inspiring our members to achieve financial success

Tips to Avoid Fraud

  • Check your account activity regularly. This may be the single most effective strategy you can employ to secure your finances and to make sure there are no unexpected transactions.
  • Keep you PIN and passwords secret. These are the keys to your money. Guard them with vigilance. Do not give them out to anyone, and never write them down on a piece of paper, in an email or in a text message. These can all  be intercepted.
  • Use a strong password for online banking. Do not use your birthday, your spouse's name, your kid's name, your social security number, your address or anything obvious. Always use a capital letter or two along with a few numbers. An example of a bad password would be 'sarah.' An example of a good password would be '12Marine!56.' Never set the word 'password' as your password. Change your password every few months.
  • Do not give out account info over the phone. Oxford FCU will not call requesting your account numbers, PINs or passwords. We already have that information.
  • Do not use public computers for online banking. This is never a good idea. Even if you're careful to make sure no one else sees your screen and you log out completely, an expert scam artist can find a way to record your activity. You should also avoid conducting transactions using public Wi-Fi.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at ATMs. Keep an eye on the people around you. Make sure no one is standing too close. If there is anything suspicious quit your transaction and walk away. When you conduct a transaction make sure it is closed completely and take your reciept with you. Do not toss it in a nearby trashcan.
  • Shred documents and old checks. Anything with account information should be destroyed beyond recognition.
  • Know who you're dealing with. In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the the entity is unfamiliar to you.
  • Pay the safest way. Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services, or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.
  • Guard your personal information. Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don't provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending the payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.
  • Stay safe online. Don't send sensitive information such as credit card numbers by email because it's not secure. At the point where you are asked to provide your financial information, the letters at the beginning of the address bar at the top of the screen should change from "http" to "https" or "shttp."  Your browser may also show that the information is being encrypted, or scrambled, so anyone who might intercept it will be unable read it.
  • Be cautious about unsolicited emails. They are often fraudulent. If you are familiar with the company or charity that sent you the email and you don't want to receive further messages, you can unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of the email or reply asking to be removed from the email list. However, responding to unknown senders may simply verify that yours is a working email address and result in even more unwanted messages from strangers. The best approach may simply be to delete the email.
  • Resist pressure. Legitimate companies and chairities will be happy to give you time to make a decision. It's probably a scam if they demand you act immediately or won't take "No" for an answer. Some scammers may also demand you pay off a loan immediately or damaging consequences may occur, always take time to look into who is requesting the money before you pay up.
  • Don't believe promises of easy money. If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it's probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.
  • Fully understand the offer. A legitimate seller will give you all the details about the products or services, the total price, the delivery time, the refund and cancellation policies, and the terms of any warranty. Contact the seller if any of these details are missing, if they are unable to provide the details, it may be a sign that it's a scam.
  • Check your credit reports regularly. If you find accounts that don't belong to you or other incorrect information, follow the instructions for disputing those items. Everyone can request free copies of their credit reports from all three major credit bureaus once in every 12-month period. Go to www.ftc.gov/credit for more details. You don't have to ask all three credit bureaus for your reports at the same time, you can stagger your requests if you prefer. It's a good idea to get your credit report once every four months so you can monitor your credit report throughout the entire year. Do not contact the credit bureaus directly for these annual reports. They are available by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.