Financial Education

Spotting a Scam

Oct 28
2021

When it comes to cyber security, we all want to believe that we are able to spot a scam when we are targeted. The reality is that anyone can fall prey to a phishing attempt. Fraudsters are always evolving and constantly developing new ways to deceive us. We know to avoid those emails from theRead more

When it comes to cyber security, we all want to believe that we are able to spot a scam when we are targeted. The reality is that anyone can fall prey to a phishing attempt. Fraudsters are always evolving and constantly developing new ways to deceive us. We know to avoid those emails from the Nigerian prince, but when you get an email from what appears to be a trusted source, how do you know it’s legitimate?

Unfortunately, phishing attempts often look like they’re from a company you know and trust. All financial institutions are targets for scammers as a means to gain access to their victim’s accounts. In fact, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $54 million to phishing schemes in 2020. It is estimated that in the coming year, 1 in 4 Americans will fall prey to a phishing scam.

So, how do we stay cyber safe? The most important action we can take is to stay educated on current phishing trends. The more you know, the more easily you’ll be able to spot a phishing attempt and keep yourself, and your data, safe. Also, it’s important to share this information with your loved ones, especially those that are more vulnerable to fall prey to cyber scams.

Here are some common strategies scammers use and how to identify them.

Does it ask you to follow a link, open a file, or provide personal information?

Phishing attempts often tell a story to trick you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. This may look like a subscription service you use emailing to tell you that your payment information is outdated with a link to update it. Or it may look like an email from your bank letting you know that your online account is locked with a link to provide your login credentials, security questions, or other personal information. If you are concerned that your information may actually be out of date, go directly to the source instead of clicking on the link.

Does it feel urgent?

Many scams capitalize on simply creating a sense of urgency. Slow down and really evaluate what is being presented to you. The urgency may seem alarming, and your instinct may be to take whatever action it is prompting you to. When you slow down and take a step back, however, you are able to think clearly about the situation. Is your payment information really outdated? Can you go directly to their website or contact them to check on this, rather than clicking on the link in the email? Take your time to verify anything that may seem off, trust your instincts, and don’t commit to or take action on something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Is it poorly written?

When reading through any email or message, take note of the grammar and wording used in the message. If you notice spelling and grammatical mistakes, or even strange phrases, this should be a red flag that something isn’t right. Emails from legitimate sources are very carefully crafted to assure that they are professional and well-written. On another note, most email spam filters will look for key phrases or words to filter out phishing attempts, and spelling or grammatical mistakes can help scam emails bypass those filters and find their way directly in your inbox, instead of your junk folder. Since these messages appear to come from legitimate sources, take extra time to read them carefully and assure that they are authentic.

Where will the link send you?

Since it may look like you’re being contacted from a company you know and trust, it can be hard to tell whether it is real or not. Scammers may use the company’s logo and the link may even look like it’s taking you to their website. Just because a link says it’s going to send you to one place, doesn’t mean it actually will. Did you know that you can check where a link will send you once you click on it before doing so? Hover over the link without clicking on it, and the URL that is displayed is the page that you will be visiting. If these don’t match, this means the link is not taking you where it looks like it will at first sight.

Is it a text message from an unfamiliar number asking you to update your personal information?

Text messages are an intrusive way for scammers to get your attention quickly. By texting you directly, it creates a false sense of security because you assume the sender has your permission to contact you in this way. It can be difficult to decipher which text messages are legitimate and which are fraudulent. If you receive a text message asking you for personal information, it is best to assume that the message is fraudulent and contact the source directly.

Is it on social media?

Have you ever received a friend request on Facebook from someone you thought you were already friends with? Perhaps your coworker, mom, or best friend sent you a friend request out of the blue that has no posts, and you’re already friends with them. Since you know that person did not create a new Facebook profile, it’s easy to spot these, delete the request, and report the profile as fake. However, a new trend that has surfaced is business page cloning, which may be harder to spot.

Business Profile Cloning may look like one of your favorite Facebook pages holding a legitimate contest that you have entered to win, and then shortly after you receive a friend request from that business, along with a message that you have won the contest. Don’t let the excitement of winning throw you off your guard! Analyze the situation the same way you would with a strange email. If you entered the contest on their business page, why are they sending you a new friend request from a separate profile? Are they asking you to click a link to claim your prize? Do they need you to provide your personal or banking information in order to win? Do they only have a few, very recent posts? Does the name of the page or profile include dashes, apostrophe’s, or other punctuation that isn’t normally there? Is the spelling and grammar off?

If any of this raises a red flag, take a step back and find the original page you entered the contest on, and send them a quick message. They can verify whether this request was legitimate and save you from providing your personal information to a fake account. Keep your guard up, phishing attempts can happen anywhere, at any time.

