For many people, debit cards are the perfect plastic. They offer most of the conveniences of credit cards with no risk of accumulating debt.
But like credit cards, debit cards are vulnerable to rip-off artists. And debit card fraud is particularly scary because thieves can withdraw money directly from your checking account.
Here’s how debit fraud happens and how to protect yourself.
How identity thieves operate
Debit card fraud can be sophisticated or old-school. Thieves use techniques including:
- Hacking. When you bank or shop on public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can use keylogging software to capture everything you type, including your name, debit card account number and PIN.
- Phishing. Be wary of messages soliciting your account information. Emails can look like they’re from legitimate sources but actually be from scammers. If you click on an embedded link and enter your personal information, that data can go straight to criminals.
- Skimming. Identity thieves can retrieve account data from your card’s magnetic strip using a device called a skimmer, which they can stash in ATMs and store card readers. They can then use that data to produce counterfeit cards. EMV chip cards, which are replacing magnetic strip cards, can reduce this risk.
- Spying. Plain old spying is still going strong. Criminals can plant cameras near ATMs or simply look over your shoulder as you take out your card and enter your PIN. They can also pretend to be good Samaritans, offering to help you remove a stuck card from an ATM slot.
Smart ways to protect yourself
Adopt these simple habits to greatly reduce your odds of falling victim to debit card fraud:
- Be careful online. Shop and bank on secure websites with private Wi-Fi. If you must shop or bank in public, download a virtual private network to protect your privacy.
- Monitor your accounts. Review your statements and sign up for text or email alerts so you can catch debit card fraud attempts early.
- Don’t ignore data breach notifications. The majority of identity theft victims received warnings that their accounts might have been breached but did nothing. If you get one of these messages, change your PIN and ask your provider to change your debit card number. You can also ask one of the major credit card bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
- Inspect card readers and ATMs. Don’t use card slots that look dirty or show evidence of tampering, such as scratches, glue or debris. And steer clear of machines with strange instructions, such as “Enter PIN twice.”
- Cover your card. When using your debit card or typing your PIN at an ATM, block the view with your other hand. Go to a different location entirely if suspicious people are hanging around the ATM, and if your card gets stuck, notify the financial institution directly rather than accepting “help” from strangers.
Even if you’ve taken precautions, debit card fraud can still happen. If your card gets hacked, don’t panic. Tell your bank or credit union right away so you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
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A new text message scam is making the rounds. Recipients are receiving a text message from several different numbers that state, “Your card has been limited. Please Call: (number provided in text).” Each number to call starts with an (855) area code. Recipients are told to enter account (card) #, expiration date and PIN#. This text message is NOT from First Class American Credit Union. NEVER respond to any email, text or phone call asking for this kind of privileged financial information.
On August 26, 2014 First Class American Credit Union accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from the Slidell High School Staff. Watch the video below to see First Class American Credit Union’s Employees taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! The Credit Union also donated $25.00 to ALS on behalf of each employee that accepted the challenge. We would like to challenge any and all Credit Unions!
A new email scam is making the rounds. Recipients are told to enter account #, expiration date and PIN # in order to restore their account. The email has the First Class American logo on it and supposedly is being sent from the accounting department. This is mail is NOT from First Class American Credit Union. NEVER respond to any email, text or phone call asking for this kind of privileged financial information.
A Message from the President
Posted on July 17, 2013
As our local and national news are reporting, the news coming out of Washington is continued sabre shaking about how to balance our budget, how to collect more taxes from not only business but from taxpayers. As you have heard there is a great deal of talk with support, to overhaul our entire federal tax code. What would this mean for not only for you, your credit union, but the credit union industry as a whole?
A little background………
The 1934 Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA) stated credit unions receive a tax exemption because “credit unions are mutual or cooperative organizations operated entirely by and for their members.” Credit unions are eligible for tax-exempt status if they meet the following criteria:
- Operating on a not for profit basis
- Organized without capital stock
- Operating for mutual purposes
Credit Union’s tax exempt status has been challenged for decades by the banking industry. In 1998, as part of the findings of the Credit Union Membership Access Act (P.L. 105-219), Congress found that, “Credit unions, unlike many other participants in the financial services market, are exempt from Federal and most State taxes because they are member owned, democratically operated, not for profit organizations, generally managed by a volunteer Board of Directors, and because they have the specified mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially persons of modest means.”
As a member, you know that First Class American Credit Union is owned and directed by you. Unlike banks that maximize profits for a small group of investors, credit unions exist to serve their members, including working families, small businesses, and the local community. Because we return benefits to our members, we are able to offer higher returns on savings, lower rate on loans, and most importantly, low or no fees. That’s why your credit union is not-for-profit and tax exempt.
Now banks and some politicians in Washington are talking about taxing credit unions like First Class American Credit Union, despite the fact that we are not-for-profit. They say we can balance the budget by taxing credit unions, even though credit unions hold only 6% of all financial assets nationwide, and banks hold the rest.
Since credit unions are not-for-profit, taxing credit unions could even destroy credit unions as we know them, eliminating financial choice for consumers.
Moreover, taxing credit unions won’t even scratch our budget deficit. For every $1 in new taxes on credit unions, the government would wipe out $10 in benefits to credit union members and consumers. So taxing credit unions is not only bad for our nation’s economy, a tax on credit unions is really just a tax on you, the member.
That’s why I am writing to urge you to send a strong message to Congress: “Don’t Tax My Credit Union.”
It’s easy to take action: just visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators. While there, you can also watch a video, follow our campaign on social media, and learn more about how you can help us tell Congress, “Don’t Tax My Credit Union!”
Take part in our campaign! Don’t Tax My Credit Union!
Nancy M. Croix-Stroud, President/CEO
**Originally posted from First Class American Credit Union’s Web Blog
If you live in Fort Worth and are looking to get a loan, there are plenty of good reasons why First Class American Credit Union is your best option! We offer many different types of loans, including auto loans, share secured loans, personal loans, loans for recreation, and much more! Each of these comes with the following benefits we’ve listed below.
FCACU Loan Advantages
Fast answers on loan applications.
We know how important loans are for our members, so we work hard to process your loan application as quickly as possible. For those members shopping for a car, boat or recreational vehicle we also offer pre-approved loans that can have you driving off the lot the same day. (more…)