How You Can Protect Yourself

Every day you give out personal information—probably without even thinking about it. You may write a check at the grocery store, charge tickets for the theatre, rent a car, mail your tax returns, buy a gift online, call home on your cell phone, schedule a doctor’s appointment, or apply for a credit card. Each transaction requires you to share personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your Social Security number (SSN); or your name, address, and phone numbers.

Unscrupulous individuals, like identity thieves, want your information to commit fraud. Identity theft—the fastest-growing white-collar crime in America—occurs when someone steals your personal identifying information, like your SSN, birth date or mother’s maiden name, to open new charge accounts, order merchandise, or borrow money. Consumers targeted by identity thieves usually don’t know they’ve been victimized. But when the fraudsters fail to pay the bills or repay the loans, collection agencies begin pursuing the consumers to cover debts they didn’t even know they had.

Here are a few suggestions to help you control risks when conducting business online with ActorsFCU:

Protect your account number.

We suggest you create a unique User ID instead of using your account number. You do this by signing on to our eBranch, clicking on “Preferences,” and then “Change User ID.”

Make sure you always see the dual authentication picture.

After typing in your User ID, the next screen should take you to the picture you selected when signing up. Any time you access our eBranch online banking system, you must always see the picture you selected when signing up. This is called “dual authentication” and it is to protect you from going to a fraudulent website. If the picture you chose does not appear on the next screen, STOP. Do not enter additional information. Contact ActorsFCU immediately.

Check your accounts frequently to monitor for suspicious activity.

With our eBranch online banking, you can check your accounts any time of the day or night—easy access to your important financial information.

Sign up for online eDocs

You’ll receive email notifications when ActorsFCU has important information available for your viewing, such as your monthly statements or deposit receipts. They’ll be securely waiting for you online, where you have to log on to your account, using your security code and our dual authentication process. There will be no chance of their getting lost or intercepted in the mail.

Take advantage of our eAlerts (part of our eBranch)

Have email alerts sent to you when specified transactions take place or balances go below a specified amount of your choosing. Another way you can stay on top of your finances—and get the jump on any suspicious activity.

Be informed about your credit.

Check your credit report regularly to detect any suspicious activity. You can request a credit report from the following agencies (you can get a free report once in every 12-month period). Note: the report is free but there is a charge for your credit score.

Use your ActorsFCU ATM machines or ATMs at a financial institution to protect yourself from “skimming”—a device placed on an ATM machine to read your card info and obtain your PIN.

Regarding emails:

  • Be aware of “phishers”: From time to time members will receive an email regarding fraudulent attempts to access their account. These emails are NOT from ActorsFCU and are an attempt to collect plastic card information from our members. REMEMBER: ActorsFCU already has your account and card numbers; therefore, we will NOT call or email you to request this information from you.
  • Bookmark ActorsFCU site as a “Favorite.” If you receive an email that claims to be from ActorsFCU, click on your bookmarked “Favorite” and compare our address with the site in question. If it is different, it’s probably a phisher. Do not continue; contact ActorsFCU. REMEMBER: ActorsFCU already has your account and card numbers; therefore, we will NOT call or email you to request this information from you.
  • Be cautious when you’re asked to click on a link in an email message. You could be taken to a fraudulent web page where you will be asked for personal information. Or worse, clicking on a link could install malware on your computer that records your every keystroke, including your user identities and your passwords. Worse yet, sometimes these programs are completely hidden from virus or spyware scans you may run on your computer.
  • Make sure your transactions — online and off — are secure and your personal information is protected. Manage your personal information wisely, and you will help minimize its misuse.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

A few additional suggestions from the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer watchdog, on “Privacy: Tips for Protecting Your Personal Information”:

1. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Ask about the company’s privacy policy: Will you have a choice about the use of your information; can you choose to have it kept confidential?

2. Read the privacy policy on any website directed to children. Websites directed to children or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their information collection practices.

3. Put passwords on your all your accounts, including your credit card account, and your bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information — like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number — or obvious choices, like a series of consecutive numbers or your hometown football team.

4. Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry to what you’ll actually need. Don’t put all your identifying information in one holder in your purse, briefcase or backpack.

5. Keep items with personal information in a safe place. When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, credit offers you get in the mail and mailing labels from magazines, tear or shred them. That will help thwart any identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information.

6. Consider ordering a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) every year. Make sure it’s accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized. CRAs can’t charge you more than $9.00 for a copy, and in some states your credit report is free.

7. Use a secure browser when shopping online to guard the security of your transactions. When submitting your purchase information, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission.

For more information, ftc.gov.