Gone are the days when you had only to fear your wallet being stolen. In this high-tech age when everything there is to know about you can be stored in the digital domain, protecting your identity means much more than carrying your wallet in an inside pocket.

“Phishing” is a real threat to today’s consumers, and is a scam that uses Internet services to deceive you into disclosing your personal information. “Phishers” use email, spam and pop-up messages to scare people into sending various types of account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and other secure information to a fraudulent address. These emails or pop-ups claim to originate from a business or organization you are familiar with – for example, your credit union, credit card company, or even a government agency, and threaten consequences for not providing this information. They may also tell you that your information is being updated and to confirm before a certain date. Another similar scam uses the phone to gather such information, and is called “pretexting.”

The key to staying safe online and on the phone is to never disclose your personal information unless you yourself have initiated the contact. If you receive a call or email that you think might be legitimate, you can call that company or organization by using a phone number that you already have on file to confirm that the request came from them.

Your Credit Union will never attempt to collect your personal information through email. Please report any such requests for your personal information at once to the Credit Union. If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, whether through phishing, pretexting, or by any other means, call the Federal Trade Commission immediately at 1-877-FTC-HELP. You can learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft at the FTC website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft, or by calling the number above.