Don't get caught unaware
In this day and age, we're faced with a new reality regarding the security of our information. On one hand, there are hackers and compromises that make identity theft and fraud more of a danger than ever before. On the other hand, we have tools and technology designed to protect us that is advancing rapidly. We have never been safer or more at risk. There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your money and your identity protected.
Checks usually will have your name, address, account and routing numbers printed on them, which presents a very large risk for both check and ACH fraud.
If you need to write a check, using gel-based, black ink is still recommended for making sure no one can alter your check by washing out the ink.
Make sure there isn’t a way that the dollar amount or payee can be altered in any way; use lines to take up any open space in the "Pay to the order of" and written amount lines.
Credit and debit fraud
Credit and Debit Cards are certainly more convenient and reduce the risk of losing your money through theft or damage. Your cards are still vulnerable to being stolen, but with quick notification to your financial institution, your finances can be protected.
A common scam with cards is when people attach what are called “skimmers” to card machines that record your information, including your PIN number. Be aware of keypads or card machines that look odd, or feel abnormal.
One of the most common ways for your debit or credit card information to be at risk is through merchant compromises. Anytime you use your card at any merchant, in person or online, your card information is stored in their systems and you are then dependent on that merchant’s security to protect your card info.
It is worth considering the use of mobile pays because transactions completed with those services don’t share your card information with the merchants.
Be careful about letting sites store your personal information and credit card numbers. Many companies do not encrypt this data, leaving you vulnerable.
Always look for the “https://” at the start of a web address: the “s” means that the information is being sent over a secure server.
Be aware of the links in emails that you may click on to make payments. PayPal has suffered fraud from people linking false PayPal sites in scam emails. If you need to go to a site for a payment, go directly to that site on your own don’t follow links that you may not be able to trust.
When you are making payments online, always look for a seal that says “TRUSTe” at the bottom. There could be other reputable seals as well, but this is the most common. This means that the site has been verified by a third party and complies with the Federal Trade Commission regulations regarding privacy and security.
Keep an eye on your accounts
Check your bank statements regularly by looking over the monthly statements or logging into your online banking as often as you can. If you can look at your accounts at least once a week and make sure everything is legitimate, you will be able to spot fraud faster and are more likely to get it handled right away. Reporting fraudulent activity on your accounts takes time and your financial institution will work with you on getting your money back and keeping it safe from that point forward.
As scary as fraud is and as challenging as it can seem to protect yourself, NWCU can help you stay safe. Follow these tips and make sure to monitor your accounts closely and we will be able to stop fraud right away. Always contact us immediately with any concerns or questions so we can help you keep your account safe.