Over the past 25 years, technology has truly changed the way we live. We pay bills online, access bank and loan accounts online, and make purchases online. While this has created a convenience we have never experienced until recent years, it’s also opened up a lot of opportunity for identity theft through cybercrime. We want to make sure you’re aware of common cybercrimes and how to protect yourself. Here’s some basic information you should know.
Phishing: Luring victims to click on a link to get sensitive information or plant a virus.
Have you ever received an email that only has a link and no other copy? Perhaps you already knew this was some kind of scam and immediately deleted the email. Great job! Clicking on that link could take you to a fake website where criminals ask for personal information. Clicking on the link could also automatically give criminals access to your computer, where they can look for sensitive information, watch your internet habits or plant a virus on your computer. Phishing can be used alone or with spamming and spoofing to steal your identity.
To avoid falling prey to this type of technique, NEVER click on a link from an unexpected sender that you are unfamiliar with. Check to make sure the URL matches with the content of the email by hovering your mouse over the blue hyperlink. Make sure to look at the details. Does the email say it is from Facebook? Does the link say facebook.com or facebook.net? Little details like this will save you from falling prey to phishers.
Spamming: Sending the same unsolicited email to a large group of people.
Spamming can be hurtful in several ways. A great example of this is a “spam scam,” where a criminal sends an email indicating you have won the lottery and requests that you send a payment to cover taxes in order to get your winnings. Unfortunately, the lotto payment is never received so whatever amount was sent “for taxes” is lost to the victim. Below is an example of this type of email. There are several variations, and this is just one example of how a spam email can turn into fraud. Notice how the crook is using a spam (undisclosed recipients) with phishing (the link)?
To prevent this kind of fraud, never open emails from strangers or click on links in an email like this. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Spoofing: Using a fake website, email address or other identifier that looks legitimate to trick a victim into responding with an action that may benefit the spoofer.
An example of this is using a fake website that looks legitimate to trick someone into submitting financial, personal or password data into a fake website. To avoid being spoofed, check websites for security measures such as a padlock in the url and https:// rather than http://. The padlock and the s indicate the website is a secure site.
Additionally, use email spam filters and do not click on links that indicate you need to update personal or financial information. Call a verified number from the company’s website and verify the email is legitimate.
Click the following links for more details on the above cybercrimes:
International Credit Union Day is coming up on Thursday, October 20! This week we will be celebrating the credit union authentic difference by sharing information on our Facebook page about how credit unions help the communities in which we live and work. Here are a few interesting facts to get us started!
What is International Credit Union Day?
- A day when credit unions all over the world celebrate the qualities that make them unique and show appreciation for their members.
- The celebration started in 1948 and occurs every year on the third Thursday of October.
- There are 57,000 credit unions worldwide in 105 countries.
What makes a credit union different?
- Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives.
- We offer the same services as other financial institutions, but we return all of our profits to members. That’s why we have better rates and fewer fees.
- We are owned by our members, not shareholders, so our money stays in the community.
We hope you will join us on social media this week to celebrate International Credit Union Day!
Credit score – even reading it might make you nervous. So many people have come into our branches asking about this mystery. What does it mean? How do I start it? How do I fix it? Before we give you some tips on how to boost your credit score, let’s explain what we are talking about.
- What is a credit report? It’s a report card of your history of paying bills and credit habits over a period of time. We like to compare it to homework.
- What is a credit score? It’s a “grade” given to you based on your history of paying bills and credit habits. It interprets how well you have done on “homework.” The higher the credit score, the better.
- What does it say about me? Lenders, insurance companies, employers, etc., look at your credit as a way to determine your trustworthiness. If your credit is high, you are more likely to get approved for a loan at a great rate, or maybe you won’t have to put a down payment on your new cell phone plan.
Now that you have a general idea of what we are talking about, here are some tips on how to boost that “grade” you are given based on your credit report.
- Pay your bills on time! – This accounts for approximately 35% of your score.
- Try to pay off your debt quickly, and keep your revolving debt below 30% of the available loan. Approximately 30% of your score is based on how much you owe to creditors.
- Get in the game – The length of your credit history contributes 15% of your score. If you decide you want to build credit, starting the process sooner is better.
- Have a healthy mix – The types of credit you have contribute to 10% of your score. Do you only have credit cards on your report? That appears as a red flag to lenders.
- Pay more than the minimum balance and do it early – This helps you pay down debt faster and reduces the amount of interest you will pay later.
What other tips and tricks do you know of to keep your credit score up? Share them in the comments below.
PS – Click here to check your credit report and learn more about credit reports and scores.
Whether you’re cooking just for one or a whole family, you probably find that you fork over a decent amount of your paycheck for groceries. Well, that stops now! Gone are the days of spending a fortune on groceries. Cook delicious meals at home and trim down your grocery bill with these great tips!
- Inventory your pantry and fridge before you head to the store. Make a note of what you have so you don’t accidentally buy something that you already have at home.
- Shop around for the best prices. Compare prices of the items you most commonly buy at a few stores in your area, such as Walmart, Target, Costco, Publix, etc. Find out if you’re actually shopping at the store with the lowest overall prices for your needs.
- Plan meals from the weekly ads. Check out the weekly deals for your grocery store online and build your meals around the items on sale.
- Buy dried herbs instead of fresh. Dried herbs are generally more concentrated and last longer than fresh herbs so you’ll use less and they’ll last longer.
- Take advantage of BOGOs for non-perishable items. Take advantage of BOGO deals for non-perishable items that you know you’ll always use.
- Earn cash back on groceries. Apps like Ibotta, SavingStar and Checkout51 offer weekly cash back deals on a variety of items. All you have to do is submit a photo of your receipt verifying that you bought the items.
- Compare unit prices, not just sticker prices. The unit price is the price for one unit (pound, ounce, liter, etc.) of the item you’re buying. Knowing the unit price can help determine if an item is a good deal or not.
- Print online coupons and use them wisely. Get printable coupons for a variety of items from sites like, coupons.com, smartsource.com, redplum.com and coolsavings.com. Use coupons when the items are on sale to save even more!
- Buy in season produce. You can save 30-50% on produce by buying what’s in season. Click here to see what fruits and vegetables are currently in season.
- Ask for a rain check for out of stock sale items. A rain check is a slip of paper that honors the sale price once the item is back in stock, even if the promotion is no longer running.
Do you have any other great money saving tricks? Comment and share them with us!