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Oct 23

2012

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As mobile banking adoption increases, so does the risk of fraud.  Compared to other types of fraud, the risk of mobile fraud is still comparatively low; however, we encourage you to stay informed about fraud risks as they develop.  Here’s a little bit about the most common mobile threats.

 

Mobile Hacking
Mobile hacking is still a fairly uncommon crime, however, if you are targeted, fraudsters could potentially record your keystrokes, control your apps or steal your information.  To protect yourself, don’t connect to unknown wi-fi networks, don’t download unknown apps, and don’t click on links via text or email if they seem suspicious or are from unknown people.

 

Mobile Malware
Although this is possible, it’s not probable at this point.  Experts do warn that mobile malware attacks are on the rise and will continue to increase in the coming years as users move more toward the concept of a mobile wallet.  However, for now; the technology is very new and fraud attempts are very low compared to the more common malware attacks on your desktop or laptop computer.

 

Text Messaging
The risk of text banking involves sending secure information over a very lightly secured wireless channel.  Companies typically caution consumers to minimize what they share via text; however, users often still send account numbers and personal information.  We recommend that you opt for a more secure mobile banking channel like a native application that you download to your phone, like the one we offer.  Search for your financial institution’s app at an official app store like the Apple App store or the Android Marketplace.

 

Fraudulent Applications
Fraudulent applications must be downloaded to infect your phone.  Often these downloadable apps claim to offer additional security for your phone or offer a protected login to other accounts.  Lower the risk of downloading fraudulent apps by shopping at official app stores like the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace.

 

Theft
The most realistic and common threat right now is that your phone is physically stolen.  You can start by protecting your phone with a password.  It’s not foolproof, but it is a deterrent.  Second, most smart phones offer remote access.  Your phone provider should be able to tell you if your device offers GPS.  If you can’t find your phone, you may be able to track it from a computer or another device to see its location.  You can also ask your phone provider to see if you can remotely erase your phone.  In the event your phone has been permanently lost or stolen, you may be able to remotely clear your phone’s contents.

 

Most importantly, don’t store any personal information on your phone like passwords or social security numbers.  If you do use your phone for private data, consider a password and data vault app, like Secure Wallet,  eWallet or Google Wallet, to safely house your secure data.  Again, lower risks by only downloading apps from official app stores like the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace.

 

Don’t underestimate the importance of strong, unique and varied passwords.  Using the same password on your financial apps that you use on your more common apps could make login information easily accessible by a fraudster.

 

Protect Yourself
As always, we encourage you to stay informed about current scams.  We regularly post scam alerts and risk associated with banking so stay tuned.

 

If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud or your account has been compromised, immediately call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.  We can cancel compromised cards, change your account number or add a password to your account for future transactions.

Aug 21

2012

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eStatements are a win-win for everyone.  Here are some reasons that savvy members choose “e.”

 

Reduce Waste
Receiving statements electronically is a great way to “go green” by eliminating the paper waste.

 

Speed
You’ll receive your statement several days sooner.  No more waiting for the mail, your email notification is sent as soon as statements are available.

 

Safety
Using eStatements can protect your account information.  Since there’s no paper, you can prevent mail tampering and the risks of maintaining paper records in your home.

 

Organization
You don’t have to file away your paper statement just in case you may one day need it and then search your house when you do.  We’ll store them for you clutter-free.  Whenever you need to reference your financial history, simply login to BranchLine.

 

Cheaper
eStatements are a cost savings for the Credit Union.  As a cooperatively-owned financial institution, when we save money, we put that money back into the organization for our members’ benefit.  We provide lower fees, lower loan rates and higher savings rates.  We also invest in ways to better serve our members, like home banking improvements, the shared branch network and mobile banking.

It’s easy to cancel your paper statements.  Simply login to BranchLine, click eStatements and change your preference to “Cancel Paper.”

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Jul 11

2012

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Recently, LinkedIn suffered a security breach that compromised over 6.5 million user passwords. Public postings of those passwords were published on online hacking sites, although many passwords were still in an encrypted format. LinkedIn does not believe that any user names were exposed in conjunction with those passwords. Following the breach, LinkedIn contacted members whose passwords were hacked, temporarily disabled their access and required that they reset their passwords.

 

In the wake of a breach of this magnitude, we are again reminded about the importance of securing and updating our online passwords.

 

Complex is good
It’s important to use a “complex” password with a series of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Increasing a password’s complexity increases your security. The biggest complaint I hear is that passwords are hard to remember. Here’s a trick: Using a phrase, you can create a strong password that’s easy to remember. For example, A41&14a is an easy-to-remember acronym for “All for one and one for all.”

 

Categorizing is good
Don’t use the same password to access all or many of your online accounts. You wouldn’t lock your home, car, office and safe with the same key, so consider varying the logins and passwords for different sites to maximize security.

 

One option is categorizing your passwords by security level. For example, sites like online banking, PayPal and investment brokerages may be more important to protect with your strongest, most complex passwords; whereas sites for photos, travel and music may be safe to use with less complex, easier to remember passwords.

 

Change is good
Even if you have strong passwords; you should keep them fresh. Passwords should be updated every few months. It may be helpful to change your password protected websites on a rotating cycle to be sure that you are always using an up-to-date, secure password.

 

Stay safe online by being cautious and prepared. As always, if you suspect your Pacific Service CU accounts have been compromised, contact us immediately so that we can assist you in safeguarding your information.

 

by Nannette, Technology Solutions Group

Dec 8

2011

Holiday shopping for the technologically-savvy people on your list can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, we can help. I asked my team of techies what was on their list. Here are some ideas straight from the source:


Smart Phone – Perfect for: everyone.
The smart phone topped the list for my team as the most basic, “must have.” They were divided between the iPhone 4S and the EVO 4G Android. Keep in mind that although the phone is the gift, either you or the recipient will have to pay the monthly bill, including a data plan. If possible, it might be handy to have the phone activated so that it’s ready to dial Christmas morning.


