Saving, budgeting and planning are all important components of financial security. However, we often overlook how financial security applies to how we protect ourselves and our money. Here are some ways to keep your accounts safe.
Common Types of Fraud
When it comes to your financial accounts, the most prevalent types of fraud are identity theft, online scams and phishing.
- Identity theft is the use of your personal information, credit history or other identifying characteristics to make purchases or borrow money without your permission.
- Online scams are communications where someone uses deceptive tactics to persuade you to provide your confidential information so the fraudster can access your finances.
- Phishing happens when a fraudster poses as a reputable company via email, text message, phone call or social media in an attempt to obtain your sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and account details, as well as access your identification and money.
How to Protect Your Accounts
If you believe your financial accounts have been accessed without your permission, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Report lost or stolen debit or credit cards and checks immediately to your financial institution and/or credit card issuer.
- Monitor your account transactions regularly, and report any unusual activity and suspicious charges immediately.
- Create strong passwords and PINs with long, nonsense phrases using numbers, symbols and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Only interact with websites you know and trust to avoid possible online scams
Let Financial Institutions Help
Many financial institutions have services that protect their members’ accounts against fraud. These include text or email transaction notifications, eStatements, and more. Michigan State University Federal Credit Union offers its members:
- A free mobile app for 24/7 monitoring, secure bill payment, and money transfers
- Free eStatements
- Two-factor verification for digital logins
- Card Lock to lock or unlock your debit or credit cards
- eAlerts for text message or email account notifications
- Travel notes and more
You can protect your accounts by being attentive and prepared to take appropriate actions in the event fraud occurs. If you have concerns about your accounts, contact your financial institution.