Fraud & Scam Awareness
At Northwest Community Credit Union, we have the very best
technology and highly trained staff to protect your confidential
information. There are still things you can do, however, to protect
yourself against financial crime!
- Have an online love interest? Beware of online sweetheart scams.
- Has someone asked you to get the Remote Deposit Capture (mobile deposit) feature on your checking account? For information on how to protect yourself from loss: See RDC Fraud
- Did you receive an alarming text or phone call? Scammers will frequently text or call and claim that your credit or debit card or checking account has been frozen or locked. They may frequently ask you to call or click on a link to “verify” your information. Don’t fall for this scam! If we call you, we won’t ask for your social security number or your credit or debit card number. We don’t need your 3-digit code from the back of the card or your expiration date, either! We already have that information! Clever scammers can even use digital tools that mask a phone number to make calls. Your caller ID may say it’s your credit union calling, but YOU have to determine if the caller is legitimate. When in doubt, hang up, and call us at (800) 452-9515.
- Buying or selling on Craigslist or another online marketplace? Be on guard! This is a favorite hangout for scammers. Read Craigslist’s warnings about common scams. Remember, when you deposit a check someone has given you or sent to you, even if the funds are available in your account, the check could still come back as fraud and YOU will be liable for any loss!
- Did you get a one-ring phone call from a number you don’t recognize? Don’t call it back! A common scam is the “one-ring scam,” usually from out of the country. When you call back out of curiosity, you can be charged outrageous international call fees on your phone bill. If you’ve set up your phone bill payment to come directly out of your account here at Northwest Community, you could see a big, unexpected charge on your statement!
- Always remember: If it sounds too good to be true (think lottery winnings, an unexpected inheritance, or a dreamy new love interest overseas), it is probably too good to be true. Trust your intuition, and don’t be the next victim.
- Finally, see these FBI Guidelines with more things to watch for.
- Enroll in E-Statements or E-Billing from your financial institution and other billing companies like utilities and credit cards. The less paper mail you get, the more secure your private information is! Bonus: trees are happier, too.
- Never leave mail unattended in your mailbox (either incoming OR outgoing).
- Take mail containing financial information or checks to the post office rather than using your own mailbox. Also, consider getting a post office box or a locking mailbox for added security.
- Request a vacation hold on your mail even if you’re just going away for the weekend.
- Act very quickly if a bill or statement doesn’t arrive on time- there’s a chance it was stolen from your mailbox. (Hint: E-Statements eliminate that concern)
- Are you busy on social media? Be sure to keep an eye on your privacy settings! You’d be shocked how much information scammers can gather from tweets, Facebook wall posts, genealogy websites, and all of your various online jibber-jabber!
- Know who you’re giving your information to, especially on the phone or online. Be especially wary of disclosing your Social Security number, birth date, and driver’s license number. Never, ever give this information away unless you initiate the contact.
- Carry as little identification as you need, and keep your Social Security card and any unnecessary forms of identification in a secure location at home. Another alternative is to keep important documents in a safe deposit box.
- Never use your Social Security number as an account number, password, or ID number.
- Shred, shred, shred. Never toss any confidential information into the trash (like financial statements, unsolicited credit card offers, and receipts you don’t need) without shredding first.
- Close any accounts you no longer use, and destroy cards or other identifying information about those accounts. Every account you leave open is an access door for an identity thief. Why get mail with private account information if you don’t even use the account?
- Keep a list of all your account numbers and contact information, and keep this list in a secure location (like a safe or locked cabinet), and do not take it with you when you travel.
- Passwords are sometimes hard to remember, but don’t use the same one for everything.
- Use a combination of numbers and letters for passwords, and never use easy-to-guess passwords such as your mother’s maiden name, birth dates of your kids or yourself, street address, phone numbers, your name, or any series of consecutive numbers.
- Password-protect every account you can, including credit cards, your credit union, bank, and mobile device (ex. phone, iPad) accounts.
- Store passwords in a safe place if you can’t memorize them, and never take them with you or write them on the back of your credit cards.
- Never store passwords on a laptop computer or tablet, as it may be lost or stolen.
- The best way to spot identity theft is to check your credit reports at least once a year.
- Watch for any activity on your credit report that you didn’t initiate. Check who has been making inquiries into your report, and look for any new accounts or maxed out credit cards. If you suspect a problem, act immediately!
- Be sure to order reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies, as each may contain different information.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022