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Welcome To The Insighter!

Explore the latest happenings at Kirtland FCU and learn about important topics from around the financial world. Here’s your insight!
To learn about retirements, investments and financial planning, check out Invested now.


Home Loans

The housing market in Albuquerque is hot. That means home values are up and inventory is scarce—homes are going on the market and vanishing quickly, often above asking price. The flip side of this trend? Rock-bottom interest rates! The combination of high home values and low rates is making refinancing a home extremely attractive for current homeowners, according to Chad Krieger, Vice-President of Mortgages at Kirtland Federal Credit Union.
 
“Rates are SO LOW, in particular with the 30-year term and the 15/15 ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage), and will continue to be super low through the end of the year,” Krieger said. “The 30-year (mortgage) note, this is the lowest the rate has been since the 70s,” Krieger said.
 
A refinance is the process of paying off a current mortgage with another, usually to achieve a lower interest rate, a lower payment, or to turn the equity in the home into cash back for the homeowner by taking out a mortgage that is larger than what is owed on the original loan. Krieger said that a cash-out refinance is a fantastic option for saving money every month by consolidating high-interest and/or compounding interest credit card debt and that the cash back can also be used for home improvements or utilized to payoff other debts completely.
 
“A big misconception is that a refinance is pricey. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be,” Krieger said. “We can save you money with a refinance. There are some fees and closing costs involved, but if you’re opening a cash-out refinance, you can often take those fees out of the proceeds.”
 
In fact, up to 2 percent of the loan amount can be used to pay the various costs of closing on the new mortgage. And Kirtland FCU has some of the lowest fees around. The underwriting fee, for example, is a mere $650. Krieger, who has more than 22 years of experience in the mortgage industry, said fees that low are almost unheard of. And Kirtland FCU brings another often overlooked advantage to the mortgage process.
 
“I’ve worked with big banks, and if you called for help, more often than not you’d be talking to an answering machine,” he pointed out. “At Kirtland FCU, we’re all about personalized service. You have a question? Call your loan officer directly. You aren’t forced online, there’s no phone tree to get through.”
 
Kirtland FCU also has a trusted relationship with appraisers and title companies, making the whole process a lot faster and smoother than it would be with an out-of-state or online only vendor.”
 
Refinances have benefits beyond just the great rates, too. Like any mortgage, the interest you pay each year on a refinanced loan is tax deductible, which makes it more attractive at tax time when compared to a home equity product.
 
“Home equities are an option for turning equity into cash, but the rates are almost invariably higher than they will be with a refinance,” Krieger said.

Already own your home? The timing has never been better to look into a refinance. You could walk away with cash in your pocket or be saving money every month with the right refinance loan.
 

Kirtland FCU is proud to be Albuquerque’s premier home loan lender. Give us a call  at 1-800-880-5328 to make an appointment, or apply day or night online at KirtlandFCU.org/homeloan
 
We’re open! We’re here. Let’s get moving!




 
Kirtland FCU is an equal housing lender. Membership eligibility required. See a representative for complete details. Loan subject to credit approval. Financing available for New Mexico properties only. As with all lending services, full disclosures, terms, and conditions will be supplied with your mortgage or home equity disclosures.

Security

COVID-19 remains a popular target for attackers looking to trick users into clicking malicious links. 
 
6 Psychological Tricks Used By COVID-19 Scammers
 
“During this pandemic, we’ve seen malicious hackers preying on users’ biggest weak points by sending messages that instill fear, uncertainty and doubt,” said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “Our Q3 report confirms that coronavirus-related subject lines have remained their most promising attack type, as pandemic conditions weaken judgment, and lead to potentially detrimental clicks.”

This Fall’s Top 10 Suspicious Work E-Mail Subjects:
  • Payroll Deduction Form
  • Please review the leave law requirements
  • Password Check Required Immediately
  • Required to read or complete: “COVID-19 Safety Policy”
  • COVID-19 Remote Work Policy Update
  • Vacation Policy Update
  • Scheduled Server Maintenance — No Internet Access
  • Your team shared “COVID 19 Amendment and Emergency leave pay policy” with you via OneDrive
  • Official Quarantine Notice
  • COVID-19: Return To Work Guidelines and Requirements

As is often the case with malicious emails, many of these emulate actual e-mails you may receive, but the key difference is that the legitimate e-mails won’t usually have the red flags everyone should always be on the lookout for:

Red Flags
  • Unsolicited Attachments and Links - E-mails containing unsolicited attachments or links—don’t open or click these!
  • Urgent Response - E-mails requesting urgent action regarding some previously unknown matter
  • Unusual E-Mail Address - The display name on an e-mail isn’t necessarily the e-mail address. So even if the sender appears to be “HR Department”, check the e-mail address. A scam address will likely not match exactly.
As with all scams, resist urgent calls to action to click links, send money, or enter any personal information. Verify any e-mail you receive directly with the purported sender. If you do click or enter any information based on a potentially fraudulent email you receive in a work inbox, inform your employer as soon as possible.




