Protect Yourself Against Fraud
Protecting your financial identity is very crucial. Together with your Credit Union, you can take steps to prevent and detect identity theft and fraud. The most important step toward protecting yourself is to never give out account information to anyone who comes asking for it. Calcasieu Teachers & Employees Credit Union does not call, text, or send emails asking for accounting information. Remember – we already have it!
DEBIT CARD DATA BREACHES
If you think you may have been impacted by an unauthorized debit card data breach from a retailer or any other institution you do business with, there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself. Keep an eye on your account through online banking or monthly statements to watch for any unusual activity. You can even set up alerts that will notify you if account balances or transaction amounts exceed certain thresholds you set. If you notice anything suspicious or unusual on your credit union accounts, please notify the Credit Union immediately for assistance by calling 337.433.4525. If desired, the Credit Union can close your debit card and reissue a new one for you. You should also report fraud or identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission and local law enforcement.
If you suspect that your card has been breached, it is recommended that you change your PIN as an added measure of security. To help protect your account information, consider periodically changing your PIN quarterly or annually.
Calcasieu Teachers & Employees Credit Union will never call you asking for your card number, PIN, or other card information in the case of a debit card data breach. As always, if you ever question the legitimacy of a call from the Credit Union, please hang up and call 337.433.4525.
PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT
An excellent way to detect fraudulent activity is to keep a close eye on your accounts, such as by using the Credit Union’s online banking to watch your accounts on a daily basis. You should also take advantage of your free annual credit report check, which gives an overview of your credit accounts from all financial institutions.
Free credit reports are available under Federal law at AnnualCreditReport.com. To receive your free annual credit report, you can:
- Visit Free Credit Report
- Call toll free 877.322.8228
There are several other precautions you can take to protect yourself against identity theft. These government websites provide precautions, tips, and advice on protecting yourself online, while on the telephone, or by mail.
By using these tips, you’ll be well on your way toward protecting your financial identity.
Those looking to misuse your account information will often disguise themselves as Credit Union, or any other financial institution, and then ask you to “verify” your account information by sending them confidential information. These “social engineers” also search dumpsters for valuable information, memorize access codes by looking over someone’s shoulder (shoulder surfing), or take advantage of people’s natural inclination to choose passwords that are meaningful to them but can be easily guessed. Some examples of social engineering techniques include the following:
- Phishing – Phishing uses emails that appear to originate from a trusted source (such as a financial institution) to trick users into entering information on a fake web page.
- Vishing – This technique uses an interactive voice response (IVR) system to recreate a legitimate-sounding copy of a financial institution’s IVR system. The victim is prompted to “verify” various financial information. More advanced systems transfer the victim to the attacker, posing as a customer service agent, for further questioning.
- Smishing – The victim receives a text message telling them to call a toll-free number, which is answered by a bogus interactive voice-response system that tries to fool the victim into providing his or her account number and password.
- Baiting – An attacker will leave a software-infected computer disk or USB flash drive in a location such as a bathroom, elevator, or parking lot. The attacker gives it a legitimate looking label and name, and then simply waits for the victim to use the device. Baiting can also take the form of an App for your mobile phone. These Apps are designed to look and feel legitimate.
Always bear in mind that security does not stop or start with the technology alone. Most security issues can be prevented by simply using common sense.
- If you get an email, phone call, or text alert about an account, don’t respond before you verify that it’s legitimate. It is best to verify by initiating a call to Calcasieu Teachers & Employees Credit Union at 337.433.4525 before responding to any communication.
- Use strong passwords that are hard to guess, and never share them with anyone. Our recommendation includes the following:
- Use at least one number in your password.
- Use at least one CAPITAL letter in your password.
- Use at least one symbol or special character in your password.
- It is recommended that your passwords be a minimum of 12 characters in length. For highly confidential sites or information, we recommend 15 characters.
- Many of the precautions taken to protect mobile devices are the same as those for desktop computers. Devices should be password protected, and programs should only be downloaded and installed from trusted sources.