Education & Tools

Online Security

What is Phishing?

Phishing is an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal information from unsuspecting users by employing social engineering techniques. Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent web site that appears legitimate. The user then may be asked to provide personal information such as account usernames and passwords that can further expose them to future compromises. Additionally, these fraudulent web sites may contain malicious code.

Report all internet phishing attempts, even suspected ones, to US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Response Team), a division of Homeland Security. Here you will find more information and excellent educational articles about realistic computer crimes for which you could be at risk!

If you believe your financial account may be compromised because you responded to a request for information, contact your financial institution immediately. Consider closing any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account. Watch your credit reports for fraudulent activity. Contact the three credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your information. As always, do not hesitate to let us know that this has happened to you so that we can take the necessary steps to mitigate any issues resulting from these criminal acts.

Credit Bureaus

You may also request a free credit report through www.annualcreditreport.com.

Safety Tips

  • Monitor your credit reports regularly!
  • Report suspicious activity to US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Response Team), a division of Homeland Security
  • If you or someone you know is a victim of a phishing or email scam, you can submit a report by sending an email to phishing-report@us-cert.gov
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or call them at (877) 382-4357
  • Never open any suspicious email — forward it to uce@ftc.gov then delete it
  • Always know who you're dealing with!

Electronic mail is not secure, and confidential or personal information should not be communicated in this manner.

What Is Smishing (or SMiShing)?

Smishing is a growing form of fraud that targets cell phone users. It's a type of social engineering that uses cell phone text messages to persuade victims to provide personal information such as card number, CVV2 and PINS. The text message may contain either a website address or more commonly, a phone number that connects to an automated voice response systems, when then asks for personal information. Scam artist are devious and will use several different techniques in order to trick you into giving them what they want ... your personal identity! 

Atlantic will never contact you via text message, email, phone or any other method to ask you for your personal information, account numbers, or passwords. Never hesitate to contact us directly should you have any questions or if you suspect you've been a victim of fraud.

Protect Your Privacy Online

OnGuard Online provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against internet fraud. Secure your computer and protect your personal information. Visit www.onguardonline.gov for more information.

Safety Tips

  • Never provide your password or account access information over the phone or in an email.
  • Shred all mail that contains your personal or account information, including all pre-approved credit card mailers and junk mail that request you to complete forms
  • Never leave outgoing mail in your mailbox that contains a check or other verifications of your account or ID; always take this type of mail to the post office or drop in a locked mailbox.
  • Take a look at your credit report; question any activity or information that is not familiar to you.
  • If an email or phone call seems suspicious, simply contact the company back by phone with the number you have on file

Visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft for more tips on identity theft protection.

Your Identity Has Been Stolen… Now What?

Step 1: Protect Your Finances

Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Get a copy of your credit report, which is free to ID theft victims. Ask that your file be flagged with a "fraud alert tag" and "victim's statement." That will limit the thief's ability to open new credit accounts, as new creditors will call you before granting credit, generally. Insist, in writing, that the fraud alert remain in place for seven years, the maximum, according to PrivacyRights.org.

Credit Bureaus:

You may also request a free credit report through www.annualcreditreport.com.

Step 2: File A Police Report

You will need a police report to dispute unauthorized charges and for any insurance claims. Be persistent; your local police department may suggest that this isn't necessary, because they don't want the paperwork hassle. Also, fill out an Online ID Theft Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call (877) ID-THEFT. That enters your case in the FTC's "Consumer Sentinel" database, a nationwide list of ID theft cases, which can be used by law enforcement officers to find patterns and catch criminals.

Step 3: Close All Compromised Accounts

The list may be wider than you realize. This includes accounts with banks, credit card companies and other lenders, as well as phone companies, utilities, ISPs, and other service providers. Dispute all unauthorized charges and ask for a company's fraud dispute form - If the company doesn't have special forms for reporting fraud disputes, the FTC offers an ID Theft Affidavit (PDF), ask the company if they will accept it. Some disputes may require a sworn statement and police report.

Additional Resources

Victims of identity theft can view this step-by-step guide for instructions on how to regain financial health and contact information to get more help.

Visit the Identity Theft Resource Center for information on recent data breaches, protection tips, victim resources, and more.

Disclaimer: Third-party website links are provided by Atlantic Federal Credit Union as a courtesy to our members. These websites are neither owned, operated, nor endorsed by Atlantic and we are not responsible for the content of these sites, nor do we control their availability. You will be leaving the credit union's website. Atlantic does not represent either the third party nor the member if the two enter into any transaction. Privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by Atlantic Federal Credit Union.