Online bank fraud alert, prevention
By Lance Cpl. Bernadette L. Ainsworth
| | July 13, 2005
U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Navy Federal Credit Union recently announced a new fraud alert targeting Navy Federal bank members.
The fraud comes in the form of an e-mail that greatly resembles Web pages from the Navy Federal Web site.
The e-mail states that the user’s account has recently been reviewed and there are suspected unauthorized automated teller machine transactions on the account, according to Navy Federal’s message.
The message then directs the user to login to their Navy Federal account using the link provided to ensure their account has not been compromised.
Once logged in on the fraudulent website, the user is prompted to enter personal and account information which includes name, social security number, date of birth, credit card number and expiration date, ATM personal identification number and e-mail address, according to Navy Federal’s message.
After the information has been entered, it can then be used in unauthorized transactions from your bank account and credit card.
There are many servicemembers that bank with Navy Federal and some have received this e-mail.
“I got the e-mail before the alert came out,” said Sgt. Carlos Daniels, a legal administration clerk, here. “The best thing to do if you get an one of those e-mails is to inform the bank it supposedly came from and delete it. Banks will never send out e-mails like that.”
Lance Cpl. Justin Park, a reproduction clerk, here agrees that banks don’t send e-mails when something is wrong with an account.
“I know that Navy Fed would never send anything concerning my accounts through an e-mail, so when I got the e-mail, I didn’t believe that it was really from them,” he said.
Although bank fraud can happen to the most careful of people, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce this from happening, according to the ScamBusters Web site.
Pay attention. Login to your account on a regular basis, even if you don't have any transactions to do. Simply take a look. It only takes a moment to review your information so that you know what's going on and to make sure nothing is wrong.
Keep it private. Don't be tempted to do your online banking in the library or the local Internet cafe. You have no way of knowing who has access to that information or how they'll treat it.
Initiate contact yourself. Don't ever try to access your account through an e-mailed link no matter how much that e-mail looks like it came from your bank.
Check for secure connections. When you visit the bank's website, make sure the page where you type your information always starts with https. The 's' means that it is on a secure server.
Change your password regularly. Don't tell anyone what it is or allow anyone else to use it. Even people you trust should not have access to your online banking password.
Install barriers. If you are doing online banking, your computer should have the following software installed:
- Firewalls 'block the door' to your computer so hackers can't access the information on your hard drive.
- Spyware is any program that secretly downloads onto your system when you access the Internet.
The software gathers information about you and sends it to third parties who could be scammers waiting to steal your money.
- Scammers sometimes send virus programs by e-mail. Anti-virus software installed on your system can stop these.
If you suspect any suspicious activity, the best course of action is to report it immediately to the financial institution it concerns.
If a Marine needs to make a dispute or feels he has been a victim of e-mail bank fraud there are certain steps he needs to take.
- Contact the financial institution immediately, file a claim and cancel the credit card or checks that were used.
- Contact any of the three major credit bureaus, file a claim and request a credit report.
- Experian at 888-397-3742
- Equifax at 800-525-6285
- Transunion at 800-680-7289
- Contact the local authorities and file a claim.
- Honolulu Police Department at 529-3352
- Contact military authorities.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft or file a report at the local legal assistance attorney at 477-8505.