How to Avoid Fraud and Protect Yourself

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about fraud these days, including from everyone here at WWFCU. That’s because dealing with fraud is an ongoing process. Here are several tips and recommendations to help you avoid fraud and protect yourself:

Monitor Your Credit

  • Check Your Credit Report – Stay on top of fraud by knowing what’s on your credit report. You can get your credit report for free annually, from each of the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Visit com to get your free credit report. Space the reports out every four months, one per credit reporting agency, so you can keep track of your credit all year long. Click here to learn how to read your credit report.

Protect Yourself from Fraud

  • Careful When You Click – As tempting as it may be to click on links and attachments from unknown senders – don’t do it! Even if you think you know the sender, beware. Scammers will send emails that look like they’re coming from your favorite stores or websites like PayPal, but they’re fakes. If you get an email stating there are issues with your credit card or online account, either call the company directly or type in their URL directly to get to the real website instead of a fraudster’s clone site.
  • Watch Your Texts – Scammers are getting even more tech-savvy and have started texting links to consumers hoping you’ll take the bait. Again, if it’s something you weren’t expecting or you don’t recognize the number, don’t click!
  • Protect Your Tax Returns – To get your social security number or get your refund before you do, many fraudsters pretend to be from the IRS. If you get a call from the IRS out of the blue – don’t answer it. The IRS will always send you a letter notifying before they call you. Don’t ever offer your personal details, especially your social security number, to random emails claiming to be from the IRS. You can reach the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490. Click here to learn more about tax scams.
    Don’t forget, you can save money on TurboTax here.
  • Free Fraud Protection – As a WWFCU member, you can keep an eye on your WWFCU credit and debit cards with CardNav. The app lets you manage how, when and where your cards are used and lets you set up alerts that can help you fight fraud. Also, if you’re a WWFCU Visa Rewards cardholder, you can get ID Theft Protection for FREE!

Protect Yourself Online

  • Password Assistance – Use complex passwords that are at least 11 characters. Also, be sure to not use the same password for multiple websites, you’ll be setting yourself up for fraud.
  • Computer Protection – Make sure your home computer is protected with a firewall and antivirus/anti-malware software.
  • Smooth Operations – Find yourself procrastinating when you have computer or smartphone updates? Update your operating system and/or software now! Those patches/updates are not only to fix potential bugs but also keep your fraud protection up-to-date.
  • Say No to Wi-Fi – This is something we’re all guilty of, but it can open the door for fraudsters tapping into your phone, tablet or laptop. Use VPN first if you need to use Wi-Fi.
  • Say Yes to Multifactor Authorization – You know how some apps and websites will text you a single use code to type in to access your accounts? That’s multifactor authorization. This lets you confirm that yes, it’s you that is trying to log into the site.
  • Respect Your Social Privacy – First, make sure your social media accounts are set to private. Second, don’t ever post personal details on a social site that scammers can use to impersonate you.

Protect Your Kids

If you have children under age 18, it’s often hard to monitor their credit reports as if they were adults. Parents, as with everything else, need to be super vigilant of their children’s credit. Here’s how to do it:

  • Warning Signs – Keep your eyes open for collection notices/calls, fake income tax documentation or credit card offers in your child’s name. These are pretty sure signs their credit has been compromised.
  • Don’t Share Their Information – As with your own social security number, don’t give out your child’s number in response to emails or phone calls. Chances are, it’ll be a fraudster.
  • Check Their Credit – You can obtain your child’s credit report from the three main agencies, but each one has its own process on how to do it. Contact each one directly (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) to see how to get your child’s report.

Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you with fraud. Speak to a WWFCU Member Service Representative at (734) 721-5700 or stop by our branch.

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