Fraud and Security

Your financial well-being is important to us.  Visit this page to find news, alerts, and other info to keep you informed about identity theft and fraud scams.  Should you suspect, you may be a victim of fraud, please contact us at (603) 224-7731.

No one is using your Social Security number to commit crimes. It’s a scam.

May 14, 2024

If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, it’s essential to be cautious. One common scam involves a caller who claims that your name and Social Security number are linked to serious crimes or there is an arrest warrant out for you and that the courts want to seize your bank and retirement accounts. Do not provide any personal information or agree to purchase anything, such as gold, as this is a tactic used by scammers to steal your money.

 

If you receive such a call, it’s best to hang up immediately and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. It’s crucial to remember that the Social Security Administration would never call you to threaten or intimidate you. The Social Security Administration will always communicate with you through the mail, and they will never ask you to disclose your Social Security number over the phone. Be vigilant and protect yourself from these types of scams.

It can be a scary experience when someone calls you out of the blue and demands that you go to the bank immediately. It’s natural to feel nervous and overwhelmed in such a situation. However, it’s important to keep your wits about you and not let the caller push you into making a hasty decision. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of the call, take a moment to do some research before following their instructions. Anyone who asks you to withdraw cash or buy gold is likely trying to scam you. Don’t hesitate to report them to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Stay vigilant and protect yourself from these types of scams.

If you ever receive a call from someone claiming that someone is coming to your house to pick up valuable items, such as cash or gold, it’s crucial that you call the police immediately. This type of elaborate impersonation scheme is designed to rip you off and can lead to serious consequences. To learn more about this and other common imposter scams, be sure to check out How to Avoid Imposter Scams | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov). By staying informed and aware, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to these types of fraudulent schemes.

3 things scammers say

Protect Your Accounts

April 30, 2024

  • Safeguard your cards, PINs, receipts, and deposit slips. It is essential to handle these items with care and shred all paperwork with personal information. Thieves still go though trash.
  • When you go out shopping, carry only the cards you’ll need, leave the rest safe at home.
  • Avoid carrying your pin with you. Never write your PIN on the card itself, or in a place someone could see.
  • Make sure your PIN isn’t something that someone could easily guess like a birthday or easy to figure out by watching you type it in such as 1234 or 5555.
  • Always make sure to cover the keypad with your other hand while typing in your PIN.
  • If you think your PIN has been compromised you can change your PIN on our mobile App under “Cards” or call 1-800-992-3808 (for future reference, store this number in your phone).

ATM women peaking at PIN

cover PIN pad

Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams

March 28, 2024

In today’s digital age, it is crucial to be aware of the threat of phishing. Phishing occurs when malicious individuals use deceptive links via emails or texts or call to trick you into revealing sensitive personal information such as account details or passwords. These scammers can then exploit this information to commit identity theft or financial fraud. By clicking on malicious links, you could inadvertently expose your computer to ransomware and other harmful programs, compromising your data security. Stay vigilant and safeguard your personal information by being cautious of unsolicited communications and verifying the authenticity of requests before sharing any sensitive data.

Stay informed and vigilant against phishing scams by recognizing common tactics used in deceptive emails and text messages. Scammers often impersonate trusted companies or institutions to lure unsuspecting individuals into clicking on malicious links or opening harmful attachments. By being cautious of unexpected messages and verifying the sender’s legitimacy, you can protect yourself from falling victim to fraudulent schemes. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, even if you are familiar with the vendor.

phisihing exampleHere are examples of how scammers trick you; they:

Say they have noticed suspicious activity or log-in attempts — Phishing!
Say there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — Phishing!
Say some personal or financial information needs to be confirmed — Phishing!
Send you an invoice you don’t recognize — Fake!
Ask you to click on a link to make a payment — The link has Malware!
Say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — Scam!
Offer a coupon for free stuff — Fake! Phishing!

Protect yourself from Phishing emails:

1. Install security software on your devices and keep it up-to-date

2. Use multi-factor authentication on all your accounts

3. Back up your data to protect it.

Sure Ways to Spot a Scammer

March 20, 2024

Anatomy of an Imposter ScamScammers say and do things that can tell us they’re lying — and they’re not who they pretend to be. Of course, to hear or see those clues, we have to get past the panic scammers make us feel, thanks to the so-called emergencies they try to create. And since scammers are convincing, that can be hard to do. But recent scams are costing people their life savings, so here are some sure ways to spot the scammer.

Things only scammers will say:

“Act now!” That’s a scam. Scammers use pressure, so you don’t have time to think. But pressuring you to act now is always a sign of a scam. It’s also a reason to stop.
“Only say what I tell you to say.” That’s a scam. The minute someone tells you to lie to anyone — including bank tellers or investment brokers — stop. It’s a scam.
“Don’t trust anyone. They’re in on it.” That’s a scam. Scammers want to cut you off from anyone who might slow you down.
“Do [this] or you’ll be arrested.” That’s a scam. Any threat like this is a lie. Nobody needs money or information to keep you out of jail, keep you from being deported, or avoid bigger fines. They’re all scams.
“Don’t hang up.” That’s a scam. If someone wants to keep you on the phone while you go withdraw or transfer money, buy gift cards, or anything else they’re asking you to do: that’s a scammer. DO hang up.

And here’s a list of things that only scammers will tell you to do:

“Move your money to protect it” is a scam. Nobody legit will tell you to transfer or withdraw money from your bank or investment accounts. But scammers will.
“Withdraw money and buy gold bars” is a scam. Always. Every time.
“Withdraw cash and give it to [anyone]” is a scam. Doesn’t matter who they say: it’s a scam. Don’t give it to a courier, don’t deliver it anywhere, don’t send it. It’s a scam.
“Go to a Bitcoin ATM” is a scam. Nobody legit will ever insist you get cryptocurrency of any kind. And there’s no legit reason for someone to send you to a Bitcoin ATM. It’s a scam.
“Buy gift cards” is a scam. There’s never a reason to pay for anything with a gift card. And once you share the PIN numbers on the back, your money’s as good as gone.

