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Protect Yourself – How To Watch Out for Phishing Scams

Laptop with security icon

The security of your personal information is a primary goal of Atlantic Financial Federal Credit Union. That is why we will never ask you for confidential information, like full social security number, full bank account number, debit or credit card numbers, CVV or PIN in an email or via a web site, online chat or from an unsolicited phone call. If you receive a suspicious email or phone call requesting confidential information, it is not from AFFCU. Suspicious emails/texts/SMS messages can be forwarded to [email protected]. Please report suspicious unsolicited phone calls by calling our customer service center at 410-584-7474. We are happy to help answer any questions that you may have and appreciate your partnership as we take more steps to protect you and your financial accounts. You can reduce the risk of falling victim to fraudulent phone calls and text messages by following these steps:

  • Be aware – legitimate businesses do not make unsolicited calls for personal, sensitive information. If you receive an unsolicited call asking this, it is probably a scam.
  • Don’t give in to pressure – Many times the caller will pressure or try and scare you into giving your personal information. If so, simply hang up.
  • Don’t answer phone calls from unknown numbers. Valid callers will leave a message.
  • Don’t respond to unverified SMS text asking you to call your financial institution. Text messages from AFFCU never contain requests for confidential information.
  • Stay calm – These callers are masters at emotional string pulling. When in doubt, hang up. Please notify AFFCU if you suspect that someone has impersonated a credit union representative. We are happy to assist you. Please keep our customer service number in your mobile phone for fast access. The number is 410-584-7474.
  • Be skeptical – Caller ID can be faked. Hanging up is your best defense.
  • Never share a One-Time-Password (OTP) with anyone. OTPs are generated to verify your identity and criminals are anxious to obtain them by asking you to read OTPs to them over the phone or via text.
  • AFFCU offers complimentary account security alerts. You may create alerts by logging into a secure online banking session and customizing your alert options.
  • Carefully review your statements regularly and contact us if you notice any unauthorized activity.

Top 5 ways fraudsters try to steal your information

Cybercriminals are counting on us to be distracted and let our guard down. If we do, they can trick us into handing over our personal or financial information using one of their favorite tactics – phishing.

You might be familiar with email phishing but it’s not the only type of phishing you could experience. Criminals will also use phone calls, text messages, websites and social media to deploy a phishing scam.

Below are some common forms of phishing that you might encounter and the warning signs to look out for.

Phone call phishing

Warning signs to look out for

  • A phone call from “your credit card company” or “financial institution”, typically from someone who works in the “Security
    and Fraud Department”
  • You are told your card has been flagged for suspicious transactions and you need to prove that you have the card in
    your possession
  • You are asked to provide the three-digit security code on the back of your payment card, a one-time passcode that was just
    sent to you, or your PIN

Email phishing

Warning signs to look out for

  • Spelling and grammar errors in the subject line or body of the email
  • No contact information. If something feels suspicious, contact your financial institution
    directly using the phone number on the back of your card
  • Deadline. Sometimes scammers will include a deadline and threaten account suspension to add urgency to override your normal sense of caution
  • Suspicious requests. Visa, like other financial institutions, does not contact cardholders to request their personal account information
  • The email address doesn’t match the organization (i.e., irs.net or amazon.mil)
  • Suspicious hyperlinks. Avoid clicking on hyperlinks if possible. A single click can cause your computer to become infected with malware
  • The email does not address you by name

Text message phishing

Warning signs to look out for

  • There’s a link instead of a phone number to call
  • The text you receive may not contain the name of the bank or any other information
  • The text requests that you log in to your bank account to verify a transaction, enter your PIN, or provide your 3-digit CVV code

Website phishing

Warning signs to look out for

  • There’s something slightly off about the web address or the actual page. Look for misspelled words, substitutions or updated logos
  • An unusual pop-up on the site that requests that you enter your account information
  • There are HTML links that don’t match their destination

Social Media Phishing

Warning signs to look out for

  • A friend request from someone you don’t know
  • A post asking you to click on a link that requests personal information

Have you encountered a phishing scam?

If you experience a phishing scam of any sort that uses Atlantic Financial Federal Credit Union’s name, please let us know by emailing us at [email protected].

For more information on phishing and other computer-based scams, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance at https://staysafeonline.org/