There are many spamming methods perpetrators can use to steal identities; one in particular is called ''Phishing.'' Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses email to trick consumers into disclosing their sensitive information such as credit card numbers, financial account information, Social Security numbers, and passwords.
In spammers' latest attempt at defrauding individuals, they are sending e-mail messages that link to a false webpage to dupe users into submitting their personal information. The information that is collected is often used for the enjoyment of the criminal at the expense of the victim's wallet and trust. Upon receiving the consumers' personal information, they begin racking up credit card debit, car loans, fake cell phone or utility bills, wreaking havoc on the victim's identity and credit.
There are many e-mails currently filling up unsuspecting users' inboxes. False e-mails claiming to be from ebay.com and paypal.com claim that if the user does not update his or her personal information, their accounts will be closed. These two examples advertise themselves as legitimate companies as a rouse to falsely gather customer information. To make the scam even more convincing, the email often directs the recipient to a page on a real ebay or paypal website after they have submitted personal data.
According to The Gartner Group, a technology research group, ''A recent report on identity theft warned that there is likely to be 'mass victimization' of consumers within the next two years.'' The report said, ''consumers should be extra careful to monitor all their financial transactions for unexplained account activity, withdrawals, or fund transfers.'' Educating your credit union members is important in protecting their personal information, wallet and pride. It is vital for credit unions to educate their members on the dangers of fraudulent emails.
A credit union employee, who wishes to remain unnamed, says ''Credit Union Members are inherently more at risk of falling for this type of scam because of the high trust relationship between credit unions and their members. It is only a matter of time before this vulnerability is exploited. Right now our only and best defense is member education.''
If household names like ebay.com and paypal.com are being falsely used to gain access to consumer information, how long will it take for a credit union member to receive a similar email from someone claiming to be their credit union? Educating your members to the fact that these scams are happening will help them protect their personal information.