Security Education

Member Security Education – ID Theft & More:
Protecting Your Accounts & Your Identity

Retailers Warned to Expect More Data Breaches

(January 24, 2014) In a confidential report, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned U.S. retailers to prepare for more cyber attacks involving the same kind of malicious software used against Target. The report, titled “Recent Cyber Intrusion Events Directed Toward Retail Firms,” was distributed to retail companies last week.

According to an article released by Reuters after seeing a copy of the report, the report describes the risks posed by “memory-parsing” malware that infects point-of-sale (POS) systems, which include cash registers and credit-card swiping machines found in store checkout aisles.

“The accessibility of the malware on underground forums, the affordability of the software and the huge potential profits to be made from retail POS systems in the United States make this type of financially motivated cyber crime attractive to a wide range of actors,” the FBI said.

Federal Regulator Warns about Telephone Fraud

Consumers Targeted by Vishing Scam Should Call Agency’s Hotline.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Jan. 21, 2014) The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) today warned consumers to beware of a new telephone fraud, known as a “vishing” scheme, that is using the agency’s name in an attempt to obtain personal financial information.

Several credit union members have been contacted by an automated phone call claiming to be from NCUA and notifying consumers their debit cards have been compromised. The call then asks the receiver to follow prompts, which request personal information, including sensitive financial data and personal identification information.

Anyone contacted by this so-called “vishing” scheme should immediately contact NCUA’s Consumer Assistance Center Hotline at 800-755-1030 or by email at to report the scam. Operators answer calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern.

NCUA neither seeks personal information from consumers over the telephone nor handles day-to-day maintenance of member account information. NCUA works with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to protect consumers from frauds of this nature.

NCUA urges consumers to never verify or release personal financial information to unknown callers.

More Updates About The Target Breach

As information about the Target Corporation data breach incident of November 27 through December 15 continues to surface, we see that Target offers a form of  credit bureau monitoring for its customers.

Most consumers do not know that credit monitoring only alerts the consumer to NEW credit activity and derogatory credit, such as late payments, judgments and bankruptcies. The Target data breach exposed EXISTING credit lines and bank accounts, and credit monitoring does not pick up these existing fraudulent transactions. The consumer is not alerted to these fraudulent purchases; furthermore, by signing up for Target’s free offer, people can easily be lulled into a false sense of security about their free service.

People who sign up for that service will possibly think they no longer have to watch their accounts, thinking they are protected from any fraud. What this means is that fraud perpetrated earlier by the criminals who acquired the Target consumers’ personal information can use the data to commit other types of identity theft.

It is important that you continue to monitor your credit union accounts by checking on your statements for any transactions that you did not do. Better yet, monitor your accounts by using the free ACCOUNT ALERTS feature in Online Banking.

At the credit union, we have the best form of fraud protection in the form of managed Identity Theft Recovery Service. Everyone who has a personal checking account at the credit union is already automatically covered by this service. They also are eligible to enroll in our free Credit Monitoring Service. Combined with the I.D. Theft Recovery Service, our checking members have the best type of coverage in the event of I.D. theft. Don’t wait and don’t assume that the Target credit monitoring service will protect you. Contact St. Cloud Federal Credit Union today.

For additional answers to your questions, click here.

We are here to help our members reach their financial goals. Through the information you find on this page, we also want to help you and your family do the following:

  • Become more aware as consumers
  • Manage your debt, as well as your savings and investments
  • Make secure online and offline transactions, protect your identity from ID Theft, and more. See the section below titled “Protecting Your Accounts By Making Your Online Experience More Secure”. - Features a series of VIDEOS and information from the federal government and the technology industry to help you stay on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

Security & Fraud Alerts - We will post security alerts on our web site as they come to our attention, to keep you informed about potential online threats.

For additional information, visit these web sites: (You will be leaving the credit union web site.) (You will be leaving the credit union web site.)

