Author Archive for Danielle Panchak

How to Protect Your Money While on Vacation

Don’t let a fraudster, pickpocket or identity thief ruin your next vacation.

These  financial safety tips will show you how to protect your wallet, your valuables and your financial information when vacationing in America and abroad.

Lighten up your wallet. Only carry the credit cards you’ll be using on your trip and leave the rest at home. Pack an ATM/debit card for withdrawing cash at ATMs.

Use credit cards for major purchases. Most credit cards have zero-liability policies, meaning you won’t pay a penny for unauthorized charges if a card is lost or stolen. Bring contact information for each of your credit cards with you on the trip.

You also can alert your credit card company if you’re unsatisfied with the quality of a purchase that you make with your card or if a credit card purchase gets lost or stolen.

Watch out for bogus ATMs. Getting cash while on vacation is a snap if you pack your trusty ATM card. Be sure the cash machine is legit before inserting your card.

Thieves place phony ATM machines at high-traffic tourist areas. Stick to ATMs that are near banks or in airports or in hotels.

Visa and MasterCard have worldwide ATM locators on their Web sites. It’s easy to scope out legitimate ATM locations in the areas where you’ll be traveling.

Keep a close eye on that debit card. Debit cards are handy for withdrawing cash from ATMs and making small purchases while traveling. You’ll want to keep close tabs on your debit card at all times. It is linked directly to your checking account – if a thief nabs the card, your account could be emptied in no time.

ATM and debit card transactions are protected under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. You’ll need to act fast to limit your liability for the fraudulent transactions.

Keep a close watch on your debit card and contact your bank immediately if your ATM/debit card is lost or stolen.

Tell your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans. Alert your bank and credit card companies of your upcoming travel plans. If you don’t, they may think a thief — not you — is making all those fun-filled vacation purchases and shut down your credit or ATM card.

Make a quick call to your bank and credit card companies before your trip. This is especially important for folks traveling outside the United States.

Protect your cash. There’s a good chance you will need some cash for your vacation travels. Take the cash you need for the day and leave the rest in your hotel safe.

If you find yourself traveling to more remote areas where cash is still king, take some extra precautionary steps.

Stay organized. Sure, you’re on vacation and kicking back a bit, but you’ll want to stay on top of all the purchases that you make. Don’t relax so much that you lose track of a camera, laptop or credit card.

Review your purchases. Upon returning from your vacation, review your credit card purchases, debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals with your bank and credit card companies. Don’t wait for your monthly statements.

If a thief has nabbed your card information, you’ll want to alert your bank and credit card companies as soon as possible.

Source: Bankrate

How to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling

According to Experian, there are 7 things that travelers should do to protect their identity while on vacation.

  1. Contact Your Credit Card Issuer Before You Head Out of Town – Alert them that you may have charges from elsewhere to help prevent an unexpected decline.
  2. Hold Your Mail- Don’t worry about someone accessing unattended mail left in your mailbox.
  3. Clean Out Your Wallet – Don’t carry extra cards that you don’t need and never carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  4. Avoid Public Computers – Remember public WIFI’s are open for anyone to use making them easy targets for hackers.
  5. Keep an Eye on Your Valuables- Carry only what you need and keep valuables locked in your hotel safe.
  6. Not all ATMs Are the Same – Look for the most secure ATM locations such as inside the lobby of a bank.
  7. Check Your Statements- Be sure to monitor your account activity to watch for unauthorized transactions.  With AllCom’s mobile banking app and e-statement, it’s easy to stay up to date.

For more information or to read the full article, go to:  https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/7-ways-to-stop-your-identity-from-taking-a-costly-vacation/

Buying a car?  Be prepared!

Make your car buying experience a good one. These handy tips can help you get the right car and the best deal for your needs.

  • Do your research. Have an idea of what kind of car will meet your needs. Something sporty? Multi-passenger for car-pool duties? One with lots of storage space? What features do you want? Research car-buying websites to learn which makes and models fit your needs and your budget.
  • Know your budget. How much can you afford to pay? How long a term makes sense based on the age of the car? What is a comfortable monthly payment? Remember to factor in the cost of insurance, maintenance and gas.
  • Will you be trading-in your old car? Research what it’s worth before you head to the dealership.
  • Test drive the car. Does it handle well? Are the seats comfortable? How accessible are the controls? Will your child’s car seat fit? Is it easy to access the back seat and cargo areas?

Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, start with AllCom Credit Union.  We can help you get the best rate and term for your needs and budget, and you can be pre-approved in minutes. Speak with our loan officer or apply on-line today

Banking Scams:  How to avoid them. Who to notify?

Banking scams involve attempts to access your account. Some of the more common scams include:

  • Overpayment scams – A scam artist sends you a counterfeit check. They tell you to deposit it in your account and wire part of the money back to them. Since the check was fake, you’ll have to pay your financial institution the amount of the check, plus you’ll lose any money you wired.
  • Unsolicited check fraud – A scammer sends you a check for no reason. If you cash it, you may be authorizing the purchase of items or signing up for a loan you didn’t ask for.
  • Automatic withdrawals – A company sets up an automatic debit from your bank account, as part of a free trial or to collect lottery winnings.
  • Phishing – You receive an email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number.

How to Protect Yourself
Remember these tips to avoid being a victim of a banking scam:

Do

  • Be suspicious if you are told to wire funds from a check back to a company.
  • Be wary of lotteries or free trials that ask for your account number.
  • Verify the authenticity of a cashier’s check with the financial institution that it is drawn on before depositing a check.
  • When verifying a check or the issuer, use contact information on a bank’s website.

Don’t

  • Don’t trust the appearance of checks or money orders. Scammers can make them look legitimate and official.
  • Don’t deposit checks or money orders from strangers or companies you don’t have a relationship with.
  • Don’t wire money to people or companies you don’t know.
  • Don’t give your bank account number to someone who calls you, even for verification purposes.
  • Don’t click on links in email to verify your bank account.
  • Don’t accept a check that includes an overpayment.

Report Banking Scams
The proper organization to report a banking scam to depends on which type you were a victim of.

Report fake checks you receive by mail to the US Postal Inspection Service.

Report counterfeit checks to the Federal Trade Commission, either online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.

Contact your financial institution to report and stop unauthorized automatic withdrawals from your account.  

Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.