Credit union informs: 7 Ways to Protect Your Identity While on Vacation

shutterstock_228227842-smallSummer vacation season is finally here. While there is a lot to look forward to like relaxing with your family or making a trip to the beach, it's also a prime time of year for identity thieves. 

Here are a few tips from NerdWallet that can help protect your identity while on vacation:
  1. Sign up for bank fraud alerts. A simple text or email notification can help notify you of any suspicious activity on your account while you're away.  
  2. Be careful surfing on public Wi-Fi spots. Hackers may be able to access public networks and see any information you send over them, so be careful not to send sensitive data (like usernames or passwords) while connected to public Wi-Fi.  
  3. Install phone-tracker software. If your device goes missing, you may be able to use "Find my iPhone" or similar software to pinpoint your device's exact location. 
  4. Keep your purse or wallet secure. If you carry a purse or wallet, make sure to keep it in front of you. This makes it much harder for thieves to steal your belongings. 
  5. Be careful around ATMs. Look for skimmers on the ATM prior to using. Skimmers can steal the data from your card, allowing thieves to make counterfeit cards.
  6. Watch out for fake front desk calls. Thieves will often times call hotel rooms asking you to confirm sensitive details about your credit/debit card. If this happens, hang up and call the front desk staff to see if they really need this information. If not, you may have just stopped an identity thief. 
  7. Leave your important financial files at home. Social Security cards as well as credit and debit cards that you do not plan to use should be left at home while you're on vacation. 

Your summer vacation should be a time to relax, not stress, so take the steps now to avoid crossing paths with an identity thief. 

Summer Loan Sale

Credit union informs: Home Depot confirms breach

Home Depot has confirmed that a data breach occurred on their payment data systems in their stores in the United States and Canada and dates back to April 2014. Home Depot

Home Depot is offering free services including credit monitoring, identity monitoring and an identity theft insurance policy for anyone who shopped at a store since April 2014. Currently, they believe online shopping was not impacted. For more information about these services, please visit https://homedepot.allclearid.com/.
 
According to Krebs on Security, a massive amount of credit and debit card numbers went on sale on the black market September 2nd. Some news outlets estimate that as many as 60 million debit and credit card accounts were compromised. In addition, reports have mentioned that this is a variant of the same malware that caused the Target breach, affecting 40 million card numbers, in 4Q 2013.

What can you do?

  • Closely monitor your accounts for suspicious transactions, and report them immediately by contacting the Unity One Member Contact Center at 1-800-628-5517 or notifying us online.
  • Sign up for e-alerts through home banking. If you are an e-statement user, you can sign up to receive free e-mail or text message alerts, notifying you of low balances, unauthorized account activity, routine withdrawals or deposits and much more.

Here are some helpful links for more information:

Home Depot Official Press Release

Home Depot Official FAQs

CNN Article on Home Depot Breach

Credit union informs: Prevent ID theft

Protecting oneself from theft used to be as basic as securing the doors and windows of your home. But in today’s modern age, an enterprising thief can take control of your assets without breaking a window. Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), approximately nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

So how do you secure your personal identity?Shredder

Clues to your personal and financial information are often buried throughout your personal paperwork and mail. One search through your mailbox or trash could garner enough evidence for a thief to take control of your identity- and your finances. Thieves use credit cards, financial statements and utility bills to obtain and exploit that personal information.

The first line of defense is to destroy documents that contain your personal information before anyone can access it. Private documents and credit or debit cards, which contain sensitive information, should be destroyed once you no longer need them.

Here are four suggestions for properly destroying those personal documents:

Shredding

A paper shredder will transform your documents into unidentifiable strips of paper. If you don’t have a shredder, but there’s one at your workplace, check with your management to know if it’s okay for you use it for your personal paperwork. If not, there are several organizations throughout most communities that host “shred days” by partnering with firms who specialize in secure on-site shredding. Or you can purchase a pair of multi cut scissors to shred your documents by hand.

Fire

Reducing your documents to a pile of ash is a surefire (ha ha!) way to destroy them. Use documents as kindling, or add them to a fireplace, wood burning stove, or bonfire. You can add other scrap paper to the fire to confuse anyone who may be looking through the ashes for pieces of documents that may not have fully burned.

Water

A good soaking will render any document illegible. Simply immerse a stack of junk mail in a tub filled with water before dumping it.

Confetti

This option is more time consuming, but it can be a great rainy day activity. If only a small area of a document contains sensitive information, hole punching that area will make the document useless, and you’ll get lots of homemade confetti.

Expired credit cards are still critical, and need to be disposed of properly. Rubbing a magnet across the card a few times will disable the magnetic strip on the back. You should also cut the card into pieces, making sure that each set of four numbers is cut in at least two places. Then smash the chip (if applicable) and dispose of the pieces in different garbage bags

Using these basic steps to destroy your personal documents can protect your information, and your finances. As a general rule, it is better to have as few physical documents on file as possible. Switch to online banking, and opt-out of paper statements. Keeping your finances digital will help simplify your daily chores and help protect you from fraud.

Look for Unity One Credit Union's final 2013 Shred Day December 19 at the North Richland Hills branch.

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