Protecting your computer means more than just signing-out of websites. To help prevent malware (e.g., viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware) from invading your computer, install and update anti-virus and Internet security software. Regularly scan your computer to make sure it’s free from malware and help avoid performance issues and lost data.
Download the latest authorized system and application updates, which may include security patches. Use spy-ware detection software tools to identify and delete unknown code that may monitor and collect your keystrokes and send personal information to third parties.
Enable an updated firewall, especially when using DSL or a cable modem to access the Internet. Always sign out and close your browser after using a secure website.
When you use Online Banking, type the entire www.tdecu.org address directly into your browser. Avoid completing online forms in unsolicited email messages that ask for financial information. If your security software identifies malware on your computer, remove it and immediately change your Online Banking password.
When your computer is not in use, consider shutting it down or disconnecting it from the Internet.
Home Wireless Security Tips
Home safety comes from locked doors and other precautions. Keep your wireless connections just as secure by following a few simple steps. Review your wireless online help guide for more detailed instructions.
Change your Service Set Identifier (SSID), the default “address” that identifies your wireless connection. Hackers know the most common SSIDs and changing your SSID can thwart their efforts.
Check your SSID features and disable SSID Broadcast. SSID Broadcast allows others to find your wireless connection and gain unauthorized access to your network.
Control Access Point Coverage to lessen the opportunity for others to use your network and gain access to your information. If possible, use directional antennas at the perimeter directing their broadcasting inward. Radio signals used to broadcast your wireless network are visible to others trying to use your network. Any wireless signal that spills outside of the desired area could provide an opportunity for a hacker to access the network without entering the premises.
Turn on the encryption feature. The signal from your wireless network is broadcast throughout your surrounding area. Encrypting data allows only the intended recipient to access the information you’re sending.
Change the default password on a regular basis. Many people use familiar passwords that hackers easily access. Combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols changed frequently are the best defense against this type of system hacking.
If your wireless network is tied to a MAC, enable MAC filtering to prevent or permit specific PCs to access your wireless network.Disable File and Print Sharing features to limit the ability to steal data or commandeer resources if encryption is bypassed.
These suggestions should reduce the likelihood of security breaches but do not guarantee total wireless security. Guard your information carefully and know what to do in the event that your wireless network is hacked.
Phishing and Internet Related Fraud
Phishing is a common type of scam that usually involves a spammed email message, phone call, voicemail, or text message being sent to illegally capture your personal information. The messages may appear to come from legitimate companies such as banks, credit card companies, government agencies, or Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Phishing scams may carry urgent-sounding information. The content may claim that your account will close if you do not confirm or authenticate your personal information immediately. It may claim that the bank has lost important security information that needs to be updated or it might request that you update this information online and provide you with a link or internet address to a counterfeit Web site.
If you receive a suspicious message, do not click on any links, open any file attachments, return phone calls, or use an internet address provided in a text message. TDECU will never send emails requesting personal information --because of potential fraud with Online Banking and other accounts -- or attach files that are not expected.
Simple steps to help avoid phishing scams:
- Be aware of any unsolicited message that asks you to enter personal information
- Be on the look out for improper grammar and misspellings
- Never open an email or attachment, or click any links from an unknown or suspicious sender
- Never log in to your account through a link or internet address provided in an email or text message
- Be selective when providing your email address to sources you are unsure of
- Only enter your credit card information on sites that have the "lock" icon at the bottom of the browser and "https" preceding the URL
- If you are a victim of fraud, contact the proper law enforcement agency
- Phishing emails may contain telltale signs that could immediately alert you to fraudulent intent. The text contained in the email as well as the URL can provide clues that you may have received a phishing email and not an authentic email from TDECU.
- Carefully review the contents of any email claiming to be from TDECU. Poor spelling or grammar and urgency in the message are warning signs that should make you suspicious of a phish.
- If you ever doubt the authenticity of a link, check the URL. In a phishing email, the URL may look like it goes to www.tdecu.org, but the link may actually go somewhere else like, for example, to an overseas website.
- If you receive a text message that claims your credit union debit card has been or will be deactivated for security reasons, this message is fraudulent and an attempt to steal your identity. These text messages may claim that you must call an 800-number and provide personal information to reactivate your cards. This activity is commonly known as “smishing”.
- Never provide personal information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or telephone calls – even if they appear to be from a legitimate business. You should never click on links provided in unsolicited e-mails or text messages. TDECU does not send unsolicited electronic messages asking you for your personal information.
- If you have any questions about the validity of communication that claims to be from TDECU or another financial institution, you should contact the institution directly by telephone or in person.
The following tips will help you avoid becoming a smishing identity theft victim:
- Assume unsolicited text messages are fraudulent.
- Become familiar with policies businesses use for communicating with customers.
- Upon receipt of an unsolicited text message, call the actual business at a telephone number that appears on a statement, a credit/card, or the telephone directory.
Consumer Security Education
Many consumer agencies provide alerts about consumer scams based on the complaints they receive. As a result, consumers are able to learn about the different types of scams being perpetuated in today's environment. Increasing your awareness is critical to help avoid becoming a victim.
