Falling in love can make you feel as though you’re walking on air, but if a budding relationship is exclusively online, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a romance scam victim.
- You may be charming and attractive, but scammers will try grooming you by flattering your ego. Be suspicious if things progress too quickly without meeting each other in person.
- Watch out if your new friend starts making financial requests. He or she may play with your heartstrings and say there are medical expenses to pay or ask you for travel expenses for a date. Don’t do it.
- Never send cash, cashier’s checks, gift cards or wired funds to unverified individuals. It’s almost impossible to get that money back.
- Resist the temptation to send expensive gifts to your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend. Save that for when and if you meet in person. Even then, don’t spend more than you can afford.
- Private information, such as your account number or PIN isn’t to be shared with anyone but joint account owners.
- Don’t provide your address, credit card numbers or Social Security number to someone you’re talking to on a dating site or in a chat room.
- Resist any effort to connect to your account to an online friend’s, even if they claim they’ll only make deposits.
In short, a healthy amount of skepticism can keep you safe whenever you start seeing—or chatting with—a new love interest.
Fraudsters will look for opportunities to take advantage of people, especially during times of increased stress. As a reminder, America First representatives will never ask for your PIN. We also will never reach out to you over the phone or via email to request sensitive information, such as your Social Security or account numbers.
If you receive any messaging that asks you to do this, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take the necessary steps to request the site to be taken down in a timely manner.
Additional steps that you can take to spot a scam and keep yourself protected are:
- If you get a link from a source you do not know, do not click on it.
- If you get a link from someone claiming to be from the CDC, state or other local authority claiming to have information for you, it is most likely a scam.
- Currently there are no vaccinations for COVID 19 and online offers claiming to sell the vaccine are scams.
- Watch for price gouging on essential items. Local stores are working to keep items as stocked as possible. Price gouging is illegal in many states, and if you see it report it to your local hotline.
- If you want to donate to others at this time, research it first and make sure that your money is going where you want it to go.
Protecting yourself online is important to maintain financial health, no matter where we are on the calendar. But as we look toward the holidays, it’s a good idea to be aware of & avoid these pitfalls.
- Malicious messages: Emails from family and friends invite recipients to click on cards, videos, and animations. While some are harmless, cybercriminals can imbed viruses and spyware—open all attachments and URLs with care.
- Phishing with friends: Many on social media will use the upcoming downtime to network. Unfortunately, these sites are often where phishing attacks take place. Think twice about adding those you don’t really know and never divulge personal data to anyone on the internet.
- Where’s my phone: Thousands of travelers will lose their smartphones & laptops this year, so it’s wise not to leave a boarding gate, vehicle, or security checkpoint without taking a mental inventory of your electronics.
- Downloading danger: Apply common sense when you get games, file-sharing tools, streaming services & other third-party apps. Deploy anti-virus software to detect malware.
For more information, please visit us here.
Although many of us are more carefree and active during the summer season, we’re still constantly online. And every Internet connection your make—whether you’re shopping for some camping gear or using social media to connect with friends on the weekend, you’re vulnerable to cyberattacks. Follow these tips to help avoid problems:
Create smart, strong passwords. Incorporate capital letters, numbers & symbols in your phrase that should be more than six characters long, such as: Go1dM!n3.
Email wisely. Be careful about what you provide in these messages. Never send your credit card information, Social Security number, or other private data via email.
Same goes with IM. If you use instant messaging to communicate with friends and family, the same rules apply. And it’s always a good idea not to allow strangers in your IM groups.
Shop safely. If you’re ordering from an online store, be sure the site is secure. At checkout, look for the web address to begin with https. Also, see if a tiny padlock symbol appears at the bottom right of the screen.
Pay attention to your kids’ activities. Keep your home computer in a community area for easy monitoring. Use child software that is age-appropriate. Limit the time they spend online. Install and use parental controls.
And you can always click here to learn more about protecting your resources.
To keep your electronic space safe & secure, you can take advantage of the following tips to remove clutter, upgrade technologies–a digital spring cleaning.
- Get rid of excess files. Go through your folders, including the recycle bin, and discard unused items.
- Organize media in labeled files.
