Tips Protecting Your Finances as the Country Reopens, from a Credit Union

As the country reopens one county at a time, individuals and businesses continue to face complex financial challenges, many for the first time.

Oregon CU OnPoint Community Credit Union is working to ensure the communities it serves across Oregon and Southwest Washington are equipped with the latest information to navigate the financial road ahead.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has required our communities to quickly navigate financial setbacks while fending off a sharp increase in fraud,” said Rob Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “OnPoint is closely monitoring the various trends and precautions, and is working to ensure everyone in Oregon and Southwest Washington has the information they need to face these evolving challenges.”

Below are three OnPoint personal finance tips based on the latest developments and commonly asked member questions:

Scammers use social engineering to access consumer Venmo and Zelle accounts

OnPoint, along with financial institutions across the nation, has reported three to four times more fraud complaints than average since the COVID-19 pandemic began in February.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Division recently reported 3,000-4,000 cybersecurity complaints each day, a major jump from the 1,000 complaints per day prior to COVID-19.

The latest scam targets users of popular peer-to-peer money transfer services such as Venmo, Paypal and Zelle.

It involves a scammer posing as a financial institution, texting individuals with a warning about suspicious debit card activity.

They will then ask for digital banking credentials and, if successful, will immediately log into digital banking accounts and transfer money elsewhere using peer-to-peer money transfer services.

How can consumers protect themselves? OnPoint warns that you should never share online credentials, PINs, Social Security numbers, or any other personal information over text or by phone to anyone, even if they claim to be from your financial institution. Credit union and bank employees will never ask for credentials or personal information in this manner.

If you think you have been a victim of this scam or any other fraudulent activity, contact your financial institution immediately.

A warning against making large cash withdrawals

The financial services industry has experienced a spike in individuals withdrawing large sums of cash, sometimes more than $150,000 at a time, to stockpile at home for safe-keeping.

While home may seem like the most secure place in a crisis, many are not aware that homeowners’ insurance policies rarely cover cash. That means if your house burns down or is burglarized, you risk losing it all.

Money is safest when stored at a credit union or bank that is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

OnPoint encourages those who may be thinking about withdrawing a large sum of money to check with their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provider to see what kind of protection, if any, they offer for large amounts of cash. 

Contactless payments cut COVID-19 transmission and fraud

With health experts advising us to touch as little as possible, financial institutions and merchants are expanding contactless payment offerings. In addition to slowing the spread of COVID-19, utilizing contactless payment options also cuts down on fraud.

The traditional method of swiping a debit or credit card transmits the cardholder’s name, three-digit security code and zip code.

In contrast, contactless technology generates a one-time code to identify the transaction. Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay require a fingerprint, face ID or passcode to unlock the contactless payment capability.

All OnPoint debit and credit cards offer contactless payments with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

OnPoint encourages consumers to explore what contactless options their financial institution offers and utilize the technology whenever possible to protect your family’s finances and health.

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