Personal Information Security

One thing that can never be emphasized enough is protecting yourself from scams. So, we’d like to put out a renewed exhortation to BEWARE!  We would like to share a couple of fraud terms you may not be familiar with  that are used in scam prevention efforts, and  will give you a basic foundation in protecting yourself.

The first term is InfoSec. While this may sound a bit James Bondish, it is more technical language for Information Security. Personal information about you that is stored in computers and on the internet is pure gold to the unscrupulous, and securing that information is crucial.

Basic protections such as having a complex password are well known. Virus protection programs and firewalls are nearly standard, but the biggest lapse in security is ourselves. We give up crucial information to criminals online at an alarming rate. One reason for that is due to “Social Engineering” tactics that are used by criminals to convince you to give up passwords, financial information, and other private information. A most common form of “social engineering” is when someone calls you or contacts you in person, pretending to be an official, or an administrator or someone important from a company, financial institution or government. They have a plausible story about your personal information that is needed right then and now. Often, they will also have a scrap of information about you already that they gleaned from the Internet or other hacking efforts. They will then ask for birth dates, social security numbers and account numbers.

How to prevent social engineering? Remember, any institution you have done legitimate business with would not call you seeking such information, as they already have it.

Challenge the caller to give you a call back number. Better yet, ask for both an 800 number and a regular office number. Then look up the company or agency online and find a number yourself.

If someone pretends to be from Rogue Credit Union, first know that we will not call you asking for your information.  Second, just call 800.856.7328. Tell us who called and what they wanted. If it was a misunderstanding and the call was legitimate, we will then connect you to that person, but most likely it was not a legitimate call.

Locally, we’ve had reports of a caller identifying himself as a law enforcement officer, demanding that you must come in or pay a fine in order to avoid arrest.

Law Enforcement agencies DO NOT call people regarding missed court dates, jury duty, warrants, or any matter that may result in an arrest or fine payment. If you get such a call hang up and then call the real police.

Please remember that extremism in the cause of your family’s information security is no vice. Be cautious and alert that scammers are always looking for their next opportunity.