If you see or hear any version of any of these phrases, you’ve just spotted a scammer. Instead of doing what they say, stop. Hang up. Delete the email. Stop texting. Block their number — anything to get away from them. And then, tell someone you trust and report the scam to the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Source: Sure ways to spot a scammer | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

It Happened to me … and it Could Happen to You.

-Submitted by an NHFCU employee!

March 15, 2024

women looking at tabletImagine my surprise a little over week ago when I checked my account online…I found my balance was lower than I anticipated, so I checked my history and saw A LOT of transactions that I did not make using my debit card. Yup. Somehow my card was compromised. Even though I work for NHFCU, I rarely have time to handle my personal business while at work. When did I discover this issue??? At 6:21 am on Wednesday, when I took a moment to check on my accounts before getting ready for work. Our offices were closed.

Anyhow, I needed to shut my card off NOW. So, what to do?? I know we have the VISA debit and credit lost and stolen numbers listed on our website (because I put them there). But then I also remembered I can control my debit card on the NHFCU mobile app on my phone or iPad. I still had the app open on my phone. On the bottom of my screen, I pressed “Cards.” Then a screen came up with a picture of my card and a button underneath (which was green at the time). I simply touched it to turn my card off. Nothing else could be charged using that card number! When I got to the office, I reached out to our Operations Department to make them aware of the fraud situation. They worked to report my card as stolen, had me sign an affidavit and tell them what was mine and what was not as far as transactions. They also ordered a new debit card for me. I was granted provisional credit for the transactions in dispute. At NHFCU, provisional credit is normally granted within 10 business days. This is the term they use because until the investigation is complete (which can take several months), they cannot promise that I will get my money back but can grant me “provisional credit”. If cash flow is a concern for you (not having funds available immediately), consider using our VISA credit card for your regular purchases.

That way, in the event your card information is compromised, your checking account funds are not impacted at all, and you can afford the time needed to correct the situation. Want to know more? Talk to one of our financial services representatives today. Call (603)224-7731 ext. 504.

Is it scary to see money disappear and know you did not benefit IN ANY WAY from the purchases made? Yes. But the other great thing I can share is that I was ALWAYS confident about how this works, because I work for NHFCU. I was not given special treatment – THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS WORKS WHEN THERE IS LEGITIMATE FRAUDULENT USE of your debit card. (That means I did not give my card number or PIN out to someone who decided to go shopping.)

I hope this helps others understand there is a way to handle the issue quickly. To those who would say they won’t use a debit card for JUST THIS REASON, I urge you to rethink it. If you had cash or checks stolen, your only recourse would be through the police and a thorough investigation where the perpetrators are apprehended. And even then, it is VERY UNLIKELY that you would get your money back at all.

Celebrate National Consumer Protection Week. Talk About Scams.

That call or text might not seem like a scam. It might look like it’s Apple or Microsoft, saying there’s a problem with your computer. (It’s not.) It might seem like it’s Amazon, saying there’s a problem with an order. (Also no.) It might even sound like your grandchild, calling with (supposedly) an emergency. (Still no.) All of these are scammers. This is National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) and we’re inviting you to join us in talking about scams just like these.

Scammers target everyone, in any language. But research and experience show that talking about scams helps us avoid them. So, this NCPW, let’s talk about scams. Start a conversation to share what you learned about how to spot, avoid, and report scams. Maybe even reach out to someone who might need a little extra help or information. Celebrate National Consumer Protection Week. Talk about scams | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

Celebrate National Consumer Protection Week. Talk about scams

How To Avoid a Fake Check Scam

In a fake check scam, an unknown individual asks you to deposit a check. The amount is usually more than owed to you, and sometimes exceeds several thousand dollars. You are then instructed to send a portion of the money back to them or another person.

Scammers always provide a convincing explanation for why you can’t keep all the money. They may claim it’s for taxes or fees, purchasing job supplies, returning an overpayment, or other reasons. However, this is a scam. Check out the video for some examples of check scams.

  • Do not use money from a check to send gift cards, money orders, cryptocurrency, or to wire money to anyone who requests it. Scammers often ask for gift cards, cryptocurrency, or wire transfers, and once you’ve sent the money, it’s nearly impossible to recover.
  • Reject offers that require payment for a prize. Legitimate prizes should not require payment.
  • Never accept a check for more than the selling price, as it is likely a scam.

For additional information visit the FTC’s website at: https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-spot-avoid-report-fake-check-scams

Once You’ve Been Scammed, You’re More Likely to Be Targeted Again

1/5/2024

refund and recovery scams

Refund and Recovery Scams directly target those who have been scammed in the past. Whether it’s you, a friend or family member, scammers target “easy” victims. And share the names of their successes. Here is a breakdown of how these scams happen and how to avoid them.

Refund and Recovery Scam:

  1. Scammers target someone who has been scammed before.
  2. Scammers are able to do this by re-targeting their past victims or by purchasing “sucker lists” (lists of people who have been scammed) from other scammers.
  3. They gain your trust by claiming they are with a law firm, a government agency, a consumer advocacy group or some other organization.
  4. They ask for your personal information claiming it is to help you as well as ask for a “fee” such as money to cover “administrative charge,” “retainer fee,” “processing fee,” “tax,” or even a “shipment and handling charge.”
  5. They then ask for information such as your social security number, checking, debit, or other financial account number claiming they need it so they can process your refund.

Don’t be a victim … again. These are all examples Refund and Recovery Scam.

Ways to Avoid a Refund and Recovery Scam:

  1. Don’t trust solicitations claiming your money can be recovered.
  2. Don’t give out personal information.
  3. Don’t pay for a refund. Scammers often ask for cash, gift cards, cryptocurrency, wire transfers or payments through payment apps.
  4. Don’t deposit refund checks especially if it’s for an amount larger than your original loss.
  5. Research anyone that solicits you to recover lost money.

 

For more information on Scams and Fraud continue reading this page or visit the FTC’s website at https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/refund-and-recovery-scams

 

Spot Holiday Job Scams

12/8/2023

Job scams are common during the holiday season. The scammers on legitimate employment sites try to lure in job applicants. They might offer you the job quickly and ask for your personal information like your driver’s license, Social Security, or bank account number to fill out their “employment paperwork.” However, once you provide it, they might steal your identity.

