Use a Complex Password
Always use a complex password and avoid using the same one across multiple sites. Note: passwords should be changed regularly.
Sometimes, Sharing is Bad
Don’t share your account information, including passwords, PINs, etc. with anyone…ever. That intel is for you, only!
Only Access Your Account From Trusted Devices
Be mindful to not access your account from shared devices in hotels, libraries, etc.
Always Log Out
Make sure to log out of Online Banking before leaving your computer unattended. That way, no one can access your account while you’re away.
Use Caution with Public WiFi
Be cautious when you use public WiFi. Avoid logging into highly sensitive sites, such as Online Banking, when the WiFi is public and open to everyone.
We’re double dipping here: first, install up-to-date, trusted antivirus solutions on any computer you use to access Online Banking. And, secondly, make sure to keep your device up-to-date (this includes both the device and the browser version).
Be Cautious of Free Trials
You may give your card information to a company with the intention of ONLY taking advantage of the free trial. Then, they complicate the cancelation policy with fine print and you end up paying. Avoid free trials unless you really trust the company and know that cancelling is easy.
Protect Your Account Information
- Your account information is listed on your checks so use caution when writing checks to other individuals or businesses.
- Mail theft is a common way for fraudsters to obtain your account and personal information. Protect yourself from identity theft and account fraud by limiting the information you send or receive in your physical mail.
- Place checks directly in a secure USPS mailbox instead of storing them in your mailbox.
- Use Bill Pay to reduce the number of checks you send by mail.
- Sign up for online statements to reduce the amount of account information in your mailbox.
- If your account information is needed for direct deposit, only provide it to verified businesses or individuals with whom you are familiar or have done business with in-person.
More Online Safety Tips
A few extra things you can do to keep yourself safe. This is definitely a case where the little things go a long way.
Password protect your devices to secure them against unauthorized access.
Use caution when opening emails, downloading attachments, or clicking on links.
- Malicious software, capable of stealing information or damaging your devices, may be in attachments or links.
- Never provide personal information in response to an unexpected email.
- Financial institutions and government agencies will never send an unsolicited email asking for your personal information.
- If you receive a suspicious email or social media message from someone you know, call them and ask if they sent the message before interacting with it. Their email or social media account may have been compromised and the message you received may be from a fraudster hoping to steal your personal information or compromise your email or social media accounts.
Don’t share personal information on social media.
Be cautious when answering questions in social media surveys as these may be designed to glean enough information to guess your passwords or to steal your identity.
Only download apps from trusted sources and pay careful attention to the permissions that an app requires.
- Malicious apps may be designed to steal your information.
- Even for trusted apps, turn off or limit any unnecessary permissions.
Avoiding Identity Theft
To detect identity theft early, it’s important to monitor your credit report for unusual activity. To obtain a free annual credit report, visit: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
To report a lost or stolen credit or debit card after hours, call 800-682-6075.
If you are traveling outside the U.S. (call collect at any time): 1-206-352-4954
Additional resources on recovering from identity theft can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s Website at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/
Stop Scamming, Scammer!
There are a lot of scams out there lately. Here are some of the most common that we’re seeing so you can spot them if any happen to come your way.
Phishing Email Scams
Phishing emails are sent with the purpose of tricking the recipient into divulging personal information. Phishing emails may also include links or attachments containing malicious software designed to infect the recipient’s computer.
Vishing refers to phone calls from scammers whose aim is to steal personal information by posing as a reputable business, service provider, or government agency.
Smishing attacks are text messages that are sent to mobile phones with the intention of tricking the recipient into providing personal information.
Tech support scams occur when a fraudster calls and pretends to be from a well-known technology company. They will often tell the recipient of the call that their computer is infected or malfunctioning in some way and that they need to be allowed to remote in to “fix” the issue. Often, once they remote in, they install malicious software on the computer and then charge the victim a large amount of money to remove the software. Technology companies will never initiate an unsolicited call to a consumer in order to provide tech support of any kind.
Romance or “Sweetheart” Scams
As online dating has become more prevalent, so too have romance or “sweetheart” scams. These often begin with a well-meaning individual making a connection with a scammer on a dating site. The scammer usually spends a lot of time gaining the confidence of the well-meaning individual and once this is achieved, they will use the relationship to trick the well-meaning person into sending them money, divulging personal information, or even moving money for them as a mule in a money laundering scheme.
Work from Home
Work from Home scams are too-good-to-be-true jobs often offered through online classifieds. They usually offer huge salaries in return for doing very little work and they often involve moving money around. The “employee” is actually a money mule that is (usually) unknowingly taking part in an illegal money laundering scheme.
Overpayment scams occur when someone is selling something through a classified ad and a scammer overpays for the item; usually with a check. Once the payment has been received, the scammer will make an excuse for why they over paid and ask the seller to refund the overage. In some cases they may ask to cancel the sale and request the entire amount be sent back to them. They typically request the refund via online banking transfer, Western Union, or pre-loaded Gift Card. Once the funds have been returned, the check (or other payment method) the scammer paid with will bounce. At this point, the victim is out the amount of the fraudulent payment and often responsible to pay their financial institution back for the associated losses.
Sweepstakes/Lottery scams occur when someone “wins” a lottery they didn’t enter. The “winner” is asked to send money to cover the cost of taxes and sometimes shipping in order to have their “winnings” sent to them. If you ever receive a message saying that you’ve won a lottery that you didn’t enter, it’s a scam. Additionally, a legitimate lottery will not ask you to remit payment before you receive your winnings.
There are many scams lurking on social media, one such scam is Card Cracking. Card Cracking scams are often disguised as giveaways, but there are numerous scenarios. The characteristics of the scam, regardless of the ruse, are usually very similar. A scammer asks for your card or bank account information in order to deposit checks into your account, typically through mobile deposit. They will then move the money out, usually electronically. This is all done very quickly because the scammer knows that the checks they deposited will bounce. Once the checks bounce, the victim is out the amount of the fraudulent checks and often responsible to pay their financial institution back for the associated losses.
Never provide your online banking credentials or debit or credit card number and PIN to anyone. Never give personal information out on social media.
Safety First at ATMs
Card skimmers are devices that are typically placed over the card reader on an ATM or on a gas station’s card reader. Card skimming devices are designed to steal the data on a card’s magnetic stripe. Once the data is stolen, scammers use it to make purchases online or they sell the information.
There are a few things to look for that may indicate the presence of a skimming device:
- Does the card reader shift around at all or seem like it’s not fully attached?
- Do you notice any adhesive around the card reader?
- Does the reader look out of place? If you’re at a gas station, does it look different than all of the other readers?
- Does the PIN pad look like it has been covered over? This could indicate the presence of a device laid over the PIN pad designed to steal your PIN number.
If you notice anything unusual about an ATM or a gas station pump card reader, do not use it. Instead, notify the business that is responsible for the operation of the device.
If suspect that your card information has been stolen, contact WECU at: 1-800-525-8703 (Mon-Fri 8am—6pm; Sat 9am—1pm).
To report a credit or debit card lost or stolen after hours, call: 1-888-526-0404.
If you are traveling outside the U.S. (call collect at any time): 1-206-352-4954
ATM Personal Safety Tips
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you see anything that looks suspicious occurring around the ATM, don’t use the ATM. Instead, report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
- If it is dark out, make sure the ATM is in a well-lit area.
- Do your best to conceal the ATM’s keyboard while you enter your PIN.
- Don’t linger at the ATM after your transaction has been completed.
- If you are using a drive-thru ATM, make sure that your doors are locked, and your windows are rolled up.
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