 
Kirtland FCU is an equal housing lender. Membership eligibility required. See a representative for complete details. Loan subject to credit approval. Financing available for New Mexico properties only. As with all lending services, full disclosures, terms, and conditions will be supplied with your mortgage or home equity disclosures.
 

Banking

You need to transfer money from one account to another. How do you proceed?
 
  • 1950: Put on your hat and overcoat and head to the castle-esque bank downtown.
  • 1980: Head to the credit union—hat and overcoat now merely a fun fashion option—or make a phone call. (In those days, kids, a phone call meant you were tethered to the wall for the duration!)
  • 2010: Log in with the Internet! Ride the computer wave.
  • 2020: Your financial institution is in your pocket. Let your thumbs do the transferring!
 
Technology has transformed the way we bank, and while the breakthroughs and changes have been exciting, the newness of it all can cause trepidation. After all, going into a bank or credit union, talking to a representative, walking out with a physical receipt of your activity—there’s an air of safety and comfort in the routine. Sure, it’s not very convenient sometimes, but at least it feels familiar. Can we have convenience AND safety?
 
The truth is, Mobile Banking is at least as safe—if not safer than—more familiar banking options. The difference really is that safety depends, to some degree, on the user of these technologies.
 

Myth #1: If I have access to my accounts on my phone and I lose it, I’m vulnerable.

Fact: Using a phone or tablet generally requires a measure of authentication before the device will even operate. Face recognition, fingerprint security and PINs have made today’s phones incredibly secure.

Even if someone were able to gain access to your device, AND manage to unlock it, that person would still need to open your Kirtland FCU mobile app and go through Kirtland FCU authentication to reach your accounts. Phones tend to have built-in cryptographic hardware that is better leveraged to improve security and authentication. You’d need a pretty sophisticated hacker to outright break through the authentications.

 

Myth #2: Someone can see my transactions and information if I use apps like this.

Fact: As long as you are using your phone’s data network or a secured WiFi system, accessing your accounts is a private affair.


A note of caution: when you’re out and about, it can be tempting to connect to public WiFi. THIS IS UNSAFE. Do not ever conduct sensitive business while connected to a public WiFi. Watching cat videos? Go for it. Need to log into your bank or enter personal data? Make sure you’re on your phone’s data network, not a public connection.
 

Myth #3: These apps are hard to use

Fact: Not strictly a security issue, we know, but Mobile Banking is incredibly easy to use, offering most of the features you’d find in Online Banking, plus some. Have a check you need to deposit?


You could head off to the bank, stand in line, and deposit your check. OR, you can log into your Mobile Banking app, take a couple photos of the check, enter a few pieces of information about the check, and you’re done! You can split a check at dinner, transfer money between accounts, even apply for loans and credit cards, all behind a secure authentication wall.
 

Personal Security

The biggest risks for involving Mobile Banking really come down to individual awareness and decision making. Here are a few rules-of-thumb that will help you stay safe when you venture into the world of mobile banking.
 
  • Check the app before you download - It’s technically possible for a thief can create a lookalike app to get you to gain access to your information. Make sure that any app you install is genuine. Read the reviews, check the developer name and how many downloads there are for that particular app. The best place to get a Mobile Banking app is from the website of your bank, credit union, or other financial institution. They’ll be linked so you can go straight to the app without searching. If you do have to search for the Kirtland FCU Mobile App, this is what you’ll see when you find our app. 
Make sure to note the Developer name, the number of reviews, and the number of downloads/ratings.
 
  • Keep your app up to date - Check for updates on your app and install them. Not only will you have the most up-to-date experience, you’ll have the latest security fixes and improvements.
  • Set all security and authentications - Set up your mobile device with face recognition or fingerprint identification abilities. Keep any backup passwords or PINs private.
Still have questions? We’re here to help! Give us a call at 1-800-880-5328, and we’ll answer any questions, even walk you through set-up. Find the Kirtland FCU Mobile App in your app store on your Android or Apple device.  