  • First, do research. Contact the company directly using a phone number or e-mail you know is legitimate – not the one you saw advertised on a website. See what others have said about it online.
  • Next, search online for the company name and the words “review,” “complaint,” or “scam” to get an idea of what other people have experienced. Be sure to contact the FTC if you spot a scam!
  • Finally, talk to someone you trust before taking any job offer or business opportunity. What do they think? And if something sounds fishy, do not hesitate to reach out to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

For more information visit ftc.gov/JobScams

Fraud Discovered Locally in Concord, Skimmers found on card readers in several stores

11/17/2023

Dear Members,

By now you’ve probably heard that both Market Basket and Walmart in Concord were each the target of fraudsters, who placed skimmers on point-of-sale card terminals. Despite just making the news, these skimmers were actually discovered in October. Skimmers were also found at a Market Basket in Nashua, as well as at a few Massachusetts locations. There may very well be more out there.

At this point it appears to be limited to certain point of sale card terminals in each store, generally at the quick checkout or self-checkout lanes.

Although we have had no reports of fraud related to this issue, it is important that you review your accounts on a regular, frequent basis. Not only do you receive monthly or quarterly statements, you have options available to review your account anytime, 24/7/365, via the following channels:

· NHFCU E-Branch;

· NHFCU Mobile App, where you can also set up alerts for debit card activity; and

· Direct Line (Basic account access only; Visa credit card activity is not accessible).

We will make every effort to assist you, our valued members, but remember it is your responsibility to monitor your account and report any unauthorized transactions to us.

Sincerely,

Rodney Dauteuil, CIA, CFSA, CUCE, NCRM
Vice President, Compliance and Risk Management
New Hampshire Federal Credit Union

11/8/2023
By: Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Scammers call or email, pretending to be from the VA or your home loan servicer. They claim if you pay them an upfront fee, they can get you a loan modification or refinancing to avoid foreclosure, so you can keep your home. But that’s illegal. Do you know your rights when it comes to getting relief for your mortgage debt?

  • Don’t pay any money until the company delivers the results you want. The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule (also called Regulation O) makes it illegal for a company to charge you a penny unless it’s given you a written offer for a loan modification or other relief from your lender or servicer — and you accept the offer.
  • Before you sign with them, the company must tell you
    • they’re not associated with the government or your lender
    • that your lender might not agree to change the terms of your mortgage, and
    • the total fee the company will charge for its services
  • Before you decide to accept an offer of mortgage relief, the company must
    • give you a document from your lender or servicer showing their offered changes to your loan, and
    • tell you that if you don’t want to accept the offer, you don’t have to pay the company’s fee

You always have the right to contact your lender or servicer directly to see whether you have other options. Companies that tell you to stop communicating with your lender or servicer are breaking the law.
If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, connect with a VA loan technician. The VA offers help with discussing your loan with your servicer. Learn more about VA’s help to avoid foreclosure.

If you see these practices, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

11/6/2023
By: Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

As we approach Veterans Day, we thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice. But not everyone has a vet’s best interests in mind. Whether you left the service decades ago or you’re planning your transition to civilian life, scammers will try to get you to send money or share personal information. Scammers also want to get their hands on the valuable benefits you earned through military service. What are some ways to know you’re dealing with a scammer?

First know how scammers operate. Imposter scams come in many varieties but they work the same way: scammers call, text, email, or reach out over social media and pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency and say you need to pay a fine. Or they may pose as an online love interest who needs you to send money for an expensive medical procedure. The scammer may offer you a job, too, but say you need to pay a fee before you get hired. Scammers may claim to have some affinity with the military to gain your trust so you won’t dig too deep into what they’re saying.

Second, know how scammers ask you to pay. No matter what the story is, only scammers will insist that the only way you can pay is by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, payment app, or a wire transfer service. These methods make it almost impossible to get your money back, which is why scammers insist you pay that way. Stop. Don’t pay.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll highlight some of the ways scammers try to get at your veterans benefits — and ways you can spot and avoid those scams. One way to recognize Veterans Day is to share the advice about avoiding scams and encourage the veterans you know to sign up for the latest updates to stay a step ahead of scammers.

You now have permanent access to free weekly credit reports

By Colleen Tressler, Division of Consumer and Business Education

The three national credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — have permanently extended a program that lets you check your credit report at each of the agencies once a week for free.

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request free copies of your credit reports. Other sites may charge you or be fraudulent sites set up to steal your personal information.

By law, everyone is entitled to one free credit report every twelve months from each of the three credit reporting agencies. In 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the finances of millions of people, the three agencies announced they would temporarily make free reports available every week. The program was extended twice and is now permanent.

Why check your credit report? Your report shows things like how many credit cards and loans you have, whether you pay your bills on time, and whether any debts have been turned over to collections. Creditors, insurers, some employers, and other businesses use it to decide if they want to do business with you — and the terms they’ll offer you.

Mistakes, like accounts or bankruptcies that aren’t yours, can hurt your credit, increase how much you’ll have to pay to borrow money, and even derail your chances of getting a loan, insurance, a rental home, or a job. Mistakes can result from errors by businesses that report credit information to credit reporting agencies. They also can be a sign of identity theft. The sooner you spot a mistake, the sooner you can dispute the error or — if it results from identity theft — report it at IdentityTheft.gov.

To learn more about why your credit matters, read Understanding Your Credit.

Updated October 13, 2023 to reflect the permanent extension of free weekly credit reports. Updated September 23, 2022 to reflect the extension of weekly free credit reports through December 2023. Updated May 2, 2022 to reflect the extension of weekly free credit reports through December 2022. 

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, is your money gone? Maybe not – solutions on our website work for local member

You may recall the FTC article we published about gift card scams last month. Well, it came in handy in a BIG way.

