As you are probably aware, Equifax was recently impacted by a cyber-security attack that touched approximately 143 million U.S. Consumers, and occurred between mid-May and July 2017. The information accessed primarily included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and credit card information.
It may feel disconcerting that an agency that stores so much information on consumers, and that is supposed to keep our credit information safe, was hacked. But there are things you can do in the wake of this attack to help protect your information from being misused.
Steps you should take to be proactive about protecting your identity:
- First, check to see if your information was impacted by visiting https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. (Make sure you’re on a secure computer with an encrypted network connection when you do.) The site will let you know if you’ve potentially been affected by this breach.
- Stay up to date on the latest news from Equifax, and any breach-related info at equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- If you have an account with Equifax, change the password for it immediately.
- Sign up for credit monitoring services. Equifax has information on their site about enrolling for a free year of credit monitoring services. You can enroll for this service through Nov. 21st, whether your information was impacted, or not.
Other things you may want to consider, to help keep your information secure:
- Apply a credit freeze on your files, which can make it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name.
- Monitor credit card and financial institution accounts. An easy way to do this at USAgencies is to set up account alerts, inside Online Banking. If any unusual activity occurs, you are quickly notified via text or email.
- File your taxes early so that fraudsters won’t be able to use your personal information to get a tax refund.
- Watch out for phishing scams in the wake of the breach. Be wary of calls or emails from anyone claiming to be an Equifax agent. Legitimate Equifax representatives will not contact you to verify your info.
- Add a password to your accounts that only you know. At USAgencies, we always ask you identifying questions before providing you with any information about your account. If you have an additional password, we’ll ask for it, providing you with another level of security.
- Visit the Security section on our website. We have helpful information about how to safeguard your financial information, as well as info on the latest security alerts.
- Complete our Identity Protection module, via QuickStudy, one of the many free financial education tools you have available to you as a USACU member.
For additional steps you can take to protect yourself, visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach.
At USAgencies Credit Union, we want to help make sure your information is safe and secure. Please contact us with any questions about how you can best protect your personal information and accounts.
Great news! You just received a letter stating that you won a cash prize- and the check to cover the taxes for the prize is included. Now all you need to do is deposit the check and wire the extra funds back to the sender. When they get the payment, you get the full cash prize.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
That’s because it is.
This is an example of a fake check scam. And, unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that these types of scams are on the rise. If you were to deposit the check and wire the money, you could potentially be out hundreds of dollars–or more. Typically, the money you wired can’t be retrieved, leaving you responsible for reimbursing the funds.
Counterfeit or fake checks are being used in a growing number of schemes. My son was recently targeted in a rather creative way when he answered an online employment ad. He Skyped with someone who said they were an artist and needed an assistant. My son said he researched the person online and he appeared to be legitimate. The “artist” (con artist, maybe?) sent him a cashier’s check for $2,490 to purchase a computer/scanner/etc. and said he’d be in contact. When my son told the “artist” he was going to wait until the check cleared, he was never contacted by him again… and the check bounced two weeks later. If he’d followed through with the scammer’s instructions, he could have been liable for almost $2,500!
Although our staff are always on the lookout for fraudulent checks or unusual activity, they can’t always determine when a check isn’t legitimate. When you deposit a check, we are required by federal law to make the money available long before we can be certain the check is valid. Best advice: if you get a check from an unknown or questionable source, don’t use the funds for at least two weeks.
Here are some other steps the FTC suggests you take to avoid counterfeit check scams:
- Throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift. If it’s free or a gift, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Free is free.
- Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery solicitations are phony.
- Know who you’re dealing with, and never wire money to strangers.
- If you’re selling something, don’t accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to send the correct amount, return the check. Don’t send the merchandise.
- If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that’s not possible, call the bank where the check was purchased, and ask if it is valid. Get the bank’s phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the check or from the person who gave you the check.
- If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don’t pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there’s a problem with a wire transaction.
- Resist any pressure to “act now.” If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.
If you think you or someone you know was the victim of a fake check scam, please consider taking the following steps:
- Contact your financial institution.
- Contact your local law enforcement.
- Contact your state’s attorney general.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint.
- If you or the victim is an older adult or a person with a disability, contact your local adult protective services agency – you may find local resources via the Eldercare Locator or by calling 1-800-677-1116.
USAgencies Credit Union
Perhaps you’ve heard a thing or two about a total solar eclipse scheduled to make landfall in Oregon on August 21st, 2017? We thought so. It’s big news!
Here’s what nationaleclipse.com has to say about this historic event:
On August 21, 2017, America will be treated to its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years. It will also be the first total eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since before the nation’s founding in 1776. From Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse will trace a 67-mile-wide path of totality across the country and millions of Americans will witness a once-in-a-lifetime event as the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and day turns to night for up to almost three minutes.
To celebrate this event, and to allow our staff to view this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, USAgencies will be closed from 10-11am PST on August 21st. We’ll be back promptly at 11am to help with all of your account needs, and to tell you all about the eclipse experience!
Of course you can access your accounts anytime via Online or Mobile Banking too. Have questions about getting these set up? Connect with us.
More on the eclipse:
Yesterday was the perfect day to celebrate our BBQ Bash. The weather was great, some of our favorite partners were on hand to meet current and future members, and… it just so happened to be National Hot Dog Day!
Thanks to everyone who came out to grab a dog, cool down with a shave ice, meet some of our partners, and learn more about your favorite Credit Union. We loved meeting some of our neighbors, mingling with current members, and spending the afternoon in perfect Oregon summer weather (which really can’t be beat). Take a look!
We even had one of our Save to Win winners stop by to snap a pic and say hi–congrats again, Anna!
We’re having a BBQ, and you’re invited!
Join us July 19th @ SW 1st & Yamhill between 11am and 2 pm for…
- Free hot dogs & shave ice (while supplies last)
- A chance to meet some of our partners (including Auto Solution & more)
- Free eBike test drives (courtesy of Pedego Portland)
- Free trade-in vehicle evals (courtesy of Enterprise Car Sales)
- Raffles, goodie bags, and more!
Not a member? Not a problem. All are welcome!
Already a member? Great! Bring your friends, family or co-workers and spread the word about how great USACU membership really is!
Event info: https://www.facebook.com/events/452313701808925
**UPDATE (6/7/17, 10am PST)–Phones are back up! Thanks for your patience as we worked to restore service.**
Please note: USAgencies’ phones are currently down and we are working to swiftly resolve the issue.
If you need to reach us in the meantime, you can email email@example.com. Mobile & Online Banking are still available.
We apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you informed of any updates.
Looking to “get out there” this summer, and experience Pacific Northwest RV camping at its finest? Not sure how to pack it all in and narrow your list down to the best-of-the best?
Here’s a list of top NW campgrounds to get you started:
If you’re looking for the perfect Pacific Northwest road trip itinerary, these adventurers have some suggestions for things to see and do along your route:
Or maybe you want to hit the open road and keep going? Here are some ideas of where to head beyond the Northwest:
Whether you’re planning a quick weekend RV getaway in the Gorge, or you’re itching to head out on a multi-week journey from Pacific to Atlantic, planning ahead can help you maximize your summer fun.
Planning ahead applies to your RV purchase too. It’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a loan for your RV (or ATV, boat, jet ski or other summer toys) before you shop. Getting pre-approved ensures you know what you can afford ahead of time, allows you to stick to a pre-set budget, and ensures you’re getting a rate and payment that works best for you.
Getting pre-approved is quick, easy & smart: apply online, give us a call (503.275.0300), or stop by.
Questions? Contact us.