At HPCU, our members' security is our top priority, and we strive to keep you informed on how to keep your information secured.
Each year, we see an increase in fraudulent activities around the holidays. This year, we have seen a rise in phone number spoofing, where scammers manipulate caller ID information to make it seem like a call or text is coming from HPCU in hopes of you disclosing sensitive information such as your account details, passwords or personal identification numbers.
To safeguard your financial well-being, we urge you to remain vigilant and take the following precautions:
- Verify Caller Identity: If you receive a call that seems suspicious, hang up and call us directly at 713.986.0200.
- Do Not Share Personal Information: We will never ask you to provide sensitive information such as passwords or PINs.
- Monitor Account Activity: Regularly review your account statements and transaction history. If you notice any unauthorized or suspicious activity, report it to us immediately.
- Update Contact Information: Ensure that we have your current and accurate contact information on file. This helps us reach you quickly if we detect any unusual account activity.
If you have any concerns or suspect fraudulent activity, please contact us at 713-986.0200.
The main goal of scams is to build trust among individuals before using their personal information for illegal financial gain. By using identifying information, fraudsters aim to convince unsuspecting victims that they are compatible. Unfortunately, these scams often result in account theft and significant financial losses for the targets. It’s important to know the warning signs and preventive measures to protect yourself and your hard-earned money from fraud.
Smishing targets users via their mobile phones with scam messages. This can often make it look like messages are coming from a legitimate entity, such as your financial institution. For example, you may receive messages regarding a locked account or missing funds. If you click the link, scammers will steal or attempt to collect personal information.
- Never Share Private Information: It is crucial to exercise caution when it comes to sharing personal information. Be cautious of unsolicited requests for sensitive data, such as social security numbers, passwords, or financial details. Legitimate organizations will not ask for such information via email, text messages, or phone calls.
- Do Not Click on Unknown Hyperlinks or Download Attachments from Untrusted Sources: Avoid clicking on hyperlinks embedded in suspicious emails, messages, or websites. These links may lead to phishing websites designed to steal your information. Similarly, refrain from downloading attachments from untrusted sources. Verify the authenticity of the sender and scan attachments for malware before opening them.
- Do Not Feel Pressured by An Urgent Request: Fraudsters often employ tactics to create a sense of urgency or exploit emotions. If you receive a request that appears urgent, such as a plea for immediate action or an impending consequence, take a step back and evaluate the situation critically. Avoid making hasty decisions or sharing personal information under pressure. Instead, independently verify the request through a trusted source or directly contact the organization in question.
- Never Send Unexpected Funds Without Verifying the Authenticity of The Other Person: Be cautious when transferring funds or making financial transactions. Before sending money, especially in response to unexpected requests, verify the authenticity of the person or organization involved. Contact them directly using a verified contact method or consult a known, reliable source to confirm the legitimacy of the request. Taking these steps can help protect you from falling victim to scams.
Vishing & Phone Spoofing
Vishing involves scammers who use fraudulent phone numbers, voice-altering software, and social engineering to trick victims into giving away sensitive information.
Phone Spoofing happens when you receive calls from a familiar number, or someone disguises their caller ID information as someone else.
A great rule to follow is never answer calls from an unknown number. Most robocalls and con artists call from various numbers to see if your phone number is an active line, which exposes you to more false calls in the future. If you think you've missed a phone call, the caller should leave a message if it's urgent. If you do answer, avoid responding to sensitive questions that may give away personal information. Even yes-or-no questions can be dangerous. Your voice could be captured and later exploited to gain access to your personal information.
If you suspect someone important called you, such as a doctor, financial institution, or government office, hang up and search the known phone number. Call the phone number you researched to verify the call.
Scammers use various tactics, such as phishing emails, text messages, and malicious websites, to extract sensitive information from unsuspecting individuals. These deceptive methods often involve malicious links, attachments, and tricks that can compromise account numbers, passwords, and other personal data. Protect yourself from potential threats. It is crucial to adopt safety precautions and remain vigilant in the face of suspicious communications. With these practices, you can protect your personal information and ensure your computer and mobile devices are secure.
Practical Steps to Enhance Your Security:
- Avoid Clicking on Links and Popups: Exercise caution when encountering unfamiliar links or popups, as they can be vehicles for malicious software or phishing attempts. Instead, manually enter the website address or use reputable search engines to access the desired websites.
- Be Cautious When Sharing Personal Information, Debit, or Credit Card Data: Exercise discretion when providing personal information online, especially when it involves sensitive financial details. Verify the trustworthiness and security of websites before divulging such information to prevent unauthorized access.
- Change Passwords Regularly: Enhance your security by regularly changing your passwords. Create passwords that combine upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessable information. Consider using a reliable password manager for secure storage.
- Install Firewalls: Strengthen your defenses by installing reputable firewalls on your computer and mobile devices. Firewalls act as a barrier against unauthorized access and help block malicious software.
- Keep Your Software Up to Date: Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and security software to ensure you have the latest security patches. Doing so helps protect against known vulnerabilities and ensure optimal security for your device.
- Set Helpful Email Filters: Configure your email account to filter out spam, phishing attempts, and suspicious emails. Update the filtering options provided by your email provider to reduce the risk of falling victim to fraudulent schemes.
Implementing these essential practices can significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to phishing scams and protect your personal information. Maintaining the security of your digital devices requires ongoing vigilance, awareness, and proactive security measures. With a proactive approach to data security, you can enjoy a safer online experience and reduce the potential risks of cyber-attacks.