Last Thursday, a local member – a very bright woman – became the victim of a social media scam. Here’s what happened to her:

  • She received a message on a social media platform from a family member she was “friends” with.
  • This family member/friend engaged the woman in some friendly chit chat conversation online (warming up).
  • Then, the scammer (continuing to use the profile of a family member) informed the woman about a terrific investment she just took advantage of, offering to refer the woman to her consultant.
  • Having completed the “referral” process, a consultant telephoned and used online messaging to guide the woman toward making an investment – a sure thing – but the consultant needed funds as soon as possible…suggesting the use of a cash app (which the woman wisely declined), asking for personal account info (also declined), and then asking for gift cards for payment, requesting the cards be scanned online.
  • The woman did buy the gift cards. She went to several stores to buy them. Alarms were going off but, this was a family member who she had been conversing with first, someone who would not steer her wrong…When she tried to take photos and upload the gift cards, another a family member who had dropped by questioned the process. After a quick phone call to NHFCU and a visit to our website, the woman realized it was a scam. So, she followed the instructions in the article below and was able to get those gift cards cancelled!

It is important to note that this scammer spent HOURS working this person through online messaging and phone calls about the opportunity – more than 24 hours all together. This continued even after the woman stopped communicating (and the scammer became rude and threatening).

Please take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with the tactics scammers use. Share this article with your family and friends.

Did you receive a letter from PBI?

Many of our members, who are past or present State of New Hampshire employees, recently received a letter from Pension Benefits Information, LLC (“PBI”), informing them of a “global third-party software event that impacted PBI and may affect the security of [their] personal information.” The letter goes on to say that there was a “vulnerability” in MOVEit Transfer software and “the software could be exploited by an unauthorized third party.”

The letter states that PBI is offering 24 months of complimentary credit monitoring and explains the necessary steps for enrolling. The letter also provides information about how to place a freeze or fraud alert on your credit report through the three major credit bureaus.

Consumers can obtain a free credit report annually from all three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the only official free credit report website.

Additional information on protecting your personal information can be found through The Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).

Suspicious Activity

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, if you doubt the authenticity of a solicitation, notice or email regarding your NHFCU account or you suspect your account has been compromised, contact us at (603) 224-7731, or 1 (800) 639-4039.

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, is your money gone? Maybe not

By Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Did someone tell you to buy a gift card and give them the numbers? That’s a scam. Your money was gone the moment you gave someone those gift card numbers. But now, some gift card companies might be able to get your money back.

Gift card scams start with calls, texts, emails, or social media messages.

The scammer pretends to be someone they’re not: a company, the government, a family member, or romantic interest. Their message is always urgent. And they want money. They’ll tell you to buy a gift card or maybe multiple gift cards. Once you do, they’ll demand you send a photo of the card or give them the numbers on the back of the card.

But now, some gift card companies are flagging fraudulent transactions and freezing stolen gift card money so that scammers can’t get it. And those gift card companies want to give that money back.

And those gift card companies want to give that money back.

So, if a gift card scam happens to you, act fast:

  • Report it to the gift card companyTell them you were scammed. Give the gift card company the information from your receipt or a copy of the numbers on your gift card.
  • Ask for your money back. Once you report a gift card scam to the gift card company, ask for your money back. If the money was frozen or not downloaded by the scammer, some gift card companies will give the money back.
  • Tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.govYour report makes a difference and helps #stopscams.

The faster you contact any gift card company to report a gift card scam, the better the chance of getting your money back. But it doesn’t matter when you were scammed with a gift card. For more information about avoiding and reporting gift card scams, visit ftc.gov/giftcards.

What’s a Credit Freeze?

Credit Freezes

A credit freeze is the best way you can protect against an identity thief opening new accounts in your name. When in place, it prevents potential creditors from accessing your credit report. Because creditors usually won’t give you credit if they can’t check your credit report, placing a freeze helps you block identity thieves who might be trying to open accounts in your name.

A freeze also can be helpful if you’ve experienced identity theft or had your information exposed in a data breach. And don’t let the “freeze” part worry you. A credit freeze won’t affect your credit score or your ability to use your existing credit cards, apply for a job, rent an apartment, or buy insurance. If you need to apply for new credit, you can lift the freeze temporarily to let the creditor check your credit. Placing and lifting the freeze is free, but you must contact the national credit bureaus to lift it and put it back in place.

Place a credit freeze by contacting each of the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A freeze lasts until you remove it.

Learn more about credit freezes, fraud alerts, and active-duty alerts for service members. And, if identity theft happens to you, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get a personal recovery plan.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov

 

Did you receive a letter from PBI?

Many of our members, who are past or present State of New Hampshire employees, recently received a letter from Pension Benefits Information, LLC (“PBI”), informing them of a “global third-party software event that impacted PBI and may affect the security of [their] personal information.” The letter goes on to say that there was a “vulnerability” in MOVEit Transfer software and “the software could be exploited by an unauthorized third party.”

The letter states that PBI is offering 24 months of complimentary credit monitoring and explains the necessary steps for enrolling. The letter also provides information about how to place a freeze or fraud alert on your credit report through the three major credit bureaus.

Consumers can obtain a free credit report annually from all three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the only official free credit report website.

Additional information on protecting your personal information can be found through The Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).

Suspicious Activity

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, if you doubt the authenticity of a solicitation, notice or email regarding your NHFCU account or you suspect your account has been compromised, contact us at (603) 224-7731, or 1 (800) 639-4039.

 

8/21/2023

If you paid a scammer with a gift card, is your money gone? Maybe not

gift card scam
By Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Did someone tell you to buy a gift card and give them the numbers? That’s a scam. Your money was gone the moment you gave someone those gift card numbers. But now, some gift card companies might be able to get your money back.

Gift card scams start with calls, texts, emails, or social media messages. The scammer pretends to be someone they’re not: a company, the government, a family member, or romantic interest. Their message is always urgent. And they want money. They’ll tell you to buy a gift card or maybe multiple gift cards. Once you do, they’ll demand you send a photo of the card or give them the numbers on the back of the card.

But now, some gift card companies are flagging fraudulent transactions and freezing stolen gift card money so that scammers can’t get it. And those gift card companies want to give that money back.

So, if a gift card scam happens to you, act fast:

  • Report it to the gift card companyTell them you were scammed. Give the gift card company the information from your receipt or a copy of the numbers on your gift card.
  • Ask for your money back. Once you report a gift card scam to the gift card company, ask for your money back. If the money was frozen or not downloaded by the scammer, some gift card companies will give the money back.
  • Tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.govYour report makes a difference and helps #stopscams.

