Criminal phishing (email), smishing (text messaging), and vishing (telephone) attacks increased nearly 600 percent in 2009 according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Unsuspecting credit union members continue to respond to fraudsters who contact them through these various methods to obtain their personal and financial information. These scams are well-designed to mimic legitimate organizations (including credit unions), so it's often too late when members realize that they have been swindled.
The following are examples of phishing requests mimicking credit unions:
"Your account has been temporarily suspended because of a security breach at your credit union. Please contact our security department to reactivate your account."
"Your credit card was suspended. Our customer service department needs to confirm your information to reinstate your card."
"Your loan is delinquent. Payment is needed immediately (over the phone)."
"You can receive a reduced interest rate on your loan. We need to confirm your information."
Members should NEVER respond to requests such as these that appear to be from a credit union or other trusted organization, no matter how urgent or persuasive the request. Keep in mind that e-mails and Internet pages created by scammers may look exactly like the legitimate organization. Instead, members should initiate communications using the published customer service number of the organization.
The credit union does have an anti-phishing service available to monitor Internet sites and take down fake websites when they are exposed. If members receive a fraudulent e-mail that has a phished site mimicking North Alabama Educators Credit Union, please contact the credit union immediately so that the phished website can be taken offline.