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August 1, 2022Identity Theft Security for Teens and College Students

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal data to commit fraudulent acts. This can include your name, birthday, and other important pieces of information like your social security number. It is done most of the time to steal money or purchase expensive items. 

Nowadays, even the information of teenagers and college students can be used to commit fraud of any kind. Such a matter can be tricky to navigate as a young adult, but there are ways to educate younger generations to prevent these crimes and protect their identify. We have listed a couple of tips to help youngsters avoid having their personal information stolen.  

Be Alert to Phishing and Spoofing

Phishing and Spoofing are two of the most common ways information can be taken unknowingly from an individual. Some scammers are known for making calls seem like they are from big companies when in fact, they’re only trying to get your important details.

With that being the case, it’s best not to answer calls from unknown numbers. In addition, be wary of emails from unknown addresses as they may contain malware that can harm your computer. Never download attachments from someone who sends them unexpectedly.

Try Enabling Two-Factor Authentication on Your Devices

Stolen passwords account for 81% of fraudulent hacks. To better secure your personal data, enable two-factor authentication on your social accounts and emails. This can add an additional layer of protection to your information. 

Two-factor authentication works by having multiple identifiers to access an account. It can be a combination of a password, biometric signature like a fingerprint, and possession such as a phone or tablet. Even if your device is stolen, the thief will have trouble trying to access your information.

woman looking at secure smart phone and computer

Install Antivirus Software on Your Devices

Nowadays, most of our information is kept on electronic devices like phones, computers, and laptops. As a result, it can be difficult to deal with if one of your devices get compromised. A good way to protect your devices and your identity is by downloading antivirus software on them.

Hackers may use malware that contains viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software. Having antivirus software on your device can keep them from harming your hardware and, by extension, your information.

Clear Out the Data on Your Electronics

If you’re upgrading electronics and giving away your old ones, make sure to clear out all of the data on the used hardware, as they can be restored with a data recovery program.

Luckily, there are programs that can help you wipe your used devices with just a few clicks. If you want to save the information left, there are also applications that can transfer your data to a new device. 

One recommendation to avoid having data stolen off your phone at any time is to encrypt your phone. In this scenario, any data left on your phone will be scrambled and therefore safe, even if you lose your phone unexpectedly.

Let Us Provide You Efficient Security Against Identity Theft  

If you want to protect your account against potentially fraudulent activity, 1st Community Credit Union can equip you with fraud-fighting tools. We take pride in serving our members in the best way we know. Get in touch with us today!

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March 1, 2022Benefits of Two-Factor Authentication When Banking Online

The Benefits of Using Two-Factor Authentication When Banking Online

In today’s world of being able to accomplish most of your tasks virtually, it is important to have two-factor authentication as part of your mobile banking experience. Its main benefits are added security levels and minimizing the risk of consumer identity theft.

Whether your credit cards or personal savings accounts are linked to your mobile app, two-factor authentication decreases the chance of a security breach. Here are more benefits of using two-factor authentication when banking online.

hand pointing to secure login on a tablet

Prevent Fraud

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, makes it more difficult for hackers to get information from your online banking portal. Someone seeking access to a 2FA-protected account will encounter more obstacles if they are trying to access your account.

A good example of fraud protection is SMS-based two-factor authentication. The hacker will need two means of identification to access your bank: your account password and your mobile phone.

Nowadays, solving simple password combinations and gaining access to sensitive data has become obsolete. This is because having two or more verification steps stops them from gaining access through your password alone.

Using 2FA can further safeguard your accounts against unsolicited access to personal and corporate data. It reduces the risk of cyber breaches from anyone who gets a hold of your primary credentials.

Enhance Logins

Two-factor authentication involves the use of a one-time password, or OTP. This is a string of letters, numbers, or characters delivered once to a user for a single login attempt. OTPs lower the risk of hackers getting into your account by sending time-sensitive, unique, and random code to your phone through a text, call, or an app.

2FA is a more personalized approach to access your online information by involving your other online accounts and devices. Utilizing these personal resources can inevitably add a layer of protection to your account. Using 2FA to have an amplified login system is the best way to maintain strong security standards when opening your mobile bank app.

Reduce IT Calls

Nowadays, the most common support issue is a forgotten password. Without a 2FA solution in place, the only way to retrieve it is by contacting your bank’s helpdesk.

Having your issue resolved by technical service providers can take a long time, and this can be prevented by using a 2FA system. Two-factor authentication simply sends a code to your verified device in order to change your password. This results in a quick, cost-effective, and secure solution to your problem.

Access Monitoring Is Allowed

Two-factor authentication often involves access monitoring for many devices. You can also limit which devices or networks have entry to your banking accounts.

If someone else tries to access your account, you will be warned in real time so you may prevent cyber breaches. Two-factor authentication is the most convenient and the quickest way to ensure that your personal data is safeguarded.