Tablet or eReader – Perfect for: everyone.
The tablet made everyone’s list. The iPad 2 was the top pick with the Nook and the Kindle Fire tied for second.


You can get the Kindle Fire for $199, the Nook for $249, and the iPad for a hefty $499 or $829, depending on storage needs and if you want the wifi-only version or the 3G service. The monthly service for 3G will run an extra $15-20 a month.


The Kindle Fire and the Nook can’t really compete with the speed, storage, screen size or number of available apps on the iPad, but for less than half the price, it doesn’t need to. Plus, you won’t pay a monthly data fee. Choosing between the Kindle and the Nook is a decision about whose content is king, the Kindle downloads content from Amazon and the Nook downloads from Barnes and Noble.


Web TV – Perfect for: the homebody.
Internet-enabled television is a hot item. The most noted were Apple TV, Roku and Google TV (the Logitech Revue box). It’s a small component, about the size of a sandwich, that connects to your TV with one simple cord. You can stream movies, TV shows, music, photos and videos. Google TV even lets you browse the web and features other functionality, like a split screen for concurrent web browsing and TV watching.


These technologies are the impressive future of TV, but the downside is that they may be soon obsolete. There are already TVs that are internet-ready and you can typically get a lot of these services through your Blu-Ray player or gaming system. The upside is their affordability – typically between $50-100.


3D-TV – Perfect for: the movie buff.
If you want the cinema experience in your living room, you’re going to pay for it. You’ll need the 3D TV, the 3D Blu-Ray player, the 3D movies and, of course, the goofy 3D glasses. For everything, you’ll pay more than $1,500.


Tough Camera – Perfect for: the shutter bug.
It seems that all the camera makers have a “tough” camera on the market. They’re sturdier and more resilient than ever. Drop it from 10 feet, submerge it in up to 30 feet of water or freeze it to 14 degrees – this camera is for the outdoorsy type and could even stand up to the abuse of a family. Shatter proof, waterproof, and freeze proof options are available for around $300.


AirPlay speakers – Perfect for: the music lover.
AirPlay speakers let you play music from your computer, phone, iPod and more without the cords. They use wifi or Bluetooth technology – or as it seems, magic. Prices range between $200 and $1,200. Bose has launched a portable version just in time for the holidays priced at $300.


Giant Universal Remote – Perfect for: the person with multiple remotes.
This giant remote boasts a 3.5” lighted touch screen display and controls TV, DVD player, music player, VCR, radio, game console and more – in fact, it’s pre-programmed for 225,000 devices. For $350, your techie can turn on all the right gadgets, in the right order – with one touch.


Wireless charging tray – Perfect for: the multi-tasker.
If your techie has a slew of devices that need charging, consider a wireless charging tray. The charging tray is a flat surface that plugs into an outlet. You simply rest your item(s) to be charged on top of it. They’ll never be short an outlet or waste time searching for that lost cord again. They’re affordable too – as little as $40.


It’s easy to research prices and features online, but it’s always fun to head down to the store to play with the gift before you buy. Good luck with your holiday shopping and have fun!


by Nannette, Vice President, Technology Solutions Group

May 25

2011

by Michelle, Assistant Vice President, Operations

Several recent news stories have portrayed online services as a risky proposition for consumers.  Contrary to what you may think, using eServices can actually keep your identity safe.  Electronic delivery channels are usually free, easy to use and can be a crucial component in data protection and fraud prevention.

 

Here’s how you can use eServices to stay aware of risks and help prevent being exposed to fraud:

 

Online Banking
We know your time is valuable, that’s why we offer anytime access to your accounts with BranchLine.  Using online banking, you can securely access your accounts and view your up-to-the-minute balances.  That means you are always in a position to know about activity on your account.

 

eStatements
Receiving your statements electronically is a great way to “go green” by eliminating the paper waste, but it’s also a great way to protect your account information.  Since there’s no paper, you can avoid mail tampering and the exposure of your paper records in your home or garbage – you don’t even have to shred!

 

Plus, you’ll receive your statements sooner.  Your email notification is sent as soon as statements are available.

 

Bill Pay
Paying bills electronically protects your personal information in several ways.  First, you don’t have to give other vendors your bank account numbers to debit your account.

 

Additionally, most bills are paid electronically, meaning a paper bill and check are never issued and sent through the mail – minimizing the risk of theft or loss. Bill pay also gives you more control.  You decide when your account is debited and you can even set up bills for automatic payment.

 

Plus, you’ll love the convenience!  I’ll never go back to hassling with stamps or envelopes.  And the best part is, at Pacific Service CU, bill pay is free.

 

Account Alerts
Account alerts tell you about activity on your account.  You can elect to receive email notifications for most account activity, for example, when a check clears, when your check card is used, or when your direct deposit is credited.  It’s easy to set up alerts.  Using BranchLine online banking, click on “Manage Profile,” then “Manage Alerts.”

 

Simply stated, you’ll always know what’s happening on your account – when it’s happening.

 

Direct Deposit
Finally, ask your employer about direct deposit or payroll deduction.  It’s a safe and secure way to make sure your paycheck is immediately available, giving you access to your money on payday.  There’s no wait for a paper check and no risk of loss or theft.  You can even set up multiple deposits to a savings account, your child’s account, or your loan.

 

I encourage you to try eServices to save time and money and be safe while you bank.

 

It’s easy to get started.  Login to BranchLine or call one of our friendly member service representatives – we’re happy to help.

 
   
 
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