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Quick Tips to Prevent Fraud

Fraud prevention can take some effort, but it's definitely worth it.

Protecting your "worth" is the best way to assure a healthy future in financial terms. Common sense goes a long way towards keeping your accounts secure, but constant awareness of the risk is not considered paranoid today. It's all too easy to become a victim.

Cultivate Good Habits
Luckily, although it's not foolproof, it's possible to cultivate the habits that minimize identity theft and investment fraud. Here are some steps to take:

  • Keep your PIN private. At an ATM or retail counter, be aware of the surroundings and the people around you. Shield the screen or the keyboard as you enter the numbers. Never send your PIN over the internet or give it to someone over the phone. If you suspect that someone knows it or has used it in the past, ask that it be changed.
  • Keep your passwords to yourself. And don't use the same password for multiple financial accounts. Maintain a written list of your passwords, but keep the record in a secure place, and never share it with anyone.
  • Ensure the anti-virus software on your computer and smartphone is up-to-date and effective.
  • Order only from secure (with the "https" designation) online sites, and keep records of all transactions so you can check charged amounts against actual bills. Look for the lock symbol or key in the address bar before you type in your debit or credit card information.
  • Keep a tally of your orders, so that you know when to expect delivery; and check on orders that don't arrive promptly.
  • Always know when automatic payments are scheduled, and check to see that they are for the right amounts.
  • Beware of cash transactions as well. Check restaurant bills for proper amounts and for correct addition. If you charge a meal, but leave a cash tip, be sure to write in the total in the proper place on the receipt before you sign. Keep your receipts to check against your monthly statement.
  • Take advantage of debit and credit card account alerts and verification services when available. The Credit Union’s CardNav mobile app is a great way to monitor your Visa Check card activity.
  • Beware of trial offers and limited time discounts. They can become major surprises as the real price is billed or when a subscription renews automatically.
  • Obtain a FREE copy of your credit report (www.AnnualCreditReport.com) from the major credit reporting agencies. Check them for accuracy and immediately report any discrepancies. If you order the authorized reports at different times of year, you will establish a good picture of your credit history.

Be Wary & Be Safe
It has always been true that discretion is a way to avoid problems. In the digital age, caution about personal affairs is more vital than ever before. Most people know not to share their social security number and personal information publicly, but also use a bit of restraint when discussing travel plans, locations, dates and personal experiences. Being safe is more important that being visible.

Fraud is all too common and often difficult to detect. Awareness is the best antidote, so resolve now to consistently monitor and regularly review all your accounts and transactions. Make it a habit; it's the best way to plan for a secure future.

We’re Here to Help
If you have questions on fraud or feel you’ve been a victim of identity theft, stop by or give us a call at 800-410-0501.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.