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Boost Your Cybersecurity IQ With These Tips

How cyber-savvy are you? Can you identify the red flags of a phishing or vishing attempt? UW Credit Union has useful information to increase your cybersecurity awareness. Know what steps to take to make sure your personal and financial information is secure.

Learn how to protect your information from threats

Today’s interconnected world means there’s always a threat of cybercrime, leaving you vulnerable to financial scams and fraud. As technology becomes more advanced, cyber criminals develop more sophisticated tactics, making it harder to stay up-to-date on threats and outsmart scammers.

“Cybercriminals and fraudsters are a pretty crafty bunch,” says UW Credit Union Loss Prevention Manager, Julie Walser. “Be extra cautious when receiving calls, text and emails. We are seeing an increase in member victims and scams. Staying educated and alert is the first step to protect yourself.”

The best way to guard your accounts is to learn about techniques scammers use and take steps to keep your personal information secure. By using common sense, you can help keep attackers from obtaining your information.

How to identify a phishing scam

Phishing is when a scammer steals personal information, such as account numbers, Social Security numbers or passwords by sending a fraudulent email or through use of a fake website. Scammers often impersonate legitimate financial institutions, companies and government agencies to gain access to your financial accounts and credit cards or steal your identity.

Do you know how to identify a phishing email?

  1. Do you recognize the contact’s name in the “from” address line?
  2. Are there misspellings or incorrect grammar in the message?
  3. Does the message ask you to act on something you didn’t request or provide personal information like your credit card number, Social Security number or online banking password? If so, don’t reply.
  4. Check the link. Does it look like it will take you to a different website? Mouse over the link and check the URL.

Vishing is a combination of phishing and voice

Vishing is another scam to gain access to personal and financial information. Caller ID is spoofed so the victim is unaware of the real identity of the caller. Vishing relies on techniques to trick you into providing information that others can use to access your important accounts.

Often, you may receive a call or a voicemail message directing you to call a bogus toll-free number, or an email that looks like it’s from a reputable organization directing you to call a number to confirm personal or financial information. Legitimate companies will know your name and address you in an email or call, scammers typically don’t.

Be cautious about how and with whom you share information. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from a vishing attempt:

  1. If you suspect a phone call or email might be a fraudulent request, look up the company’s customer service number and call that number instead.
  2. Forward the email to the company’s customer service email address to ask if the email is legitimate.
  3. If you’re unsure if a caller is calling from a company you recognize: hang up and look up the company’s number, then call to verify if the company has called to obtain information.
  4. A credit union or bank will never send you an email asking for information to confirm fraudulent activity on your debit card, credit card or account. You may be asked verification questions to determine if you are the correct person on the account but will never be asked for your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or banking password.

Avoid becoming a victim

Don’t be fooled by a phishing or vishing attempt. Learn how to safeguard your identity and financial accounts from phishing or vishing with these smart tips:

  • Think before opening attachments or clicking on email links. Even a file or email from someone you know can contain malware.
  • Call to confirm. Before providing personal or financial information to companies who request it, go directly to the company website to look up their number and call for verification. Never disclose sensitive information without first confirming with the company that the information is needed.
  • Keep your computer security up to date. Make sure your software is updated to the latest release and apply recommended patches.
  • Create strong passwords. Create a password that is difficult to guess and doesn’t contain personal information. Change passwords often.
  • Check your credit report. Make sure the information is correct.
  • Back up your files. Use an external hard drive or an online service to avoid file loss.
  • Review your financial accounts. Confirm that transactions have been correctly reported.

UW Credit Union also helps to protect your accounts with state-of-the-art security features and options to protect your cards and notify you about your account status.

Don’t be an easy target for attackers. While there will always be scammers, you can arm yourself with knowledge about cyber threats and take appropriate action to protect your accounts and personal information.

Learn more about types of threats you might encounter and actions you can take to prevent identity theft, avoid fraud and minimize your risk.

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