Become familiar with the following resources and save them as a favorite for future reference. These sites are updated as needed to help ensure consumers have the most up-to-date information:
Consumer Advisories Regarding National Banks: Financial topics of concern (e.g., identity theft, foreclosure prevention scams, etc.)
FDIC Consumer News: Practical guidance to become a smarter, safer user of financial services
National Better Business Bureau: Enter your zip code then click Site Map (top of the page) > Alerts (under Resource Library) to learn about recent scams reported in your area
National Do Not Call Registry: Managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a national consumer protection agency. Take steps to avoid telemarketing scams by registering your home phone number and mobile phone numbers online or via telephone at 888-382-1222
FTC Consumer Spam Information: Learn how to limit spam scams and protect your information
FTC Fighting Back Against Identity Theft: Valuable information on identity theft and what to do if your identity is stolen.
If You Believe You Are the Victim of Consumer Fraud
TDECU clients are advised to report situations of consumer fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
The FTC enters Internet, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Notify your local law enforcement agency to report abusive and threatening calls and/or to file an Identity Theft Report. Notify the major credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) to request a "fraud alert" on your file that will require creditors to call you before they open any accounts in your name. The major credit reporting agencies are:
Dealing with Identity Theft
Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or other personal information, without your permission, to commit fraud.
If your identity is stolen, your financial records and credit rating are at risk. Immediately contact your financial institution and all creditors. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened. Recap the contact in writing, including the names of the representatives you’ve spoken with, and send the letters and any photocopies of supporting documents via certified mail to the companies you’ve contacted.
Contact the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Request for your accounts to be flagged so no new credit is granted without permission and ask for a copy of your credit report from each agency.
Change all of your passwords. Use strong passwords that include numbers and special characters such as @ and $. Long and strong is best. For added protection, change your passwords frequently.
Notify your local police department and file an identity theft report. Mail copies to all of your creditors and financial institutions. You may be required to file an additional report in the location where the crime occurred.
Keep careful, written records of everything. File copies of all documents such as emails, messages, letters, and records of phone calls in a safe place.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a federal crime. It occurs when your personal information is unknowingly stolen and then used to commit fraud and other crimes. The most common ways fraudsters steal consumers' personal information online is through spoof emails and websites, social engineering, and other scams.
Tips To Help You Avoid Identity Theft
The first line of defense against identity theft is you. To help you from becoming a victim of this crime, we recommend the following:
- Make passwords as random as possible. Do not use things such as birthdays or phone numbers.
- Never use the word PASSWORD as your password.
- Make sure your User ID and password are different.
- Protect your password. Never write it down or share it with anyone.
- Change your password immediately if you think anyone knows it.
- Do not use the same password for every system you access.
- Create a strong password that includes numbers and special characters such as $ or @.
- Protect your Social Security Number.
- Do no provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
- Do not have your driver's license, telephone, or Social Security number printed on your bank checks.
- If someone asks for your Social Security number, ask why it's needed and how it will be used.
Enroll in Online Banking at TDECU online or by calling 800-839-1154 and then check your accounts with frequency. If you see a suspicious item, call us immediately for further investigation.
Set up account transaction and security alerts in Online Banking. It’s easy to do and provides an additional layer of protection.
Avoid Mail-Related Risks
Enroll in Online Statements and no longer receive paper statements in the mail. This helps to reduce the threat of having your statements stolen out of your mailbox.
If you do not receive bills in a timely manner, call the companies to find out why. You want to be sure that no one has filed a false change of address notification on your behalf.
Do not leave outgoing mail in your home mailbox; instead, drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box.
Ask your local post office to stop mail delivery while you are on vacation or ask a trustworthy neighbor to pick it up for you daily.
Always shred important documents such as bank statements and items received in the mail before throwing them away. Most fraud and identity theft happens as a result of mail and garbage theft.
If you receive financial solicitations that you're not interested in, be sure to shred them before throwing them away.
Consider opting out of unsolicited credit offers. Call 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688)
Review your credit report at least once a year to check for inaccuracies.
Make photocopies of important information you carry on a regular basis (driver’s license, credit cards, etc.) and store them in a secure place such as a safe deposit box.
Store your canceled checks and new checks in a safe place.
Report lost or stolen checks, debit, or credit cards IMMEDIATELY.
When shopping, avoid placing receipts in the same bag as your purchases. Do not leave your receipts behind on counters or at gas pumps.
Know when your credit cards expire and notify the issuers promptly if they have not arrived.
Be cautious about where you leave personal information in your home, especially if you have outside help or are having service work done on your home.
When you go out, take only the personal identification and credit cards you believe you will need.
Do not carry your Social Security card with you. Memorize your number and leave it in a secure place.
Consider removing your Social Security number from your driver's license, if permitted by state law.
How To Report Identity Theft
Identity Theft is a serious matter to TDECU. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft:
Call TDECU at 800-839-1154
Notify the major credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus). Call the fraud departments of all three credit bureaus. Ask them to put a "fraud alert" on your file. This tells creditors to call you before they open any accounts in your name:
Notify your local law enforcement agency to file an Identity Theft Report