 

News


This October, Kirtland Federal Credit Union Board of Directors member Ray Wick retired from his duties after 20 years of dedicated service.

Wick joined the Board of Directors in 2000 and was active in helping shape strategic direction for the credit union in the new millennium. Wick oversaw a period of rapid growth for Kirtland FCU—assets more than quadrupled during his time on the Board while membership grew by nearly 60%. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Brian McDonald, reflected on Wick’s years of service and the legacy he leaves.

“Ray contributed his extensive executive and management experience to Kirtland Federal Credit Union over these years to ensure that the credit union’s mission always remained focused on providing exceptional member service,” said McDonald. “He recognized that our employees play the pivotal role in accomplishing that mission and always championed staff resources, technology, and training. We wish him Godspeed and best wishes for the future.”

Wick holds several degrees, including a doctorate in physics from Penn State University. Before bringing his scientific talents to the Kirtland FCU Board of Directors, Wick served for 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 1996 as the Chief Scientist of the Space Technology Directorate, AFRL. He received the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service award as well as a Special Act and Service Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Wick also founded and served as president of Wick Research Associates and as a technical consultant to both industrial laser firms and research institutes.

Wick leaves the Board of Directors to focus on his company and to spend precious time with his family, including his wife, children, and grandchildren.
 

News


2020 is a year of new beginnings—for better or for worse—and none has been more welcome than the arrival of Kirtland FCU’s new president and CEO, Matt Rarden.

Mr. Rarden assumed his post as the leader of Kirtland FCU on September 14, and he’s been busily meeting employees, members, and learning the ins and outs of Kirtland Federal Credit Union. Kirtland FCU’s history of and commitment to supporting the men and women of Kirtland Air Force Base are particular benefits for Mr. Rarden, and one reason why he wanted to step into the role of Kirtland FCU‘s president and CEO.
 

“Kirtland is a very healthy credit union with a passionate board of directors and a deep history of serving our service women and men,” said Matt Rarden. “My father was in the United States Air Force, so I also had an affinity for the credit union’s history with Kirtland Air Force base.”


Mr. Rarden joins Kirtland FCU after serving as Chief Operating Officer at Premier Members Credit Union in Boulder, CO since 2014. Prior to leading operations at PMCU, Mr. Rarden worked with Fortune 100 company IBM and Fortune 500 companies Convergys and Wells Fargo. He also has extensive experience serving on Premier Members Credit Union’s Board of Directors.

New Mexico was a draw for Mr. Rarden, whose home state of Colorado has a lot in common with its southern neighbor. But there are key differences that presented an allure for Kirtland FCU’s new leader.
 

“Albuquerque’s culture, history and art has always intrigued me and I’m anxious to explore all that New Mexico has to offer,” he said. “Oh, and did I mention the food!?”


Mr. Rarden is most excited about working with Kirtland FCU’s great staff and getting to know the team to be able to build on the credit union’s more than 60-year legacy of serving members and serving the Kirtland AFB and Albuquerque communities.
 

“The credit union philosophy of people helping people is alive and well here at Kirtland FCU, and we want to expand that to everyone in the communities we serve and are a part of,” said Matt Rarden.


Mr. Rarden has four children whom he loves spending time with. He’s also a pilot and looks forward to exploring that passion in the blue skies over New Mexico.

Security Fraud


No, they aren’t.

So much of our lives are accessible on our computers and devices. For many older generations, that technology remains a somewhat of a mystery, making them particularly vulnerable to this scam. Tech support scams are extremely popular, and they hit older generations harder than any other type of scam, according to the FTC. Adults over the age of 60, who may be less tech savvy than younger generations, were five times more likely to be a victim of a tech scam in 2018, according to the FTC. In 2018, these scams cost Americans $55 million, and the median loss was $400. Those are numbers are just from reported cases of fraud; untold numbers may have been victims without realizing that the entire interaction was a sham.
 

How it works

The tech support scam begins with a pop-up in a browser or a direct contact via e-mail, text or phone call that informs the target of a problem with their computer or device, similar to the Apple Support scam. The problem is entirely fabricated, and the thief will, at best, attempt to get the target to pay money for the “repair” or for bogus warranties.

