On this page:Shop Safely When You're Shopping Online
Care When You're Traveling
Protecting Yourself from "Phishing"
Filing a Complaint with the FTC
Helpful Online Security Videos
Articles and Tips
Although the potential for fraud exists, you shouldn't fear online shopping, since incidents are extremely low. Still, there are several ways you can improve the security and success of your online transactions. Here are the top ten tips for safer shopping online:
Tip #1: Trust your instincts. If you're uncomfortable shopping at a particular website, don't. Determine your own level of risk, and be your own best judge.
Tip #2: Shop with merchants you know. If it's a retailer you've heard of, it's probably legitimate.
Tip #3: See what other customers have to say. When available, read what others have to say and check the site's ratings before you buy.
Tip #4: Check for customer complaints. Complaints.com is the perfect place to find out a retailer's reputation with the Better Business Bureau.
Tip #5: Look for a secure site. You'll know you're using a secure stte when the little lock icon appears in the lower part of your browser, or next to the address bar.
Tip #6: Look for real-world contact info. Beware of sites that don't include an email contact address, or list their phone number, fax number, or street address for post-sale support.
Tip #7: Check the return policy. Before you place your order, find out what you have to do if you're dissatisfied with a purchase at this site.
Tip #8: Don't provide more information than necessary. Online retailers really only need your name, address, email address, and maybe your phone number to do business with you - along with your credit card number, or course, for payment purposes.
Tip #9: Safeguard your password. Create a password that can't easily be guessed by increasing length (eight characters are better than six) and include both letters and numbers.
Tip #10: Pay with plastic. When you pay by credit card, you're protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, which gives you the right to dispute certain charges and limits your liability for unauthorized transactions.
- Know the PIN for your Check Card - As the prevalence of fraud increases, signature based transactions are somtimes blocked in foreign countries. By knowing your PIN you can be assured of access to your account no matter where you are traveling.
- If your ATM / VISa Check CArd doesn't work, try again at another time of day. With time differences, you may be trying to access funds during mandatory maintenance times.
- Make two photocopies of your passports, traveler's checks, and other travel documents. Leave one at home and the other in a safe place at your travel destination.
- Don't bring items you don't need with you. Clean out your purse or wallet before you travel so if your purse or wallet is stolen, you can minimize the impact.
- Keep a copy of phone numbers on the back of all your cards in case your purse or wallet is lost or stolen.
- Notify your credit card companies before leaving the U.S. of the dates and countries you will be visiting. Being proactive will help your credit card issuer ensure that your credit card activity is not blocked for suspected fraudulant activity.
- Know how to access Connex Credit Union for help. If you are traveling outside the country, Connex Credit Union can be reached through LiveChat on our Web Site. Representatives are standing by to help you with your questions Monday - Friday from 8:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. LiveChat allows you to communicate with Connex without incurring an International Long Distance Charge.
- Traveler's Checks are still a good back-up option - you may not need as many as you used to because of plastic - and you may not even use them, but they are good to have in an emergency situation.
The Internet has quickly grown in popularity and convenience because it provides resources and services that would be far more time-consuming and difficult to reach in person.
As if email, SPAM and computer viruses are not enough for the the online computer user to cope with, there is a new threat we must all be aware of: "phishing". The new threat of "phishing" tricks unsuspecting people into revealing personal information to commit a crime. The threat scenario plays out by you receiving a deceptively legitimate looking email from what appears to a reputable company (such as your credit card company or a retailer) requesting you to provide personal infromation such as your social security number, account number, etc. and providing you a link to a web site. The link to the web site is really a link to a fraudulant site that has been designed to capture your personal information as you type it in and provide it to the scam artist.
Here are some important tips on how you can protect yourself from phishing while online:
- Be suspicious of any email, mobile text, or voicemail message with urgent requests for personal financial information. Reputable companies will not send you these types of communication asking you to "verify" of update your personal information.
- Avoid filling out forms in email messages. You don't know where the data will be sent. You should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secured website or telephone.
- Don't use the links in an email to get to any webpage if you suspect the message might not be authentic. Instead, call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing in the web address in your browser.
