Phishing scams continue to ramp up in the new year, capitalizing on consumer fears and the need for quick cash. The newest scam involves an impersonation of the Federal Trade Commission in the form of a bogus division called the “US Trading Commission”. This imposter agency website claims that it operates for the purpose of providing a “personal data protection fund” to compensate people whose personal information has been compromised on the web. It uses the FTC’s logo and address to inspire confidence, but it is totally fake.
This phishing scam is particularly dangerous. It promises “instant cash” as the bait and asks the consumers to provide their banking account numbers or electronic wallet credentials to receive the non-existent compensation. Once the data is entered, it can be sold within minutes, and criminals hundreds or thousands of miles away can hit the account with multiple fraudulent transactions. This sets up the possibility of large fraud losses for your institution, as well as monetary losses for your account holder.
In addition, these criminals are asking the unsuspecting victim to enter their personal information to “validate” the fake cash payment. Giving over this information allows the criminals to sell the victim’s personal information for additional cash to fraudsters across the country and around the world, potentially leading to other types of identity theft, including new account fraud, takeover of other existing accounts, government benefits fraud, and impersonation. This type of phishing exercise is the most dangerous and can have long-lasting repercussions.
Your credit union is thinking ahead to protect your identity and your finances. Our members have the power of professional Identity Theft Recovery Advocates standing ready to help through our ID Safe program. Learn more here.