In today's digital age, online and mobile banking have become an integral part of our financial lives. Both tools offer convenience and accessibility but can bring potential risks when it comes to fraudsters attempting to access your accounts. At Solarity, we are committed to keeping your financial information secure. To fulfill that promise, we want to shed light on a growing threat known as "account takeover fraud" and provide a few tips to help prevent it from happening to you.
Above all, always remember: Solarity will never email or text you for account numbers, passwords, passcodes, PINs or card numbers. When speaking with you by phone, we will verify your identity, but never using your password or full card numbers. Be cautious whenever you receive an unexpected phone call, even if it looks like it's coming from Solarity. Phone numbers can be spoofed - scammers are able to "impersonate" a phone number, making the Caller ID display fake information as they pretend to be a person or business you trust. If you ever question the validity of a “Solarity” contact, disengage and call us at 800.347.9222 for further guidance.
What is account takeover fraud?
Account takeover fraud is a sophisticated scam in which fraudsters pose as your bank or credit union to gain unauthorized access to your online banking account. These scammers often already have several key pieces of information at their disposal, helping them appear authentic and making it crucial for you to stay vigilant for the slightest signs of deception.
How does account takeover fraud work?
Step 1 – Deceptive contact. It all begins with a call or text message that appears to be from your credit union, alerting you about questionable charges on your debit or credit card or even your account.
Step 2 – Stolen information. The fraudster typically possesses vital pieces of your personal information, such as the last four digits of your card number, the account holder's name, your social security number, phone numbers and/or home address details. They use this knowledge to put you at ease and reinforce their authenticity.
Step 3 – False assistance. When you deny any knowledge of the charges, the imposter offers to help by shutting down your card and reversing the charges, all in an attempt to gain your trust.
Step 4 – User ID verification. To proceed, the scammer asks you to confirm your online banking username for “member verification” purposes. (Remember, Solarity will never do this!)
Step 5 – Password reset. The fraudster uses your username to initiate a password reset, effectively taking control of your account.
Step 6 – Secure code deception. They then claim to have sent you a verification code. However, this code is not for your benefit but for theirs, as it's actually the secure access code used to change your online banking password.
Step 7 – Unauthorized access. With the access code in hand, the fraudster gains control of your online banking account, allowing them to initiate account-to-account transfers and other illicit activities.
How to protect yourself against account takeover fraud
Take the following steps to safeguard your online banking experience:
- Verify the caller. Always confirm the identity of anyone reaching out to you on behalf of the credit union. If in doubt, hang up and call our official number (800.347.9222) to cross-check.
- Avoid sharing login information. Never share your online banking username or password with anyone. Again, Solarity will never ask for this information over the phone, by email or through text.
- Beware of verification codes. Be cautious if someone asks you to read back a code they sent to you, especially if you didn't initiate any such request.
- Monitor Your Account. Regularly review your account activity for any unauthorized transactions. Make this practice even easier by setting up customized alerts that get sent straight to your phone or email.
- Use strong passwords. Make sure your online banking password is strong, unique and changed regularly. Aim for 12 or more characters with a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters.
Feeling like you might need to make your Solarity online banking password a bit stronger? Updating your password is easy and only takes a few minutes. Just follow the steps outlined in the video below:
By staying informed and vigilant, you can help protect yourself against account takeover fraud. If you ever receive a suspicious call or message, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for clarification. Your peace of mind and financial security are our top priorities.