Community West Credit Union and Fraud Awareness Week

At Community West Credit Union, helping you protect your personal information is a top priority. Below are a few tips, tricks, and best practices to help protect you against identity theft.

Monitor Your Accounts for Suspicious Activity

  • Enroll in online banking: this will allow you to keep an eye on your accounts from anywhere and everywhere.
  • Enroll in e-statements: e-statements will keep your account information private and protect your information from any post office “incidents”.
  • Enroll in e-notifications: we can notify you of transactions that are going on with your account.
  • Act FAST: Let us know immediately if something seems fishy on your account.

Use Credit Union Provided Tools

  • ID Protect: A total credit monitoring tool to help you watch your credit and bills.
  • Card Alerts: Get notified each time your card is swiped!
  • Digital Wallet: Store your cards electronically in a digital wallet such as Apple Pay or Andriod Pay.

Closely Monitor Your Credit Reports

If you check your credit report regularly, you may be able to spot identity theft and limit the damage caused. Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and how you pay your bills. If an identity thief is opening credit accounts in your name, fraudulent accounts are likely to show up. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain. Check that information like your Social Security Number, address, name or initials, and employers are correct.

The law requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting agencies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

Safeguarding Personal Information

  • Never provide personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiate the call. Scammers may send emails, text messages, or pop-ups that appear to be from a legitimate business and ask you to call a phone number to update your account, receive a “major” credit card, a prize, or other valuable item — then ask you for personal data, such as your Social Security Number, credit card number or expiration date, or mother’s maiden name.
  • If you receive a call you did not initiate requesting personal information ask them to send you a written request. If they refuse or you are not comfortable with the phone call, hang up and call the company directly. You will find the company’s contact information on your statements, the back of your debit or credit card, or the company’s website.
  • Minimize the amount of personal information a criminal can steal. Don’t carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport. Leave these items in a safe and secure location.
  • Do not leave financial statements or other documents with your personal information lying around where others can view them. A significant portion of all identity fraud is committed by relatives, friends, employees and other individuals with access to your home or business.
  • Do not provide your Social Security Number unless absolutely necessary. If a business asks for your Social Security Number, do your best to assess their need for it before sharing.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings when disclosing your Social Security Number. Be aware of who is listening when you give personal information over the phone, whether at your desk at work, or in public on a cell phone. Do not use your full or partial Social Security Number as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or as a password.
  • Do not transmit your Social Security Number over the internet unless you know that the connection is secure and you know how the recipient will protect it, and even then only when necessary (tax forms, account opening, etc.).
  • Be cautious and ensure you have the correct number before faxing any forms containing your Social Security Number.
  • Do not record your Social Security Number or driver’s license number on personal checks or other negotiable instruments.

Our compliance manager explains how she personally is contributing to our fight against fraud:

“From working in a financial institution, I became aware of how many people become victims of different types of fraud, like identity theft. Every year $3.7 trillion is lost due to fraud. I feel very strongly that education can help prevent and detect fraud, which led me to become a Certified Fraud Examiner. By teaching how to keep information safe and to know what to look for, we can help protect our members from becoming victims of fraud.”

Join us in fighting fraud year round! If something doesn’t seem right please call us at 616.261.5657 anytime. We are here for our members!

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