5 Tips for Avoiding Financial Fraud

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

fraud awareness tips

It can be difficult to keep up with all the recommendations for keeping your sensitive personal information safe. But it’s vital to stay aware of common fraud techniques to see where you may be at risk.

At McCoy, the privacy and safety of our members’ personal and financial information is important to us. So, we compiled a list of tips you can utilize to avoid scams, identity theft and other types of fraud.

turn off or disable lost cards immediately to avoid card fraud

The sooner you report a lost or stolen card to your financial institution, the better. Whether you simply misplaced it, or it was stolen, make sure to submit a report immediately to protect your funds.

Remember: You can keep your McCoy debit card safe with MobiMoney card controls. This app allows you to turn your card on/off and receive notifications when your card is used to make a purchase. Also, manage your transactions to only be approved in stores where you’re physically present, a great feature for travel.

Make sure you’re familiar with the shortcodes used by your financial institution and other trusted businesses

A five-digit shortcode is often used by companies to securely text customers. Add the shortcodes for trusted businesses, such as your financial institution, cell phone provider, and utility companies into your phone. This will help you recognize a legitimate message when it comes through.

Remember: McCoy helps you stay connected to your account through secure text messaging services. You may receive account updates, payment reminders, branch information and more by text message. Add 90917 as “McCoy Notices” in your contacts list so you know when you receive a message from McCoy.

Never provide passwords, account numbers, your pin or other sensitive information in response to an email or text message request

Scammers often use phishing (email) or smishing (text messages) techniques to trick people into revealing sensitive personal or account information. The email or text message typically asks you to update or verify your account information by clicking a link. That link directs you to a spoofed website with a similar logo or other identifying marks. If you log into your account on the spoofed website, you have unintentionally provided your information to a scammer.

When you receive an unexpected email or text message from your financial institution or other business, read it carefully. If you spot any typos or grammatical errors, that is the first clue you’ve been contacted by a scammer.

Also, review the web address provided. Does the URL start with “https”? This indicates that you’re going to a secure website for a legitimate business. Does it have any typos? Most scammers will make simple swaps to trick the eye into thinking they’ve shared the company’s actual website. A common technique would be to replace the “o” in McCoy with a zero. Is the top-level domain (or the end of the URL) correct? McCoy’s website ends in “.org” to signify that we’re a not-for-profit organization. A scammer may change it to “.com” to trick you.

Remember: McCoy will never ask you for sensitive information (card numbers, PINs or passwords) by email or text message. We will also never request that you download software for any reason in an email or text message.

Shred documents that include personal information and financial data when you no longer need them to avoid identity theft

This includes old bank statements, credit card or loan offers, pay stubs, medical bills and more. McCoy hosts two free Shred Day events for members each year so you can safely and securely shred your documents.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following shredding timeline.

  • Credit cards or utility bills: Shred immediately.
  • Sales receipts: Shred immediately unless they’re related to warranties, taxes or insurance.
  • Bank statements and medical bills: Shred after one year except for medical bills with unresolved insurance disputes.
  • Pay stubs: Shred after checking them against your W-2.
  • Home improvement receipts: Shred only after selling your home, as certain expenses could reduce your capital gains tax.
  • Tax-related receipts and cancelled checks: Shred after seven years. The IRS usually has three years to audit you, but, under certain circumstances, it has up to seven years.

Remember: Make sure to store sensitive documents that should be kept forever in a secure location or safe. This includes birth certificates, Social Security cards, citizenship papers or passports, marriage documents and death certificates. FTC also recommends keeping tax returns forever.

Stay aware of potential identity theft and always report it to the FTC if you think you may be a victim of identity theft

If someone uses your personal information to apply for credit or file taxes in your name, that’s identity theft. Criminals may also take out a loan or rack up credit card debt and leave you with the bill. Identity theft is the most common type of fraud reported to the FTC.

Use the tips below to keep your personal information safe.

  • Never share passwords, PINs, account or credit card numbers, or other sensitive information by phone, email, or text message.
  • Cover the keypad when entering your PIN at an ATM or merchant checkout lanes.
  • Limit information you share online, as it can be used by fraudsters to guess security questions associated with your accounts.
  • Keep your devices secure by always performing recommended updates.
  • Lock your devices with a passcode, use biometrics and/or set up multi-factor authentication on all apps that access sensitive data.
  • Avoid using public WiFi networks and secure your home network with a strong password.
  • Review your credit report annually with any of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian).

Remember: A benefit of having a Smarter, Smart and Fresh Start Checking Account is having access to NXG Protect. This service provides fully managed identity theft recovery services and an entitlement to robust credit monitoring.

McCoy FCU 11/15/2022