Protect yourself from fraud

1.   Advantage has 24/7 fraud monitoring. If a Checkcard transaction is suspect, a call is placed or a text is sent to the cardholder. For this reason, it is important for your institution to have a current phone number (preferably a cell phone number) available to discuss the transaction.  If the cardholder cannot be reached, the card may be blocked to prevent further transactions. Also, notify your institution when traveling or before unusual spending. Transactions from many known high fraud locations and merchant types are automatically blocked.

2.   Daily limits for purchases should be set at an appropriate amount for your spending habits.  The daily limit can be temporarily raised for vacations, special purchases, etc. where a higher daily limit is needed.

3.  Sign up for Transaction Alerts. About 50% of fraud is found by the cardholder. Other methods of detecting fraud are often too slow (reviewing credit histories, paper statements, being contacted by a debt collector). Check with your institution to find out what types of alerts they offer.

4.   Use online banking to retrieve financial statements. With online access, confidential mail is not sitting in an unlocked mailbox.

5.   Friendly fraud (the fraudster knows the victim – a relative or friend) accounts for about 10% of fraud.  Don’t leave confidential information out in the open. Log off accounts with “card on file” access and don’t provide passwords to others.

6.   Don’t give out personal private data over the Internet or phone unless you initiate the interaction with a trusted source.  Do not respond to emails, phone calls or text messages that ask for sensitive information.

7.   Do not to give out card and PIN information. Do not write your PIN on your card or put it in your wallet.  Do not use a PIN that can be found in your wallet (birthdate, part of social security number, house number, etc.).

8.   Social networking sites are becoming a hazard for information breach. Do not reveal any sensitive personal information on your Facebook, Twitter or other social networking site.

9.   Do not respond to text messages, phone messages, emails, pop-up windows that offer a gift in exchange for providing card information. There are so many scams circulating, it’s hard to stay current; in general DO NOT respond to ANY requests for personal and/or financial information.

10. Do not provide your card information to any web site that is not a secure site. A secure website will have an “s” after the http: in the URL address bar and look for the padlock symbol.  Double click on the padlock and the SSL certificate will appear.

11. Install and regularly update anti-virus, anti-spyware software and keep computer systems updated.

12. Be aware of those around you…don’t let others overhear sensitive financial or personal information.

13. Shred documents with sensitive information prior to disposal.

14. Select more complex passwords for your online accounts.  Also avoid using the same password for all accounts.

Other resources to check out:

Visa Security and Protection

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline: 877-ID-THEFT

Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline: 800.269.0271

Credit bureau fraud hotlines
– Equifax: 800.525.6285
– Experian: 888.397.3742
– Trans Union: 800.680.7289