Fraud Alerts

Protect Your Financial ID

It only takes a few seconds to become a victim of financial fraud. But it often takes months to recover. Armed with discarded credit card receipts, checks, or deposit slips, today's crooks are making unauthorized transactions from victims' accounts, and even opening new--fraudulent--credit card and checking accounts.

There are steps you can take to prevent your identity from theft.

   * Examine all your financial statements. Promptly reconcile your monthly checking account statement. Save check stubs and credit, debit, and ATM (automated teller machine) receipts. Report discrepancies between your records and monthly statements to the appropriate company. Check credit bureau reports at least once a year.

   * Limit the paper trail. Store receipts and returned checks in a safe place. Or rip them up, especially areas where account numbers are visible. Destroy blank checks from closed-out accounts and expired or unused credit cards. And tear up any credit card receipt carbons.

   * Guard your purse or wallet. Thieves often target unoccupied vehicles, unlocked office drawers, and health club locker rooms.

   * Protect your personal identification number (PIN). Never keep your ATM PIN in the same place as your card.

   * Beware of phone scams. Never give your PIN or any other personal financial information to an unknown caller.

   * Check your mail. If you haven't received mail for a few days, you may be the victim of mail diversion fraud. This scam involves a crook forging an individual's signature on a change-of-address form to divert your mail and obtain financial information. If you suspect your address has been changed without your permission, contact the post office.

   * Track financial statements. Find out when financial statements and plastic cards are due to arrive. If they're late, contact your credit union or appropriate issuer.

   * Protect yourself online. New technology allows online vendors to assure customers reasonable security from online theft. If you doubt the security of the vendor, order the items over the telephone.

   * Visit the Federal Trade Commission identity theft Web site (ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/) to view a copy of its publication, "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft."

"E-mail Phishing Scam"

The credit union will never e-mail and ask you for your account number, pin number, or other financial and personal information. Be aware that some identity thieves can spoof e-mails that look like they are coming from legitimate sources. Again, did you initiate the contact?

If you feel that you may have been a victim of identity theft, request a copy of your credit report and notify us right away. You may receive one free per year at www.annualcreditreport.com.

"Check Scams"

Check Scams have many different looks, but they usually have things in common, starting with the scammer requesting your checking account numbers and routing numbers so they can refund you some overpayment or to deposit money into your account for some imagined service you are to provide them, such as helping them to transfer money out of a foreign country, to buy something that you may have advertised, or because you have won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind.

The scammers often offer to pay you by having someone else send you a check or money order because they are out of the country, and might ask you to deposit a large amount and then refund them back the difference.  Once you have done so, the check or money order will bounce leaving you with no deposit to cover the check you wrote to refund the overpayment.

You then owe your financial institution the money that you wrote the check(s) for and also any bounced deposit and check fees.