The faster you contact any gift card company to report a gift card scam, the better the chance of getting your money back. But it doesn’t matter when you were scammed with a gift card. For more information about avoiding and reporting gift card scams, visit ftc.gov/giftcards

 

8/7/2023

How to spot and avoid post-disaster scams in the Northeast

spot flooding recovery scams
By: Colleen Tressler, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

As recovery efforts continue in areas of the Northeast hit hard by devastating flooding, scammers aren’t far behind. Your tragedy is an opportunity for them, and they’ll try to take advantage. If one of the recent storms damaged your home, you might get offers to do things like help you clean up debris or get financial help. The offer might even seem to come from a government official. But how do you know what’s real?

The first thing to know is this: Walk away from anyone who demands personal information or money upfront. Here are some other ways to spot and avoid scams:

  • Know that FEMA doesn’t charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, that’s a scam.
  • Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and repairs. Those are dubious at best and a scam at worst. You’ll wind up with outrageously high price quotes, demands to pay up front, “help” without the necessary skills, and maybe even your money just vanishing.
  • Check contractors out. Before you pay, ask for their IDs, licenses, and proof of insurance. Don’t believe any promises that aren’t in writing.
  • Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, or in cash. Scammers want you to pay that way because they get your money quickly and it’s almost impossible for you to get it back. And never make the final payment until the work is done and you’re satisfied.
  • Guard your personal information. Only scammers will say they’re a government official and then demand money or your credit card, bank account, or Social Security number.
  • Spot rental listing scams. If anyone asks for a security deposit or rent before you’ve met or signed a lease, steer clear.
  • Spot disaster-related charity scams. Scammers know how to seem like a real charity when they’re really just on the take. Before you give, check out how to donating while avoiding charity scams.

Suspect a scam? Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

 

7/20/2023

Protect Your Account: How to Limit Your Potential Loss

…If your credit or debit card is lost or stolen.
How To Limit Your Losses

Under federal law, you have protections that help limit what you have to pay if your credit or debit cards are lost or stolen.

Credit card Debit card
You report your card’s loss before someone uses it. You aren’t responsible for any charges you didn’t authorize You aren’t responsible for any transactions you didn’t authorize.
You report your card’s loss after someone uses it The maximum you might be responsible for is $50 What you’re responsible for depends on how quickly you reported it
Your account number is used but your card isn’t lost or stolen You aren’t responsible for any charges you didn’t authorize You aren’t responsible for any transactions you didn’t authorize if you reported the loss within 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you
If someone uses your debit card before you report it lost or stolen, what you may not recover depends on how quickly you report it.
If you report your debit card lost or stolen… Your maximum loss is…
…before any unauthorized charges are made $0
…within 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft $50
…more than 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, but within 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you $500
…more than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you All the funds from your debit card account, and possibly more — for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.
Check back next week for part three on protecting your account information.

If you see a scam, fraud, or a bad business practice, tell the FTC. Go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov, the FTC’s website that makes it easy for you to report.

 

7/14/2023

Protect Your Account

What to do if your credit or debit card is lost or stolen
What do you do first?
  1. “Turn off” the debit card as soon as you realize it is missing. The easiest and fastest way to do this is through our app. Download our app for Apple Devices or Android Devices.
  2. Report Loss or Theft Immediately. If your credit or debit card is lost or stolen report it as soon as possible.
  • Call — or get on the mobile app — and report the loss or theft to NHFCU as soon as possible.
  • To report a lost or stolen VISA Credit or VISA Debit Card during business hours call (603)224-7731 or 1(800)639-4039.
  • To report a lost or stolen VISA Credit or VISA Debit Card after our regular hours please use the numbers below:

After Hours Report Lost/Stolen VISA Credit Cards:

In U.S. 1 (855) 445-1231 Outside U.S. (301) 837-8410 (collect)

After Hours Report Lost/StolenVISA Debit Cards:

In U.S. (800) 472-3272 Outside U.S. (410) 581-9994 (collect)

Follow up immediately in writing.

Watch Your Accounts
  1. Monitor your account. Call to report fraudulent charges as soon as you spot them.
  2. Follow up immediately in writing or by sending a message through e-branch. Send a letter to NHFCU at 70 Airport Road, Concord, NH 03301. Confirm you reported the fraudulent charge or withdrawal. Include the date and time when you noticed your card was missing, and when you first reported the loss.
  3. Check if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance covers card thefts. If not, ask your insurance company to include this protection in your policy going forward.
  4. Check your credit reports. Get copies of your free credit reports to monitor for accounts or charges you don’t recognize. If you suspect identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get a recovery plan.
Limit Your Losses

Under federal law, you have protections to help limit what you have to pay if your credit or debit cards are lost or stolen…

Check back next week for part 2 on how to limit your losses.

If you see a scam, fraud, or a bad business practice, tell the FTC. Go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov, the FTC’s website that makes it easy for you to report.

7/14/2023

Military Romance Scams

Military Romance scam
For Military Consumer Month, let’s talk a little about how romance scammers target people who support the troops — and sometimes service members themselves. These scammers can be any age, gender, or sexual orientation and may approach you on dating sites or on social media platforms. In 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam to the FTC — and losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion.

These scammers may steal photos of real military personnel for their profiles. They might say they need cash to apply for a “leave request” to visit you. Or to pay for food and medical treatment during their deployment. One recent twist involves romance scammers pretending to be U.S. troops deployed to Ukraine where there’s no U.S. military presence. The scammers ask you to send them care packages by wiring money through an official-looking (but fake) military website. (Service members never have to pay to get packages, food, medical treatment, or to take leave.)

How can you avoid a romance scam?

If an online love interest asks you for money — especially using gift cards, wire transfers, payment apps, or cryptocurrency — that’s a scam. Period.
If someone appears on your social media and rushes you — to start a friendship or romance, or to get into a “great” investment opportunity (maybe in crypto) — slow down. Talk to someone you trust before you respond. Try a reverse image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.
If you suspect someone is a scammer, cut off contact. Tell the online app or social media platform right away, and then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

7/6/2023

Prevent Account Fraud and Identity Theft

PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

Protecting your personal and account information is our top priority. At NHFCU, your information is safe and secure. With account fraud and identity theft on the rise, it is important for you to help protect yourself. Here are a few tips:

Education
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. The best way to protect your identity is to educate yourself and be aware of common scams. Visit nhfcu.org/FraudSecurity on our website for information on current scams, and links to additional resources.