Does it look like it’s from Idaho Central?

As always, please remember that Idaho Central would never send you an email or social media message with a link asking you to provide login credentials, security questions, or any other personal information. Always go directly to www.iccu.com or use our app to log in and access your online banking. If you have received what appears to be a phishing email pretending to be from Idaho Central Credit Union, do not respond to the request. Instead, forward the email to abuse@iccu.com.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns; Idaho Central can help you identify scams or fraud, and help you with the next steps needed to protect yourself. Learn more about how to protect yourself at our security center.

Financial Education

Free Financial Education from Idaho Central and EVERFI

Oct 01
2021

At Idaho Central, we believe that financial education is a key to helping our members achieve financial success, and it doesn’t have to be hard. We are happy to announce our partnership with EVERFI to provide our new Financial Education Center to help our members build financial health and confidence. “Understanding your finances and makingRead more

At Idaho Central, we believe that financial education is a key to helping our members achieve financial success, and it doesn’t have to be hard. We are happy to announce our partnership with EVERFI to provide our new Financial Education Center to help our members build financial health and confidence.

“Understanding your finances and making sound financial decisions is key to a strong future, but many people don’t know where to turn to get the information they need in a way that is easily digestible and understandable,” said EVERFI Co-Founder and President Ray Martinez.

When it comes to something that we don’t understand about our finances, it may cause feelings of hesitation, causing us to pull back instead of learning more. Financial education, however, is a vital piece of learning that should continue through life. Our Financial Education Center offers a robust library of learning topics around important personal financial education concepts including budgeting, understanding college loans, building emergency savings, saving for retirement, credit scores and reports, and more. The interactive financial education platform is designed to provide the tools and personalized knowledge necessary to make informed financial decisions.

According to Charles Schwab’s 2020 Financial Literacy Survey, 89% of Americans believe a lack of financial literacy leads to social issues, including poverty, lack of job opportunities, unemployment, and wealth inequality. Further, they found that 65% of Americans believe schools should provide financial education, but only 21 states currently require high school students to complete a personal finance course. This is one of the many reasons why taking your financial education into your own hands is important, and why we are proud to offer this program.

From opening a credit card to taking out a student loan, we have partnered with EVERFI to help bring financial knowledge to people of every age and stage of life. A free, digital financial education program is provided to communities with the goal of increasing knowledge and achieving financial success. Find the tips, tools, and resources that empower you to make smart decisions and achieve your financial goals. Now more than ever, Idaho Central Credit Union is committed to empowering all consumers with the financial education they need to navigate their economic circumstance and make smart financial decisions. To access this program and get started today, click here.

Financial Education

How CardControl Keeps Your Business Secure

Jul 01
2021
Woman shopping online using her debt card.

If you are a small business owner with employees, chances are, this is a question you’ve been faced with. Protecting company assets, while maintaining good operating practices, is a huge challenge for almost all business owners.  If managed correctly, this practice can be very helpful.

If you are a small business owner with employees, the question of whether or not you should give your employees a company credit or debit card is most likely one that you’ve been faced with. This question can bring up a lot of concerns. Protecting company assets, while maintaining good operating practices, is a huge challenge for almost all business owners.  If managed correctly, allowing employees to utilize a debit or credit card can be very helpful to your business, and Idaho Central can help you mitigate the risks.

Considerations

When your employees have a card that they can use, there are many benefits. First, this is one of the easiest ways to save your business time. If you are the only one in your business that has a card that can be used, this can create a bottleneck for purchases that need to be made. Each time an employee needs to make a purchase for any project or inventory that they are in charge of, they would be able to make that purchase themselves rather than rely on finding you and getting access to your card first. Allowing them to have their own cards can ease that burden. It also allows for extra layers of tracking, which may not be possible otherwise. When your employees each have their own cards, you are able to clearly track and see who is spending what, and set your future budgets accordingly. With an Idaho Central card, all cards are also protected by Visa’s zero fraud liability. This adds an extra layer of protection for your business that you otherwise wouldn’t have if your employees were instead dealing only in cash or checks.

While there are many clear benefits to allowing your employees to have their own cards, there are many concerns that business owners have when making this decision. The additional risks that come along with employees having their own cards can include opening your business up to risks of fraudulent charges, purchases that haven’t been approved, and can add concerns about the logistics of managing having multiple cards “floating around.” As a business owner, you may also have concerns about your employees misusing their cards, or about what happens when an employee leaves the business. These questions can result in a lot of hesitation, and many business owners may overlook the benefits altogether.

CardControl

At Idaho Central, we have a solution for these common challenges! It’s called CardControl, and is a free feature we offer to our members.

