Fraudsters have become more sophisticated and widespread than ever before with all the recent technological advances. Scams can range from phishing emails to Ponzi schemes, and anyone can be a target regardless of age or financial expertise. Making sure you can recognize fraud is essential to safeguarding your finances and personal information.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re staying vigilant:
Be Wary of Unsolicited Communications
A common tactic for scammers is to send unsolicited emails, phone calls or text messages to try to bait a consumer into releasing personal information. Make sure to read all messages carefully and remember, legitimate organizations, like Members 1st, will never ask for personal information or passwords via phone or email.
Verify the Source
If you do receive a message that you think might be legitimate communication, be sure to double check the email address and contact information. If you are still unsure and want to verify a communication from us, you can visit one of our almost 60 branches or call the number on our website.
Protect Your Personal Information
Never share personal information with an untrusted source in person, online or via telephone. This includes your Social Security Number, passwords and any bank account details, particularly including one-time verification passcodes, which we will never ask for.
Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
It is critical that you use a unique password for every website and app. Creating strong passwords will prevent hackers from accessing any other accounts if they gain access to your credentials. Add an extra layer of security by enabling Two-Factor Authentication wherever possible and consider using a password manager to generate and store strong passwords.
Monitor Your Financial Statements and Educate Yourself
Regularly review all financial statements for any unauthorized charges and report them immediately if one has been made. Be sure to stay up to date with the latest scams and fraud techniques by checking government and consumer protection agency websites.
Even with all of these tips, scammers will still try to target consumers during peak traffic times when a lot of transactions are taking place. Some peak traffic times that it might be harder to monitor for fraud include:
- New Year’s Eve Celebrations
- Independence Day Celebrations
- Thanksgiving Food Shopping
- Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals
- Christmas Holiday Shopping
While organizations like Members 1st may not always be available to immediately address fraudulent transactions during these peak traffic times, there are still actions you can take to help protect yourself using our online banking app. If you suspect a fraudulent transaction on your account outside of regular business hours, you can use the Card Controls in the Members 1st app to “lock” your card to ensure any attempts at fraud will be stopped. These controls also allow members to unlock the card at any time as well.
Scammers will try to pressure you into making quick decisions to get what they want. Be sure to slow down to help recognize scams. Don’t forget to follow the above tips and always do your own research if something seems too good to be true. Knowledge is your best leverage so stay vigilant to protect yourself from the headache of being involved in any fraud scenarios.