President's Blog

by Kerry Wahlen, President/CEO

Protect Yourself Against Fraud

March 14, 2019

At Goldenwest, we do everything possible to protect your personal information with our security systems. However, the principle behind most fraudsters and scammers is that people are the weak link in security. Most often, it’s easier to deceive an individual than it is to hack into a computer system by force. As consumers, we can be the first and most effective defenders against fraud.

Scammers frequently use illicit emails, phone calls, pop-up banners, and texts as a ploy to get people to reveal sensitive information about themselves and/or their financial accounts. By staying vigilant, you can protect yourself (and your loved ones) from fraudsters.

Watch for these key indicators of fraud:

• Requests for private information such as account numbers, PINs, Social Security numbers, online banking login credentials, security codes, and Visa card numbers;
• Unexpected emails with requests to click on links or attachments;
• Pop-up banners with threats if you don’t click on a link something bad will happen;
• Individuals claiming to represent the IRS or collection agencies requesting immediate payment for debts you didn’t know existed; and,
• Promises of something too good to be true, including offers to claim awards and cash.

If you are uncertain about the validity of a call, email, or text, disconnect from that person and personally call the Credit Union’s main number. Not only will our Contact Center employees verify if the communication is legitimate, but they can also connect you with our Fraud Department to determine if further action is needed to protect your personal information.

You can proactively hinder fraud by diligently monitoring your accounts for unauthorized transactions. Goldenwest’s free online and mobile banking systems allow you to review your transaction history 24/7. Plus, you can set up account alerts through online banking to notify you when funds are withdrawn from your account. Our mobile app offers Card Controls to temporarily disable your Visa cards when they are not in use, and immediately re-enable your Visa cards when you are ready to make a purchase.

If something doesn’t seem quite right regarding your financial condition, you may be a victim of fraud. Common signs of identity theft include:

• Credit card and checking account statements that don’t arrive when they should;
• Credit denials for no apparent reason;
• Collection agencies attempting to collect on debts that you didn’t incur;
• Bills from credit accounts you did not open;
• Unauthorized charges on your account statements; and/or,
• Credit reports showing new, unauthorized accounts.

Should you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, contact the Credit Union immediately. Goldenwest has made significant investements in systems and equipment that allow us to quickly assign you a new account number and instantly issue new Visa cards in any of our branch locations.

You should also take a few minutes to visit www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain free copies of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus of each year. By examining your credit reports regularly, you can help determine if there have been unauthorized loans or credit lines taken in your name.

As a free benefit to our members, Goldenwest recently introduced FICO® scores on our mobile app. This feature allows you to monitor sudden variations in your personal FICO® score, which could be an indicator of fraud. You can learn more about all of our mobile app features at gwcu.org/services/mobileapp.

It’s a busy time of year, with several member events on the horizon. I hope to see many of you at these upcoming activities:

5K For Schools. On March 23rd, we will hold our 19th Annual 5K Goldenwest for Schools to raise money for public education in Weber County. 5K information and registration is available on our website.

Medicare Seminars. Goldenwest Insurance Services is providing free educational Medicare Seminars at our Corporate Office in South Ogden on Tuesday, March 26th and on Wednesday, April 10th at St Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Additional information about our educational Medicare seminars and licensed Medicare agents is available at gwcu.org/insurance/medicareinsurance.

Annual Meeting. The Goldenwest Annual Meeting is scheduled for April 9th at Historic Union Station in Ogden. Our member reception begins at 6 p.m., with the business meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. All members are invited to attend.

Thanks again for your support and loyalty to Goldenwest. For the latest Credit Union news, I invite you to follow me on Twitter @goldenwestcuceo.

Kerry Wahlen

Kerry H. Wahlen
Email: president@gwcu.org
Twitter: @goldenwestcuceo

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