CardControl is a mobile app that allows you to stay in control of the type, amounts, and where your employees can use their company card. Here are some examples of what this can do for your business:

Location Control

Set limits on where the card can be used. Location Control allows you to create a virtual wall around the location you have authorized.

Transaction Control

You can enable your Transaction Control to select the specific types of purchases. For instance, if your employee would not need to make online purchases, you can turn this setting “off” to prevent this particular purchase type.

Merchant Control

Merchant Control is a way to limit even where the card is used. If you would like to block purchases made from a gas station, simply turn this feature to no.

Spending Limits

Spending Limits are a major concern as well. In order to limit exposure, we recommend putting spending limits on each card. This is as easy as setting a dollar amount that you are comfortable with your employee using daily.

Additional Security

In addition to CardControl, we can also provide a Business Card Management tool upon approval. This tool allows you to turn employee cards on and off as needed, set limits on each of your employees’ cards, and have full manageability of how your limit is being spent.

These are just a few examples of how we can help your business run as efficient as possible, while minimizing risk. Contact your local Business Relationship Officer for more details on how Card Control can help you and your business!

Financial Education

Protect Your Small Business from Scams

Jun 11
2021
hacker

As business deals increasingly move into the electronic realm, it becomes critically important to be aware of new threats to your business. People committing fraud are creative, and new scams are introduced daily.

As business deals move into the electronic realm, it has never been more critically important to be aware of new cyber threats to your business.  People committing fraud are creative, and new scams are introduced daily.  The Better Business Bureau published an article about the top ten scams targeting small businesses, which can range from scams that have proved reliable in the past to brand new scams constantly being created by new fraudsters. It may seem impossible to stay on top of your security, but you can protect your business from being scammed by implementing some key practices in your business.

Educate Yourself and Your Employees

Knowledge is your best defense in protecting your business. Anyone can fall for a scam, which means you and your employees are a liability. Because of this, keeping your defenses up is key to keeping your business protected. You can do so by keeping tabs on any new or recurring scams out there, and make sure your employees are on the look-out as well. Keep everyone on the same page by holding trainings, having clear password and internet use policies, and staying in communication about anything that may be suspicious or that they need to be aware of. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission is an excellent resource with information about protecting your business. Carving out time to stay informed can make all the difference in avoiding scams and keeping your business safe.

Slow Down and Ask Questions

Many scams capitalize on simply creating a sense of urgency. Slow down and really evaluate what is being presented to you. The urgency may be alarming, and your instinct may be to immediately take whatever action you are prompted to. When you slow down and take a step back, however, you are able to think clearly about the situation.

Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust. This may look like a service your business uses emailing you to tell you that your payment information is outdated with a link to update it. Or it may look like an email from your bank letting you know that your online account is locked with a link to provide your login credentials, security questions, or other personal information. It is also good practice to be vigilant with any check you may receive. This can be as simple as a check arriving in the mail that you weren’t expecting, or a check that is much larger than you had agreed on and now they’re asking for you to send part of it back.

Get into the habit of slowing down and asking questions. Is your payment information really outdated? Can you go directly to their website or contact them to check on this, rather than clicking on the link in the email? Were you expecting this check? Why is the amount different than expected? Does the story add up? Take your time to verify anything that may seem off, trust your instincts, and don’t commit to or take action on something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Communicate With Your Financial Institution

One of the simplest ways to protect your small business is to watch your accounts and be aware of what deposits and withdrawals are occurring on a regular basis to catch potential fraud as soon as possible. Financial institutions are trying to stay one step ahead of the con-artists and fraudsters and Idaho Central is available to help you safeguard your business accounts with tools such as automatic card fraud monitoring for all ICCU cards, and CardControl. If fraud is found, our cards are also protected by Visa’s zero fraud liability, protecting your accounts from losses. Do not hesitate to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns! Idaho Central can help you identify scams or fraud, and help you with the next steps needed to protect yourself. Learn more about how to protect yourself at our security center.

As always, please remember that Idaho Central would never send you an email or social media message with a link asking you to provide login credentials, security questions, or any other personal information. Always go directly to www.iccu.com or use our app to log in and access your online banking. If you have received what appears to be a phishing email pretending to be from Idaho Central Credit Union, do not respond to the request. Instead, forward the email to abuse@iccu.com.

Contact us today to find out more about our business products and services.

