Member Security &
Fraud Prevention Tips
Learn about common ways your ID can be stolen and how you can protect yourself
Start by watching this video about Identity Theft. It includes helpful information including:
Safety First: Fraud Prevention Checklist
While nearly all merchants and organizations have anti-fraud security measures in place, recent high-exposure breach events at major companies have shown that it’s difficult to completely prevent fraud for even the most sophisticated defense systems.
That said, as a savvy individual, there are things you can do to both reduce your risk of experiencing fraud and minimize any potential fraud loss.
Follow this fraud prevention checklist of things you can do today to remain safe on an everyday basis:
- Log into uOnline and update the contact information connected to your Unitus account. Make sure your phone, email, and street address are all up to date so we can contact you quickly in case of any suspicious activity from fraudsters. Early detection is the most effective way to limit or eliminate loss. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, learn more about what rights you have.
- Enroll in Fraud Text Alerts. Once you do, we can notify you instantly via SMS text of any suspicious activity on your account. Again, early detection is crucial.
- Download the Unitus Card Guard mobile app. The app allows you to turn off or turn on your card instantly to ensure only you can access your card. It lets you set spending alerts and receive instant notifications of account activity to make sure you are in complete control of your card.
If your Unitus card is ever at risk of being compromised due to a security breach at a merchant, such as Target or Home Depot, rest assured we will act swiftly.
We will contact you to inform you of the merchant breach. We will then walk you through the process of canceling your card and issuing you a new one to protect your data and your finances.
When you feel secure and confident, you’re more able to serve your family, your community, and yourself. We’re here to help.
Unitus employs state of the art systems to protect your financial information. Here are a few of the fraud prevention tools working to keep you safe.
Falcon Fraud Protection
Every Unitus credit or debit card comes with Falcon Fraud protection, notifying us immediately of suspicious activity to your account.
Fraud Text Alerts
Sign up for Fraud Text Alerts! It’s easy, fast, and helps you stay in control in case of fraud.
Firewalls, encrypted transmissions, and constantly improving anti-virus technology all work together to keep your account information safe.
How to keep your credit & debit card safe
Here are some ways you can keep your credit and debit cards secure.
- Download the Unitus Card Guard mobile app.
- Sign up for Unitus fraud text alerts.
- Sign your new credit or debit card immediately after receiving it.
- Never carry your PIN and card together. If you can memorize your PIN, shred any documents containing the number. If you prefer to have a reference copy, store it in a different place from your card.
- Shred or cut up your old cards as soon as they expire or are no longer active.
- Shred any receipts of purchases made using your card.
- If you suspect your card is lost or stolen, report it to Unitus immediately.
Ways to keep your computer safe
For fraudsters, your computer can be a gateway to personal information. Stay secure with these steps.
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware on your computer. There are many products available to deter criminals from accessing your personal information through your computer.
- Add a firewall to your computer to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your system.
- Install all software fixes (also called “service packs”) available for your computer programs as soon as possible. These often fix newly discovered security weaknesses.
- Use a current web browser. The newer the version, the more likely it is to keep you safe online.
- Activate a pop-up blocking tool. Pop-ups are still a favorite of fraudsters, hiding malicious software behind enticing offers like promises of cash or other prizes.
Steps to keep your mobile device safe
Minimize your mobile risk with these steps:
- Keep your device software up to date for the latest security protection.
- Use a PIN or password to unlock your device. Make it different from your other passwords.
- Use a biometric login if your device has a fingerprint sensor.
- Only download apps from reputable sources such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
- Be suspicious of email and social media requests from strangers. Social media sites are a favorite target for fraudsters.
- Always look for “https” in the URL when browsing or shopping online. This indicates an added level of security for that site.
- Don’t open text messages if you’re uncertain of the source. The message may contain malicious software that could compromise your device. When in doubt, delete the text.
General security habits to help keep you safe
- Common types of fraud to be on the lookout for.
- Keep personal or account information tucked away in a single place where only you and trusted individuals know where to find it.
- Provide information only to trusted sources. Never give information to individuals with whom you did not initiate the contact, or have not confirmed their business or identity.
- Reduce the amount of mail sent to you. Envelopes can be stolen from your mailbox or trash. Choose electronic statement options (Unitus offers this service through uOnline or over the phone at our contact center).
