Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention
Fraudulent activity is on the rise
As we move forward in this digital marketplace it’s important to be aware of fraudulent activity and know how to safeguard yourself against it. At Educational Credit Union, we monitor the presence of fraudulent activity on weekly – and even daily – basis. ECU is keeping in tune with the times by rolling out antifraud measures that temporarily freeze your account if uncharacteristic or suspicious activity is spotted. As our culture continues to evolve, it’s important we shift with changing technology. If you’re planning to travel out of the area on vacation or have experienced an issue using your VISA Debit or Credit Card for purchases, please give Member Services a call at 785-271-6900 or (877) 971-6900 so we can ensure that your transactions are processed seamlessly.
Identity theft is one of the most prevalent crimes in America today. You’ll find resources and advice below to help protect you from this growing problem.
How fraudsters obtain personal information:
- Dumpster Diving: Going through trash to find bills and papers with personal information on it.
- Phishing: Posing as financial institutions or companies like eBay or PayPal and sending spam or pop-up messages to get consumers to reveal personal information. Phishing can also be in the form of text messages asking for your personal information, or asking you to call a fake phone number or visit a fake website.
- Skimming: Stealing Credit/Debit Card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
- Property Theft: Stealing wallets and purses; mail, including credit union, bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information.
- Spyware: Tricking victims into downloading illicit software when they open an attachment, then using this software to record keystrokes to get account or credit card numbers and passwords.
How to prevent ID Theft:
- Keep your PIN and passwords secret. Never let someone else enter your PIN for you.
- Shred documents with personal information before you discard them.
- Be suspicious of emails, texts, mail or phone calls that ask for your personal information, especially your financial information. If you suspect something might not be authentic, contact the company directly. Remember, ECU will never send emails, texts, or call asking you to submit your personal and/or financial information.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails – fraudsters are very clever and can disguise links and even create websites that may look identical to websites you know. Type in the web addresses you know in a new browser window.
- Always ensure you’re using a secure website when submitting sensitive information over the internet. To make sure you’re on a secure site, check the beginning of the web address – it should be “https://” rather than “https://” and it should have a lock icon in the browser address bar.
- Maintain up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewalls on your computer.
- Regularly check your accounts and billing statements. Be suspicious of bills that don’t arrive as usual, unexpected bills or account statements, and calls or letters about purchases you did not make. Report any errors as soon as possible.
- Check your credit report annually. The consumer reporting companies are required to give you a free credit report each year if you request it.
- Never have your social security number pre-printed on your checks.
- When you write checks to pay on your credit card accounts, do not put the entire account number in the memo line – only include the last four digits.
What to do if ID Theft happens to you:
- File a police report.
- If your ECU checkbook, VISA® Check/ Debit Card or VISA® Credit Card is stolen, report it to us as soon as possible. Contact ECU’s Member Services at (785) 271-6900 or (877) 971-6900 during business hours, or after 5pm (800) 791-2525 check/debit cards and (800) 991-4965 for credit cards.
- Cancel lost cards immediately. Close accounts that have been tampered with. As a precaution, make photocopies of both sides of the contents of your wallet and keep the copies in a safe place. If anything should happen, you will have copies of your cards, complete with account numbers and contact information.
- Contact the credit reporting agencies and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. With an alert in place, any company checking your credit will know your information was stolen and they must contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
- Report fraud to the Social Security Administration (1.800.269.0271) and the Federal Trade Commission (1.877.IDTHEFT).
- If the crime involves mail, you can report mail fraud to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1.877.876.2455.
For additional information on ID Theft, visit the following websites:
- Better Business Bureau: Take the quiz and get tips on prevention.
- Kansas Consumer Protection: Information and resources to help reduce your risk of ID theft.
- Anti-Phishing Working Group: How to avoid Phishing scams.
- National Fraud Information Center: Advice, trends, and more.