An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For your security, it’s important to understand the most common forms of fraud and how to protect your information.
Trending scams include:
Identity Theft: Scammers can solicit personal information by phone, email, or text. Others may attempt to steal your physical debit or credit card or ID, and some sort through your trash, looking for clues.
The danger? If your identity is stolen, money can be withdrawn from your account or credit applied for in your name.
Skimming Devices: These try to capture your debit or credit card information. Look for loose pieces near or where you insert your card at an ATM, gas pump, or merchant.
Internet Fraud: It can be the falsification, misrepresentation, or non-delivery of an item bought online or via an auction.
Fake Checks & Money Wires: Beware of counterfeit-check or wire transfer schemes, where “fake customers” entice you to make a transaction. Once you wire the money, it’s gone.
Secret Shoppers: Here, an unsuspecting person responds to a secret shopper job, receiving a check via FedEx. The victim is instructed to deposit the check, purchase Apple iTunes cards, and share the numbers with the fraudsters. Once shared, the money is no longer in the victim’s account.
Grandchild in trouble: A bogus grandchild calls and asks their “grandparent” for money. They may be stranded, in jail, or having car trouble. Of course, there is no grandchild.
Phishing Attempts: These are text messages from a local area code stating, “The Credit Union Center Alert: Your card has been deactivated. Please contact us at xxxxxx.” You’re then prompted to enter your 16-digit card number. Please ignore these phony messages.
Improve Your Credit: These claim to “clean up your credit” for a fee. In reality, the thief captures your information and sells it.
Amazon & Apple Fraud: Scams include phone calls or emails about fictitious Amazon or Apple charges. You’re asked to click on a link or share information, enabling the impersonator to obtain account data.
The good news? The power is in your hands.
Tips to keep your data safe:
- Never share personal information with someone you don’t know. If unsure, check with the Better Business Bureau or contact us.
- When shopping online, look for the padlock icon. Secure sites will also feature https in the web address. It means your information is encrypted as it goes through the site.
- Protect online purchases with Verified By Visa. It is a password-protected authentication system to confirm your identity.
- Use Mobile Money and PAM Online Banking to track transactions. If something seems suspicious, contact us. Also, sign up for alerts, so you can monitor money going in and out of your account.
- Regularly view your credit report to check for unauthorized activity. If something seems strange or there is an error, we can assist.
- Change passwords every 90 days, using a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. Avoid easily deciphered passwords, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or children’s names.
Lost or stolen debit or credit card?
Cancel your cards immediately. By reporting the cards, you will not be liable for more than $50. You can reach the major credit card companies at:
- MASTERCARD: 1-800-627-8372 (US) or 1-636-722-7111
- VISA: 1-800-VISA-911 (1-800-8472-911) or 1-303-967-1096
- AMEX: 1-800-528-4800
- DISCOVER: 1-800-347-2683
We also recommend you contact the credit reporting agencies to prevent someone from applying for credit in your name:
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Also, stay abreast of trending scams.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and staying informed is key. Visit websites such as the NJ Department of Banking and Securities, the IRS’ Dirty Dozen page, or the FTC.
If you believe you are a victim of fraud, please let us know right away.