ALEXANDRIA, Va. – NCUA has issued a Letter to Credit Unions (04-CU-05) warning of a recent rash of fraudulent e-mails being distributed in the name of federal regulatory agencies. The letter notes that Treasury recently issued a press release on the matter. The false e-mails are sent out in an attempt to deceive consumers into providing personal financial information. “Fraudulent e-mails, which may appear to be from government agencies, direct recipients, such as credit union members, to Web sites where they are asked to verify personal information such as name, account and credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other information,” NCUA’s letter explained. “These Web sites often appear to be very similar to official government sites; however, they are not authentic official sites and are intended only to steal the member’s information.” It added that federal agencies never use e-mail to communicate regarding sensitive information. NCUA Public Affairs Specialist Cherie Umbel told Credit Union Times there is no technology available to prevent “spoofing” Web sites, but that credit unions and others should check for Web site “spoofs.” In related news, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. recently had their logo copied and sent on e-mails “phishing” for personal information. Though NCUA has not been hit by this scam, according to Umbel, the agency’s Examination and Insurance department said, “Individuals need to be made aware that this is happening.” E&I suggested that consumers double check the source of the information requests by calling the known contact number of the agency or institution. “Phishing” is a high-tech scam in which e-mails are distributed to consumers claiming legitimacy under the cloak of a real company or agency in order to obtain non-public personal information. [email protected]

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