Partners Fraud Center
At Partners, we understand the importance of protecting our members’ safety, which is why we have implemented a variety of security measures to help safeguard your identity, as well as any sensitive banking information. Our Fraud Center offers you tools and resources to help protect your identity, including updated information on the latest scams and the important steps to take in the case you become a victim. Together, we will protect what is yours.
As a reminder, Partners may contact Members about possible suspicious activities we detect on their account, but we will NEVER ask for login credentials. Read on to learn more about ways to protect yourself from fraud.
Five Tips to Enhance Your Security
Securing your account only takes a few minutes. Click on each tip to learn how to better protect your information.
- Disconnect From Public Wireless Networks
Checking your account while sipping a latte at your local coffee shop may seem harmless, but it’s one of the easiest ways for scammers to obtain your information. Generally, public Wi-Fi is available to everyone as an unsecured network, which means it’s not secured by a password or any other firewalls. Remember, when utilizing a public wireless network, try to use it as minimally as possible and do not log into your financial accounts
- Enable Biometrics
While Partners does not collect biometric data (fingerprint, face ID), this information may be stored on your device. Enabling this form of security when logging into important applications, like checking your Partners account balance, will ensure your information is kept safe and prevent hackers from stealing your data.
- Never Provide Login Credentials Over The Phone
If there has been suspected fraud on your account, the person calling to verify the charge should never ask for your username and password over the phone. If you find the person is asking for this information, immediately hang up the phone and report the phone number to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Otherwise, it’s most likely a legitimate call, which means you’ll want to verify the transactions in question.
- Create Strong Passwords
The stronger the password, the stronger your security. While it is recommended you create a password that’s a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, we also recommend avoiding any numbers that pertain to you directly, such as your birth date or social security number. Other than that, make a password that’s easy for you to remember, but hard for scammers to guess.
- Screen Your Emails Carefully
You might receive emails that say they’re from your financial institution, but in reality, they’re phishing emails. Before opening any attachments, look for misspellings that may be prevalent throughout the message. Also, if the email is asking for you to verify personal information, do not do anything else except delete the email. If you’re unsure, call your financial institution and verify the legitimacy of the email.
Protecting Your Identity
HOW PARTNERS PROTECTS YOU
To help protect against fraud, Partners is committed to ongoing security and monitoring of our Member accounts. If there is suspicious activity detected, there is no liability for unauthorized charges on your account. We will replace your card immediately. If there is anything unusual on your account, we will call or email you.
HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF
We all love the access and convenience that technology offers us, but it’s important to be safe and use it wisely. Here are a couple of ways to not only access your accounts but also monitor your daily activity and ensure that you recognize every transaction.
- Safely using your debit/credit card.
The chip-enhanced card contains an embedded microchip. This chip holds information that is encrypted, making it extremely difficult for the card to be copied or counterfeited. Rather than swiping your card, insert your chip card into a chip-enabled terminal to complete a transaction. In addition to the embedded microchip, cards that have this symbol on the front or back of the card, have tap to pay capabilities. This feature functions similar to the EMV chip, offering you additional security when making a purchase.
- Refrain from Giving Out Your Username and Password
Giving out your username and password can put you at great risk. When you do so, you are giving another person not only access to your account but also permission to make any changes without your authorization.
- Update Your Password Regularly
Oftentimes, we are prompted to update our passwords at work or at school, but we may not remember to do the same with our personal accounts. When updating your passwords, select something that is easy only for you to remember and mix it up by using different characters. We encourage you to update your personal account passwords at least every six (6) months.
- Set Up FREE Account Alert
You can set up free alerts for your checking account, as well as your credit cards. Stay up to date on all of your account activity with these customizable notifications, including fraud alerts, an essential tool that can help you quickly detect a potential threat to your account when it happens and take immediate action.
- Review Your Credit:
Reviewing your credit at least once per year will help ensure that what is being reported is actually yours and that it is being reported correctly. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to pull your credit report from all three (3) credit bureaus today.
- Select Paperless Statements
Going paperless—and accessing your account statements online—decreases your chances of statements getting lost or stolen in the mail. Besides, you can view your statements from the last seven (7) years online in your account from wherever you are.
Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
Unfortunately, when it comes to fraud, the landscape is constantly changing, and identity thieves are continuously finding new ways to scam people. Here are some ways that it can happen, and how you can protect yourself.
How Fraud Happens:
- Card Skimmers
A device that is placed over the card slot of payment terminals to scan and copy the card number.
- Handheld Credit Card Skimmers
A smaller version of a card skimmer that can easily fit in your hand. These devices can also scan the card number off of a debit/credit card.
- ATM Overlays
A keypad placed over the original keypad to copy the pin number instantaneously as it is being utilized. In certain cases, there may be a card skimmer and an overlay on a machine to allow thieves to get as much information as possible.
- Phishing E-mails
Emails sent in an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. It is very common for these emails to look like they have come from proper or familiar sources.
- Data Breach
A security breach is when sensitive information is copied, transmitted or stolen by an unauthorized individual. This can consist of financial information or other personal information such as health records, identity information, and intellectual property.
- Wire Transfer Fraud
Wire transfer crimes occur when personal banking and business banking customers are deceived by fraudsters to wire money to them. They use language that might be specific to the person or the company they are targeting and then request a fraudulent wire transfer using dollar amounts that would not be out of the ordinary based on the customer. The cybercriminals use phishing emails and then leverage trusted relationships between individuals who authorize wire transfers and those who send them out. The scam is not just specific to businesses or other organizations that regularly make wire payments. Anyone can be a victim of this type of cybercrime and should take every precaution to protect themselves.
- Social Engineering
All scammers use what’s called “social engineering” in order to motivate your behavior. In other words, scammers misrepresent themselves to fool you into doing something that benefits them. Pay attention to unsolicited messages and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Learn more about social engineering scams in the next section.
Avoid Social Engineering Scams:
- Regulate Your Privacy Settings and Contacts
Actively manage your privacy settings on all social media. Only accept requests from individuals that you know, and limit the amount of people who can see your information to as few as possible.
- Avoid Dangerous and Sensational Links
Offers that are too good to be true, fast cash, sensational news headlines, deep retail discounts, etc. Don’t click on that link! If there is a link that you believe to be legit, then always check the source of the link before you proceed.
- Don’t Make it Easy for Scammers
Do not post any personal information that can be misused by others. Never post things like your date of birth, your social security number, mother’s maiden name, full address, etc. Also, avoid social networking content that asks you for personal information, and never give your password away
- Do Not Engage in Financial Transactions via Social Media
Do not send money electronically to people you do not know. Do not transmit your banking information or personal information for “alleged” loan offers, quick cash, or other such transactions.
- Update Firmware and Use Security Software
Always ensure that your device is updated with the latest firmware. This helps reduce the likelihood of malware and what’s referred to as “zero-day attacks”. It’s also recommended that you use anti-virus and security apps on all of your devices and PC’s that are set to run regular scans
- Be Vigilant and Security Aware
Delete any old apps that you are not using, be aware of phishing scams, don’t use the same password over multiple accounts, always use 2-factor authentication (Set up 2-factor authentication immediately on all financial accounts where available), and only do business with known parties through reputable and verifiable transaction channels.
Maximizing Your Account Security With Partners
Once logged into your account via online banking, visit the Member Services tab to:
• Set up Fraud Alerts for your debit and credit card -From the member services tab, select Alerts then, Add/Edit Fraud Alerts. Follow the instructions to enable your mobile device to receive alerts for your debit card and/or credit card. Ensure you have your card(s) readily available to complete this process.
• Set up Account alerts for your savings, checking and loan accounts – to manage account balances, transactions and more. Use same “fraud” verbiage from above, go to add/edit a new alert, select desired alerts, complete by “adding subscription
• Update your contact information
• Update your account password
• Check your FICO score – Go to member services, select FICO to view your credit score.
What To Do If You’re a Victim
If you’ve become a victim of identity theft, here are the five recommended steps to take.
- Call the Company(s) Where the Fraud Occurred
This will ensure that they put a freeze on your credit card or the account used.
