Even with new technologies and a reduction in debit card and credit card fraud, it’s still important to take steps to protect yourself from fraud. Thousands of Albertans and Canadians are victims to fraud and lose millions of dollars to fraudsters, and yet, only 5% of fraud is reported. The impact of fraud can be devastating to families or small businesses.
Here are some handy tips to help protect you from fraud, or from fraud losses.
Protect Your Pin
It’s not a new concept, but it’s still important to keep your PIN to yourself. If you think your PIN has been compromised, pop in to your local credit union branch to change your PIN, or do so at an Encompass ATM. You should always contact your financial institution immediately if you suspect that you’ve been a victim of fraud.
Set Up Alerts
At Encompass Credit Union, like many financial institutions, we want our members to be fraud aware and to help protect them from people hoping to take their money. One of the most important keys in preventing online or debit card fraud is to set up Alerts on your accounts. It’s super easy. Just log into your Internet Banking and click on ‘Alerts’ and you can customize the ones that you want. Something as simple as getting a text every time someone logs into your online account may stop unwanted access. You know when it’s you and when it’s not you. If you’re getting a message that someone other than you has logged into your account, call your financial institution for help immediately. Another very handy alert is one that sends you a message when a new bill payee or a new Interac e-Transfer® recipient is added. If that’s not you, that’s a big problem and you need to act immediately by calling your Encompass branch.
Lost debit cards can not only send you into a panic, but also into uncertainty. If you’ve misplaced your wallet and then cancelled all your cards only to find it an hour later, it can be a hassle. Although you may be protected from losses through Intera Flash technology, fraud is still not something you want to have to deal with. That’s why we have a service called Lock’n’Block. With Lock’n’Block, you can, by simply logging into your Internet Banking, shut your card off. It blocks all ATM transactions or purchases. And then, when you want to, you can turn it back on. It allows you to immediately suspend the use of your debit card until you find it. Think you may have forgotten your wallet on the bus, in a restaurant or maybe in your vehicle? Lock’n’Block your card. It’s immediate and will help prevent fraud and the headaches associated with it.
Often scams that offer very high returns for little risk, or slightly shady schemes are usually just that, schemes that turn out to be fraud. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Think of Ponzi schemes of pyramid schemes or the more common multi-level marketing’s you-should-sell-this-product-to-your-friends-and-you’ll-make-a-fortune thing. Not all of those are officially fraud but often they are set up to take your money and leave you with a garage full of lavendar candles or extra fortified juice pills that you’re never going to get rid of.
Phishing and Brute Force Attacks
The terms that are being used about new cybercrimes can be confusing, as more and more scammers use social engineering or try and trick you out of your money. They create bogus webpages that look strikingly like real ones or try to convince you to click on links that will either install malware on your computer to track keystrokes, or they may just try and push you to give up information by scaring you to get an immediate response. “Log into your online banking using this link and give us your password or you’re going to have legal action against you!” They keep doing this because it works. And the better we can protect ourselves from this type of scammer, the better.
Changing passwords often, or setting up Alerts and being educated on fraud prevention should provide you with a little more piece of mind in a world that is swirling around us all.