At worst, the thief will guide the victim to click links, turn over passwords, and information. Some even get the victim to provide remote desktop access in order to “troubleshoot” the imaginary issue. Once inside the victim’s computer, a thief can quietly install malware, spyware, or log into sensitive websites that have saved passwords. Kevin Mitchell, Security and Fraud Specialist at Kirtland FCU says this scam is common.
 

“It happens every day. Multiple times a day. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve just gotten off the phone, trying to help someone who ran into this scam,”

Mitchell says scammers routinely use fear as a tactic. Bright flashing boxes proclaiming that your phone or computer will soon stop working certainly inspire worry, and many will click as a result.

 

How to protect yourself

Tech support scams work because technology can be confusing, and we’re quick to rely on experts to assist us when we feel out of our depth. To protect yourself from tech scammers, remember:
  • Tech support companies will NEVER reach out to you unsolicited. If you’re having an issue with your computer, your phone, or any other piece of technology, call or visit a reputable merchant or service company to discuss the problem and arrange repair. If you haven’t requested a call, feel free to hang up.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups. Those little boxes that pop up on an internet browser that alert you to a problem are a classic form of this scam. Don’t click and close your browser as a precaution.
  • Don’t believe a logo or the caller ID. Many scammers attempt to impersonate legitimate companies. Just because the caller ID says Apple or the e-mail appears to be from Best Buy doesn’t mean it’s a real communication. Content is key. Is the caller claiming to be able to solve a problem you haven’t detected? Are they asking for money or access to your computer? It’s probably a scam.  
  • Protect your passwords. No tech support company will ever request you provide a password. And don’t turn over access to your computer! If you initiated a service call, tech support may request remote access to help you solve a problem, but you should NEVER grant computer access to anyone you haven’t contacted yourself and trust thoroughly. The best idea is to take your computer in for in-person repairs if you’re having a problem.
  • Beware requests for payment or information. Don’t ever enter credit card information or authorize any type of payment for tech support. Repairs will cost you money, but legitimate companies will provide an estimate for the repair before beginning work and charge you upon completion.
  • Don’t let fear guide you. A sense of urgency is key to this scam succeeding. The more pressed you feel to act, the less likely you’ll make a wise decision. If a caller or a pop up is threatening or urging action, take a breath. Think. And click away or hang up!
Mitchell recalls a story of a woman who had given remote access of her computer over to a scammer. The thief used her saved passwords to break into her Online Banking and start moving money around.
 

“Please don’t save your passwords on your browser,” he urges. “It’s much safer to enter them each time, as much trouble as that can seem. It’s dangerous to leave them out there.”


If you think you may have become a victim of this scam, the best course of action is to immediately disconnect your computer from the internet by shutting off WiFi or unplugging the ethernet cord, says Mitchell. Then, take your computer to a legitimate repair facility to have it checked out and reset if necessary.

Make sure you notify any credit union, financial institution, credit card company, or other business that you may have had access to through your computer. Changing your passwords is a good idea as well.

The tech scam is very common, so always be on the lookout.
 

Banking News


Grabbing your weekly groceries, filling up with gas, and weekend shopping—with increasing numbers of retailers accepting digital wallet payments, pulling out a physical card may quickly become a thing of the past.

Digital payments are convenient, valuable, and, best of all, very safe! With some simple setup, you may never want to carry your wallet into a store again.
 

What’s in a digital wallet?

A digital wallet is simply a payment-enabled service, located on a smart device, in which you can store your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, and membership cards. You can use these services for online and in-app transactions and to send money to others (Person-To-Person services). Digital wallets also allow you to pay at a retailer by placing the device next to the reader to complete the transaction instead of physically swiping or inserting the card to pay. 

There are three major digital wallet services that you likely have access to via your smart devices: Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. The three options are similar but do have a few differences in how they work and what you can do with them.

First, there are a couple of buzz terms you’ll need to know to fully understand how the technology works.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range method of communication that allows the mobile device to send payment information to a service terminal. All three wallets use NFC.
  • Magnetic Secure Transmission allows a mobile device to mimic the stripe on a traditional payment card. Instead of placing the device near the reader, you slide the phone along with outside of the reader where the you’d traditionally slide a card. The only digital wallet that supports MST payment is Samsung Pay.
To get started with any of the digital wallets, you’ll need to add your cards to your device. The method varies, but you can select your wallet below for detailed instructions on setup. Once you’ve added a card to your wallet, you can use the wallet to make online payments, send money to a friend, or pay at a retailer that accepts digital transactions.

