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Privacy and Fraud Resources

Privacy and Fraud Resources

Privacy and Fraud Resources

Consumer Education Program

Intro

It's sad to say there are too many people in this country and around the world willing to steal your money, your information, and your identity for personal gain or even for kicks. And while there are regulations that may limit your financial liability from fraudulent activity, clearing up problems can be frustrating, time consuming, and expensive.  

There's not much any of us can do to prevent the existence of dishonest people – they've been around forever. However, there are steps you can take to prevent criminal activity and cyber vandalism from affecting you, your family, and your business. Here, we will expand as we uncover more scams and ways to protect yourself. Read the articles provided below to learn more! 

ATM and Debit Card Security

Debit Cards and ATMs are a remarkable convenience that more and more people use. But, as with credit cards, criminals have found ways to victimize people who use them. We don't want you to become a victim.  

Safety at the ATM

  • Observe the area for anything suspicious before you approach the ATM. When in doubt, leave the area. Lock your vehicle when you leave it. Someone seeing you approach the ATM may enter your car behind your back and wait for you to return.
  • Have your Debit Card or ATM card in hand as you approach the machine.
  • Avoid reaching into your wallet or purse in front of the machine. Someone could snatch it while you are distracted.
  • Avoid counting cash while at the ATM.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, lock your doors and roll up all but the driver's window. Pull up close to the ATM so no one can walk on that side of your car.
  • If using an ATM after dark, make sure the ATM is extremely well-lit and in a busy area. If someone else is using the machine, wait in your car with the doors locked until they are finished.
  • When waiting in line at an ATM, stand at least six feet away from the person using the machine. Be considerate of their security and privacy concerns.

Protecting your Debit Card and your account

Debit Cards can be used three ways – for purchases at most merchants that accept Visa cards, for purchases through electronic Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals, and at an ATM. That means you should take the same precautions as you would for a DCU Visa Credit Card...

  • Sign the back of your card as soon as it arrives. DCU's card activation feature helps prevent unauthorized use before your card arrives.
  • Remember your PIN (Personal Identification Number). Don't write it on your card or keep it in your wallet. Without the PIN, a stolen card cannot be used to get cash at an ATM or be used to make purchases at electronic POS terminals through ATM networks.
  • Carry your card separately from your wallet, such as in a zippered compartment or business card holder. This prevents loss of your card if your wallet is stolen or tampered with.
  • Keep your Debit Card number concealed in a check-out line. If merchants are still using charge slips with separate carbons, take the copies and destroy them.
  • Only use your card at merchants you know and trust. A large number of Debit Card disputes involve online businesses without adequate internal controls.
  • Reduce the number of Debit Cards and ATM cards you carry. Keep an emergency phone list of Debit Card companies to contact in case your Debit Cards are lost or stolen.
  • Do not give your Debit Card number out over the phone unless you initiated the call. No financial institution personnel will ever ask you for your Debit Card number. The financial institution already has it.
  • Store your receipts in a safe place and compare them with your account statement each month.
  • Open your monthly account statement (by mail or eStatement) immediately every month and skim the transactions for ones you didn't make. The faster you spot a problem, the sooner we can stop the loss, give you provisional credit, and investigate the problem. Report problems to DCU in writing (see below).
  • Do not give out your card number online unless the site is secure (look for a closed lock at the bottom of your browser).
  • After you activate your new cards, make sure you completely cut up your old cards before throwing them away. Cut them through the magnetic strip and through the numbers in two directions.
  • Notify us in advance of your change of address in writing. You can do this quickly online by logging into Online Banking, visiting the Account Manager link, and filling out the update address form. Your login authenticates your identity.
  • Report loss, theft, or fraudulent activity immediately (see below).

Please note that there have been some misleading stories circulating the internet regarding PIN reversal to signal duress. PIN reversal is not a valid security option at the ATM.

If you detect fraud or lose your card

If you detect loss, theft, or unauthorized use on your DCU Debit Card or ATM Card, report it immediately by calling 800.328.8797. The faster you report it, the faster we can shut off the card number, stop the losses, and order you a replacement card(s).

For disputed transaction amounts or problems with merchants, the procedure is different. For these, you would notify us in writing as soon as possible. The fastest way is to log into Online Banking, selecting Account Manager, and filling out the disputed transaction form. There is also information on handling card disputes contained with your statement every month.

