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"Smishing" is the latest form of phishing.  In smishing, a member receives a text message via cell phone warning that their financial institution account has been been closed due to suspicious activity.  It  then tell the member they need to call a certain phone number to reactivate the account.

Unsuspecting callers who dial the number provided in the text message will be taken to an automated voice mail box that prompts them to key in their credit card or debit card number, expiration date, and PIN to verify their information. 

If you have a question concerning your account or credit/debit card, contact us at (605) 342-6442 or 1-800-418-0369.

Loss Prevention Recommendations:

  • Be  wary of any message received from un unknown sender
  • Do  not open unsolicited e-mails or text messages
  • Do  not click on any links provided in unsolicited e-mails.

If you are a victim of Smishing, take appropriate steps:

  • B lock and reissue the compromised credit/debit cards
  • R eport the incident to the credit bureau
  • O rder a credit report
  • Do n't display your wireless phone number or e-mail address in  public.  This includes newsgroups, chat rooms, Web sites, or membership directories.
  • If you open an unwanted message, send a stop or opt out message in response.
  • C heck the privacy policy when submitting your wireless phone number or e-mail address to any Web site.  Find out if the policy allows the company to sell your information.
  • Contact your wireless or Internet service provider about unwanted messages.

What is it?  Phishing is now the most effective way to illegally access financial computer systems.  The way it works is "Phishers" send phony e-mails--disguised as communications from financial institutions or other organizations--to gain access to information that can then be used to withdraw funds from a person's account.
Phishing falls into a broader fraud category known as "spoofing", which is a hacker term meaning "to forge an identity".

It is estimated that as many as 20 out of 1,000 recipients of a phisher's e-mail will respond.  However other experts say the ratio "may be closer to 1 in 8.
Dakota Star Federal Credit Union will NOT request any personal information through the internet or e-mail.  If you do need to update you account information please do so by contacting the credit union by phone or by stopping in and speaking with one of our member service representatives.  If you are concerned that you may have been a victim of phishing, it is a good idea to keep a close watch on the activity in your account.  Are there any small amounts that you did not authorize?  This might be a sign that someone is trying to access your account.  If you do receive an e-mail from anyone asking you to update your information over the internet or e-mail, contact the credit union immediately with the e-mail address so the proper authorities can be notified. 

Recent Phishing Scams
Recent and current scams are using the identities of the following companies:

  • IRS and IRS Tax Refunds - Added 2/9/06
  • VISA - Added 2/7/06
  • The CO-OP Network - Added 12/15/05
  • CUNA Mutual
  • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
  • Paypal
  • eBay 

Pharming is when an internet user is redirected from a legitimate web site to a "spoofed" or imitation site.  Computer users might think they are visiting a legitimate online site, but instead are taken to a different site with a similar name.  This "pharming" site is used to steal information such as credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords or Social Security numbers.  

Cyber-criminals use the personal information they gain from phishing and pharming to commit identity theft or fraud.

Over time, cyber-criminals have learned to create messages that can seem to genuinely come from the legitimate site.  They may "borrow" a company logo, copy the format and colors used on its Web site, or imitate the language used in the organization';s real communications.

 Counterfeit Checks/Money Orders/Cashier's Checks
This is a popular fraud in which someone sends you a counterfeit check to purchase something you're selling online.  Often, but not always, the check is for an amount more than your requested, and the payer will ask that you cash the check and wire the overpayment back.  Sometimes, the "buyer" will tell you to keep some of the overage for your "troubles".  If you cash the check, you become liable for the full amount once it is found to be counterfeit.

    • Don't cash suspicious checks. Notify the credit union and we'll attempt to confirm the legitimacy of the check.
    • Be cautious of overseas buyers.  If possible, sell locally, especially for high price items such as cars and jewelry.
    • Consider having payment wired directly to your financial institution or sent through a secure PayPal.

Telephone Credit Card Scam
This is a scam in which a thief, claiming to be from the Security and Fraud Department of a credit card company, calls you to verify the 3-digit security code on the back of your credit card.  Often, The thief will know your address and which financial institution issued the card, and will ask for the code in order to verify that you are in possession of the card.  In reality, they want the code so that they can use it to purchase goods and services online.



 Nigerian E-Mail
This is a scam in which a wealthy foreigner, usually from Nigeria, sends you an e-mail asking for help in moving millions of dollars from his homeland, with the promise of a hefty reward for your assistance.  Usually, you're asked to first wire money to cover administrative costs, taxes and other fees.  Once you do this, the "wealthy foreigner disappears.  Many versions of this sam exist, all with the same theme:  someone from a foreign country needs help transferring a large fortune and promises a huge reward.

  • Ignore these e-mails!  

 How to Protect yourself

  • Ignore all unsolicited e-mails asking you to verify information.  No company card issuer, or financial institution will ever contact you directly and ash you to verify personal or financial information.          
  • Look for these warning signs: 
    • The e-mail contains links that take you to a site asking for personal information
    • The e-mail  asks you to confirm or provide personal information.  Trustworthy businesses never ask for personal information by e-mail.
    • You've never used the financial institution or business that claims to be sending the e-mail
    • The e-mail or Web site looks different than in the past.
    • Never trust links sent in an e-mail
    • Always enter the website yourself.
    • Install spyware removal programs and regularly update them
    • Check your credit score regularly to spot identity theft
    • Always notify the credit union if you receive a suspicious e-mail carrying the credit union's name and logo. 


  • Never release any card information to anyone who calls you.  The card issuer already know this information and will never call you to verify it.

Equal Housing Lender / NCUA Insured

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