Online Security Center
Protecting Your Privacy, Your Identity, and Your Money
The rate of identity theft-related fraud continues to rise. A recent study* revealed that identity theft afftected more than 11.6 million adults in 2011 (a 13% increase from 2010).
Tips For Online Identity Theft:
Frequent credit card use during the holidays puts you a higher risk for identity theft. Follow these simple steps to help keep your information safe:
1. HTTPS everywhere, all the time
You can’t control whether or not a site is secure, but you can control which sites you’re shopping on.
Sites that begin with HTTPS in the URL take extra measures to help secure your information. They provide another layer of security by authenticating the website and web server the site is communicating with. This ensures only you and the retailer have access to the data, no one else.
2. Don’t make your password your pet’s name
This also means if you’re using the word “password” as your password, it’s time for a new one…
When you choose a new password, make sure you’re using random capital letters, symbols and numbers. It’s also important to use different passwords for each account. That way, if one is hacked they aren’t all hacked.
Remember to put a password lock on your devices too. Otherwise, if the wrong person gets a hold of your phone, they also have access to account information, emails and any credit card data you have auto-saved. For that reason, it’s also recommended not to auto-save any information.
3. Don’t buy gifts over a public Wi-Fi connection
There’s something relaxing about sitting at your favorite coffee shop sipping a latte while buying holiday gifts online, but using unsecured public wireless networks or Wi-Fi could allow an attacker to connect to your device and view private information.
4. Debit vs. Credit
Credit cards only require a signature while debit cards require a PIN number, which adds an extra layer of security to debit cards.
However, if you’re using a debit card you have a limited timeframe (2 days) to dispute charges. Your cash assets are also tied up during the dispute, which could cause you to lose more money through transfer/insufficient fund fees.
5. Check your checking account
This is one of the easiest, but one of the most important. Holiday shopping gets hectic, but carve time out of your busy schedule to look over your latest transactions. It’s important to know where your money is going – if your security is threatened, knowing about it sooner rather than later can make all the difference.
At Boulder Valley CU are always available to help you with your finances. Call 303.442.8850 for any questions you might have.
For additional information on common scams, click HERE.
Identity theft can occur when an individual obtains personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, address, and financial account numbers. Once this information is obtained, the thieves will assume or take on your identity, allowing them to illegally purchase items or obtain credit.
Protect yourself. Don’t become identity theft’s next victim.
There are simple precautions that will keep your identity safe. We've provided the following information as a courtesy to help protect you from identity fraud and other criminal activities. Review the information on these pages to learn how to protect your personal and financial information.
ID Theft Information
Learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft.
Identify Theft Resources
Credit Bureau Contact Details
- Free Annual Credit Report
800-525-6285 (Fraud Hotline)
www.equifax.com 800-685-1111 (Order a Report)
888-397-3742 (Fraud Hotline)
www.experian.com 888-397-3742 (Order a Report)
800-680-7289 (Fraud Hotline)
www.transunion.com 800-916-8800 (Order a Report)
Credit bureaus must provide free copies of credit reports to victims
of identity theft.
ATM fraud can occur when individuals lose their card, give their card to someone else to use, or when their Personal Identification Number's confidentiality is compromised. By following these simple guidelines you can greatly reduce your exposure to ATM fraud.
Tips for protecting yourself against ATM fraud
- Never write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your card or in your wallet. Memorize your PIN as soon as possible. Do not reveal your PIN to anyone not authorized to use the account.
- Never use your date of birth, social security number, license number or street address as a PIN -- those are the first numbers a crook will try.
- Don't throw away your ATM receipts at the ATM location. Keep them to reconcile your account, then dispose of them properly when you get home.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when using the ATM. If it is late at night, try to use a machine that is well lit and avoid dark, remote locations.
- Always make sure to retrieve your ATM card from the machine when the transaction is complete.
- Be aware of the person behind you. Make sure no one can see you entering your PIN or how much money you withdraw.
- Review your statement promptly to ensure all transactions are accurate. Report any discrepancies immediately.
- Destroy old ATM cards immediately after receiving your replacement cards.
