Smartphone users less smart about protection

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Smartphone users less smart about protection

McLEAN, Va. (5/1/12)–One of four teenagers carries a smartphone. Many of these young users wind up broadcasting their whereabouts and other personal information to complete strangers, boosting the chances of becoming victims of identity theft ( April 20).

A smartphone is a minicomputer holding quantities of personal information that requires protection, just like computers and laptops. Yet users–including teens–aren’t taking simple, necessary steps to protect their smartphones from thieves and hackers.

Identity fraud spiked in 2011, in part because of unsafe social media and mobile behaviors. Smartphone users are about one-third more likely than the general public to be victims of identity fraud. About 7% of smartphone owners were identity-fraud victims last year, according to “Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier” by Javelin Strategy & Research ( March 26).

In April the Federal Communications Commission and the wireless industry announced creation of a stolen smartphone database, rendering stolen devices worthless and preventing thieves from reactivating the devices on other carriers ( April 10). The wireless carriers’ databases may be completed within six months, but it could take 18 months to complete the integrated database across all carriers.

The Identity Theft Resource Center, San Diego, Calif., recommends these best practices for mobile device users:

  • Password-protect your phone. Use a strong password (numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols).
  • Enroll in a backup/wiping program. This service backs up information on your smartphone to your home computer and “wipes” your phone if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Install security software. Companies offer antivirus, malware, and security software designed for smartphones. Make sure you download software updates.
  • Download apps from trusted sources. Some “bad apps” contain malware (short for malicious software).
  • Don’t access financial accounts from free, public networks. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are a prime target for hackers who then have direct access to your mobile device.

For more information, read “ID Theft Tops Consumer Complaint List–Again” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.


On the heels of the recent Global Payments breach, credit unions members are at risk for potential increased phishing attacks. These attacks could also target members who were not impacted by the recent card breach.  Be aware of any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls requesting any personal or financial information.

The next several days or weeks are critical for credit union members to be on the alert for any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls requesting personal or financial information, especially card data. The card information that may be requested includes, cardholder billing address, 3 digit CVV2/CVC2 code found on the back of the card, or enrollment criteria/passwords for Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode. This card information was not part of the recent Global Payments breach. Criminals may ask members for this information to add to the other card data they may have obtained from the breach to perform card present (key entered) or card-not-present (mail/telephone/internet) non-magnetic stripe transactions.

REMEMBER: never respond to emails, text messages or phone calls requesting your personal account information. If you receive a suspicious request,  immediately contact the credit union.


Various members received a message on 2/19/12 or 2/20/12 via text message from a fraudulent source. This is a phishing scam and is fraud. Please be advised that Hopewell Federal Credit Union DID NOT SEND THIS MESSAGE!

The message sent to cell phone reads: HOPEWELL F.C.U ALERT: Your CARD starting with 5510 has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at 740-531-5329

We are working with local law enforcement, phone companies and our credit card company to resolve the issue. This is a very inopportune situation and Hopewell Federal Credit Union is here to assist anyone who received a text message. Fraud and phishing scams are an unfortunate part of technology and despite every effort of prevention, criminal behavior still exists. We would like to remind everyone that Hopewell Federal will NEVER request your account information via text, phone or email. Under no circumstances should you ever reveal your account information to anyone who contacts you via text, phone or email.

If you did not reveal any information to the phone number on the text, your credit card information was NOT compromised. If you did reveal this information to the number provided on the text, please contact Hopewell Federal as soon as possible at 740.522.8311 or

Hopewell Federal Credit Union is committed to preserving your privacy and security. Please remember…Hopewell Federal and its affiliate partners will NEVER request your sensitive account information via text, phone or email. Again, Hopewell Federal Credit Union is here to assist you during this challenging time.

Tips to Avoid a Fishing Scam

Protect Your Financial ID

It only takes a few seconds to become a victim of financial fraud. But it often takes months to recover.

Armed with discarded credit card receipts, checks, or deposit slips, today’s crooks are making unauthorized transactions from victims’ accounts, and even opening new–fraudulent–credit card and checking accounts.

There are steps you can take to prevent your identity from theft.

* Examine all your financial statements. Promptly reconcile your monthly share draft account statement. Save check stubs and credit, debit, and ATM (automated teller machine) receipts. Report discrepancies between your records and monthly statements to the appropriate company. Check credit bureau reports at least once a year.

* Limit the paper trail. Store receipts and share draft carbons in a safe place. Or rip them up, especially areas where account numbers are visible. Destroy blank checks from closed-out accounts and expired or unused credit cards. And tear up any credit card receipt carbons.

* Guard your purse or wallet. Thieves often target unoccupied vehicles, unlocked office drawers, and health club locker rooms.

* Protect your personal identification number (PIN). Never keep your ATM PIN in the same place as your card.

* Beware of phone scams. Never give your PIN or any other personal financial information to an unknown caller.

* Check your mail. If you haven’t received mail for a few days, you may be the victim of mail diversion fraud. This scam involves a crook forging an individual’s signature on a change-of-address form to divert your mail and obtain financial information. If you suspect your address has been changed without your permission, contact the post office.

* Track financial statements. Find out when financial statements and plastic cards are due to arrive. If they’re late, contact your credit union or appropriate issuer.

* Protect yourself online. New technology allows online vendors to assure customers reasonable security from online theft. If you doubt the security of the vendor, order the items over the telephone.

* Visit the Federal Trade Commission identity theft Web site ( to view a copy of its publication, “Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.”

Copyright 2008 Credit Union National Association, Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved. 

Be Merry and Bright–Shop Wisely Online During the Holidays


Protecting your privacy is essential when shopping online. These signals indicate that you have entered a secure Web page:

* A screen notice that says you are visiting a secure site

* A closed lock or unbroken key in the bottom corner of your screen

* The first letters of the Internet address you are viewing change from “http” to “https”

Source: Federal Citizen Information Center

Please be Advised: HOPEWELL FED FUND is in no way affiliated with Hopewell Federal Credit Union

This is a phishing scam and is fraud.  Despite how useful technology is, it can also be a dangerous place for phishing scams or fraud placement.  We want you to be safe and not fall prey to these types of vicious online attacks.  Please remember to follow a few simple steps for online safety:

NEVER respond to emails requesting account information. Hopewell Federal Credit Union will never request that you provide your Social Security Number, Tax ID Number or any other sensitive information via email.

NEVER click on a suspicious link from someone you do not know. 

ALWAYS enter information by going to DO NOT use an alternative website address to enter account or personal information.

ALWAYS feel free contact Hopewell Federal Credit Union at 740.522.8311 if you feel something is suspicious or fraudulent.

For printed information, click here.