- Opt-out of pre-approved credit offers by calling (888) 567-8688 or visiting optoutprescreen.com.
- Frequently monitor your account statements and history online for unauthorized transactions.
- Check your credit report for discrepancies on a regular basis. You can obtain a free credit report from each reporting agency once a year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Gift card scams
Fraudsters are always on the hunt for ways to scam consumers out of their hard-earned money, that includes gift cards too either bought online or in stores! Here are a few of the most common types of gift card scams:
Fake Online Listings Scam
You find an item advertised online such as concert or event tickets, a vehicle, pet, or rental property and are instructed to make a payment using a branded gift cards sold online, and provide your claim codes via email or phone. The item is often priced far below market value and the seller may claim they need to sell the item quickly because of a life event that creates a sense of urgency, such as moving, divorce, death of a loved one, or military deployment. The scammer also may claim that following a payment for the goods, you will receive the item and may even end a fake receipt. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly; no legitimate seller would require you to pay for the item in gift cards.
You receive an unexpected/unsolicited email or text message from your boss or a leader in an organization you are involved in requesting that you purchase branded gift cards and send the cards or the claim codes to that person. Typically, the message will say that the gift cards will be used for some purpose within the company (e.g., employee incentives, client appreciation, charitable donations). The scammer may claim they are out of town, in a conference call, or otherwise engaged and that is why they need you to make the purchase for them.
We suggest you immediately try to contact your boss or the leaders of your organization directly using a phone number/email that you know is theirs. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly.
Unsolicited phone call from scammers claiming to be from Unitus
Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they’re someone who can be trusted. The practice is called “caller ID spoofing,” and scammers can fake anyone’s phone number. You may receive an unsolicited call from someone stating they are a member of Unitus’ Member Service Department. They may say your account is frozen and you need to purchase a Unitus or branded gift card(s) and provide the claim codes over the phone in order to remove the freeze on your account. Other things they might ask for are your Unitus uOnline password, full credit card ID or credit union account number.
Unitus will never call or ask for sensitive information such as your account number, password, card number, PIN or 3-digit security code. If you receive a call, text, or email from someone claiming to represent Unitus requesting this information, please do not respond.
Family emergency scams
You receive an unexpected phone call or unsolicited email from an individual claiming to be a lawyer, law enforcement agent, hospital employee, or other representative for a family member in distress who needs your immediate financial help. Some callers may even try to impersonate your family member or friend. You may be instructed to purchase Unitus gift cards or another branded gift card to resolve the situation.
We suggest immediately contacting your family member directly using a phone number that you know is theirs, or contact another relative who can assist you. Always be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and demands money quickly.
Unpaid debt and tax scams
You receive an unexpected phone call or unsolicited email to make a payment for taxes, fines, bail money, utility bills, or other unexpected fees. The scammer may claim you owe a past due amount as a result of miscalculation of your taxes; or the scammer may claim that you are owed a tax refund, prize, or rebate but must first make a payment for administrative fees with a gift card.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, you should never give out personal information. Report the call to the IRS using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or by calling the IRS at 1.800.366.4484.
Job offer scams
You receive an unexpected phone call suggesting you apply for a Unitus job where you can work from home. You may be told that you can work your own hours, and make thousands of dollars a month. Once the scammer informs you that you’ve received a job offer, they may request that you pay a start-up fee or purchase a starter kit with a Unitus gift card.
We recommend that you do not respond to employment opportunities from cold-callers, over email, or on websites claiming to be affiliated with Unitus. Any Unitus job opportunities will be posted on the Unitus Careers page, and will not require you to purchase equipment or pay any initiation fees.
How to Report Fraud/Scams
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To learn more about common gift card scams, visit FTC.gov/giftcards. To file a complaint, visit https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, D.C. 20580
If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, or you want to find information on where to report in locations outside the United States, visit http://www.econsumer.gov.
You may also visit our Contact Us page and submit an inquiry form, just select ‘Suspicious activity on my account’ from the drop-down. If you are contacting us via personal email, please have you email’s subject line read: ‘Suspicious activity on my account’. This will help our staff assist you.
Staying Safe In The Cloud
The cloud is becoming more and more ubiquitous in our everyday lives – you might have your calendar in the cloud, plenty of personal information in the cloud, nearly your whole life in the cloud!
Watch this 4-minute video to find out how to keep yourself safe when using the cloud.