Prevention is Essential to Deal with Identity Theft and Fraud

John LundBy John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

Data breaches and fraud are, unfortunately, becoming far too commonplace. In fact, identity theft reportedly occurs every two seconds. Capital One recently suffered a compromise that affected over 100 million people. Numerous large-scale retailers, as well as sophisticated technology companies, have fallen victim to hackers and online criminals. Indeed, most of us have felt the impact of a breach or identity theft in one form or another.

It’s important we all take steps to protect our information and identity. To follow are some simple suggestions for preventing fraud:

  1. Don’t offer sensitive info, including your Social Security number, to an unknown person or business. Oftentimes fraud perpetrators will claim to represent merchants, government agencies, or financial institutions. If you’re suspicious, hang up or log off. And remember, America First Credit Union will never contact you and ask for a PIN or password.
  2. Never click email hyperlinks or enter personal data – unless you sent the initial message or you’re confident about the company or individual with whom you’re doing business. Scammers are experts at making these communications appear legitimate. Delete anything that raises red flags.
  3. Refuse requests to wire strangers money. Although sometimes intriguing and convincing, such a story is probably a hoax.
  4. Create complex passwords, avoiding common names and sequential numbers. Make them at least eight characters long, mixing lower & uppercase letters, numbers, and special punctuation marks. Consider a program such as RoboForm, LastPass or SplashID to track different unique passwords, and use two-factor authentication when it’s offered.
  5. Install antivirus and spyware protection on your devices, then enable the auto-updating features.
  6. Resist the urge to download software from pop-up windows.
  7. Regularly monitor your statements and account activity. Report potentially fraudulent charges immediately.
  8. Use Card Guard® mobile security. This app gives you complete control of how, when & where your Visa® credit and debit cards are used.
  9. Identity theft recovery services are a free benefit for members with America First Visa credit cards. You’ll gain additional peace of mind, as the coverage applies to all accounts held by you and your dependents still living at home. This also provides significant savings, as comparable recovery services are $25 to $50 per month if purchased from other sources.

Remaining vigilant in monitoring your finances, safeguarding your resources, and selecting trusted partners is essential in achieving financial health. We’re proud you’ve chosen America First. We appreciate the opportunity to serve and look forward to a lifelong relationship.