Don’t Ignore That $1 Charge on Your Card

It can be easy to dismiss that $1 charge you don’t remember making on your debit or credit card. But you should be paying attention: Scam artists often make $1 “test” charges to see if you’ll notice and take action. If you don’t, crooks know it’s safe to continue using your card, sometimes spending hundreds of dollars in a short time period. If you think you may be a victim of fraud, contact your card issuer and Hopewell Federal Credit Union, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

Fraud Prevention Awareness from HFCU

FRAUD DEFINITIONS
Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Vishing also called (Voice Phishing) is the voice counterpart to the phishing scheme. Instead of being directed by an email to a website, the user is asked to make a telephone call.
SMiShing is a spin-off version of Vishing. In this instance the victim receives a text message via their cell phone with the implications that there is a threat to their account and request a callback to a number provided in the message. The social engineering tactics used are the same as the phishing and vishing attacks; the only difference is the delivery method.

PREVENTION
• Remember….Hopewell Federal Credit Union will never call, email or text requesting your account number, social security number or last four digits of either.
• Ignore e-mails or pop-up messages that request personal or financial information
• Don’t use links in messages, even if the message appears to come from your credit union. Enter your credit union’s Web address in the browser yourself. Phishers can make links look like they go one place, but it actually send you to their legitimate-looking fake site.
• Read carefully. Typically, phishing messages are not personalized, whereas official credit union communications are. A typical warning sign is that the communication presents an urgent nature to the request.
• Call Hopewell Federal Credit Union at 740.522.8311 to confirm the message. Always use the phone number printed on official statements or credit cards. Do not use the number that appears in the message.
• Keep your home and work computers safe with current technology solutions, including gateway routers and virus/malware/spyware detection software, which will help prevent virus infections and warn when you are attempting to access a known phishing site.
• Don’t e-mail personal or financial information.
• Review credit card and account statements, as well as online transaction, as soon as they are available to check for unauthorized charges.
• Only open attachments or download files that you have requested or subscribed to.
• Forward phishing e-mails as an attachment to spam@uce.gov and the impersonated organization impersonated.
• If you’ve been scammed, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft for assistance. Also, file a complaint on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center Web site, http://www.ic3.gov/.

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Get Financially Fit

There’s never been a better time to get your finances in tip-top shape. Check out these Hopewell Federal Credit Union services that can help you revamp your finances and get back on track:

* Checking and debit card services. These basic tools are convenient and easily accessible.

* Online access. Whether you’re monitoring account balances or paying bills and loans, Hopewell Federal’s Web and mobile access makes services available at your fingertips.

* Low-rate credit card. Hopewell Federal offers a credit card that will suit your needs.

* Loan to help you get an education, buy a car, or buy a house. Hopewell Federal Credit Union’s loan officers will work with you to provide the loan services you need, and will provide you with the lowest qualifying rates and best terms around.

Stop by, visit our website at www.hopewellfcu.org or call today at 740.522.8311 to ask about our services. There’s something to benefit everyone at Hopewell Federal Credit Union.  

Smart Starts for Young Credit Card Users

While credit is a terrific money management tool, using it carelessly can affect your ability to get a job, lease an apartment, or buy a vehicle. Follow this advice from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Credit Union National Association for using credit cards:

Choose a low-rate, low-fee card. Make Hopewell Federal Credit Union the first stop. Credit union credit cards typically have lower rates and fees than other financial institutions.

Don’t charge daily living expenses. Refrain from using a credit card for daily living expenses such as groceries and gas. Consider using a debit card or cash instead, and monitor your account balance online to keep spending on track.

Don’t charge more than you can pay for when the bill arrives. Think twice about charging a vacation, a new wardrobe, or other items that won’t be worth the debt if you can’t pay for the items when the bill arrives. Instead, set up a special savings account for future purchases at Hopewell Federal.

Don’t let anyone else use your card. If you allow a family member or best friend to borrow your card, it’s still your responsibility to make payments and pay off the debt.

Protect your card. Identity theft often is committed by people the victim knows. Keep your credit card in a purse or wallet instead of lying around your apartment for all eyes to see.

Stop by or call today at 740.522.8311 to get more information.

