NCUA Urges CUs To Help Members Avoid 'Phishing'

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NCUA has sent a letter to credit unions urging them to take steps to help protect members from fraudulent e-mail schemes.

Such schemes, often called "phishing," appear to be from the member's credit union or credit card issuer and trick the member into giving up personal information that is then used by identity thieves.

"NCUA encourages you to inform your members of these schemes and how they can protect themselves," NCUA said in its letter. "Also, please assure (members) that neither the NCUA nor any other federal financial agency uses e-mail to request non-public information such as account numbers, date of birth, or social security numbers."

The agency included tips published by the Federal Trade Commission to help consumers protect themselves.

Among the tips:

* Contact a company cited in such an e-mail directly using a phone number or website address the consumer knows to be genuine.

* Look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar, or the "http" in a website address-both of which indicate a secure transmission-before submitting information.

* Review credit card and account statements as soon as they receive them to determine whether there have been any unauthorized charges.

* Report suspicious activity to the FTC.

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