- Place an Initial Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report
This will prevent any new credit from being issued without your authorization. There is no fee for you to place this fraud alert. If indeed you are a victim of identity theft, this fraud alert will stay on your credit for seven (7) years. If it is a preliminary fraud alert and you are not a victim, the fraud alert will only stay on your credit report for 90 days.
- Order Your Credit Report
Go through all of the current trade lines and your credit history to make sure everything is reported correctly.
- Create an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
If you are a victim of identity theft, filing an identity theft report is the only way to make sure you aren’t liable for any of the expenses charged.
- File a Police Report
In order to complete the identity theft report, you will need a police report—regardless of the amount that has been stolen.
- Consider Enrolling in a Credit Monitoring Service
Consider enrolling yourself in a credit and/or identity monitoring service that alerts you to unusual activity on you credit. A good credit monitoring service provides alerts when new accounts are opened or if your information is changed. Credit monitoring is a great preventative step to stop identity and account takeover fraud or at least reduce its impact.
Identity Theft Resources
Federal Trade Commission https://www.consumer.ftc.gov
Identity Theft Resource Center https://www.idtheftcenter.org
P O Box 105069 To order a report: 800.685.1111
Atlanta, GA 30349-5069 To report fraud: 800.525.6285
P O Box 2002 To order a report: 888.397.3742
Allen, TX 75013-0949 To report fraud: 888.397.3742
P O Box 1000 To order a report: 800.916.8800
Chester, PA 19022 To report fraud: 800.680.7289
Annual Credit Report www.annualcreditreport.com
Federal Deposit Insurance https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/
Relief Checks May Be Coming, but Scammers Are Already Here
Congress is working out the details of help for most Americans in the form of payments likely to come within the next few weeks. But the Federal Trade Commission is concerned you’ll hear from a scammer before you get a check.
Scammers, too, are working from home during the coronavirus crisis, it seems, “and they will take any opportunity to take advantage of people — even a pandemic,” says Adam Garber, director of the consumer watchdog program at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy organization.
The FTC wants you to know three things:
• No one from the government will call or email and ask for your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number. They don’t need to confirm your birthdate. Anyone telling you they are required to collect such information so that you can get your check is a scammer.
• There will be no fee for getting a relief check.
• The specifics about the checks are still being worked out.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures most U.S. bank deposits (up to $250,000), sent out a similar warning, noting that it won’t contact customers asking for account numbers and other personal data. It’s important to keep sensitive personal and financial data private to prevent identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself
Be skeptical about both phone calls and emails. Phone numbers can be spoofed so that it looks as if a government agency is calling you. Government email addresses end in “.gov” but some scams embed that into an email address by ending with “-gov.com” or something similar. With an official-looking email with government logos, it’s easy to be misled.
Rather than answering a call or interacting with an email, contact the agency directly. Go to the official website, checking for the .gov address, for information and contact details. Never click on attachments or links in emails. Those are just two ways to keep yourself safer online.
Follow reputable news outlets and watch official government websites to know when relief is approved and to find out what you should expect — and when.
Beware of Other Coronavirus Scams
Garber says that once relief details are announced, he wouldn’t be surprised if predatory lenders make offers to provide money immediately in exchange for large fees. He said he would like to see caps on interest rates of any such “advance” loans.
That’s in addition to existing dangers. Scammers already have tried to mimic genuine communications sent out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Some of those asked for donations. The people who responded either got their money stolen directly or had malware installed that tracked keystrokes, Garber said.
The FTC also has sent warning letters to companies making false claims about products that allegedly help prevent or cure coronavirus.
What makes us so vulnerable, Garber says, is that Americans are both in dire need and feeling fearful. Both of those interfere with our ability to think clearly. Beware of forwarding scam emails or sharing misinformation on social media.
Instead, take proactive measures to help everyone: If you suspect a scam, report it to the FTC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a trusted government site with valuable resources and advice on coronavirus.
Reach out to older friends and family members. Social distancing may have intensified the isolation many older adults already feel, and that age group often is a target of scammers. Calls, video chats or other communication can keep them informed and make them less likely to talk with a scammer to relieve loneliness.
Bev O’Shea is a writer at NerdWallet.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea.
The article “Relief Checks May Be Coming, but Scammers Are Already Here” originally appeared on NerdWallet.