Our dedicated and professional team at Osoyoos Credit Union has a strong sense of fraud risk awareness, and we want our members to develop this awareness as well.
The more knowledge that everyone has—the better.
Fraud Risk Awareness: Tips for Avoiding Fraud
Fraudsters will stop at nothing to get your personal information and card data. Their scams can be clever, but not clever enough if you know how they work and how to avoid them.
We’ve highlighted a few ways that you can develop fraud risk awareness so that you can avoid being the victim of fraud.
Developing Fraud Risk Awareness Online
From spyware to shady merchants, the threat of online fraud is real, but you are the best line of defense. The key to combating online fraud is knowing what threats exist and taking easy steps to beat them.
To prevent online fraud, you should:
- Keep current with your software and virus protection
- Create strong passwords
- Ignore emails from senders you don’t know
- Use your pop-up blocker
- Download files only from sites you trust
- Sign up for email/text “transaction alerts” from your bank to keep track of your purchases
- Activate “Verified by Visa” for added security
Fraud Risk Awareness Before and After Travelling
Don’t let fraud ruin the trip of a lifetime. Nobody wants to be the victim of fraud, especially during a time that’s suppose to be relaxing and carefree (i.e: vacation).
If you’re in a foreign and unfamiliar country, fraud can be particularly stressful.
Take these few easy measures before and during your travels:
- Tell your card issuer where you’re headed and for how long
- Track card numbers, balances and issuer phone numbers and keep them in a safe place
- Save and check all receipts against your statement
- Don’t leave cards unattended
Fraud Risk Awareness while Shopping
Accepted across the world, more convenient and safer than cash, payment cards have transformed how we shop and bank.
But fraudsters may try to steal your card information and use it for unauthorized charges. Make sure you make these transactions in ways that reduce your risk of fraud.
To help stop retail/ATM fraud, remember to:
- Review receipts before you sign
- Monitor your statements
- Sign up for email/text “transaction alerts” from your bank
- Keep copies of ATM and sales receipts for your records
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Guard your PIN against fraudsters “shoulder surfing”
- Report missing bank cards to your issuing bank
Go Through your Emails and Know Who’s Phishing
Phishing is an email scam that tries to trick you into revealing payment card numbers, Social Security numbers, PIN numbers, bank account passwords or other private information.
Most phishing starts as an email that links to a fake Internet site that looks like the real thing with familiar logos and graphics but is not. When you enter personal information on such sites, it gets routed to fraudsters.
To fight phishing:
- Consider all email requests for personal information to be suspicious
- Do not respond to such emails or enter information on questionable websites
- Check the legitimacy of the inquiry by contacting the number on the back of your credit card
Fraud Risk Awareness and Identity Theft
If thieves obtain your driver’s license or social insurance number (SIN), they can pretend to be you and potentially open bank accounts, order credit cards, write cheques, and obtain loans.
They can also ruin your credit score and make it hard to obtain credit in the future. Identity thieves use a variety of tactics, even “dumpster diving” through your trash for personal information.
To help stop identity theft:
- Monitor your bank card and account statements frequently
- Report missing cards immediately
- Cancel all inactive accounts
- Do not volunteer any personal information unless necessary
- Sign new cards upon receipt
- Shred sensitive documents before disposing of them
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software
- Change passwords regularly
Fraud at Home
Sadly, fraud can happen in the comfort of your own home.
Did you know that half of all identity theft is committed by individuals with legitimate access to your home, such as live-in caregivers, relatives or renovation crews?
Home is typically a safe place, and here are a few tips to help keep it that way.
A few tips to keep your information secure:
- Monitor your accounts often
- Check your credit report to make sure it’s correct
- Sign up for email/text “transaction alerts” from your bank
- Store important documents securely
Fraud Risk Awareness when Receiving Mail and Phone Calls
Fraudsters can send official-looking letters or pose as representatives from Visa, financial institutions or even charities. If asked to provide your account number or other personal information in the mail or by phone, be wary of fraud.
Below are a few tips that can help you detect phone fraud:
- Visa never calls or writes cardholders for personal account information
- Never provide information unless you initiated the communication
- Don’t feel obligated to provide card numbers by phone
- Get details—If the caller can’t answer, it’s not legitimate
- Rather than asking for a “call back number,” research the caller on your own along with their legitimate phone number
What Happens if I Detect Fraud?
Dealing with fraud can be stressful.
If you have been the victim of fraud, don’t be too hard on yourself; some fraudsters are professionals at what they do and so even when you are doing everything to avoid fraud, it can still happen.
If you do detect fraud, you should:
- Report suspicious emails or websites to your bank or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Report requests for personal information to your card issuer by calling the number on the back of your card
The Next Step: Fraud Risk Assessment
Going forward, your issuing bank will do what’s called a fraud risk assessment. A fraud risk assessment is a tool used by management to 1) determine whether or not fraud had occurred, and 2) identify what it is that may present an ongoing fraud risk to the individual or organization.
We at Osoyoos Credit Union care about our members. If you detect fraud or want to bank with a team who cares about their members and community, give us a call today!