- Streamline your desktop so it’s not inundated with icons that slow you down.
- Uninstall old programs that haven’t been loaded in ages, reducing the potential for malware.
- Create unique & strong passwords with a mix of characters and numbers.
- Back up important data.
- And please visit us here to learn more about safeguarding your resources.
Cybercriminals & their schemes, which seek to rob you of your resources, seem to proliferate during tax season.
The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers that several threats have been reported across the country. Being aware of them and maintaining vigilance in protecting your personal data is always essential, no matter the time of year.
Here are some examples of recent scams:
- Identity thieves sent phishing emails to tax preparation firms. The messages purported to come from a company human resources executive, requesting employees’ W-2s. Never provide your personal information to anyone but your trusted tax advisor if you hire someone to do your filing.
- Taxpayers have been victimized over their returns. One instance involved a scammer submitting fraudulent refund claims using another person’s identifying information, which had been stolen. This caused considerable delays in refunds.
- Cheats pose as IRS officials and request sensitive information via email or text. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer through these methods and ask for this data. Also, don’t click on any link or attachment in a suspicious email.
And here are some additional tips to help prevent being victimized:
∙Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents with your number written on it.
∙Check your credit report at least every 12 months, if not more frequently.
∙Secure personal information in your home.
∙Protect your computers & devices with firewalls, anti-spam/virus software, and updated security patches.
∙Go to this link to learn how we are working to safeguard your finances.
We offer exclusive member discounts on a range of identity theft recovery plans.
And if you have one of our Visa® credit cards, you’ll automatically get basic coverage for free!
This fully managed service includes:
∙ An advocate dedicated to your case
∙ Fraud alerts at the three major credit bureaus
∙ Document replacement & transaction remediation
∙ Continuous credit monitoring
∙ Applicable to IRS-qualified dependents
∙ Many additional benefits
If you’re not carrying Visa from America First, apply today. To learn more about ID theft recovery or to purchase upgraded protection, visit us here.
Many find online holiday shopping more convenient than slogging through traffic, looking for parking & dealing with crowds.
At the same time, you need to be on your guard when you make purchases electronically. Follow the tips below to keep the season a safe one:
- Ensure antivirus software is on all of your devices
- Check that the vendor uses a secure site
- Read sales, return, and privacy policies
- Keep your receipts
For additional updates regarding how we’re working to protect your resources, click here.
The holidays are nearly here and while many of our thoughts turn to giving, online thieves are focused on how much they can take, with a host of schemes to rob us of our information, money & seasonal good cheer.
Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim during this time of year:
∙ Mobile SMS fraud — Sent via text, these messages contain dangerous links encouraging you to update or install an app, infecting your device with malware.
∙ Shopping schemes — Too-good-to-be true offers and steep discounts on must-have items may originate from phony sites. You could also encounter fake contests on social media designed to get your personal information or proliferate spyware.
∙ Traveling blues — If you’re planning a trip to visit family or going on a winter getaway, scammers know it. They’re hoping to catch you by offering you fraudulent travel deals or sending spam. Be on the lookout for these tactics.
∙ Dangerous greetings — When you get an electronic card, be careful before you click. Some of these contain viruses.
∙ Doing our part — Be sure to go here for updates regarding how we are constantly working to safeguard your resources.
Online security is important for your financial health, no matter the time of year. We’re here to provide you with some simple steps you can take to keep yourself safe during the busy fall months.
• Malicious greetings — Emails often invite recipients to click on a card, video, or animation. While some are harmless, cybercriminals can imbed viruses and spyware in them; open all file attachments and URLs with care.
• Phishing for friends — Social media is often where phishing attacks take place. Think twice about adding friends you don’t really know and never divulge personal data to anyone online.
• Devices gone missing — Annually, thousands of travelers will lose their laptops, smartphones & tablets during the coming months. Therefore, it’s wise never to leave a boarding gate, vehicle, or security checkpoint without taking a mental inventory of your electronics.
• Dangerous downloads — Always use common sense when downloading games, file-sharing tools, streaming clients, and other third-party apps. Deploy anti-virus software to detect malware.
For more information regarding how your credit union is working to guard your resources, please visit us here.