Identity Theft

Fraud Warning July 2010

Please note that you may receive an e-mail appearing to be from MBNA Canada Security claiming that your account has recently been flagged and that in order to prevent loss or any unauthorized charges you will need to secure and confirm your account by clicking on a link included in the e-mail.  MBNA Canada has confirmed that they have not released this e-mail to it's customers.  Please disregard this e-mail if you do receive it. 

Phishing

A rapidly growing form of Internet fraud is a practice known as "PHISHING." This fraud can lead to financial loss, identity theft and loss of confidence in any institution whose site has been "PHISHED."

How does it work?

Online thieves send out e-mails that appear to originate from legitimate companies. The e-mail messages direct victims to fraudulent look-alike websites, where the victim is asked to enter personal and financial information. Because the PHISH sites look entirely legitimate and the request appears to be coming from a trusted financial institution or credit card company, victims enter their credit card numbers, Social Insurance Numbers (SINs), bank account information and address, phone number and e-mail details. Any information entered into the PHISH site is captured by a crook that will steal the victim’s identity to acquire new credit cards, redirect mail and open bank accounts in the victim’s name.

Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. A reputable financial institution or credit card company will not request personal or financial information in this manner. If you receive this type of e-mail or any other like it, simply delete the e-mail. Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information. Always ensure you're using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information through your browser. Check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure all transactions are legitimate. Also, do not perform online banking using public computers.  Always use your personal computer for online transactions.

Following are some tips that you can use to avoid fraudsters and detect fake websites.

Carefully verify the website address that you received in your e-mail.  Compare the address with the one you have stored either on your browser's favorite or on your own memory.  Verify it character by character as the address may be completely different or some characters are changed indicating the possibility of a fraudulent website.

Right-clicking on a hyperlink and selecting "Properties" should tell you the link's true destination - again if this is different than your bank address then it means its a phishing scam.

Financial Institutions always use a secure connection.  In order to know whether the website uses a secure connection, look for a padlock symbol in the browser window, whereas the website address must begin with 'https://'.  Padlock symbol indicates that an encrypted (SSL) connection is used to communicate between internet banking client and the banking site, and also indicates that the banking site has a valid certificate.  You should also click on the padlock to check that the seller is who they say they are, and that their certificate is current and registered to the right address.

For safe online banking, install Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Firewall and regularly update your computer operating system.

If you spot any unusual transactions in your statement, report them immediately to your Credit Union.

 

Identity Theft Prevention

Identity theft is a growing concern for Canadians. There are ways that you can be proactive in protecting yourself and your loved ones. The Consumer Measure Committee has a public, government sponsored site  (cmcweb.ca) which has useful information on how to prevent identity theft and what to do should you become a victim of such a crime. Remember to always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you by any means and requests yout personal information such account numbers, credit card numbers, passwords or personal identification numbers. Remember to always protect these passwords and numbers when using public places.

To report an incident or suspected incident of Fraud, your first line of contact should be your credit union.

Learn More

To take further action or learn more about different types of fraud and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from them, please visit the following websites:

PhoneBusters is a national anti-fraud call centre jointly operated by the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It is the central agency in Canada that collects information on telemarketing, advanced fee fraud letters ( Nigerian letters) and identity theft complaints.

For examples of common types of scams, visit www.phonebusters.com or call toll free 1-888-495-8501.

 

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