There has been a significant rise lately in phishing scams. These are text messages or emails that attempt to get your personal information. This rise is due in part to improvements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, which becomes more sophisticated with each day.

Businesses are using AI to help improve their customer service wait times, for instance, using Chatbots to answer consumers’ frequently asked questions online. Unfortunately, fraudsters are also using this tool to help their “business.” Their techniques have become so clever that it’s getting harder to tell whether or not the text or email you receive is really from a business you use frequently or even from your credit union.

Before AI, scam emails and texts had common tell-tale traits: mangled sentence structure, poor grammar or spelling, etc. Today, scammers can give the software instruction to generate an email or text in perfectly written English in the format needed, like a legal document, utility bill, or message from your credit union.

To protect yourself from scammers trying to access your credit union account, be suspicious of any text or email that:

  • Comes from an unknown number, claiming to be from the credit union, telling you there is a problem with your account.
  • Asks you for your personal, confidential information. This includes your online banking username, password, one-time passcodes, Social Security number, account number, debit or credit card number, PIN or CVV.
  • Uses scare tactics or claims to be “urgent,” requiring you act immediately to avoid disaster.
  • Asks you to transfer money via a link in the message.

If you do receive such a request, do not click or respond to it. Instead, call the number you have for your bank or credit union immediately to let them know. Then take a screenshot of the message and send it to your financial institution. You may also want to report it to law enforcement or the FTC.  Then delete the message and block the sender. If you did click on a link or replied to the message, call your bank or credit union immediately so they can check and secure your account.