5 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud typographic graphic

 

Fraud and identity theft can wreak havoc on your finances and your credit score. At Vocal, we’re committed to doing everything we can to protect our members from fraud at every level in our credit union.  We also want to make sure you have the tools to keep your information safe.

 

These are the more common examples of fraud we’ve seen Vocal members dealing with:

  • Tech support scams – These scams are usually initiated by a phone call or a pop up warning on your computer, leading you to believe your computer has been infected with a virus or malware. The scammers usually pretend to be associated with a legitimate software company like Microsoft.  The intention is to have you give them remote access to your computer (allowing them to steal valuable information and passwords) or to pay for bogus security software.
  • Phishing and other fake email scams – The basic premise for all of these scams is an email saying you need to provide your social security number, account passwords, and/or other key financial information in order to claim a reward.  Sometimes these emails are disguised as being from someone you know in dire financial need, asking to send the same type of information.

 

What can you do to protect yourself from fraud? 

You should never give any of your account or identification information to anyone over the phone or by email without verifying who they are.  Take the time to contact the financial institution, company, or individual the email seems to be from, using contact information you know is accurate, and verify the legitimacy of the request.

 

Here are some other tips to keep your information safe:

  • Sign up for account alerts. Get instant notification of any transactions that seem fishy.   
  • Switch to online statements. Our online statements give you the ability to monitor account activity 24/7, and instantly detect fraudulent activity.
  • Guard against email and phone scams. Don’t open emails from people you don’t know, or go to a website from a link in an email asking for personal information.
  • Get savvy with passwords. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, and be creative to make them unique/hard to guess.  If you need help keeping track of all your passwords, here are some great free tools to manage them.  Switch your passwords every 60 days.
  • Ditch the checkbook. Debit cards have multiple security layers that make them a safer choice, and don’t give scammers instant access to your personal and bank account information.

 

Here’s what we’re doing at on our end to keep your information and accounts secure:

  • Secure online banking innovations. We use the highest security levels possible for our online banking services, and are continually seeking new technology advances to protect our members from hacking and fraud of any kind.
  • We switched to EMV chip technology for our debit and credit cards. The reflective EMV chip on cards contains an integrated circuit that instantly creates a unique transaction key every time a purchase is made, and couples that key with your user pin or signature.  Read this article for more information on how this switch protects you.
  • Careful document protection. We keep your documents meticulously organized and protected, and shred all documents we dispose of.
  • Keeping members up to date. We’ll notify you of any potential breaches in our security systems right away and take every measure possible to prevent those activities from impacting your accounts and peace of mind.

 

What should you do if you see unfamiliar charges or withdrawals to your accounts? 

You should check all accounts and credit card statements to see if they’ve been impacted. Review your FREE credit report for any bigger picture issues at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.

Act immediately if you suspect fraud.  The Federal Trade Commission offers a one-stop-website to report identity theft and get a recovery plan.  Once you’ve confirmed fraud, follow the process to have charges reversed on your credit cards and call one of Vocal’s experienced team members to help recover losses in your accounts and help protect you in the future.