You’ll know a retailer takes digital payments when you see the NFC symbol.  Also, if you see the logo for your wallet—Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.—the payment system is also set up to work with that wallet.


Is it safe to pay with digital wallets?

Digital wallets offer unparalleled levels of convenience, in both your online and in-person shopping experiences. But using digital wallet options to pay is also incredibly safe—in fact, it’s safer to pay with a digital wallet than swiping a traditional card.

When we think of card safety, there are three levels of a sort in terms of security.
  • Level 1 – The Swipe - This is the least secure form of your card payment options. When you swipe a card, all the card information is read from the magnetic stripe on your card and transferred to the merchant directly. No encryption takes place.
  • Level 2 – The Chip - The little chip embedded in your debit and credit card represents a big leap forward in terms of security. During the transfer of information to a merchant, that little chip allows the information to be encrypted during transfer. Most cards issued now include this feature, but not all do.
  • Level 3 – Digital Payments - Using your digital wallet to pay is about the safest options you could choose. The first layer of security is your device security. Your device needs a passcode, fingerprint, or face identification to unlock. And after you do select to pay with your wallet, not only is your information encrypted, it’s not actually transferred at all! Instead, a unique identifier is transferred from your device to the merchant. When the transaction reaches your credit union or financial institution, it’s decrypted, and the unique identifier is used to retrieve your actual card information. Should the transaction be compromised in some way, only that unique identifier is revealed, which doesn’t do a thief much good on its own. The thief would need the identifier AND your device—and be able to unlock your device—to make it work.
Digital payments are not only convenient; they’re incredible safe. Many apps connect with your digital wallet. Grubhub, for instance, allows Apple Pay as a payment option. Simply select Apple Pay during checkout, follow the directions to confirm your choice, and you’re done! More and more retailers, online and physical, are accepting digital payments. Look for the NFC symbol, and start paying without ever pulling out your card.

Need help loading your Kirtland FCU Independence VISA debit or credit card to your digital wallet? Give us a call at 1-800-880-5328.

Security Fraud

This article was original published in February 2020.

Puerto Rico. California. Florida. Australia.

What do all these places have in common? They’ve all experienced a disaster or event that prompted an outpouring of donations and an influx of charity involvement in the recovery efforts. In the age of coronavirus, need is all around us. Closures have resulted in record unemployment, failed business, and unprecedented challenges in every corner of the country and the globe. Charities that have traditionally relied on annual walks and other fundraising events are facing a crisis, rapidly attempting to bring their fundraising efforts online—digital giving is the name of the game in 2020.

And there’s no question as to the willingness of people to give. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey became the second-costliest storm on record in the United States, causing an estimated $125 billion in damages. In the three months following the storm, at least $1.07 billion is estimated to have been donated to U.S. nonprofit organizations in response, according to a study by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. More than 30 percent of U.S. households made a disaster-related donation in 2017 through a variety of sources.


Image from U.S. Household Disaster Giving Report, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. https://www.issuelab.org/resources/34757/34757.pdf





Hurricane Harvey relief workers hand out supplies. Photo courtesy of michelmond / Shutterstock.com

Give directly to reputable organizations
Well-established organizations are the most experienced in working with disaster relief and After a disaster, donations tend to explode. In fact, most donations are made in the first six weeks following a disaster and have all but tapered off six months later. The first few weeks after a disaster, especially one with high-profile news coverage, are prime season for fraudsters who capitalize on the disaster and peoples’ desire to make a difference by posing as a charity organization.

In August of 2019, as Hurricane Dorian approached the shores of Florida, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the Better Business Bureau offered advice on how to make the most of your donation in the face of a disaster and how to spot a fraudulent attempt to divert donations.  They often have strong local ties and will know how to work together with other agencies as well as governments.

Watch for look-alike charities
It’s not uncommon for organizations to pop up in an attempt to collect a portion of a massive volume of donations being made in the wake of a disaster. Many fraudulent organizations will create names that are similar to legitimate organizations. And even new, legitimate charities may be well-intentioned but not well-positioned to help immediately. Check with Give.org for a list of credible charities assisting with recovery efforts or with the IRS’ Tax-Exempt Organization Search to make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate organization.

