OUR SECURITY PHILOSOPHY

At Vermont Federal Credit Union, we work diligently to ensure your safety and security. We want to help protect your personal information, your accounts, your identity and, ultimately, your money.

In today's electronic age, it's extremely important to be careful when doing business online or over the telephone. You should always stay informed about security issues and activities that could affect your economic future. Visit the Federal Trade Commission's website to learn more about different types of scams, and what to do if you've fallen victim to fraud. Check back here often for any updated security information.

Phishing

E-mail phishing attacks are attempts by criminals to gain access to your personal information. Criminals send spam e-mails created to sound and look like official notices. Information entered into these websites goes directly to the criminal. These e-mails and websites usually look trustworthy and convincing. Keep your personal information safe with these Tips.

Identity Theft

Identity theft involves personal information such as name, address, date of birth, social security number or a mother's maiden name being stolen in order to assume an individual's identity. Learn More.

Voice Phishing (Vishing)

Voice phishing attacks are attacks by criminals to gain access to your personal information utilizing the telephone. Criminals use phone systems to call phone numbers and play an automated recording to alert the consumer that their credit card or debit card has had fraudulent activity or that their account has had unusual activity. The message typically instructs the consumer to call a phone number immediately. When the victim calls the number an automated system instructs the caller to enter their card information or account number using the keypad. The call can also be used to collect other sensitive personal information. A trustworthy organization will never request sensitive information in this manner.

Text Message Phishing (Smishing)

Text message phishing is a form of criminal activity using text message to acquire personal information utilizing cell phone text messages. The text message will include an alert requesting immediate attention with a website URL or phone number in an attempt to convince consumers to divulge sensitive personal information. These text messages are not sent from legitimate sources.

Tech Support Scams

Scams of this sort can come from people calling and claiming to be associated with well-known technology companies, such as Microsoft or Apple. Sometimes they send pop-up messages that warn about viruses or other malware on your computer. They will claim to be tech support, ask for remote access, and demand money for their "services". Learn more.

CURRENT SECURITY ALERTS

INCREASE IN COVID-19 RELATED FRAUD INCLUDING MONEY MULE SCHEMES

JUly 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant amount of fraudulent activity from scammers who are taking advantage of this volatile time period. The U.S. government, FBI and other law enforcement agencies are asking all financial institutions and individuals to exercise extreme caution and to be on the lookout for COVID-19 related scams. 

The following is a list of just some of the impostor scams and illegal activity that have been seen and reported:

  • A customer indicating that a person claiming to represent a government agency contacted him or her by phone, email, text message, or social media asking for personal or bank account information to verify, process, or expedite Economic Impact Payments (EIPs), unemployment insurance, or other benefits. In particular, be alert to communications emphasizing "stimulus check" or "stimulus payment" in solicitations to the public.

  • Unsolicited communications from purported trusted sources or government programs related to COVID-19, instructing readers to open embedded links or files or to provide personal or financial information, including account credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords). No entity needs this information in order to send you a payment.

  • Solicitations where the person, email, or social media advertisement seeks donations on behalf of a reputable organization, but is not affiliated with the reputable organization.

There has been also been an uptick in money mule schemes, wherein the scammer tricks and grooms a victim to transfer illegally acquired money on behalf of or at the direction of another. A common example is a victim may become involved in a online romantic relationship with a stranger, who in turn uses the victim's accounts to launder money for criminal purposes.

The following is a list of money mule scams that have become prevalent:

  • A member receives multiple state unemployment insurance payments to his or her accounts within the same disbursement time-frame (i.e. weekly or biweekly).

  • The member's account(s) receive an unemployment deposit from a different state in which he or she reportedly resides or has previously worked.

  • Deposited funds are quickly diverted via wire transaction to foreign accounts located within countries known for having poor anti-money laundering controls.