Security measures DCU takes

At DCU, we use every tool available to keep your Debit Card and the accounts it can access secure. Here are just some of the measures we take...

  • Card activation – When you get a new or replacement Debit Card in the mail, you'll see a sticker on the front with a telephone number. Your Debit Card cannot function until you call this number and provide confirmation of your identity. This prevents the card from being used if it's stolen from your mailbox or while in transit to you.
  • Neural networks – These highly sophisticated programs monitor your transaction activity for anything unusual so we can contact you about it. Neural networks might pick up that your card is being used in Mexico and New York City on the same day.
  • Expiration date confirmation – As almost all Debit Card transactions through the Visa network are made, there is an electronic confirmation made through Visa International that the card is valid, the credit limit is available, and it hasn't been stolen. In addition, on DCU Visa Debit Card transactions, the expiration date supplied must be correct. The one inconvenience of this security measure is that you must update the expiration date with vendors who make regular automatic charges to your card (such as online services, newspaper subscriptions, etc.).
  • Block on Internet gambling – Visa instituted this block on cards for two reasons – (1) in most states, it is illegal to gamble across state lines, and (2) off-shore gambling has resulted in a variety of fraud claims and financial hardship for people with compulsive gambling problems.
  • Verified by Visa ® – This optional free service verifies card ownership when making online purchases. It's designed to help prevent fraudulent use of your DCU Visa Credit Card and DCU Visa Debit Card numbers. Visit Verified by Visa to learn more about this service and sign up.

Phishing and Pharming Scams: Don’t Get Hooked

Scammers use a variety of tactics to trick you into clicking on malicious links or revealing your personal information. Be alert to phishing and pharming scams so you can keep your information and your identity safe.  

Phishing

Phishing is a scam where you receive fraudulent emails that look like they’re from a familiar organization or company. You might be asked to make a payment or verify personal information, such as your Social Security number, passwords, or credit card information. If you share personal data, scammers may attempt to access your accounts, run up charges on credit cards, or use your identity to apply for new loans, services, or benefits.

Watch out: You get an official-looking email that seems to be from your cellphone carrier. The email claims there’s a problem with your account or payment information. You must follow a link to update your account to avoid a disruption in service.

Protect yourself:

  • Never provide your personal information online or over the phone unless you initiated the contact and you know it’s a trustworthy company.
  • Contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real instead of following the links in an email.
  • Report a phishing attack to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.

Pharming

Pharming is a cyberattack involving a virus or malicious code installed on your computer. When you use your browser, the code redirects to a fraudulent website without your knowledge, and the scammer tries to capture any data you enter on this site.

Watch out: You receive an email from someone who claims to have important documents you requested. If you download the file or click the link, your computer could be infected with a malicious virus designed to steal your information.

Protect yourself:

  • Don’t open attachments or click on links if you don’t know the sender or you didn’t request the information.
  • Use the latest operating system and install computer anti-virus protection.
  • Look for the “s” in https and the key and lock icon in your browser window.
  • Report concerns about malicious viruses to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.

What to Do If Your Identity Is Stolen 

If you realize that someone has stolen your identity, it can be overwhelming. This guide can help you take things step by step and feel more in control.  

What to Do Immediately

As soon as you recognize that your identity has been stolen you should act to stop any further damage from occurring.

1. Begin by contacting the fraud departments at companies and financial institutions where you know fraud has occurred or has the potential to occur. Tell them that your identity has been stolen and they can help you close or freeze your accounts. Change logins, passwords, and PINs for these accounts.

2. Place a fraud alert with one of the main credit reporting companies – they will report the fraud to the other two agencies. This is a free service that will make it more difficult for someone to open new accounts with your information. The three main credit reporting agencies are:

3. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through an online form or by calling 1-877-438-4338. Filing the report will help you dispute fraudulent accounts or charges in the future.

Repairing the Damage Over Time

Now that you have taken some immediate steps to minimize the damage to your credit and finances, make plans to protect yourself in the long term. You may not realize all the ways your identity has been affected right away.

  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov and check their resources for specific types of identity theft including tax, child, and medical. The site also provides very specific instructions for different accounts such as checking account, phone or utility accounts, investment, and more.
  • Keep a record of conversations and start a file (electronic, paper, or both) for documents having to do with the identity theft.
  • You may choose to file a report with your local police department to provide to creditors seeking proof of the crime.
  • If your passport, driver’s license, or Social Security card were stolen, you will need to report them as stolen and replace them.
  • If new accounts have been opened in your name, close them as soon as possible. Your FTC Identity Theft Report may be required to prove that you did not open the account and are not responsible for charges.

