Bank account takeovers on the rise, thieves targeting credit unions

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Honolulu police say there has been a rise in bank account takeovers.

Criminals are sending emails pretending to be from your bank to get your money, but how can one tell if an email is a fraud or not? There are red flags to look for.

“Once you give out your information, you cannot get it back,” the University of Hawaii Information Security Officer Jodi Ito said.

She’s come across more than a half-dozen phishing attempts in the past month targeting UH email accounts.

She showed KHON2 an example. It was an email alert sent from what appears to be UH’s help desk.

“Where it’s saying ‘,’ it’s actually going to a site in Brazil,” Ito said.

One red flag: no ‘http://’ web address. It’s a mistake that could cost you. Clicking on the fake website is all criminals need to gain access to one’s account logins and passwords including the bank.

“This happens not only at UH, but almost every single e-retailer out there. Banks are very popular targets too,” Ito said.

Recently, Hawaii credit unions have been targeted by this scheme and are being told by the Honolulu Police Department to step up their online monitoring.

Police are investigating several cases where account holders opened emails and mistakenly downloaded malicious software, allowing their bank account funds to be swiped right out from under them. In most cases, funds were stolen via wire transfers.

This highlights another red flag: Banks won’t ask for one’s account info by email.

For extra protection, here are some tips:

  • Install anti-virus software.
  • Turn on automatic security updates for your computer.
  • Keep your firewall on.
  • Only open email attachments or links from trusted sources.

“Be suspicious. Always think that someone is trying to get your personal information,” Ito said.

To take the phishing IQ test, visit this website.

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