  • A member states, or information shows, that an individual, whom the member may not have known previously, requested financial assistance to send and/or receive funds through the member' personal account, including requests by individuals claiming to be a:

    • U.S. service member who is reportedly stationed abroad;

    • U.S. citizen working or traveling abroad;

    • U.S. citizen quarantined abroad

Fraudsters are clever and are good at acquiring the trust of unwitting victims. Be vigilant and cautious of any communication regarding access to your finances or anyone claiming to provide or be in need of COVID-19 relief.

  • Never give out personally identifiable information (i.e. Social Security number or date of birth) to an unknown person, especially one that has solicited this information unexpectedly.

  • Never give out your online banking username or password. No institution needs this information in order to send you unemployment insurance or any other payment.

  • Do no click on links within emails from strangers. Be aware if hovering over the link does not have the same URL as is stated in the email.

  • Only donate to verifiable charities through their own websites. Do not assume solicitations for donations through email or by phone are legitimate.

To learn more about the specific threats and how you can safeguard your personal financial situation, please visit FinCEN's website.

We are here to help. If you are concerned that you may have given out personal information, have noticed suspicious activity within your accounts, are uneasy about a communication you have received, or have any general questions about keeping your financial information and identity safe, please call us at (888) 252-0202.

 

COUNTERFEIT VERMONT FEDERAL OFFICIAL CHECKS

JUNE 25, 2020

We have begun to see counterfeit Vermont Federal Credit Union official checks in the past few days. Please be aware that these checks are in circulation. If someone you don't know offers to send you money, be vigilant. It may be a scam.

It can be tempting to cash a check for "free money", which is why these scams are so successful. Counterfeit checks look very legitimate; therefore, they can even fool financial institution employees. If the check is a fraud and bounces after you've cashed it, you're the one who is held responsible.

If you get a check that you're suspicious about, don't cash it. Report scams to the National Fraud Information Center/Internet Fraud Watch at fraud.org or call (800) 876-7060

During this unprecedented time, the safety and well-being of our staff, members and community remain our number one priority. We are here to help. If you have any questions about this alert, best security practices, or any other topic, please contact us at (888) 252-0202. 

MASSIVE FRAUD AGAINST STATE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS

MAY 28, 2020

The United States Secret Service has received reporting of a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. The primary state targeted so far is Washington, while there is also evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida. It is extremely likely every state is vulnerable to this scheme and will be targeted if they have not been already.

In the state of Washington, individuals residing out-of-state are receiving multiple ACH deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefit Program, all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder. A substantial amount of the fraudulent benefits submitted have used Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from first responders, government personnel, and school employees. It is assumed the fraud ring behind this possesses a substantial PII database to submit the volume of applications observed thus far.

Vermont Federal is monitoring for this activity and will reach out to account holders as quickly as possible if this activity is detected.

If an account holder receives a deposit they weren’t expecting, it is very important that they don’t spend the money and notify their financial institution immediately.   

Vermont Federal recommends that people use online or mobile banking to review their account transaction history on a daily basis in order to quickly identify any unauthorized transactions. 

During this unprecedented time, the safety and well-being of our staff, members and community remain our number one priority. We are here to help. If you have any questions about this alert, best security practices, or any other topic, please contact us at (888) 252-0202. 

PREVENTING COVID-19 FRAUD AND SCAMS

APRIL 1, 2020
In today's age of illegal robocalls and novel online scams, it's more important than ever to exercise caution when sharing personal information or conducting business, especially online and over the phone. Fraudsters like to exploit vulnerabilities and many are taking advantage of our fears surrounding the Coronavirus.

It is important to remember the following as it pertains to your account safety:
 
  • Do not share your online account log in information.
  • Do not share your account numbers.
  • Do not share your Social Security Number or other personal information.
  • The Federal Government will NOT contact you requesting direct deposit information. 

To help protect you during this time of uncertainty, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is recommending the following practices:
 
  • Hang up on robocalls.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits.
  • Fact check information before sharing with others.
  • Know who you are buying from.
  • Don't respond to texts or emails about checks from the government.
  • Avoid clicking on links from sources you don't know.
  • Be cautious of emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites.   
For the latest information and recommendations from the FTC, please visit their website. If you suspect malicious activity on your accounts or your personal identity, please contact us.
 

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