Over time, you may need to dispute new, fraudulent charges to accounts with companies and even debt collectors. It’s important to dispute all fraudulent charges because they may affect your credit record.

Identity theft takes time to recover from, but by focusing on staying calm and organized, you can regain your identity and financial well-being again. 

Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud 

Credit card fraud is a crime. And when you're the victim, it's disturbing. Credit card fraud costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Even though you are not liable for any part of fraudulent activity on your Visa® by others, you still pay for it in terms of higher interest rates, higher costs on goods and services, and inconvenience.  

Precautions you can take

  • Sign the back of your card as soon as it arrives. DCU's card activation feature helps prevent unauthorized use before your card arrives.
  • Carry your card separately from your wallet, such as in a zippered compartment or business card holder. This prevents loss of your card if your wallet is stolen or tampered with.
  • Keep your credit card number concealed in a check-out line. If merchants are still using charge slips with separate carbons (very rare now), take the copies and destroy them.
  • Only use your card at merchants you know and trust. A large number of credit card disputes involve online businesses without adequate internal controls.
  • Reduce the number of credit cards you carry. Keep an emergency phone list of credit card companies to contact in case your credit cards are lost or stolen.
  • Do not give your credit card number out over the phone unless you initiated the call. No financial institution personnel will ever ask you for your credit card number. The financial institution already has it.
  • Store your receipts in a safe place and compare them with your Visa statement each month.
  • Open your monthly DCU Visa statement (by mail or eStatement) immediately every month and skim the transactions for ones you didn't make. The faster you spot a problem, the sooner we can stop the loss, give you provisional credit, and investigate the problem. Report problems to DCU by going into Account Manager in Online Banking (see below).
  • Do not give out your card number online unless the site is secure (look for a closed lock at the bottom of your browser).
  • After you activate your new cards, make sure you completely cut up your old cards before throwing them away. Cut them through the magnetic strip and through the numbers in two directions.
  • Notify us in advance of your change of address in writing. You can do this quickly online by logging into Online Banking, go to Account Manager, and fill out the update address form. Your password authenticates your identity.
  • Report loss, theft, or fraudulent activity immediately (see below).

If you detect fraud or lose your card

If you detect loss, theft, or unauthorized use on your DCU credit card, report it immediately by calling 800.328.8797. The faster you report it, the faster we can shut off the card number, stop the losses, and order you a replacement card(s).

For disputed transaction amounts or problems with merchants, the procedure is different. For these, you would notify us in writing as soon as possible. The fastest way is to log into Online Banking, selecting Account Manager, and filling out the disputed transaction form. There is also information on handling card disputes contained with your statement every month.

Security measures DCU takes

At DCU, we use every tool available to keep your Credit Card and the accounts it can access secure. Here are just some of the measures we take...

  • Card activation – When you get a new or replacement Credit Card in the mail, you'll see a sticker on the front with a telephone number. Your Credit Card cannot function until you call this number and provide confirmation of your identity. This prevents the card from being used if it's stolen from your mailbox or while in transit to you.
  • Neural networks – These highly sophisticated programs monitor your transaction activity for anything unusual so we can contact you about it. Neural networks might pick up that your card is being used in Mexico and New York City on the same day.
  • Expiration date confirmation – As almost all Credit Card transactions through the Visa network are made, there is an electronic confirmation made through Visa International that the card is valid, the credit limit is available, and it hasn't been stolen. In addition, on DCU Visa Credit Card transactions, the expiration date supplied must be correct. The one inconvenience of this security measure is that you must update the expiration date with vendors who make regular automatic charges to your card (such as online services, newspaper subscriptions, etc.).
  • Block on Internet gambling – Visa instituted this block on cards for two reasons – (1) in most states, it is illegal to gamble across state lines, and (2) off-shore gambling has resulted in a variety of fraud claims and financial hardship for people with compulsive gambling problems.
  • Verified by Visa – This optional free service verifies card ownership when making online purchases. It's designed to help prevent fraudulent use of your DCU Visa Credit Card and DCU Visa Debit Card numbers. Visit Verified by Visa to learn more about this service and sign up.