Identity Theft & Fraud Protection – Tips for Staying Safe Online

A pile of credit cards with a lock around it.

Finding out that your identity has been stolen can have damaging effects on your life including your finances, medical records and reputation. Knowing that your personal information remains safe and secured is U of I Community Credit Union’s top goal. Here are some tips to protect yourself online and prevent becoming a victim of fraud.

Best Practices for Staying Safe Online

  • Make sure you are using a strong password that you can remember, including a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Use different passwords and try to remember to change them regularly.
  • Never share your password with any third-party app.

Best Practices for Fraud Prevention

  • Monitor your credit regularly. You are allowed to obtain a free copy of your full credit report once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s important to monitor this information to make sure nobody has opened new accounts under your name.
  • Never provide your personal or financial information through email, text message or over the phone.
  • Place a fraud alert with all credit bureaus as soon as you suspect suspicious activity. 
  • Keep your personal documents safe. Requesting electronic statements eliminates the paper trail that financial account statements create, and is one way to keep your mail and personal information safe.

Protecting Yourself from ATM Skimming

When criminals place a device on the face of an ATM machine, at first glance it makes it look like it is a part of the machine – this is known as ATM skimming. When a skimming device is installed on an ATM machine, any account information is at risk when a card is swiped.

Below are tips to help you avoid becoming a skimming victim:

  • Keep your PIN safe and never share it with anyone.
  • Use your other hand to cover the pin pad while entering your PIN.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements often to make sure there are no unusual withdrawls.
  • ATM machines at bars and restaurants are not usually monitored, making it easy for skimming devices to be installed on them – try not using these ATMs.
  • If an ATM doesn’t look right, don’t use it. Unusual signage, a loose card reader, cards not inserting smoothly, or any visual defects are all signs of a machine being tampered with.

If you ever feel like you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact the credit union immediately at 217-278-7700.

Our on-site Financial Wellness Manager, Sheri Shannon, is also available to assist you with any financial questions you may have. Visit our Free Financial Coaching page for more information.

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