Identity theft is most often a crime of opportunity. If you make it hard for someone to steal your identity, the thief will move on to an easier target.
- Never give your personal information via internet or telephone when you did not initiate the contact with the company.
- Contact the company by other means if you believe the request for information is legitimate. Use public resources (phone book or Internet) as well as your account statements to obtain contact phone numbers or addresses. Or go to the company’s web site by typing in the site address directly in your web browser.
- Don’t provide passwords in response to unsolicited requests over the phone or Internet. Legitimate companies should never contact you and ask for that information.
- Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- Never click on a link provided in an e-mail you believe is fraudulent. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- Regularly review your account statements to verify all charges were made by you or an authorized signor on your account. If you don’t receive your account statement in a timely manner, notify your credit union immediately.
What To Do If You’ve Given Out Your Personal Financial Information
Here’s some advice on what to do if you are in this situation:
- Report the theft of this information to the card issuer or financial institution as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. For Central Credit Union issued cards, call our office during business hours at (850) 474-0970 or (800) 375-2235. Nights, weekends and holidays call Visa at (800) 453-4270 or Pemco Technologies at 1-800-682-6075 for credit cards. Call (850) 474-0970 or (800) 375-2235 option 3 for reporting lost/stolen debit cards after hours.
- Cancel your account and open a new one.
- Review your billing statements carefully after the loss.
- If they show any unauthorized charges, it’s best to send a letter to the card issuer describing each questionable charge.
Credit Card Loss or Fraudulent Charges
- Your maximum liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. **If the loss involves your credit card number, but not the card itself, you have no liability for unauthorized use.
- ATM or Debit Card Loss or Fraudulent Transfers
- Your liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss.
- You risk unlimited loss if you fail to report an unauthorized transfer within 60 days after your account statement containing the unauthorized use is mailed to you.
Security Tips: Avoiding Malware
Malware is short for “malicious software." It includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer, phone, or mobile device without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.
Scam artists try to trick people into clicking on links that will download malware and spyware to their computers, especially computers that don’t use adequate security software. To reduce your risk of downloading unwanted malware and spyware:
- Keep your security software updated. At a minimum, your computer should have anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall. Set your security software, Internet browser, and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS) to update automatically.
- Don’t click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is. Clicking on links and opening attachments – even in emails that seem to be from friends or family – can install malware on your computer.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust. Downloading free games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars may sound appealing, but free software can come with malware.
- Minimize “drive-by” downloads. Make sure your browser security setting is high enough to detect unauthorized downloads. For Internet Explorer, for example, use the “medium” setting at a minimum.
- Use a pop-up blocker and don’t click on any links within pop-ups. If you do, you may install malware on your computer. Close pop-up windows by clicking on the “X” in the title bar.
- Resist buying software in response to unexpected pop-up messages or emails, especially ads that claim to have scanned your computer and detected malware. That’s a tactic scammers use to spread malware.
- Talk about safe computing. Tell your kids that some online actions can put the computer at risk: clicking on pop-ups, downloading “free” games or programs, opening chain emails, or posting personal information.
- Back up your data regularly. Whether it’s text files or photos that are important to you, back up any data that you’d want to keep in case your computer crashes.
Monitor your computer for unusual behavior. Your computer may be infected with malware if it:
- slows down, crashes, or displays repeated error messages
- won’t shut down or restart
- serves up a barrage of pop-ups
- displays web pages you didn’t intend to visit, or sends emails you didn’t write
Other warning signs of malware include:
- new and unexpected toolbars
- new and unexpected icons in your shortcuts or on your desktop
- a sudden or repeated change in your computer’s Internet home page
- a laptop battery that drains more quickly than it should
Get Rid of Malware
If you suspect there is malware on your computer, take these steps:
- Stop shopping, banking, and doing other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
- Update your security software, and then run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything it identifies as a problem. You may have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
- If your computer is covered by a warranty that offers free tech support, contact the manufacturer. Before you call, write down the model and serial number of your computer, the name of any software you’ve installed, and a short description of the problem.
- Many companies – including some affiliated with retail stores – offer tech support on the phone, online, at their store, and in your home. Decide which is most convenient for you. Telephone and online help generally are the least expensive, but you may have to do some of the work yourself. Taking your computer to a store usually is less expensive than hiring a repair person to come into your home.
- Once your computer is back up and running, think about how malware could have been downloaded to your machine, and what you could do differently to avoid it in the future.
If you think your computer has malware, the Federal Trade Commission wants to know. File a complaint at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Central’s Security Measures
It is the policy of Central Credit Union of Florida to NEVER request personal or confidential information from members via e-mail or an e-mail link. In addition, we will never ask a third party or credit union affiliated organization to request this type of information from you. It is our goal to keep your information safe!
Central’s privacy policies are mandated by state law and federal regulations. We strictly enforce these policies. Access to members’ nonpublic information on record at Central is limited to those employees who need to know that information to provide services to you. Passwords and PINs established for your account at Central are not recorded at the credit union; therefore, only you have access to your passwords and PINs. Information that you use to log on to your accounts with Central is encrypted into a secure code to prevent hackers from accessing that information. Virus protection software is utilized by the credit union to protect the computer network from potential hazards.
In the event you receive an electronic communication requesting personal information pertaining to your Central Credit Union account, please notify us immediately at email@example.com with the email address from which it was received.
Other Helpful Resources
Pocket Cents is an NCUA resource providing financial security education for all ages.