Financial Education

Understanding the Difference Between Debit and Credit Cards

May 24
2021
Couple using credit card for online purchase

If you’re new to credit cards, it may seem confusing at first to determine what the difference is between a credit card and a debit card. They look the same, are accepted at many of the same places, and serve the same function. You need to make a purchase? Take out your card, run it,Read more

If you’re new to credit cards, it may seem confusing at first to determine what the difference is between a credit card and a debit card. They look the same, are accepted at many of the same places, and serve the same function. You need to make a purchase? Take out your card, run it, and your purchase is complete! Though the process of using a debit card and a credit card are very similar, if not identical at times, the back end process is what makes all the difference. Debit cards pull funds directly from your account. This means that in order to use your debit card, you have the money available already. Essentially, it is the same as paying with cash. Credit cards, however, are loans. When you use a credit card, you are taking out a loan for that amount, with the promise to repay it later. If you are at the stage in your life where you are considering getting a credit card, it’s important to know the differences between debit and credit so that you know what benefits you have, what benefits are possible, and what benefits you may be missing out on.

What benefits are offered for both?

There are benefits that all cards from Idaho Central have, offering you peace of mind and helping you to know that you are taken care of. At Idaho Central, we are proud to offer our members automatic card fraud monitoring for all ICCU cards. If fraud is found, our cards are also protected by Visa’s zero fraud liability, protecting your accounts from losses. In addition, we also offer CardControl, a free app that allows you to stay in control of your cards. You turn them off and on as needed, set spending limits, define approved types of transactions, receive real-time alerts, and protect your card from theft.

What’s right for you? 

Once you understand the differences and similarities between a debit card and a credit card, the next step is to decide what is right for you. As exciting as getting a credit card may seem, it’s important to make sure you’re ready for one. If you’ve never had a credit card before, using your debit card responsibly and figuring out your budget is a good first step to take. Once you’re ready to take the next step and open a credit card, you’re faced with even more options in determining which card is right for you. At Idaho Central, we’re ready to help.

You may be new to building credit, or had some credit issues in the past that you’re looking to come back from. If this is you, we offer credit builder and credit rebuilder products to get you started on your journey to great credit. Our Fixed-Rate Platinum Visa offers the security of a fixed rate, and our Variable-Rate Platinum Visa may be best if you need a low rate on your monthly balance. We also offer our Rewards Visa, which is a great option to start earning rewards on all of your purchases with a lower interest rate on your monthly balance. A Premier Rewards Visa, however, is perfect for the borrower that wants to maximize rewards and perks, and doesn’t typically carry a balance each month.

Did you know that credit unions have capped interest rates? Some financial institutions have high interest rates, but the good news is that credit union interest rates can’t go above a certain threshold. That way, you can rest assured that your ICCU credit card will have one of the best rates available on the market! If you are shopping for a credit card with a great rate, you can view all of our card options and their rates at any time on our website here. At Idaho Central, we also offer no fees for balance transfers or cash advances, low interest rates, and great rewards options to choose from. To make your decision even simpler, you can view all of Idaho Central’s credit card options to easily compare here.

What do you need to know about rewards?

If you have a rewards card, it’s important to know how your rewards program is structured. It’s not uncommon to be lured into a seemingly great credit card offer with flashy advertisements telling you about their high cash back percentage. Though that 3% cash back may seem appealing, take a close look at what it really entails. Many cards may offer a large amount cash back for certain purchases, but a small amount cash back for your everyday purchases. For example, you may have a credit card that offers 3% cash back on travel, and 1% on everything else. If you doesn’t spend much on travel, your overall cash back may be much lower than you anticipate from the initial claim of 3%. Depending on how you plan to use your card, it may be best to find a card with a straight-forward point system for a fixed amount of points for each dollar spent.

In addition to knowing how you receive rewards, you will want to know how your rewards are redeemed. Many people love their travel cards, but these are often only redeemable for travel, not cash back. Maybe you saved up all of your points for the year to go on a big family vacation, but then had a family emergency come up and needed to postpone your plans. If your rewards are only redeemable for travel, then you wouldn’t have the option of cash back to use for the emergency or other unexpected expenses. Considering this, it may be best for your card to have flexible redemption options, letting you plan for your fun family trip, while also allowing you to use the rewards like cash. At Idaho Central, our reward points are redeemable for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more. Choosing the right rewards card for you is the best way to make sure you are making the most of your business credit card. Our Premier Rewards Visa offers 2 points per $1.00 spent on all purchases, offering you great cash back on every purchase you makes, not just a small percentage of them. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for future promotions to get even more rewards out of your card!

What extra benefits are there?

After going through all of the work of picking out the right card, budgeting, making sure your security is in place, and maximizing any rewards, you may feel like you’ve tapped out all of the benefits of your credit card. Luckily, that may not be the case! Idaho Central offers great credit cards with extra benefits that you may not be aware of. This includes auto rental collision damage insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, purchase security and extended protection, and more. Do you have big travel plans in the future? You can even level up your extra benefits with our Premier Rewards Visa card, which comes with Visa’s Concierge service. This concierge service can help you plan your trip, reservations and recommendations included!

Apply for your credit card today and start taking advantage of all of the great benefits that come with an Idaho Central Visa credit card!