Understand crowdfunding
The explosion of online crowdfunding—the collecting of money for a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people—has made it very easy for fraudsters to cash in after a disaster. If you’re going to donate via a crowdfund, it’s best to makes sure you know the owner personally. The person running the crowdfunding campaign isn’t necessarily the person who you want your money ending up with, and you’re trusting that they’ll follow through on their promises.
 
Beware direct requests for money
If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know on social media or via e-mail in a direct request for donation funds, you should hear alarm bells in your mind. Legitimate organizations that you aren’t already affiliated with will likely not reach out to you directly to request help. Be even more concerned if that person is requesting gift cards or P2P payments (Apple Pay, Paypal, etc.) Likewise, do not click on links in unsolicited e-mails requesting donations. DO NOT give out personal financial information to anyone who solicits a contribution.

Do not send cash
A cash donation is a bad idea. Leave a paper trail for tax and security purposes by using a check or credit card to make a donation. If something goes wrong, you have avenues you can follow with your card company and documentation of the amount and where it was supposed to go. Checks have to be cashed somewhere. When you hand over cash or gift cards, the trail ends—and if you’ve given your donation to a fraudster, you have no path for recourse.

Report suspected fraud
If you receive an e-mail requesting donations and suspect it may be fraudulent, report it to the IRS.

These types of scams are not limited to disasters or charities: scammers often impersonate political organizations as well, purportedly seeking donations for a candidate or a cause.
We know the desire to help is nearly overwhelming in the days and months following a disaster. And with coronavirus pandemic causing a record need for charitable assistance, opportunities to help abound. By being aware of the dos and don’ts of donation, you’ll be able to avoid fraudsters and make sure your donation provides the maximum amount of relief in the right hands.

 

Security Fraud

Six months in, the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has devastated the economy with business closures resulting in lost jobs for a record number of people. In fact, as of the end of July, a staggering 28.2 million people claimed unemployment benefits. Last year, 1.6 million people claimed unemployment in the same time period.
 
For those who have been affected, unemployment benefits are lifeline. Indeed, through the federal CARES Act as well as various state efforts, unemployment benefits have received a boost in recent months. But the exponential increase in unemployment claims, coupled with several state and federal actions design to make applying for unemployment easier, has resulted in an explosion of fraudulent unemployment claims.
 
How this scam works
The Unemployment Usurper uses stolen personally identifying information—a Social Security number, birth date, name, address, etc.—to fraudulently apply for and receive unemployment benefits in the name of the victim. The incidence of this scam has increased so quickly that the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission have both recently issued warnings to be on alert for this scam.
 
The imposter may obtain personal information through a variety of methods—data breaches, phishing e-mails and phone calls, public websites, social media accounts, and physical theft of data. Often, the criminal will file the claim under the false identity and set up payments to drop into an account they themselves control.
 
Victims only learn about the fraud when applying to receive their unemployment benefits, when they receive a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer if currently employed. Red flags that you’ve been targeted in this scam include:
 
  • Communication regarding unemployment insurance forms when you have not applied for benefits
  • Unauthorized transactions on your bank or credit card statements related to unemployment benefits
  • Fees involved with filing or qualifying for insurance
  • Unsolicited inquiries related to unemployment benefits
  • Fictitious website and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies.
 
If you are alerted to this activity and you haven’t applied for benefits, it’s likely your information has been stolen and employed in this scam. The benefits may be long gone, but you will need to move quickly to protect your finances and credit from further impacts.
 
  1. Report the fraud to your employer
  2. Report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency (click here for New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions).
  3. Report the fraud to the FTC.
 
How to avoid this scam
They key to avoiding becoming a victim of this scam is to stay in control of your personal information as much as possible. Familiarize yourself with the various methods scammers use to obtain your data so you can be on the lookout.
 
  • Be wary of calls, messages, e-mails, letters, and website that ask you to provide your personal information or financial data—especially birth dates and Social Security numbers. Watch for links in e-mails as well. Just because a website looks legitimate doesn’t mean it is. When in doubt, start a new session in your browser and type the website name in directly
  •  Monitor your accounts. Enroll in Online Banking to keep a 24/7 eye on your accounts and set up alerts to notify you of unusual withdrawals and activity.
  • Go paperless. Mailbox theft is common. Keep your statements and other information out of the hands of criminals by opting into electronic statements wherever possible.
  • Check your credit report. You can do this for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Report unusual activity to your financial institutions, credit card providers, and the IRS. You should also consider notifying the FBI of fraudulent or suspicious activities through the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
 

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