- If you go to a link offered in an unsolicited email, check to see if there is an "s" after the http in the address (example: https://www.ftc.gov) and a picture of a padlock at the bottom of the screen or next to the address bar that indicates the is secure and encrypts data. Though this is not an indication that the site is legitimate, an online form that asks for personal information should always be encrypted. Scam artists are less likely to have encrypted forms, but if they are trying to elicit personal information, they may take every precaution to make consumers believe their site is secure and therefore, legitimate. Due to this, it is important to still be wary of links in unsolicited, information gathering email.
- Regularly log into your online accounts to verify transactions and balances. Notify your financial institution of inaccuracies as soon as possible. We must hear from you no later than 60 days after we sent you the FIRST statement on which the inaccuracy or problem appeared.
- Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches are applied.
If you do receive this type of email, you should:
- Contact the legitimate company named within the message to confirm whether the request is from them. Most companies do not ask customers to confirm personal information by these means of communication.
- Read the information and tips put out by the Federal Trade Commission about this type of scam.
- Forward the suspicious email to the Federal Trade Commission's address for unsolicited commercial email at email@example.com
Always be alert to phishing messages. Reputable companies DO NOT contact their customers and request that they update their files or verify their account or security settings. Connex Credit Union will not contact you for this information. Please note:
- Connex Credit Union's Webpage (https://www.connexcu.org) should not be accessed from a link provided by a third party. If you receive an email message from a third party that directs you to a link appearing to be from Connex Credit Union, consider it suspicious.
- Connex Credit Union will not send you unsolicited email, mobile text, or voicemail messages requesting confidential information, such as account numbers, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PINs). Credit union members should be reminded to report any such requests to Connex immediately.
- Connex Credit Union maintains current website certificates. Please click the "padlock" symbol at the bottom of your browser, or next to the address bar, to verify the certifcate is valid and is owned by Connex Credit Union.
As part of its national ATM and Debit Card Safety Awareness Campaign, PULSE offers the following recommendations:
ATM and Debit Card Safety
- Treat your card like cash. Keep it in a safe place.
- Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) a secret.
- Do not disclose card information over the phone to anyone. No one needs to know your PIN, not even your financial institution.
- Never disclose information about your card in response to an unsolicited email or request.
- Make certain you Internet shopping sites are secure
- Protect your card's magnetic stripe. Do not expose your card's magnetic strip to magnetic objects
- Report a lost or stolen card at once.
- Carefully review your account statements.
- Observe the ATM surroundings before approaching a walk-up ATM. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave the area at once.
- If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, go to another ATM. It is a good idea to take along a companion when using an ATM, especially at night.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Do not let anyone see how much money you withdrew, and never count your money at the ATM.
- Never allow a stranger to assist you in conducting an ATM transaction, even if you have trouble or your card is stuck.
- Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others cannot see your PIN or transaction amount.
- Look for possible fraudulant devices attached to the ATM. If the ATM looks different or appears to have any alterations or attachments to the card slot or PIN pad, do not use it.
Drive-Up ATM Safety
- Keep the doors locked, windows up and engine running at all times when waiting in line.
- Leave enough room between cars to allow for a quick exit should it become necessary.
- Before lowering the window to use a drive-up ATM, observe the entire surrounding area. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and drive away at once.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Once your transaction is complete, take your money, card and receipt and immediately drive away from the terminal.
- If anyone follows you after you have completed your ATM transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.
PIN Debit Safety
- Never allow the cashier or anyone else to enter your PIN for you, even if they are assisting you with a transaction.
- Block the view of others when using a Point Of Sale (POS) terminal
- Be sure the transaction is complete and you have received a receipt before leaving.
- If you received cash back, put it away before leaving the terminal.
- When using an outdoor POS terminal such as at a gas station, observe your surroundings before making a transaction. If anything looks suspicious, leave the area at once.
- It is a good idea to take someone with you when using an outdoor POS terminal at night.
- If anyone follows you after you have completed your POS transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call poloice.
Filing a complaint with the FTC is one of several important steps that victims of identity theft should take. The links below will walk you how to file a complaint with the FTC, and how you can get the protections that you, as a victim of ID theft, may be entitled to. If you’re ready to go directly to the Complaint Form, click here.
For more information on other steps that victims of ID theft should take, please see the Defend: Recover from Identity Theft section of this website.
What should I know before filling out the FTC’s ID Theft Complaint Form?
Instructions for completing the ID Theft Complaint Form
What should I know once I’ve filled out and printed the FTC’s ID Theft Complaint Form?
Other Helpful LinksOnline Security Workshop Presentation