Millions of people are targeted by frauds and scams each year. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing more than $1.6 Billion to fraud in 2013. The National Credit Union Administration released a two-part video series on how to recognize, avoid and report cyber fraud. You can see Part 1 here and see Part 2 here

So how do fraudsters make initial contact with you? According to the FTC complaint data, 40 percent of consumers said they were first contacted by phone, 33 percent were contacted through email, and 5 percent reported contact through mail.

Avoid becoming a victim by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Have you checked your credit report and credit score lately? Federal law allows you to review your report from the three credit reporting agencies at

  • Do you check your financial statements and online banking activity regularly? Using a secure network, be sure to look for any unusual activity on a regular basis.

  • Do you shred documents with personal data? Documents like billing statements, credit card offers and anything else that includes personal identifying data should all be shredded.  

  • Are you smart with the debit and credit cards? Monitor your account activity regularly for unauthorized transactions.

  • Have you downloaded any apps on your smartphone or social networking profiles that request access to your personal information? Some apps siphon your personal information to sell to third-party marketers. Be sure to read the privacy disclosures before downloading apps. 

  • Do you pay your bills online while on a secured network? Ensure you are using a trusted bill payment app, such as the one offered by CU Community Credit Union through Online Banking. 

Many fraudsters will try to trick you into disclosing personal information by pretending to be a financial institution, government agency or service. They'll use the information to compromise your identity or gain access to your accounts. Remember, resist the pressure to respond to these inquiries. Hang up the phone and call the financial institution, agency or service yourself and verify their identity.