How to Recover From Holiday Spending

While many people consider the holidays the best time of the year, they’re undeniably also the most expensive. Between the costs associated with hosting and attending holiday parties, buying gifts, purchasing items to decorate your home, and all the other expenses, many people start the New Year in a not-so-stellar financial state.

If this sounds familiar, don’t stress. There are many quick and easy ways to pay off your holiday credit card debt and replenish your savings account in no time at all. Follow these 7 tips to pay off holiday debt and regain control of your finances.

Return Unused and Unwanted Gifts

Let’s face it everyone gets holiday gifts they don’t actually want. Instead of letting these items collect dust in your home, return them to the store to get a little extra money. Even if you don’t have the receipt, most stores will give you merchandise credit, which you can certainly put to good use. The same rule applies to unused gifts. If you bought gifts for people and never actually gave them out, return the items to the store, get a refund and put the extra money towards paying off your credit card debt.

Create a Budget

You have to be in control of your finances to create a strategy to pay debt off. Write down and calculate all your necessary monthly expenditures, such as rent or mortgage payments, transportation costs, and utility expenses. Then add up your total amount of debt. Use this total to make a budget that’ll help you pay off debt and avoid accruing even more.

Transfer Balances to One Credit Card

While not always the best move, consolidating your credit card balances onto one card can save you a great deal of money. Before making the move, compare interest rates, see if there’s a fee to complete the transfers, check the terms of each card and consider your credit limits on each card. If you’re able to find a credit card with a lower interest rate and attractive terms and conditions, not only can this save you money, it can also help to raise your credit score.

Use Your Tax Refund to Pay Off Debt

Everyone loves getting the extra springtime “tax bonus” each year. Instead of spending yours freely, dedicate the full refund to paying off your holiday debt. While it might be tempting to spend the funds on a new bag or a vacation, think of how good you’ll feel by getting closer to being debt-free.

Cut Back on Expenses

Save extra money by cutting back on non-essential spending. For example, if you typically eat out most days of the week, start bringing your lunch to work and stay in for dinner all but a couple nights per week. Or if you’re a bit of a shopaholic, vow to stop buying new clothes until you’ve paid your holiday debt off.

Save Cash Gifts  

If you received monetary gifts this holiday season, you’re probably filled with ideas of how you’d like to spend the funds. While you’re probably not going to want to hear this, saving that money and putting it toward the debt you incurred during the holiday season is the most financially savvy thing to do. The longer you let balances sit on your credit cards, the more interest you’ll incur, making your debt even greater. So use the money to bring your debt levels down and then save up to reward yourself for your sacrifices in a few months.

Earn Extra Income

If your job offers overtime pay for working extra hours, put in a little more time at the office to earn additional income. Getting a temporary part-time job is another great way to supplement your regular income and get those debts paid off fast.

See a Financial Counselor

It’s never easy to ask for help, especially when it comes to your money. But seeing a financial counselor, who can help teach you how to budget and get yourself out of debt, can make a world of difference.

Final Word

The holidays are a pricey time of year. We are all susceptible to getting carried away with expenses, as we want to give our loved ones the world. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with debt, don’t worry! With a little savvy planning and a bit of financial sacrifice, you’ll be back on your feet in no time at all.

Damaris Olaechea, NerdWallet

POTENTIAL CREDIT CARD SURCHARGES

As part of a recent settlement, merchants gained the ability to surcharge for credit card purchases on January 27, 2013.  This new change has the potential to impact you.  It is unknown how prevalent merchant credit card surcharging will be, but we wanted to share some information from the VISA website. 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

RECENT CARD BREACH COULD INCREASE PHISHING

On the heels of the recent Global Payments breach, credit unions members are at risk for potential increased phishing attacks. These attacks could also target members who were not impacted by the recent card breach.  Be aware of any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls requesting any personal or financial information.

The next several days or weeks are critical for credit union members to be on the alert for any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls requesting personal or financial information, especially card data. The card information that may be requested includes, cardholder billing address, 3 digit CVV2/CVC2 code found on the back of the card, or enrollment criteria/passwords for Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode. This card information was not part of the recent Global Payments breach. Criminals may ask members for this information to add to the other card data they may have obtained from the breach to perform card present (key entered) or card-not-present (mail/telephone/internet) non-magnetic stripe transactions.

REMEMBER: never respond to emails, text messages or phone calls requesting your personal account information. If you receive a suspicious request,  immediately contact the credit union.