Credit Report
Combat fraudulent activity by monitoring your credit report. If accounts are opened in your name, they will appear on your credit report. Consumers can obtain a free credit report annually from all three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the only official free credit report website.

Online and Mobile Banking
Prior to entering your account information, verify that you are using our website: www.nhfcu.org and not a spoofed site (fake email or website address that looks legitimate). Always be sure to log out of online or mobile banking before closing the window or app. Never store your personal or account information in plain text on your computer or mobile device. Consider using a secure wallet to securely store your account information and passwords.

Personal Information
NHFCU will never contact you by phone, email or text asking you to provide account numbers, passwords, social security numbers or other personal information. Do not respond and notify us immediately if you receive such a request. And if you receive an email or text asking you to log into your account, do not click on any links or respond. Instead, call us directly. This is true for most companies that you do business with. Thieves can impersonate real companies through email, text and phone in order to steal your information. Call the company directly to verify the legitimacy of the request.

Suspicious Activity
If you think you have been the victim of fraud, if you doubt the authenticity of a solicitation, notice or email regarding your NHFCU account or you suspect your account has been compromised, contact us at (603) 224-7731, or 1 (800) 639-4039.

June 9, 2023

The Risks of Using Mobile Payment Apps from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

consumerfinance.gov

payment app warning
Everyone knows the benefits of keeping your money at a credit union — it’s insured by NCUA. But do you know the risk of leaving your money in a third-party nonbank payment app such as PayPal, Venmo or Cash app?

More than three quarters of adults in the United States have used a payment app, sometimes called a P2P (peer-to-peer or person-to-person) app. The apps can be used on a computer or mobile device to send money to someone else without writing a check or handing over cash.

Money stored in nonbank payment apps often is not protected by federal deposit insurance.

Nonbank payment apps help you move money into and out of a linked bank account, credit union account, or card account. They also let you store money inside the app. In fact, money you receive generally stays in your payment app account until you connect to the app and move the money to your linked bank or credit union account.

Keeping money inside your nonbank payment app might feel the same as keeping money in a traditional bank account with deposit insurance. You can check your balance and review transactions, just as you might do with online banking. However, the difference is that the money in your app might not be held in an account at an FDIC member bank or NCUA member credit union.

This means it might not be protected by deposit insurance.

The difference is key – money you keep in your bank or credit union account is insured if the bank or credit union fails. However, deposit insurance does not apply when a nonbank payment company fails.

If a payment app’s business fails, what happens next is often unclear

Apps can be set up in different ways, with different business models, investment strategies, and risks. Your payment app company might invest your money in loans and bonds, instead of keeping the money in a bank or credit union account. The company can earn money on these investments, while generally paying no interest to you. The payment app’s business could be at risk from investment losses, interest rate changes, currency exchange rates, and liquidity problems. What happens in the case of the nonbank payment app’s business failure or bankruptcy?

In contrast, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) protect deposits up to $250,000 under the same owner or owners. If your bank or credit union fails, you still have quick access to your money.

If the nonbank payment app’s business fails, your money is likely lost or tied up in a long bankruptcy process. You might be standing in line with other lenders to the failed app, waiting to see if you can get any of your money back after the business is unwound.

Some apps offer “pass-through” insurance, if you take additional steps

Some apps may claim to provide pass-through insurance through business arrangements with a bank or credit union for customers who sign up for additional services. For example, you might have to get a company-branded card or choose direct deposit. To be eligible for pass-through insurance, the account must comply with certain rules and regulations set by the FDIC or NCUA.

Pass-through insurance means you are insured against the failure of the bank or credit union where the app holds the money for you. It doesn’t insure you against the failure of the payment app company. This means there could be a risk of losing your money in the event the company fails. If the payment app company followed all the relevant requirements, though, your money could be safe in the associated bank or credit union. Still, there could be risks, like delaying your ability to access your money.

Tip: Get in the habit of moving your money from the app to your insured account as soon as you receive it.

Additional information on payment app scams can be found here consumerfinance.gov

Considering deleting your payment app? Make sure to first remove access to your financial institution/credit card, next delete your account before uninstalling the app from your device.

June 2, 2023

Managing Your Passwords with Tips From FTC

FTC.gov

How To Keep Your Password Secure

  • Make sure your password is at least 12 characters. Consider using a passphrase of random words. Make your password stronger by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts. That way, if a hacker gets your password for one account, they can’t use it to get into your other accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication when possible. Multi-factor authentication falls into two categories:
    • a passcode you get via an authentication app or a security key.
    • a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
  • Consider storing your passwords and security questions in a reputable password manager. To find a reputable password manager, search independent review sites, and talk to friends and family for ones that they use. Use a strong password to secure the information in your password manager.
  • Pick security questions only you know the answer to. Avoid providing answers that are available in public records or easily found online, like your zip code, birthplace, or your mother’s maiden name. And don’t use questions that attackers can easily guess — like the color of your first car. You can even use nonsense answers to make guessing more difficult.
  • Change passwords quickly if there’s a data breach on a website you use and on any account that uses a similar password. It is best to avoid using similar passwords.

Report Identity Theft
If someone is using your information to open new accounts or make purchases, report it and get help at IdentityTheft.gov.

For additional information on password best practices visit Password Checklist | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

 

May 17, 2023

Warning from the FTC on Blackmail/Cryptocurrency Scam

By: Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Warning from the FTC on Blackmail/Cryptocurrency Scam

Scammers are getting personal. You receive an email saying someone has access to your cell phone or your computer. And they’re about to make your sensitive videos, pictures, or compromising information public OR they will place illegal documents or photos on your computer. They say if you pay them money (a ransom), using a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin-they won’t expose or incriminate you. Emails like these are common, they are a part of a cryptocurrency blackmail scam that’s been popping up for a while.

