Are You Protecting Your Financial Information? 

With the recent rise in cyber threats, it is more important than ever to protect your private information.

One common way that hackers gain access to personal information is through “phishing” emails. Phishing is defined as “the practice of using fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. These messages may impersonate your financial institution and frequently appear to come from a valid email address or phone number. They often include an urgent request for you to update your information, secure your account, verify your identity, or confirm a transaction.

These scams may ask you to call a phone number, sign on to a fraudulent website, or respond with personal and/or account information.

Here are some tips on spotting phishing messages:

  • Is it an unexpected or unusual email, and is it from someone you have not communicated with recently?
  • Is the message or request something you would expect from this sender?
  • Is the subject line irrelevant to the content of the email?
  • Does the email ask for sensitive information, such as username or password?
  • Do you recognize the sender?
  • Does the website address seem off? For example, a genuine Vantage West domain is “VantageWest.org” not “VantageWest.biz”

What you can do to protect yourself:

Password Security Tip

  • Never share your online banking password or username with anyone
  • Create a unique user ID and password for each site. Use a combination of upper case letter(s),lower case letter(s), number(s), and special character(s) such as [email protected]#$%^&*
  • Remember, Vantage West will never ask you to confirm your debit card number or PIN

Website Security Tips

  • Never sign into your account from a link in a suspicious email or text message. Instead, access your account by typing VantageWest.org into your browser directly or log in through the Vantage West Credit Union mobile app
  • Search online for the contact information (name, email, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer. Other people may have already received the same message and determined it is a scam
  • Secure websites are encrypted and have a web address that starts with “https.” Do not visit sites or enter personal information on a website that begins with “http,” without the “s” at the end

•    Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers often create a sense of urgency to scare victims into immediate action

Computer/Network Security Tips

  • Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you
  • Do not click on links, open attachments, or respond to unexpected emails or text messages
  • Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up window. Perpetrators regularly use pop-ups to spread malicious software
  • Install trusted anti-virus software and keep it updated

What can you do if you believe a criminal has gained access to your device, account, or personal information?

  • Change your online credentials, including your username and password, immediately
  • Contact us immediately at 1.800.888.7882
  • Have your computer/mobile device professionally scanned for malware

If you have questions on the legitimacy of the email or messages, you can call us at 1.800.888.7882 or email [email protected].

We are constantly working to protect you and share important updates like this so you can protect your identity, accounts, and other information. Stay safe, be vigilant, and remember that we are here for you.

On this page, you will find screenshots of some of the latest fraudulent/phishing emails, top tips to avoid becoming a victim, links to Vantage West blog posts about specific kinds of scams, and links to external resources including the Federal Trade Commission’s website, Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker, and others.

 

 

Additional Resources

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Website: The FTC offers updates on the most recent scams and tips to avoid becoming a victim.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker: This site shows an interactive map with details on current scams and dollars lost, with the option to report a scam.

Arizona Attorney General’s Consumer Scam Warnings: This list of consumer scams focuses on protecting Arizona seniors from financial exploitation, but these warnings can benefit any consumer.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Fraud Alerts: Information on abusive tax schemes and how to report tax fraud to the IRS.