Federal Trade Commission: - a ton of information to help you protect yourself from Identity Theft. (You will be leaving the credit union web site.)

Protecting Your Accounts By Making
Your Online Experience More Secure

womanHere is some useful information to help make your home computer more secure. The key to maintaining a secure computer or network is to use multiple layers of security. To most people, the following information may seem pretty technical; however, if you want to be as secure as possible on the Internet, you need to be aware of these concepts.

Layer of Security #1 – Firewall. Home users can buy “firewalls” (software or hardware variety) and use them with relative ease. Windows Firewall is already installed on the newer versions of Windows and actually comes “turned on” as a default setting. If you wanted to look at a free software firewall for your home computer,one option is called Zone Alarm. Search for it, install it, and it will begin to immediately secure your computer. There are also hardware versions of firewalls, but they are more complicated to use. The Internet is a risky place which contains malware (malicious software), viruses, phishing, and many more threats created by people whose goal is to either cause mischief or steal whatever they can from you — your identity, your money, etc. A firewall helps block a lot of these threats and creates a more secure environment for your computers.

Layer of Security #2 – Anti-Virus. Home users can purchase anti-virus programs or find free options online. Whatever option you choose, you need this layer of protection. An anti-virus program scans your computer periodically looking for signs that you have a file on your computer doing “bad things”. Anti-Virus works really well AS LONG AS YOU KEEP IT UPDATED. New viruses are created daily by the bad guys out there. Programs are actually available free online to help anyone learn to create virus programs. Some people create them for fun, while many others use viruses to try and gain control of your computer, learn your passwords, and more. Keep your ANTI-VIRUS FILES UPDATED REGULARLY as one layer of security.

Layer of Security #3 – Operating System and Web Browser updates. It is as important that you apply software updates to your operating system (Windows, etc.), your web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), and other software as it is to keep your anti-virus files updated. Security holes are constantly mandiscovered in software, and software companies feverishly try to repair them with patches and updates (replacement software that makes the program more secure). To update your Windows computer at home, open up the Windows CONTROL PANEL and look for WINDOWS UPDATE. Run it, let it do its thing, and create a more secure computing experience for you and your family. Most programs have optional settings you can select to AUTOMATICALLY UPDATE the program without your intervention.

Layer of Security #4 – Intrusion Prevention & Detection. This is the most complex option for a home user. But if you want to make your Internet connection really secure, this option acts like an alarm system that alerts you immediately when someone trys to break into your computer over the Internet. You can buy this type of protection for your home computer or network, but for most people it would probably be too complex to use. If you use a wireless network at home, search online for “Securing a Wireless Network” for some simple tips that can drastically increase your protection.

Lastly, be smart. The bad guys are tricksters and are very clever at getting you to click on links in emails or on web pages, or give information out online. Just stop, and think about what you are doing. When you purchase something online or you use Online Banking, check for a web address that starts with “https”. Also, look for an icon in Internet Explorer or other browser program that looks like a closed padlock, as shown here.lock If you do not see both of these, do not proceed with the transaction. It probably means you are not on the legitimate web site.

Above all, use strong passwords! This can seem like a major pain, but a complex non-dictionary password containing a mix of at least 8 letters (ABC abc) + numbers (1 2 3) + special characters ( # $ % * ! } [ ) can take the fastest computer on earth years to crack. The more characters there are in your password, the harder it is for someone to crack it! To help remember a more complex password, pick your favorite song lyrics, line of a poem, or a phrase that you can remember, and use the first letter of each word, and put one or more numbers somewhere, and at least one special character. Use some upper case (capital) and some lower case letters.

For example, using a line from our national anthem = “O say Can you See bThe dawn’s Early light”, use the first letter of each word (some upper case and some lower case letters), toss in some numbers, plus one special keyboard character, and your easy-to-remember password might be the following: OsCySbTdEl1776! But don’t tell anyone what it is and don’t write it down where someone can find it.

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