GECU Money Smart Monday

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Last week’s answers

What is the easiest way to prevent fraud on my credit cards?

We recommend that you sign up for fraud alerts that are offered by your financial institution. If you are notified of potential fraud, it’s important to respond in a timely manner. An added level of security is to add your debit or credit cards to mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay on your smartphone. Use this payment method with merchants and your transaction will be processed using a token number and not the actual card number.

Another good practice to identify fraudulent transactions is to review your statements periodically and report suspicious activity to your credit card company or financial institution as soon as possible.

GECU is introducing a mass fraud alert program that notifies members when suspicious, fraudulent activity occurs on a GECU debit* or credit card.** Enrollment is automatic for members and provides an added layer of security.

If my identity is stolen, will that impact me being able to get a credit card or loan in the future?

Having your identity stolen will not impact you from applying for a credit card or loan in the future. If you have been impacted by identity theft, we recommend contacting the three major credit bureaus. Report that you have been a victim of identity theft and request to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert simply sends out a blanket request to all creditors to contact you before any new accounts are opened on your behalf.

How does credit card fraud happen?

Fraud can happen in different ways. Fraudulent activity involves when a person obtains personal information, identifiable documents, or discarded receipts without consent. Friendly/family fraud is another form that can also happen when someone close to you uses your debit or credit card for purchases without your permission.

Phishing is another form of fraud and it entails the process of tricking you into giving out your personal information under the false pretense that the person you are speaking with is authorized to obtain your information.

It’s important to protect your personal information by shredding documents and receipts and staying aware of who you allow to use your debit or credit card. It’s helpful to know that financial institutions will not initiate contact with you to obtain your information.

Placing fraud alerts on your accounts is another way to prevent fraudulent activity from happening. GECU is introducing a mass fraud alert program that notifies members when suspicious, fraudulent activity occurs on a GECU debit* or credit card.** Enrollment is automatic for members and it provides an added layer of security.

How common is credit card skimming?

Credit card skimming is most common at less monitored credit and debit card terminals like the ones at gas stations. Skimming is less likely to happen when the terminals are continuously being monitored like at grocery or department stores.

By using the mobile wallet on your smartphone or contactless payment methods, scammers can’t steal your card information because the transaction is processed using a unique, untraceable token number that replaces your actual card number.

What steps should I take if my credit card is lost or stolen?

If your credit card is lost or stolen, contact your financial institution or credit card company immediately. If you have a GECU debit* or credit card,** you can place a block on the card. You will also be directed to CO-OP’s fraud detection department to report that the card is lost or stolen.

How should I go about reporting a fraudulent charge?

Contact your credit card company or financial institution to report any unauthorized transactions on your accounts as soon as possible. GECU will place an immediate block on your GECU debit* or credit card.**

Does fraud happen with only credit cards or can it affect my debit card too?

Fraudulent activity can occur on debit and credit cards. Steps to prevent fraud include stopping and analyzing the situation or website, never giving out your personal information, and contacting your financial institution immediately if you suspect suspicious or fraudulent activity.

What am I liable for if my credit card is stolen?

Cardholders are liable for credit card balances prior to the fraudulent activity and are not liable for fraudulent charges made on the credit card.

I have a zero-liability credit card. Does that mean I am safe from fraud?

Having a zero-liability credit card means you are not responsible for fraud that occurs on that credit card. Check with your financial institution and credit card company about zero-liability cards. GECU offers a zero-liability credit card.**

Is it true that credit card fraud can be committed by someone stealing my statement from the mail?

It is possible for fraud to be committed by stealing your statement through the mail. The risk of fraud is very low because merchants will require more than an account number to process a transaction. Statements will not include the card expiration date or the security number located on the back of the card. These are items needed to complete a merchant purchase.

We recommend that GECU members*** sign up for electronic statements to avoid personal information being lost or stolen through mail theft.

Are some credit cards safer from fraud than others?

Debit and Credit cards with chips are safer to use than older card versions. Making your transactions using a mobile wallet on your smartphone or other contactless payment methods is another added layer of protection. Scammers can’t steal your card information because the transaction is processed using a unique, untraceable token number that replaces your actual card number. You can add your GECU debit* and credit cards** to your smartphone’s mobile wallet for added security when making transactions.

Insured by NCUA

*Must have a GECU share account to open a checking account. A one-time deposit of $20 in a GECU share account is all it takes.

**Subject to credit qualification and approval. Other conditions apply. Equal opportunity lender.

***Learn how to become a member at gecu.com.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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