CASH TRANSFER AND PAYMENT APPS

When used responsibly between peers, payment and cash transfer apps can be a very convenient way for friends to share expenses or pay back borrowed funds, but exercise caution before hitting “send.” Catch our latest blog post for more on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payment systems. #membersfirstga #paymentapps #p2p #peertopeerpayments

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Image of man accessing confidnetial info. Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the most nefarious crimes out there. Here are seven ways to help protect yourself: 

Secure Your Hard Copies 

Every sensitive document should be kept in a safe or scanned and saved in a secure folder. Credit cards and debit cards should be securely placed in your wallet at all times. 

Bonus Tip:  Shred all aged documents that contain sensitive information.

Examine Your Financial Statements read more

Brainy Browsing and Purchasing Tactics

user entering credit card on tablet

It seems every time you turn around there’s another item you need—and you needed it, like, yesterday.  A replacement water filter for the fridge, new carpet, an extra garage door opener…

So, what do you do?  If you can’t visit your favorite retail shop, you’ll probably go to your second best option — online shopping.

Whether on your mobile device or a computer, you may have a few of your favorite online shops bookmarked.  Online retail giants like Amazon.com, eBay.com and Zappos.com continually update their safe-purchase policies, but have you checked the security settings of other websites lately?  Are you sure your purchases and personal info is still protected?

There’s plenty you can do to protect your info whether you’re online or out and about.

Spam filters are there for a reason.  Don’t disable (or forget to activate) the spam filter settings on your browser and in email programs.  Though you may not receive notifications each time a suspicious email or a website pop-up is blocked, rest assured the spam filter is doing its job.  If you’re worried it may redirect a legitimate email to the wrong location, just check your spam or ‘junk’ email folder every so often.

Don’t ignore update notifications.  Keep firewall and anti-virus programs up-to-date.  As new malware seems to pop up daily, your computer and mobile device support systems work constantly to keep your content protected by creating new protection policies and pushing them through to you via updates.

Be a skeptic.  If an email or link on a website seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Fraudsters work hard to reach you in various ways.  Don’t assume the email you just received from Aunt Rhonda bragging about the gigantic sum of money she won is legit.  Her email could have been hacked.  Look for phrases that don’t quite make sense, hover over links in emails to see where they point and be leery of shortened URLs that don’t give you clues as to where the link is taking you.

Keep your cards in sight.  Card readers, also known as skimmers, can be present anywhere.  Skimmers retain information when someone runs your card through a smaller machine under a counter or concealed in clothing.  These card readers can even fit over the top of a legitimate card reader at an ATM.  The stolen information can be copied onto another card for use by someone else.  Keeping an eye on your cards at all times and being on the lookout for fake readers can reduce the risk of your information being stolen.

Trust your instincts.  When in doubt, make a purchase from another location or website.  Doing so can save you a lot of time and financial hassle later on.

If you think your personal information has been used by someone other than you or if your cards have been compromised, be sure to alert your financial institution immediately.  The sooner you take back control of your finances, the easier it will be to clean up the mess another may have created for you when unjustly using your information.

If your credit and debit card company don’t come equipped with services like fraud prevention and account monitoring, consider switching to a financial institution like MembersFirst–we take every threat very seriously and will work with you to identify where the information leaks might be.  Don’t put a bandage on the issue; get to the root of the issue by protecting your info as much as you can.

No App for Smart Mobile Use

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A recent report states close to 75% of the world’s population owns or has access to a smart device.

That’s 5.3 billion people who are potential targets of mobile fraud.  That’s a lot of private information to keep safe.
With a new way for fraudsters to scam you out of your hard earned cash every day, it’s no surprise smart mobile use is such a popular topic these days.

Think about it this way.  You’re sitting in a restaurant connected to their Free Wi-Fi, slurping tomato bisque and checking email when you see your favorite Bath and Body product is on sale (3 FOR $10? What a deal!)

You follow links to the website and make your selections then proceed to your cart to check out.  You input your personal info, including your email, password, first and last name, mailing address and full credit card information and click ‘Complete My Purchase’.  You’ve saved yourself a little money on your lunch break so you decide to reward yourself with a larger-than-life chocolate chip cookie.  You hop up to find your server—it’ll only take a moment, right?  Life is grand.

You’ve made a few dire mistakes which could cost you a lot of time and money in the long run.

While your sweet tooth had you hunting down a little gratification, you’ve left your personal belongings at the table and your mobile device unlocked, making it all too easy for someone so swipe.  Even if they weren’t interested in your personal information, mobile phones can be pretty costly to replace.

The funny thing is—or not-so-funny, in this case—you’re not the only one that knows you’ve just purchased 3 bottles of Energizing Ginger body spray.  While you’ve been happily shopping away, Mrs. Scam E. Fraudartist has hijacked your internet session and now knows a lot more about you than you really intended to share.  Additionally, she could use this information to log in as you using unfortunately easy-to-find scamming tools and begin her new life—your life.

Even if you do have the most complex of passwords, there’s plenty more you can do to protect your information.  Here are 3 easy tips to follow to protect your info:

  • When connecting to a mobile hotspot, be sure you’re only sending information to websites that are full encrypted. There are two ways to tell if the site is secure.
    – The site address begins with “https://” or,
    – You see a closed padlock somewhere on the web browser page (usually in the address bar or at the bottom in the status bar. When clicking the padlock, you should see the name of the company and a message that reads “The connection to the server is encrypted.” membersfirst website securesecure lock example
  • Never leave your computer, mobile phone or smart device unattended in a public place, especially while unlocked. The number one most common mistake made by a mobile user is bypassing the option to have a passcode/password on your device.  Set one up as soon as you can, make it complex and DON’T share it.
  • After logging into sites like Facebook, FlexTeller and other sites you may have personal information stored, be sure to log out then close your browser session.
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