Heartbleed Bug: Your NASA FCU Accounts are Not Affected

You may have heard the news reports regarding security vulnerability called Heartbleed. The Heartbleed Bug affects OpenSSL-an open source software widely used to encrypt Web communication.

First, we want to assure you that your NASA Federal Credit Union accounts are not affected by the Heartbleed Bug.

Do Our Members Need to Take Action?

NASA FCU Member Accounts have not been affected however we always encourage members to routinely change their passwords and to continue to take proactive steps towards protecting their personal information from fraud. We also encourage members to be cautious of what sites they visit, sign on to, and what links they click since these may be unsecure.

Members can visit the NASA FCU Security Center for more information on protecting themselves from fraud, as well as the steps NASA FCU takes to keep their information secure.

More information on the Heartbleed SSL can be found at www.heartbleed.com.

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Data breaches at retail establishments and universities seem to be abundant these days. And if you’re like most of us, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to help protect yourself—and your credit—from prying eyes.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, there is an important tool you may consider: a credit freeze—or security freeze—on your credit report. By employing a credit freeze, you essentially restrict access to your credit report.

The reason this tool is so effective is that creditors must review your credit report before approving new accounts. If they are unable to access your credit file, they are unlikely to extend credit. As a result, restricting access to your credit report puts the brakes on identity thieves who would open new accounts in your name.

To place a freeze on your credit reports, you’ll need to contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Be prepared to share with them your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. There are also fees for this service. They are based on your address, but they typically are only between $5 and $10.

A credit freeze does not affect your credit score or prevent you from getting your free annual credit report. You can still open new accounts, apply for jobs, rent an apartment, and buy insurance, but you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time, or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. The cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it’s best to check with the credit reporting company in advance.

Although a credit freeze is an effective tool, it won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Watch out for Mail Thieves

A new scam may be coming to your neighborhood. Thieves are now driving around residential areas and stealing the outgoing mail from residential mailboxes. These thieves usually strike in the morning and usually after you have placed outgoing mail in your home mailbox. Just like your normal mail carrier, these mail thieves are looking for the little red flag standing up to signal that outgoing mail is sitting in the mailbox. The thieves will then steal the envelopes and search inside for checks that you have written to pay your monthly mortgage, electric bill, phone bill, etc… Upon stealing your check, these mail thieves alter the check to a new payee name and dollar amount. They then have a person walk into a branch office of the Financial Institution that the check is drawn on and attempt to cash the altered check.

Amazingly, this crime may all happen on the same day that you mailed your payment out!

Tips on how you can help prevent mail theft:

  • Consider only putting outgoing mail in a locked mailbox, in a blue USPS collection box, or drop it off at the post office.
  • Retrieve your mail as soon as possible after it is delivered. Don’t leave your mail unattended for extended periods. Don’t leave mail in your mailbox overnight.
  • If you cannot regularly retrieve your mail promptly, consider installing a lockable mailbox or obtaining P.O. Box service from your local post office.
  • If you will be away from home temporarily, you can notify your local post office to hold your mail with the online hold mail service on the US Postal Service website.
  • Ask your financial institution if your check order can be picked up at a branch location that you normally visit.
  • Monitor your bank account statements regularly, and report any checks that you did not authorize.
  • Make sure that your contact information (phone numbers, email) is up to date on your checking account- that way, if your financial institution is suspicious of a person presenting your check for cashing, they can quickly contact you to verify whether the check is valid or not.
  • Be alert for unusual activity in your neighborhood. Watch out for strange cars and/or persons that are going into mailboxes along your street.
  • If you believe you are a victim of mail theft or see suspicious activity, call the local police or contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 or on the Postal Inspectors website.

NCUA Warns about Telephone Fraud

​Consumers Targeted by Vishing Scam Should Call Agency’s Hotline

The National Credit Union Administration today warned consumers to beware of a new telephone fraud, known as a “vishing” scheme, that is using the agency’s name in an attempt to obtain personal financial information.

Several credit union members have been contacted by an automated phone call claiming to be from NCUA and notifying consumers their debit cards have been compromised. The call then asks the receiver to follow prompts, which request personal information, including sensitive financial data and personal identification information.

Anyone contacted by this so-called “vishing” scheme should immediately contact NCUA’s Consumer Assistance Center Hotline at 800-755-1030 or by email at phishing@ncua.gov to report the scam. Operators answer calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern.

NCUA neither seeks personal information from consumers over the telephone nor handles day-to-day maintenance of member account information. NCUA works with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to protect consumers from frauds of this nature.

NCUA urges consumers to never verify or release personal financial information to unknown callers.

FBI: Cyber Criminals Using Photo-Sharing Programs

Cyber CriminalsWASHINGTON (6/13/13)–The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seen an increase in cyber criminals who use online photo-sharing programs to perpetrate scams and harm victims’ computers.

As an example, the bureau cited scammers who advertise vehicles online but will not provide photos in the advertisement. The ad promises to send photos on request, but often the photo is a single file sent as an e-mail attachment, and sometimes the victim receives a link to an online photo gallery.

The photos often contain malicious software that infects the victim’s computer, directing the recipient to fake websites that look nearly identical to the real site where the original advertisement appeared. The cyber criminals run all aspects of these fake websites, including “tech support” or “live chat support,” and any “recommended” escrow services. After the victim agrees to purchase the item and makes the payment, the criminals stop responding to correspondence. The victims never receive any merchandise.

The FBI urges consumers to protect themselves when shopping online. The agency offered a list of safety tips:

  • Users should be cautious if they lose an auction and the seller makes contact later, claiming the original bidder fell through.
  • Make sure websites are secure and authenticated before purchasing an item online. Use only well-known escrow services.
  • Research to determine if a car dealership is real and how long it has been in business.
  • Be wary if the price for the item is severely undervalued; if it is, the item is likely fraudulent.
  • Scan files before downloading them.
  • Keep computer software, including the operating system, updated with the latest patches.
  • Ensure anti-virus software and firewalls are current; they can help prevent malware infections.

Beware of Holiday Scams

Consumers around the country are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. Fraudsters are also preparing for the holiday season to prey upon unsuspecting consumers. Ongoing awareness of these holiday scams is critical to help members protect their personal and financial information this holiday season.

Risk Prevention Tips

  • Secure home computers and mobile devices: Members should ensure their home computers are secured with a firewall and antivirus software before performing any online transactions. Operating system patches should be downloaded when made available by software vendors. Members should also protect mobile devices (mobile phones, tablets, etc.) used to conduct online transactions by installing antivirus software.
  • Phishing scams: Members should not respond to emails, text messages, and phone calls that advertise the sale of gift cards, holiday gifts, promotions, contests and jobs.
  • Be wary of holiday offers for free items: Members should avoid tempting holiday offers, such as free downloadable applications for smartphones, antivirus software, screen savers, ring-tones and electronic greeting cards, which may be infected with viruses and/or malware.
  • Be wary of shopping online at Craigslist and public auction sites: Members might purchase merchandise that is never delivered. Members should follow the best practices published by Craigslist and other public auction websites to avoid scams.
  • Be wary of social media scams: Fraudsters often place bogus advertisements for free prizes on social media sites. Members should be instructed to not respond to these advertisements.
  • Bogus charity scams: Members should confirm the legitimacy of the charity through the Better Business Bureau.
  • Monitor accounts: Members should periodically monitor their deposit and credit card accounts to identify any unauthorized transactions. Members should be instructed to immediately report unauthorized transactions to the credit union.

Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).