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Keep Your Financial Accounts Safe

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How to protect your financial accounts from fraudsters

The fraudsters called early on Saturday morning…

Josh had just sat down to his desk on Saturday morning, when a phone call came in. A man was trying to figure out why his credit card was not working, so Josh asked a series of questions to determine if he was truly the owner of the account. Each of the questions required him to call up information about his VSECU accounts and spout off personal identification details. He knew all of the answers and Josh helped him understand why the card wasn’t working.

The following Monday morning, he overheard another Call Center consultant talking to a caller, asking a similar round of questions based on the account the caller was trying to access. Josh recognized the name. It was a woman, acting as the wife of the gentleman Josh had spoken to the other day. She was trying to access the wife’s accounts.

Something wasn’t right; Josh could feel it in his gut. He told the other consultant to put the caller on hold and they shared notes. After additional questioning and contacting the account holders, the consultants were able to put an end to that fraudulent attack and a series of other attacks that were attempted on that Monday morning.

The phone calls kept coming in and the callers could answer many of the questions…

Two different callers tried to access accounts through multiple consultants that Monday. Our consultants know many of our members well enough to recognize their voices or behavior. They also talk to each other. And they are trained to notice other small details that indicate fraud. For these reasons, they were able to identify the fraudulent behavior and put a stop to it. They froze the affected accounts and called the members to let them know their identity had been compromised and help them take the necessary actions to protect their accounts.

Fraudsters are becoming increasingly effective, armed with sophisticated technology and all of the information provided by the internet. Financial institution call centers are not always able to catch criminals in the act, and when they don’t, either the member/customer or the financial institution loses out.

How can you protect your financial accounts?

Identity theft and financial loss can be devastating for the victim, and in this increasingly electronic financial environment, it is easier to fall prey to fraudulent activity. Fortunately, you can protect your accounts by ensuring your personal information is secure and by monitoring your accounts for unusual behavior.

Here are some tips to keep your accounts safe:
• Create a security word. This is specific to VSECU and provides an extra layer of protection.
• If you did not initiate the call or email, don’t share your information.
• Never share your debit/credit card numbers or PINs.
• Never share your password or user ID.
• Don’t create easy-to-guess passwords.
• Don’t use sensitive information, like your social security number, in your password.
• Do not make online purchases unless you are on a secure website (https:// NOT http://).
• Do not use public computers to make online purchases.
• If you MUST use a public computer, be sure to log out of your account before you walk away.
• Check your credit report three times a year. You can get one free report per year at each bureau (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).
• Protect your mobile apps by password protecting the app or your phone.

We are diligent with member information, which means we ask a lot of questions and use our intuition, our relationships, and our knowledge of fraudulent behavior to uncover threats before they cause damage. We encourage you to do the same by protecting your personal information.

For more information about fraud, read these articles from our blog.