News & Info

Don’t Get “Skimmed” at the ATM

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.

 

 

Spend Smart this Holiday Season.

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.

Keep a look out for scam websites.

Be careful of scam websites.

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales hotter than everJust 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.

Equifax Data Breach

As part of our ongoing efforts to help keep our member’s personal information as safe and secure as possible, we want to remind you to always stay on the lookout for the many security threats making the rounds in cyberspace today.

Recently, we learned about a massive Equifax breach in which more than 143 million consumers may have had their information compromised, including:

 

  • Social security numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Addresses
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Credit card information (for approximately 209,000 consumers)

What should you do next? Due to the high potential impact of this breach, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Determine whether you may have been affected. Through Equifax’s self-service portal, you can quickly determine whether your information may have been compromised. Enter your last name and the last six digits of your social security number and you’ll find out whether Equifax believes you’ve been affected. This process takes only a couple of minutes.
  • Enroll in Equifax’s credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Equifax is now offering one free year of TrustedID Premier, its credit monitoring and identity theft protection product, to all U.S. consumers, even if you aren’t a victim.
  • Once you enter your information in Equifax’s self-service portal, you’ll be given the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier. Click Enroll, and you’ll be provided with an enrollment date. Be sure to write down this date and return to the site on or after that date.
  • Be wary of e-mails that come from Equifax. Because of the high number of victims, Equifax is notifying only the 209,000 consumers whose credit card information may have been affected via postal mail. Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.
  • Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. Equifax’s free TrustedID Premier service can help you monitor your credit—but be sure to monitor your other important accounts and statements for any suspicious activity.

For more information, visit Equifax’s FAQs page regarding the incident. You can also visit the Federal Trade Commission at Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

First Mortgage Tip: Home Financing Options

First Mortgage Tip: Home Financing Options

LEARN THE LINGO.

Pre-Qualification VS. Pre-Approval. Before beginning your house hunt, it’s a good idea to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing so will give you an idea how much you can afford to spend so you won’t waste your time looking at houses that are out of your price range. Keep in mind, through, that pre-qualifications and pre-approvals are two very different things:

  • Getting PRE-QUALIFIED simply means that a lender has provided you with an estimate of the mortgage amount you will likely qualify for. If you choose to purchase a home, you will still have to go through the actual mortgage application process at that time.
  • Getting PRE-APPROVED requires you to provide a lender with paperwork so they can verify your income, credit, etc. If that lender does decide to pre-approve you for a mortgage, it essentially means you are guaranteed to get a loan up to specified amount (assuming no major financial changes occur for a limited period of time.)

When it comes to mortgages, one size does not fit all.
Numerous options and programs exist with different terms, features and benefits to suit various buyers. Be a well-informed consumer by familiarizing yourself with these common mortgage types:

Conventional/Fixed Rate Mortgage:
A fixed-rate mortgage an interest rate that remain constant throughout the term of the loan. Most fixed-rate mortgages come with a term of either 15 or 30 years.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM):
Adjustable-rate mortgage typically start with a lower rate than fixed-rate mortgages, but after a few years the rate can begin to rise and will fluctuate periodically.
VA (Veterans Affairs) Loans:
VA Loans offer up to 100% financing for military members and their families.
FHA (Federal Housing Administration) Loans:
FHA loans can help buyers receive financing even if they may not otherwise qualify for a mortgage. The FHA insures the lender for the mortgage amount - removing the risk associated with the borrower.
USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Rural Development Loans:
These loans are available to rural residents who meet certain requirements, including the inability to be approved for traditional financing.
Balloon Loans:
A balloon loan is a mortgage in which a larger-than-normal outstanding balance must be paid at the end of the term.
Interest-Only Loans:
These loans offer borrowers a period of time when they pay interest only on their mortgage. (During the interest-only term, the borrower does not build any equity.) Once the interest-only term ends, the borrowers starts to pay off the principal as well.

Selecting the mortgage option that works best for you will depend on a number of factors, including how long you plan to stay in the home, if you’re comfortable not knowing what your future payment might be an more. Discuss your goals and lifestyle in relation to these different financing options with one of our Mortgage Specialists. By carefully analyzing the pros and cons of each loan type, you can determine a financing option that best meets your needs.

Speak to one of our Mortgage Specialists about home purchasing options that fit your budget. Call us at 732-225-1505 or learn more at pinnaclefcu.com/myhome. Pinnacle Federal Credit Union is an equal housing lender. NMLS# 423010

First Mortgage Tip: Know Before You Buy

First Mortgage Tip: Know Before You Buy

Overwhelming. Confusing. Frustrating. Are just a few words on how the mortgage process can be. We are here to provide you with the answers to many of your home mortgage questions.

Know Before You Buy. The mortgage lending industry has changed dramatically over the last several years. Many processes and procedures are now highly regulated and require documentation that lenders were not required to collect in the past.

Lenders are also required to inform and send you certain documents within a timeline based on the submission of your application. Lenders and their representatives must be registered with the National Mortgage Licensing System in order to speak to you about a mortgage. Their NMLS identification number is the unique identifier assigned to registered Mortgage Loan Officers should be displayed. Be sure to ask if you are speaking with an NMLS registered Loan Officer. It’s important that you have all of the information before you begin the mortgage process.

Speak to one of our Mortgage Specialists about home purchasing options that fit your budget. Call us at 732-225-1505 or learn more at pinnaclefcu.com/myhome. Pinnacle Federal Credit Union is an equal housing lender. NMLS# 423010