Identity thieves rely on some common, old-fashioned techniques to get your information. These include: stealing your wallet, going through your garbage to find personal documents, or sending malware to your email. You already know how to protect yourself against these scams: keeping an eye on your wallet or purse, shredding anything with personal information on it, and not clicking on spam emails or pop-ups.
But what about some of the new ways identity thieves are getting their hands on your information? With advances in technology, there are many new methods for criminals to steal your information. One of the most popular new scams is called “skimming”.
What is skimming?
A “skimmer” is a device that reads the information on a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. The device comes in many forms, and can oftentimes be hard to detect. In some cases, identity thieves install them in gas pumps or at ATMs along with a hidden camera. With the stolen data, identity thieves manufacture fake cards.
How can I protect myself?
- Download our MobiMoney™ app. By using MobiMoney™ you can: turn your card on/off, get transaction alerts, restrict certain transaction types and more. If a thief duplicates your card, and you have turned it off; transactions will be declined and MobiMoney™ will send you a notice.
- Don’t swipe your card at any machine that looks tampered with; appears to be added on or poorly fits.
- Pay attention to the wiring of an ATM. If you see telephone or Ethernet cord snaking behind the machine to a jack in the wall, do not use the machine.
- Make sure your card stays in sight, and never let anyone leave your presence with your card. If you’re eating out and are concerned about the risk of skimming by wait staff, bring your card up to the register so it doesn’t leave your sight.
- Monitor your card receipts, and check them carefully against your statements. Sometimes thieves take out small amounts hoping that cardholders won’t notice.
What do I do if I think I’ve been a victim of skimming?
- Call the police and make a report.
- Contact the card issuer immediately and tell them your card data has been stolen.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – to request a security freeze so no one can open a new card in your name with your stolen information.
It’s easy to go overboard when shopping for holiday gifts, but the fallout from seasonal overspending can last all year. Follow this helpful advice for getting a grip on holiday spending – BEFORE it gets out of control!
- Create a budget and stick to it. Make a list of all the people you intend to buy gifts for and how much you’d like to spend on each person. Tuck your list into your purse or wallet so you’ll have it with you if you come across that perfect gift.
- Shop online. Everyone knows that shopping online is convenient – but it can also save you money! The Internet makes it easy to compare prices, and many online retailers offer free or discounted shipping during the holiday season. Shopping online also makes it easier to resist the impulse purchases that distract so many holiday shoppers at malls and traditional retail stores. (Don’t forget you can earn more Rewards points when you shop through our Perk Points Mall or Superstore.)
- Use credit wisely. If you plan to use your credit card for holiday purchases, only charge as much as you can pay off when the bill arrives. By paying your credit card balance in full each month, you won’t have to regret holiday overspending all year long! Pinnacle FCU offers a number of low-rate credit cards to meet your needs – call today to learn more or to apply! We also have a special holiday loan right now. Learn More.
Bonus tip for next year.
- Open a Pinnacle FCU holiday club account. Holiday club accounts are a great way to save money for the holidays! You choose how much you want to save each pay period and the money is automatically diverted to your holiday club account. If you save as little as $25 each pay period for a whole year, you’ll have over $600 by the time December rolls around. To establish your holiday club account, call or visit us today!
Don’t spend the holidays stressed about overspending! Plan ahead, spend smart and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy this special time of year.
Be careful of scam websites.
Be cautious of the sites that you visit. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fake websites out there that mirror real big name sites. Some thing to look out for is typos in the URL of the site. Example: costoc.com (scam site) – costco.com (real site). These sites will encourage you to participate in a survey and offer you a free gift, you just have to enter your credit or debit card number in to pay for shipping. Before you know it; you will see multiple fraudulent charges on your account. Keep on eye on your bank and credit card statements. For your Pinnacle account, we encourage you to download our Mobile Bank App and Mobi Money App. With our Mobile app, you can view your account, including pending transactions, make transfers and more. Mobi Money allows you to turn your debit card on and off, set transaction limits, get account alerts and so much more.