The best line of defense against fraud begins with you, and here are some helpful tips. The credit union also has many processes in place to monitor our systems and will respond immediately to suspicious activity and alerts. Working together, we can help you have a safe online experience with VACU.
- Beware of emails asking for your confidential personal information.
Phishing emails are sent by cyber criminals who wish to steal your personal information. These messages are often emblazoned with the real registered logos of legitimate companies that you may already do business with. Links within these phishing messages may take you to phony web sites designed to fool you into trusting them.
Be suspicious of any email that asks for your passwords, PINs, credit card numbers or other confidential personal information. Do not reply to the email or enter any personal information until you’ve verified the sender and web site address. Contact the financial institution directly at a phone number, website or email address you know to be legitimate. Do not rely on the contact information in the email.
Please contact us immediately if you ever have a concern about VACU email messages or web site links.
- Beware of pop up windows.
Be wary about any unusual or unexpected window that “pops up” during an Internet banking session. If the new or unexpected window asks you to access another web site or enter your password, or enter other personal data that is not normally requested (i.e. plastic card number, expiration, etc.), then you should be very cautious. You may have inadvertently downloaded malware that allows fraudsters remote access to your computer or that sends them copies all your keystrokes when surfing the web. If you see suspicious pop ups during or after the Internet banking logon process, contact your financial institution immediately, even if you did not enter the personal information requested.
- Use the best virus protection and firewall protection that you can afford.
Virus protection and firewalls to reduce your risk of exposure to viruses and threats to your computer. Virus protection packages and personal firewalls can be purchased online or at reputable computer software stores nationwide. Check for updates regularly and use your virus software to scan any files you receive or download.
- Keep your computer system and web browser up-to-date.
Security updates and patches are frequently released to address security flaws with browsers or operating systems. Visit the software provider's site regularly to check for updates.
- Use a password that’s not easily guessed or cracked.
Avoid using passwords that could be easily linked to you, like your phone number, birth date, social security number or family members’ names. Use several characters in your password; the longer the password, the harder it is to break it. Be sure to change your password often and consider the following when you create a new one:
- Use both uppercase and lowercase characters.
- Intersperse punctuation marks or symbols such as #, $, or %. Do not use a blank space.
- Pick letters from a phrase, so your password is really a "pass phrase." For example, “Chicago is my kind of town” would be “Ch!mk0T$”
- Never save your password to your desktop.
This may seem like a time saver, but it allows others to access your personal information without your permission. Also, don’t enable your browser or web site to remember your passwords.
- Check for site security.
Before you submit any information online, be sure the web page is secure. Unscrupulous “hackers” can exploit unsecured web sites to steal your personal information. Most web sites secure your personal information by encrypting or scrambling the data. Internet Explorer users can check web page security by following these instructions:
- Look for the lock symbol. Check the status bar of the web browser window for an unbroken lock symbol. This means your personal information is scrambled.
- Look for “https” in the web site address. Secure sites have “https” at the beginning of the address, rather than “http.” The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates the information you send is encrypted or scrambled, so it can't be read during transmission.
- Check the certificate. Double-click on the lock symbol to view the security certificate. Make sure the certificate is issued to the business or entity to which you intend to submit personal information and the “valid from” dates are current.
- Verify your security level. Your web browser should have at least 128-bit encryption. If you don’t have 128-bit encryption, you should update your browser.
- Disconnect from the Internet when not in use.
Power off your home computer or disable your wireless router when you are not using them. When you have finished with an Internet banking session, close the browser window to completely terminate the connection.
- Be sure we know how to contact you by phone and mail.
Keep your mailing address and phone numbers current with VACU and with any other financial institutions, credit card providers, or merchants you may use. If we need to contact you about important matters, we will normally contact you by phone or by mail.
You may either call Member Services or use our change of address form; just complete it and return it by mail or at any branch. You can change your email address online.
- Don’t be a victim of identify theft.
Everyone makes mistakes. If you think you may have submitted personal information to a suspicious web site, act quickly. There are many resources and solutions available to preserve your piece of mind as well as your financial being.
If you suspect you have entered your credit union account, credit card or debit card information in a phony website, contact us immediately.