In addition to the types ATM fraud that most of us are now aware of, there are two new types that can clean out your account quickly -- card withholding and skimming.
Card withholding occurs when your card gets stuck in the ATM, you can't get it out, and you leave the card in the ATM planning to contact the financial institution the next morning. When you call you find that the card was not stuck in the ATM. What happens is that thieves put a substance into the ATM card slot which will cause your card to stick inside the ATM. They leave the ATM and wait for someone to attempt to use it. They then get in line behind you and try to watch you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). This is very common at drive-up ATMs where the user may not be paying attention to other people or cars nearby.
The thieves even go so far as to put up a sign on the ATM stating: "If your card gets stuck, enter your PIN three separate times to retrieve it." This gives them three tries to watch you enter your PIN. After you leave frustrated, and you're planning to contact the ATM owner the next morning, they remove your card with a pair of pliers. They can then use your card at other ATMs and Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals.
Skimming is done at businesses that offer Point-of-Sale (POS) devices for you to pay with your ATM card, such as gas stations. The thieves convince an employee to allow them to connect a lap top computer to the POS machine. The lap top is usually stored under the counter where the POS device is located. When you swipe your card in the POS device to make a payment the information on the magnetic strip on your ATM card is copied and loaded onto a disk. Thieves may also install a hidden video camera that records you entering your PIN. They then match the magnetic information to the PIN and access your accounts.
Actions for Fraud Victims
If you suspect fraud, it is important to act quickly to minimize potential damage and your own liability. It is important to keep a detailed account of conversations you have with authorities and financial institutions.
Credit Bureaus. Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies -- Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. Ask that your account include a statement referencing the possibility of fraud.
Creditors. Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently -- by phone and in writing. Monitor your accounts closely for any further fraudulent activity.
Law Enforcement. Report the crime to police with jurisdiction in your case. Provide any documentation that you have collected. Get a copy of your police report. Keep the phone number of your fraud investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case.
Financial Institutions. If you have checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, contact the institution to report the crime. Put stop payments on appropriate outstanding checks. Close your checking and savings accounts and open new accounts. If your ATM card is stolen or compromised, get a new card and PIN. When choosing a PIN, don't use common numbers like the last four digits of your Social Security number, your date of birth, license number or street address.
U.S. Postal Service. Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud.
Social Security Administration. Call to report fraudulent use of your Social Security number.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Call to see if another license was issued in your name. Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Also, fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process. Send supporting documents with the completed form to the nearest DMV investigation office. Request a driver's license number different than your Social Security number if available in your state.
Civil Courts. If a civil judgment has been entered in your name for actions taken by your impostor, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI.
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Check Cashing Fraud
This guide provides tips for protecting yourself against check cashing fraud. Check cashing fraud occurs when individuals use information taken from your checks, or the checks themselves, to access your accounts and commit fraudulent acts. By following these simple guidelines you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
Tips for protecting yourself against check cashing fraud
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud generally occurs when cards or card numbers are compromised. By following these simple guidelines your potential for loss can be minimized.
Tips for protecting yourself against credit card fraud
Internet Security - Phishing Scams
Phishing is an internet scam in which e-mail spam or pop-up messages are used to deceive you into divulging personal or financial information over the internet. Phishers will send you an email or a pop-up message that appears to be from a company that you deal with – your credit card company, credit union or a government agency. The message usually requests that you update or validate account information and it will direct you to a website that looks just like the legitimate organization’s website, but it isn’t. The purpose of the bogus website is to deceive you into entering your personal information so the scammer’s can steal your identity and commit crimes in your name.
Protect yourself against "Phishing Scams"
Phone Security - Vishing Scams
Vishing is a scam similar to Phishing, the scam involves sending a spam email or pop-up message telling you that your account has been compromised and will instruct you to call a phone number to verify your account information. An official sounding automated message will ask you to enter your personal financial information such as your 16 digit credit card number. Some of these scams involve a telephone call to the victim directly in which the caller already has your credit card number but asks you to verify the valuable three digit security code.
Protect yourself against "Vishing Scams"
*Javelin Strategy & Research