In today’s fast-paced life, we require on-demand banking solutions. Internet banking service gives us complete control over our credit union accounts online and we can bid-adieu to the long queues and tired tellers at the counter.

But with great power comes great responsibility, right?

Yes, it is easier than ever before for us to access our banking information, but it is also easier than ever for hackers and scams to gain access the same.

There are different ways in which hackers and fraudsters may try to deceive us into giving them our personal and security details.

To give perspective of the menace, the Federal Trade Commission received more complaints of Online banking frauds in 2018 than they did for any other form of consumer frauds. In the same year, the FTC received greater than 21,000 complaints of such frauds, amounting to a loss of $143 million. Victims lost on an average of $2,600 through such scams — more than any other type of consumer fraud.

Here are some common online banking frauds that are prevalent


Trojan is a virus that gets installed in your computer while browsing internet or downloading content from unsecured websites. As soon as a Trojan horse gets installed in the system the malware monitors your online activities and reads and steals sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers.


Phishing occurs when fraudsters attempt to obtain sensitive data such as passwords or credit card details. They may do this via email, text messages or phone calls.

Phishing emails often include official-looking logos. They might also include links to ‘fake’ or ‘cloned’ websites, which appear to be the credit union’s own genuine website, and which if followed, ask you to enter your personal information. Learn More.

Money Transfer Scams:

An example of money transfer scam is when someone claiming to be a foreign government official, a seller insisting on a wire transfer, an online love interest seeking money, someone advertising a holiday, or anybody claiming to need help in transferring large sums of money.

In return you may be promised huge rewards or what appears to be an easy way to make money.

Thankfully, there are some specific actions you can take to ensure that you do become the next victim of these hackers.

Here are some tips to use internet banking safely:

Always use genuine anti-virus software

To safeguard your computer or smartphone from phishing, malware and other threats always use genuine anti-virus software. Anti-virus aids in detecting and removing spyware and malware that can steal your sensitive information. 

Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi

The biggest threat of open Wi-Fi networks like those offered in restaurants and cafes is that the hacker can sit in between the end user and the hotspot and can trace all the data without any difficulty.

So, using public Wi-Fi hotspots for internet or mobile banking and making purchases and payments on ecommerce sites should be avoided.

However, if you use public Wi-Fi regularly, then consider setting up a VPN software on your computer or smartphone. It creates a secure link between the computer and the internet and prevents hackers from intercepting the traffic in-between.

Check for the latest updates of your Smartphone operating system

Users of Smartphone should make sure that their operating system is up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Also, they should not remove any security controls from the smartphone which are often known as ‘jail breaking’ or ‘rooting’ of smartphones.

Ensure your password is strong and use multifactor authentication

The best prevention credit union members have against these attacks is to use strong passwords.

The longer passwords are usually harder to crack, as do passwords that are a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.

Do not use common passwords like 12345, password, qwerty etc., which hackers can crack easily.

Using multifactor authentication like one-time passwords and push notification tokens allows much higher threshold of protection. If this is available, make sure to turn it on. If it is not available yet, you should as your credit union to provide such security. 

Turn on notifications

If you haven’t done it already, turn on notifications from you mobile banking application. These notifications will alert you quickly of any activity on your account.

Not just for multifactor authentication of login and transactions on your account, the credit union will alert you of the unsuccessful login attempts to your internet banking account. This help you stay alert if any attempts are made to access your account fraudulently.

Avoid signing-in to your banking account via emails

Avoid clicking on links on emails from untrusted sources.

Your credit union will never ask you to for the login credentials or password to your account. So, if there’s an email which offers to redirect you to your credit union’s website and asks you enter login ID and password then do not click on such links.

It is always safer to type the credit union’s URL yourself than getting redirected to it via a promotional mail or any other third-party website.

How to know if a web page or application is secured?

While browsing the internet, the URLs of the website begin with the letter “http”. However, over a secure connection the web address is displayed as “https” to begin with and note the “s“.

So, while logging in, do quick check for ‘https://’ in the URL, which assures you that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted and that it is your credit union’s authentic website. Further, the lock icon before the ‘https://’ is also an assurance for a secure connection.

Always install apps from the mobile app stores. When it comes to apps, never sideload an app or use a jailbroken / rooted device which opens your device for malicious apps.

Avoid using public computers and someone else’s mobile phone to login to your digital banking

If you are using a public computer or someone else’s mobile phone, the risk of compromising your login credentials is much higher. If you must then make sure some form of multi-factor authentication enabled and make sure to uncheck “remember this device” in the login screen.

If you must login from a public computer, make sure you clear the caches, browsing history, and delete all the temporary files from the computer. Also, never allow the browser to remember your login ID and password and always use the incognito mode on the browser.

Other important Points to note:

Shoulder surfing is also a method used by fraudsters to peak over your shoulders at your user ID and password. Hence be aware of suspicious people lingering around when you are typing you ID and password on your laptops and also while using ATMs.

  • Cover the keypad of the ATM with your hand while entering your Credit/Debit card PIN.
  • Use a privacy protector screen to make your screen less visible to others in your surroundings.
  • Tilt your computer or Smartphone screen so that other people cannot see what you are typing.

Contact your credit union immediately at the first sign of any fraud or suspicious activity in your accounts.

  • The longer you wait before calling or visiting your credit union, the longer it will take the institution to resolve whatever problem exists.
  • Be sure to keep copies of any relevant documents involved in the suspicious activity or fraud.
  • If your account has been defrauded, you may also may need to contact the authorities.

Keep Your contact details updated with the credit union and read any notification regarding contact details being changed and alert the credit union if you have not authorized the change.

8 Things your credit union will never ask you to do

  1. Call and ask your PIN number or any online banking passwords
  2. Send someone to your house to collect cash, cards or anything else on behalf of credit union
  3. Ask you to email or text your banking related information such as login ID and password
  4. Send an email with a link to a page which looks like the login page of the credit union and ask you to enter your online banking log-in details
  5. Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new/unknown account or hand over cash.
  6. Call to advise you to buy Jewellery, diamonds, property or any other commodities
  7. Ask you to make a test transaction online
  8. Provide banking services through any mobile apps other than the credit union’s official apps

To conclude credit unions and financial institutions are offering ever more increasing number of services online and various security measures to prevent frauds from happening but it also imperative that customers are also aware of the risks and take necessary precautions to avoid falling in the trap of these scams. Learn more about common scams and frauds.

2020-06-08T14:09:19-07:00May 20th, 2020|Article|
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