ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/22/14)--The National Credit Union Administration released a warning to consumers Tuesday telling them to beware of a "vishing" scheme that uses the agency's name in phone calls that attempt to get personal financial information from the targeted person.
The warning states that several credit union members have been contacted by an automated phone call claiming to be from the 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.
In the NCUA's own "vishing" alert issued in 2008, the agency explained the scam like this: As with phishing which uses electronic contacts, in vishing attacks crooks claim to be with legitimate financial institutions or other entities. They ask consumers to verify or re-submit personal information such as bank account and credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and personal identification numbers.
That NCUA fraud alert explained that vishing scam's use of social engineering and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology exploits the public's trust in landline telephone services. The victim is often unaware that VoIP allows for caller ID spoofing thus providing anonymity for the criminal caller, the alert noted.
The NCUA said vishing is attractive to criminals because VoIP service is fairly inexpensive, especially for long distance, making it cheap to make fake calls. Also, because its Web-based, criminals can use software programs to create phony automated customer call center service lines. The NCUA advised that, for their protections, consumers should be highly suspicious when receiving messages via telephone, email, or otherwise--directing them to call and provide personal, confidential, and/or account-related information.
In its Wednesday notice, the agency asked that anyone contacted by this recent scheme immediately contact the NCUA's Consumer Assistance Center Hotline at 800-755-1030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to report the scam. Operators answer calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (ET).
The agency stated: "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."