The person behind these emails is a scammer. Don’t pay him. He’s using threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics to trick you out of your money. And while the scammer may say that he knows about an alleged affair, a video or something else that could embarrass you if it was made public, it’s all fake. In fact, it’s also a criminal extortion attempt. Which is why it’s really important that you report this type of scam to the FBI, right away. And once you do, remember to tell the FTC, too, at ftc.gov/complaint.

For additional information on scams, visit Scams | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

May 3, 2023

ALERT – 3rd Party Local Home Warranty Mailer

Please read your mail carefully. Several members have contacted us because they received a mailer stating their home warranty is expiring. The mailer appears to be a bill and something you must pay – and even indicates NHFCU as the mortgage institution. This is a common marketing tactic as this information is available publicly.

NHFCU is not selling your information, nor are we affiliated with these home warranty mailings. We DO NOT sell your information to 3rd parties.

To understand how and when we share your information, click here for our privacy notice.

April 20, 2023

Are you Really the Lucky Winner? Spot the Prize Scams

By Gema de las Heras, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
prize scam ftc
FTC.gov
  • Don’t pay to get a prize. Real prizes are free. Anyone who asks you to pay a fee for “taxes,” “shipping and handling charges,” or “processing fees” to get your prize, is a scammer. Stop and walk away.
  • Don’t give your financial information. There is absolutely no reason to ever give your bank account or credit card number to claim a prize. If anyone asks for it, it’s a scam.
  • Don’t give your personal information. Scammers hope you’ll click on links that will take your personal information or download malware on your device. Delete the message without clicking on the links and don’t respond.

Click Here for more Consumer Advice from (ftc.gov)

March 21, 2023

Dirty Dozen: Watch out for scammers using email and text messages to try tricking people during tax season

IRS.gov

The Internal Revenue Service urges everyone to remain vigilant against phishing and smishing schemes where cybercriminals try to steal a taxpayer’s information through scam emails or text messages.

“Email and text scams are relentless, and scammers frequently use tax season as a way of tricking people,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “With people anxious to receive the latest information about a refund or other tax issue, scammers will regularly pose as the IRS, a state tax agency or others in the tax industry in emails and texts. People should be incredibly wary about unexpected messages like this that can be a trap, especially during filing season.”

  • Phishing is an email sent by fraudsters claiming to come from the IRS or another legitimate organization, including state tax organizations or a financial firm. The email lures the victims into the scam by a variety of ruses such as enticing victims with a phony tax refund or frightening them with false legal/criminal charges for tax fraud.
  • Smishing is a text or smartphone SMS message that uses the same technique as phishing. Scammers often use alarming language like, “Your account has now been put on hold,” or “Unusual Activity Report” with a bogus “Solutions” link to restore the recipient’s account. Unexpected tax refunds are another potential target for scam artists.

Click here for additional information from the IRS

February 14, 2023

Have I told you lately that I love you – and how to avoid scams?

By Terri Miller, FTC Consumer Education Specialist, February 13, 2023

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’ve already sent a card to your grandmother, grandfather, or the older adult in your life. But if you haven’t told them lately that you love them, pick up the phone and call, too. While you’re catching up, remind them that you’ll never pressure them to wire you money or buy you gift cards — but a scammer might.

Scammers use fake family emergencies to target older adults. They call pretending to be a grandkid in trouble, or a lawyer or police officer on the scene. They ask for money, but once the grandparent finds out there was no emergency, the scammer’s gone — and so is their money. You may not get these scam calls, but chances are you know someone who will get one — if they haven’t already. Sharing is caring.

January 20, 2023

Fraud Alert to NHFCU Members – Rise in Local Financial Institution Impersonators

We are aware of fraudsters posing as representatives from various NH financial institutions – including NHFCU.  These fraudsters are in contact with people primarily via cell phone and texting – even revealing a valid financial institution name on Caller ID (spoofing).

If you receive a call asking for any account information, Social Security Number, e-branch login, password, PIN, etc., hang up immediately and call us at (603)224-7731.

Here’s what you might see:

  • Caller ID may appear as “UNAVAILABLE” and “WITHHELD”
  • Caller ID may appear as “NHFCU”
  • The caller asks you to verify your personal information, and/or to verify a one-time passcode they send to your mobile device.
  • The imposter may tell you they are calling from the NHFCU Fraud Department asking for your personal information because “you’ve been a victim of fraud” and requests your Personal Identification Number (PIN) so they can deactivate it. They may also ask if you completed specific transactions and tell you they need more info from you to cancel them.  These fraudsters are tricky and sound legit.  Please call us directly at (603)224-7731 to verify whether we are trying to reach you.

When logging in to online banking, please do so directly from nhfcu.org or our mobile app.  Know your information remains secure with NHFCU.

NHFCU does not ask for unsolicited personal information like your PINs and passwords when verifying your identity.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud or receive a suspicious call or text, please contact NHFCU immediately at (603)224-7731.

January 19, 2023 (posted January 20. 2023) 

Facing the facts about fraud:  It may not be the face you think 

By Lesley Fair, FTC Blog, December 8, 2022

Ask someone to picture the typical person who has experienced a scam and they may think of an older consumer taken in by a fast-talking fraudster. Regardless of the image they create, the results of the FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight suggest their impression may not be accurate. That’s because reports in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel contradict some stereotypes about how fraud affects our communities and evoke a more nuanced picture. Here are some of the surprising findings revealed in the Data Spotlight.

  • Who’s losing money to fraud – and how much are they losing?
  • In 2021, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z young adults – people between 18 and 59 – were 34% more likely than people 60 and over to report losing money to fraud. The median individual fraud loss reported by people in the 18-59 age group was $500.
  • But the Data Spotlight also suggests that when older adults lose money due to fraud, they’re hit harder in the wallet. People between 70 and 79 reported median individual losses of $800. For those 80 and over, that number shot up to $1,500.
  • Are there differences in the types of fraud different generations report?

Click here to read the full article.

If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, contact us immediately at (603) 224-7731. To report fraud to the FCT, click here: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

December 21, 2022

What to do if your online order never arrives.

