Consumer Alerts

Helpful Documents Dealing With Identity Theft

Identity Theft Recovery Plan – from the Federal Trade Commission

Q&A – Equifax Data Breach – from Krebs on Security

Equifax Data Breach

You may be aware of a data breach suffered by Equifax, which was discovered by the credit reporting agency on July 29 and publicly disclosed September 8th. The breach has been reported as potentially affecting 143 million US consumers.

Kings Federal Credit Union is here to help our members with understanding and dealing with this extraordinary threat.

The incident was limited to Equifax and was not in any way related to Kings Federal Credit Union or any direct merchants. 

Personal data, including birth dates, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and more, were obtained in the breach. This potentiates identity theft opportunities related to the 143 million personal data records that may be appended to other acquired records and leveraged for account takeovers.

What to look for:

• Application fraud
• Account takeover 

What you can do:

  • Go to to check whether you may be one of the 143 million people whose data may have been compromised
  • Set fraud alerts with all bureaus
  • Monitor credit activity (, etc.)
  • Reset account passwords, PIN codes and other log-in credentials on financial accounts that may be vulnerable.
  • Establish multiple-authentication protocols for financial accounts and email, when possible
  • Establish credit monitoring service through Equifax or through other service providers.  Equifax is offering one year of monitoring for free if our are impacted.
  • This a developing story and as more information is conveyed regarding the extent of the breach, we will provide ongoing communication and advisory notifications.

Identity Theft

There are constant reports of internet scams, infectious spyware, keystroke logging, and more, which is used by criminals who are seeking to profit illegally by obtaining and using your financial information or identity.  Fight back against this crime by arming yourself with the knowledge to protect your identity and personal financial information. NOTE:  Refrain from clicking on links in e-mail messages or opening any attachments that are not expected, even if the sender appears to be known.  Never share confidential information via email, nor when requested from an unsolicited telephone call.  Be sure to delete suspicious email.

Kings Federal Credit Union will not send unsolicited emails or call asking members to provide, update or verify personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, PINs, credit or ATM/Debit Card numbers, or other confidential information.  

Below is just a sampling of attempts to steal your information. Disaster Relief Emails

Beware of potential email scams regarding natural disasters around the world. The scam emails may contain links or attachments that may direct users to phishing or malware infected websites. Malicious emails and websites requesting donations for fraudulent charitable organizations commonly appear after these types of natural disasters.

Better Business Bureau Phishing Emails

Beware of phishing emails stating they are from the Better Business Bureau.  These emails may indicate that someone has filed a case against you and probably include a link or attachment.  Clicking on the link or opening an attachment may download malicious software on your computer.

Fake IRS Emails and Phone Calls Regarding Rejected Tax Payments and More

Tax season brings with it increased phishing scams, malware campaigns, and fake telephone calls claiming to be from the IRS. These may include, but are not limited to, fraudulent emails regarding rejected tax payments, information that refers to a tax refund, warnings or threats about unreported or under-reported income, offers to assist in filing for a refund, and details about fake e-file websites. These messages, which may appear to be from the IRS, may ask users to submit personal information via email or may instruct the user to follow a link to a website that requests personal information or contains malicious code.

Your “Grandchild” Needs Your Help!

As a loving grandparent, you’d do anything for your grandchildren if they were in trouble, no questions asked, right? That may be your natural reaction, but asking a few questions first could save you from getting scammed. That’s because a call like this is probably not from your grandchild. It’s from a scammer looking to con you out of thousands of dollars. And they’re preying on your kindness. In the “grandparent scam,” a caller pretending to be your grandchild will say that he or she is in trouble, usually in a foreign country, and either in jail or a hospital. Your “grandchild” will beg you to wire money right away and to keep the request confidential. People who pull this scam usually pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies like Western Union and Money Gram because wiring money is the same as sending cash. The chances of recovery are slim to none. In some cases, the fake relatives or friends may actually know the names of family members and manage a clever impersonation. In others, they trick a grandparent into giving up the grandchild’s name. Sometimes, another person gets in the act, pretending to be a police officer or bondsman to confirm the bogus story. If you get a call from a family member asking you to wire money, don’t panic and do resist the urge to act immediately. Don’t let emotions overtake reason. Here are some suggestions for handling a call like this:

  • Try to verify the caller’s identity by asking personal questions a stranger couldn’t answer.
  • Don’t fill in the blanks. Refrain from mentioning other family members’ names or personal information. If the caller says, “It’s your granddaughter, respond with “Which one?” Most likely, the caller will then hang up.
  • Remember that some impostors research the people they are posing as and can answer basic questions about them.
  • Resist the pressure to act immediately. Try to contact the grandchild at a number that you know is accurate such as a home or cell phone number before transferring money. If you don’t have your grandchild’s phone numbers, get in touch with their parent, spouse or another close family member to check out the story before you send any money, even if you’ve been asked to keep the call a secret.
  • If you can’t reach a family member and still aren’t sure what to do, call the local police on the non-emergency line. They can help you sort things out.
  • Never provide your bank or credit card account numbers to any caller – regardless of the reason.

Fake Fraud Center Calls Requesting Card Numbers

Please be aware that we have received a report of an automated phishing call claiming to be the Fraud Center, and then asking the customer to provide the card number.

Please remember:  Our Fraud Center will not ask for account numbers or personal information such as social security numbers or test questions to verify the identity of a customer. The Fraud Center will use recent card activity for identification purposes when necessary.

Cryptolocker Ransomware Locks Computers

Cryptolocker ransomware is being spread to computers through phishing emails with infected attachments.  Ransomware is a type of malware that hijacks a user’s computer by taking control of its screen, locking the system and then displaying a ransom message.  Typically, these messages appear to be from law enforcement agencies, banking institutions or some other trusted source.  To fool consumers, the attacks may include a message that claims the victim owes back taxes or some type of payment. Unless a fee or penalty is paid, the computer will remain locked, the ransomware often claims.   The cryptolocker uses encryption to lock the computer, and the attack displays a splash screen with a countdown timer and a demand for ransom to unlock the system.

Congratulations! You’re the Latest Sweepstakes Scam Victim

It starts off innocently enough. You receive a congratulatory phone call or letter informing you that you’ve won a prize in a lottery or sweepstakes. The cash prize sounds great, especially during the recent economic downturn. The only hitch is a minor one; before any winnings are delivered, you must pay fees, taxes or other charges. Considering all the money you have just won, the amount requested seems small and reasonable compared to your winnings.  The only prize you will receive is an overdraft notice from your financial institution if you attempt to spend your winnings.

Scams involving lotteries or sweepstakes are very common and tend to target consumers age 70 and older. With the recent economic downturn, it is more important than ever to be cautious when receiving an offer that seems too good to be true. Protect yourself from sweepstakes scams with the following tips:

  • Know who you’re dealing with and confirm the company’s name, address and phone number through agencies like the Better Business Bureau.
  • Don’t give out your credit card, checking account number or write a check unless you are sure who you’re dealing with and what you will be receiving.
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics and insist on time to think and discuss offers with trusted friends, family members or financial advisors.
  • Report any suspicious offers to your local police or financial institution. Either agency will offer help in determining the legitimacy of the offer.

During hard economic times scammers are also contacting individuals claiming to hold stimulus checks in your name, or they may contact you with an offer to be a mystery shopper or a similar job that sounds too good to be true. As tempting as these easy money opportunities might sound, you should always trust your better judgment and contact Consumer Protection, the Better Business Bureau or your local financial institution if you receive such an unsolicited offer. These organizations can advise you if the opportunity is the real deal, or just a scam. Also, you should never have to pay an employer for work. If they ask you for money there’s a very good chance that something is up.

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