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How To Protect Yourself

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Here are a few steps to protect your family and Be Fraud Smart. 

+ Have strong and unique passwords

The days of using “1234” or “password” as your password are over. Each and every account you have should be protected by a unique password. An easy way to ensure that your passwords are safe and secure is by using a password manager app, which will generate unique and complex passwords, on demand, for all of your services and accounts while keeping your passwords safe and organized within the app’s secure vault. 

Popular password manager apps include 1Password, Dashlane, mSecure, and LastPass. A password manager is also available within macOS.

+ Apply updates and patches timely

Most operating systems and smartphone applications alert you when updates are available. Some devices, like network routers, require you to check for updates to firmware without being alerted.   

In some cases, older devices should be replaced. For example, older smartphones eventually go into a “no longer supported” category, which means necessary security patches and updates are no longer available. Check with your phone manufacturer for more details. 

+ Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date

All of your personal computers should be running the latest version of your operating system. If not, you should upgrade. Firewalls should always be turned on. 

+ Monitor your transactions

Login to your accounts frequently to monitor your transaction detail. If you have transaction accounts at different institutions, you can use UCCU’s 360-View Financial Aggregation to monitor and manage all your accounts with a single login.

+ Sign up for Credit and Identity Monitoring services

Monitoring services watch for signs that an identity thief may be using your personal information. For example, identity monitoring services may alert you when your personal information shows up in:

  • Change of address requests
  • Court or arrest records
  • Orders for new utility, cable, or wireless services
  • Payday loan applications
  • Check cashing requests
  • Social media
  • Websites that identity thieves use to trade stolen information
+ Be careful when using free wi-fi

Most of us are so happy to find free WiFi when we’re out and about that we click past the “Terms and Conditions” without giving them much thought. But here’s something that should give us all pause: personal information that is sent or received through open wireless networks are susceptible to interception with little to no effort.

Be very careful when using any free WiFi and always avoid sending any personal information over an open network.

+ Don’t open unknown hyperlinks and attachments

If you don’t know who the email is from, don’t open a hyperlink or attachment. And remember, no reputable organization is going to contact you and ask you for your personal information – even if it looks like it’s from UCCU or another financial institution.

+ Use a code word

Every UCCU member has the option to set up a code word for added security.

+ Freeze your credit

A credit freeze will prevent potential lenders from accessing your credit report (often for a price), stopping a thief from opening an account or getting credit, even if they have your personal information.

+ Never wire money to someone you don’t know

It’s one of the oldest scams in the book because it works. Every year, people send money to fraudsters for all kinds of phony reasons. It’s easy to believe it won’t happen to you and yet, millions of dollars are continuously lost to unsuspecting victims, simply because they believed they were doing the right thing by sending money to the wrong people.

So just don’t do it. Never wire money to a stranger, even when that stranger claims to be acting in your best interests and especially when they use any type of scare tactics to get you to pay up right now.

+ Safeguard all of your personal information

“Phishing” is the practice of pretending to be a reputable company or organization in order to convince you to reveal your passwords, credit card numbers, social security number, or other compromising information. And fraudsters love to go phishing.

The fact is, no reputable company or organization is going to contact you and request or demand your personal information (such as credit card of social security numbers). If you receive a call and you’re not sure if it’s legitimate, simply hang up and call the company or organization back directly… after looking up and confirming the correct number on your own.

+ Shop smart online

When shopping online, it’s always best to stick with retailers and websites you know and trust. Before you shop with an unfamiliar site, do your research. Make sure it’s reputable prior to providing personal information.

If you install antivirus, firewall or spyware protection, be sure to turn the Auto-Update feature on so your software is always up to date against the most current threats.

+ Enroll in palm scanner identification

Using a near-infrared light wave to scan vein patterns, palm vein scanners produce a biometric, digital representation that can confirm the unique vein pattern on a person’s hand.  Members can enable palm scanner security at any branch.

+ Place a fraud alert on your account

If you believe you are an identity theft victim or are at risk of becoming one, you can place a fraud alert on your credit report, alerting potential lenders to verify the identity of anyone attempting to open an account in your name.

+ Toggle all security alerts “ON”

Account security alerts are free and designed to notify you when security related activity or changes occur on your account. There are 19 different security alerts that can be enabled inside online banking (many of which are enabled by default.) Members should ensure their security alert delivery preferences (e.g. text, email) are up-to-date.

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