem to obtain remote access to your computer or banking information.

“You’ve won” scams

If you receive an email stating you’ve won a prize, the lottery, or a sweepstakes, be instantly on your guard if you are asked to pay a fee or tax for the prize, or if there’s a request for your credit card or bank account information. Here, you can win by not falling for this scam.

Healthcare scams

Cyber criminals will usually request your Medicare or health insurance information, social security number, or financial information. Not falling for these scams will give you a skeptical – but healthy – outlook on cyberspace.

Imposter scams

If your first instinct is to help when you receive an email or call from a government official, family member, or friend asking you to wire money, be cautious. Criminals have become experts at impersonating those closest to you by exploiting your personal information available online.

Identity Theft

Signs that you may be a victim of identity theft:

  • bills for products or services you never purchased
  • unauthorized withdrawals from your bank
  • unauthorized charges on your credit card statements
  • unauthorized charges on your credit card or new accounts in your name – which you never opened
  • noticing a decrease in the amount of mail or bills you receive
  • a decrease in the amount of mail or bills you receive, or being rejected, or denied, for a credit application.

Don’t ignore any of these suspicious signals; report them immediately. The longer you wait, the more time-consuming, costly, and exhausting it can be to rectify the situation.

How to Protect Yourself from Scams

  1. Know who you’re dealing with.
  2. Guard your personal information.
  3. Stay safe online.
  4. Check your accounts frequently.
  5. Be cautious about unsolicited emails.
  6. Resist pressure to make a quick decision.
  7. Check your credit reports regularly.