Learn More About Two-Factor Authentication

For questions about two-factor authentication, mobile banking protection, or automated fraud alerts, call 1st Community Credit Union in Wisconsin! Our representative will be happy to answer your questions about online banking.

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May 1, 2021Warning Signs of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a persistent problem and, unfortunately, cybercriminals show no signs of letting up. Statistically speaking, identity theft affects approximately 1 in 20 Americans every year. In 2019, 13 million U.S. consumers suffered identity fraud.

It’s important to be vigilant because the sooner identity theft is detected, the less damage ID thieves can do. The following list includes warning signs you may be a victim of identity theft or financial fraud.

Unusual Withdrawals from Bank Accounts

Anytime you see an unusual withdrawal from any of your bank accounts you or a joint account holder didn’t make, this is a huge red flag. While a bank may make the occasional (very rare) error, chances are better a thief is pilfering your account.

Credit Standing Takes a Plunge

If you’ve maintained good credit and it takes a sudden plunge, consider this to be a warning sign. Once a thief gets a hold of your personal information, they can then open credit accounts in your name and go on a spending spree without paying the bill. If you check your credit report and find unfamiliar accounts or charges, this is a clear sign your identity has been compromised. Gone unchecked, within a few months, you’ll most likely find debt collectors begin to call you about debts you don’t recognize.

Small Charges on Your Credit Card

Any small and unusual credit card charge should be viewed with suspicion. Identity thieves will often test the proverbial waters by making very small charges with your credit card to see if it’s detected. If they sense a green light, they’ll then go for the gusto and start making large purchases, often maxing credit limits out.

Bills and Other Mail Go Missing

If regularly scheduled mail stops arriving, this could mean someone has stolen your identity. What thieves often do is steal their victim’s mail and then change the mailing address to be rerouted to them. Once they do this, they begin to collect other key pieces of your personal information to gain the information necessary to open new accounts in your name. Alternatively, if you start to receive strange bills, this is also a red flag.

Problems with Medical Providers and Health Plans

If you begin to receive bills for medical services you didn’t seek, this is another warning sign. It means there is a possibility someone used your identity information when they sought treatment. Additionally, if your health insurance plan starts to reject your legitimate medical claims this should be addressed ASAP. This is especially true if claims are rejected because your medical records show a condition you don’t have or your benefits have been maxed out, it could signal someone has been using your health insurance for their own purposes.

IRS Says You Already Filed

If you file your annual tax return and the IRS notifies you one has already been filed in your name and SSN, this is a key indicator someone is using your identity information to get a refund. Additionally, if they say you have income from an employer you never worked for, this is another red flag and should be investigated immediately.

Identity theft is an ongoing issue we all face. For financial advice and to learn more about how to protect yourself and your accounts from cybercriminals, give the team at 1st Community Credit Union a call at 888-706-1228.

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January 1, 2021Free Trial Offer? More like FEE trial offer!

It's natural for our ears to perk up with we hear about a sensational new product, and even more so when they are offering a Free Trial.

Many consumers are eager to take advantage of a free product trial offer but unfortunately they wind up falling victim to fees. The "Free Trial" trick deceives consumers daily by hiding the specifics within the teeny tiny fine print, which can result in enormous shipping fee charges, making it nearly impossible to cancel the trial, or a hopeless pit of unexpected spending. Whether it's a secret subscription or a furtive fee, these free trials do not always end up being as "free" as you originally hoped, liked or anticipated.

Free Trail Offer

Be smart about these "special" offers and follow these tips before you take the plunge:

  • Research The Company.  By doing a little investigating, you'll be able to see how credible the company really is. Read some reviews. Hear what others have to say. This will allow you to know if you're hitting a home-run success or a strike-out scam.
  • Read The Terms And Conditions.  This is a common mistake made by many prior to purchase. Hidden in the depth of legal jargon and mumbo-jumbo lies the root to your problems. Make sure you do not just sign off or give away your information before reading the fine print.
  • Beware Of Pre-Checked Boxes.  Companies will sometimes "help" you by checking boxes automatically. This grants them permission to sign you up for other programs or products - even if you do not want them or do not know about them. So when you see a box, make sure it's not checked unless it's something you chose or want.
  • Mark Your Calendar.  By being proactive and knowing when your free trial subscription ends, you'll be able to cancel the offer before it rolls into the unwanted and unfortunate not-so-free year-long commitment.
  • Know How To Cancel Your Subscription.  Although this may sound elementary, it is a very important fact to know. Whether it's a limited time frame for cancellation or just a convoluted conundrum, make sure you know exactly how to end the trial.
  • Read Your Credit And Debit Card Statements.  Frequently check your statements to know if there is a strange charge on your accounts. If you see something strange, call the company to hash out the situation. If that doesn't work, call your card issuer and dispute the charge.

Make sure you're not flooded with secret bills and unwanted trial continuations. Be smart and be aware of the logistics behind every free trial you subscribe to because, before you know it, that free trial won't be so free anymore.

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