Identity Theft Protection

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Here at MFed, we want to assure you that your personal and financial information is safe and secure. One of our top priorities is to keep information about your accounts private. We utilize a multi-layered defense-in-depth security strategy.

We want to help protect you from the threat of identity theft and online fraud. Identity Theft means that your personal information such as your Social Security number or driver's license number is obtained and used by an impostor. Thieves can obtain your information by means of not only stealing your wallet, but also by stealing your mail, phishing, computer scams or viruses, confiscating documents found in your trash, or even a data breach. Miramar Federal Credit Union would never ask for personal information via unsecured email.

Threats and Scams to be aware of:

Phishing

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") attempts are on the rise. Beware of people requesting information over the phone, by text message or by email. Phishing scams involve criminals who try to trick people into providing personal information (such as credit card numbers, PINs, financial account or other sensitive information).

The criminals who "phish" get more creative all the time! It's important to be aware of the common traits of phishing attempts so you'll recognize them as they evolve. Here are a few to consider:

  • They usually involve requests using the name of business or a person who you would trust.
  • Using a scenario that is intriguing and/or creates a sense of urgency to respond (i.e. will be asked to help solve a crime or win a prize).
  • They often involve consequences such as losing access to your financial accounts, your eBay account or getting arrested because you failed to show up for jury duty.
  • Many phishing attempts have misspellings or grammatical errors, but may look and sound professional. They may even illegally use a company's logo.


Phishing emails are designed to load malicious software on your computer
 to gather information or just to do damage to your hard drive. The best ways to avoid compromising your computer's security is to ensure that you keep updated anti-virus software on your computer and avoid opening emails unless you know the sender. Be particularly careful of emails that contain attachments.

Skimming

How skimming works
Skimmers are small devices that can scan and store credit card data from the magnetic stripe. Crooks can install skimmers on a gas pump, or corrupt employees can have a skimmer stashed out of sight of customers. Once the card is run through the skimmer, the data is recorded, and the crooks can sell the information through a contact or on the Internet, at which point counterfeit cards are made. The criminals go on a shopping spree with a cloned copy of the credit or debit card, and cardholders are unaware of the fraud until a statement arrives with purchases they did not make.

Ways to  avoid skimming:

  • Make sure your card stays in sight, and never let anyone leave of your presence with the card if you can help it. "Skimming occurs most at restaurants since the waiter has to walk away with your card," Brewer says. "If you are in a retail store and they say they have to go to another counter to run the card, follow them." If you are concerned about letting go of your card at restaurants, use cash instead.
  • Monitor credit card receipts and check them carefully against your statements. If you are married, sit down with your spouse to account for all charges, Brewer says. Some thieves take out small amounts in hopes cardholders won't notice.
  • Look for security tape over gas pump cabinets to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with by unauthorized parties. If the security tape is removed, cut or the gas pump appears tampered with, do no use it and report it to the manager.
  • Shred unwanted financial solicitations and put your mail on hold when you leave town. This will not help with skimming, but it can help with other forms of identity theft.
Counterfeit Check Scams

If you receive a check in the mail with a letter that says you've won the lottery or a sweepstakes or that you've been selected to participate in a secret shopper program, there's a very good chance the check is counterfeit. If you receive a check in the mail because you've sold something on the internet or signed up to work from home, and the check includes an overpayment that you are supposed to return, there is also a likely risk that the check is counterfeit.

Some of these checks look authentic and include the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions. In addition to checks, counterfeits can also come in the form of official checks, money orders, business checks or personal checks. If you receive a check from an unknown source, contact the financial institution it's written on to help you verify the validity of it. You can find contact information from a public source such as the institution's website or the phone book. Never rely on the contact information on the check or any letter that accompanied the check.

Here are some other tips that will help you avoid becoming the victim of a counterfeit check scam:

  • Shred any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift.
  • Know who you're dealing with, and never wire money or send a check to strangers.
  • If you're selling something, don't accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the exact amount. If the buyer refuses to send the exact amount, don't send the merchandise or a refund.
  • Resist pressure to act immediately. Any legitimate offer should still be good after the check clears.
  • It's best not to rely on money from any type of check unless you know and trust the person you're dealing with or, better yet until your financial institution confirms that the check has cleared. Forgeries can take weeks to be returned through the banking system, and until you have confirmation that the funds from a check have cleared your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check, whether or not the financial institution places a hold on them.
  • Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. If you are notified that you are a winner of a lottery that you didn't enter chances are you are being scammed.
  • Telephone and Internet Solicitations
  • Be suspicious of any offer made by telephone, on a Web site or in an email that seems too good to be true.
  • Before responding to a telephone or Internet offer, determine if the person or business making the offer is legitimate.
  • Do not respond to an unsolicited email that promises some benefit but requests personal identifying information.
  • MFed never requests a customer’s bank card number, account number, Social Security number, Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password through email. If you should receive an email requesting such information that appears to be from Miramar Federal Credit Union, do not respond to the email and contact Miramar Federal Credit Union immediately at 1-800-640-1228.
Overpayment Scam

There is a new variation on the classic overpayment scam which is disguised as a job opportunity with stipulations. People may answer an ad posted in the newspaper (including college papers) or post their resume on monster.com or careerbuilder.com and fall victim of this newer overpayment scam.

In these scenarios, people receive a job offer from legitimate companies and are then sent a check and/or money order. They are told that they can deposit the check and keep a certain portion of the amount but are then instructed to wire the remainder.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter why you are supposed to send money back. Scammers give many different excuses that seem reasonable. It is best to avoid all overpayment scams by never agreeing to handle financial transactions for people you don’t know or who offer you a job. As a rule, never accept a check or money order and turn around and send part or all of the money to anyone.

  • PINS and Passwords
    • Memorize your PINs and passwords and keep them confidential.
    • Change your passwords periodically.
    • Avoid selecting PINs and passwords that will be easy for an identity thief to figure out.
    • Do not carry PINs and passwords in your wallet or purse or keep them near your checkbook, credit cards, debit cards or ATM cards.

For up to date fraud protection information click here NCUA