Steps to Prevent Online Fraud and Scams
- Keep software updated on your smartphone, laptop and tablets.
- Enable firewalls and use an antivirus or anti-malware on your computer.
- Avoid using free Wi-Fi networks in public places.
- Be cautious about the sites you visit and links you follow online.
- Don’t respond to unknown emails or follow unknown links.
- Be aware of and update your privacy settings on social media and online accounts.
- Log out of apps and websites when you are done using them.
- Be cautious of what you share online, and never share your personal or banking information.
- Shred all sensitive documents.
- Create strong passwords and keep them as well as your login credentials in a secure place.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
- Keep your Social Security card safe at home. Don’t carry it in your wallet or write it on a check. Memorize the number and give it out only when necessary.
- Shred financial statements and other documents. Thieves pick through trash and recycling bins to find personal information they can use. Always shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance and medical papers, financial statements, expired credit cards or any other documents with sensitive information.
- When you’re online, don’t click on suspicious links or open attachments from unknown senders.
- Use strong passwords. Avoid short, easy-to-guess passwords, and change them regularly. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters for the strongest password.
- Store your personal information in a secure location. At home and at work, protect your wallet, purse, and all documents that have personal information.
- Monitor your financial statements and credit reports. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity and credit inquiries. Check to make sure all information is accurate.
9 ATM Safety Tips
- Keep your PIN private. Don’t share it with anyone and don’t write it down. It’s also a good idea to choose a unique PIN for all your accounts and to change it once a year.
- Check the ATM for a card skimmer. A skimmer fits right over the card slot or keypad to read card information before passing it onto the criminal. Look for a skimmer by checking to see if the card slot feels loose, is colored differently or if the keypad is too thick or looks newer than the ATM.
- Bring a buddy. A lone target is always more vulnerable. If possible, and especially if you’re using an ATM late at night, bring a friend along.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Before you approach the ATM, look for anything suspicious, like characters lurking nearby or dark cars parked in the area for far too long.
- Use your body as a shield. Stand close to the machine to block it from view and cover the keypad with your hand while you input your PIN.
- Have your debit card ready for use. Those precious few moments of searching for your card can give a criminal the time they need to make their move.
- Put away all cash after your transaction. Never count cash in public; you can check that you’ve received the right amount when you’re safely in your car.
- Lock all doors and roll up passenger windows when using a drive-thru ATM. If you’ll be remaining in your vehicle to complete your transaction, keep it as secure as possible.
- Be sure to take your receipt. Don’t leave any evidence of your transaction.
If something or someone looks suspicious, cancel your transaction, grab your card, and leave the area as soon as you can.
Online Banking Safety
What are the Risks of Mobile Banking?
Unfortunately, like all transactions happening over the internet, mobile banking has some built-in risks. First, hackers can break into a phone and an account with the intent of stealing money and info. Also, phishing scams that target people over the phone can lead unsuspecting consumers to share login information with scammers so they can hack away.
Finally, bogus emails and messages appearing to be from your credit union can lead you to install malware on your device.
How to Bank Safely Online
- Use a VPN to hide your IP address. A VPN (virtual private network) gives you a private network, even when you’re using public WIFI, thus preventing scammers from tracking and hacking your mobile device. Remember to never use public wifi to transact any personal online banking transactions. Make sure you are using a secure wifi connection that shows the "locked" symbol.
- Always choose multi-factor authentication. Most money apps will require this, but if yours allows an option, say yes to multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- Never share your password or save it to your device. Don’t share your password with anyone, and follow suggested guidelines for choosing a strong password, including alternating between uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, choose a unique password you don’t use elsewhere.
- Brush up on your knowledge of scams. Never answer a text or email that asks for account details, even if it appears to be from your credit union. Also, always be wary of unsolicited phone calls and banking alerts.
- Protect your phone. Consider installing an antivirus app on your phone as well as a location-tracking app so you can find your phone if it gets lost. Be sure to lock your phone after using it, log out of the mobile banking app when you’re done, and always keep your phone in a safe place.