By Colleen Tressler, FTC, Division of Consumer and Business Education, December 12, 2022

We’ve all been there. During the holidays you order something online and anxiously await its arrival. But then your package doesn’t come when the seller said it would. And worse, you hear nothing. Your happy anticipation is turning to anger and frustration. So now what?

If you didn’t get your stuff:

  • First, contact the seller. Most businesses will work with you to resolve the problem and keep you as a customer.
  • If that doesn’t work, you still didn’t get your order and the charge shows up on your credit card statement, dispute the charges.
  • If you paid by debit card, contact your debit card company (often your bank or credit union). Ask if they can help you.  This sample letterfor disputing debit card charges can help.

Click here to read the full article.

 

December 9, 2022

Watch for fraud and scams during the holidays.

Fraud and scams are everywhere and increase exponentially during the holidays. Watch your emails and texts for suspicious messages -don’t click on them. Be vigilant about phone calls – don’t give out personal information inducing your bank account and Social Security number. Be sure to contact us immediately if you suspect you’ve become a victim of fraud at (603) 224-7731.  Scroll down to review last month’s article about the uptick in fraud.

November 4, 2022

Special notice to NHFCU Members – Uptick in scams and fraudulent activity

Special Notice to NHFCU Members – Uptick in scams and fraudulent activity

Please know this latest scam has affected several NHFCU members.

Publisher’s Clearing House Fraud  –  Several members have reported getting calls from Publisher’s Clearing House telling them they have won a prize. The scam typically starts with a phone call. The caller pretends to be from Publisher’s Clearing House and explains you’ve won their jackpot, and YOU need to pay them a sum of money to cover certain expenses. Next, the caller may request your account details, social security number, and other personal information, all under the guise of making sure they got the right person. The scammer may call back several times, cultivating a relationship with you, promising you they will be at your house on a certain day. And then…usually, “something comes up” and they can’t make the appointment. At this point, they may ask you to send MORE money to cover unexpected taxes, fees, or other costs.

If you get one of these calls, DO NOT COOPERATE. Hang up and block their number immediately. Then:

  • Notify your local police.
  • Contact us immediately at (800) 639-4039.
  • Go to reportfraud.ftc.gov and report the fraud online

This is a well-known national scam. A legitimate sweepstakes will NEVER ask you to pay any money to them, much less ask for your social security number or bank account information.

These scammers are clever. They are good at what they do. They will sound convincing to get you hooked. They will act as your cherished friend, but in reality, all they want is your money and your identity. 

If you have been contacted by one of these scammers and have provided your NHFCU account information, please contact us AT ONCE at 800-639-4039, so we may try to protect you and your money.

Other scams and fraud schemes to be aware of:

  • Romance Scam – Online dating can be a great way to find lasting love, but you don’t have to be looking for love to be courted by a romance scammer.
  • Family emergency scam/grandparent scam – The first call is from a grandchild “in jail” to a grandparent. The second call is a lawyer pressuring the grandparent to wire/send bail money NOW.
  • To see a list of all scams and sign up to receive emails from the FTC about all scams, go to ftc.gov/scams

What to do if you’ve been defrauded

  • To report fraud, go to ftc.gov
  • For other ways to protect yourself, please go to org/fraud-and-security
  • As always, if you think you are a victim of a scam/fraud, contact us immediately at (800) 639-4039.
October 19, 2022 –

How to protect your home Wi-Fi network

Your home networks might have a range of wireless devices on them — from computers and phones to IP camerasvoice assistants, smart TVs, and connected appliances. Taking some basic steps to secure your home Wi-Fi network will help protect your devices from getting hacked — and your information from getting stolen.

The upside of Wi-Fi? You can connect to the internet wirelessly. The downside? Others nearby who connect to your unprotected network might be able to see what you do online, including your personal information. And if anyone uses your network to commit a crime or send illegal spam, the activity could be traced back to you.

Protect yourself and your home Wi-fi network from scammers and fraud – Click here for the full article from the FTC.

September 13, 2022 –

Protecting your Social Security number from identity theft

August 25, 2016 • By Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications. SSA.gov (Last updated August 19, 2021)
Every year, millions of Americans become victims of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personally identifiable information and pretends to be you. They can use this information to open bank and/or credit card accounts, file taxes, or make new purchases in your name.

It is important that you take steps to protect your Social Security number from theft. If someone obtains your Social Security number, they can use it to get other personal information about you, including your banking and/or credit report information. Someone can steal your Social Security number by:
Stealing your wallet or purse.
Raiding your mailbox which may contain paper statements.
Obtaining personal information, you provide to an unsecured site on the Internet.
Rummaging through your trash.
Posing by phone or email as someone who needs information about you.

To read the full article, click here.

August 16, 2022 –

Multi-Factor Authentication is a good thing

Excerpts taken from “Protect your personal information,” ftc.gov article/secure your accounts.
So, you have your passwords for your personal computer, mobile phone and tablets set up, and your antivirus software and firewall programs are up-to-date to keep them working properly. You’re feeling pretty good about protecting your personal information.
While you’re on the right track, you can do more to avoid scammers, hackers, and other bad guys who try to steal your personal information online. It’s a good idea to know how to lock down your devices, network, and information. That way, your passwords, Social Security number, or account numbers don’t go speeding along the superhighway to the scammers.

In addition to your passwords and software/firewall protection, you can add another layer of protection from the bad guys. Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) to safeguard your personal information. MFA is available with some accounts which offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. These additional credentials fall into two categories:

Something you have, like a passcode you get via an authentication app, a security key, email, text, and phone.
Something you are, like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
MFA makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password. Yes, it’s one more thing to do with technology, but it’s crucial.
Be sure you use this authentication process to continue to protect your personal information and keep the bad guys away!
If you think you are a victim of fraud, contact us immediately at (603) 224-7731.  If you think someone has gotten into your accounts or has your personal information, visit IdentityTheft.gov.There, you’ll get steps to take to find out if your identity has been misused, and how to report and recover from identity theft.
For detailed information from the FTC on how to keep your personal information safe, click here.

July 15, 2022 

How to keep your passwords secure

Passwords are the locks on your account doors. You keep lots of personal information in your online accounts, including your email, bank account, and your tax returns, so you want good protections in place. Click here to review the password checklist to make sure your passwords are secure.

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