What’s Yours

Straightforward advice for a safer you and a better future. NCPD Federal Credit Union has compiled practical knowledge and tips to help you thwart cyberattacks and fraud attempts.
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What’s Yours

Straightforward advice for a safer you and a better future. NCPD Federal Credit Union has compiled practical knowledge and tips to help you thwart cyberattacks and fraud attempts.
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Stay Secure


Cybercrime refers to more than fraudulent email messages and fake websites that criminals use to take your money. A cybercrime may involve tactics using ransomware, where criminals lock you out of your files until they receive a ransom, or phony phone calls, such as criminals pretending to represent a technical support company so they can get your information.

You can protect yourself from a range of cybercrimes by taking these precautions:

  • Use antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software to protect your computer
  • Encrypt your home Wi-Fi network
  • Back up your files regularly
  • Create strong passwords and don’t share them (unless absolutely necessary)
  • Don’t respond to suspicious or unfamiliar emails
  • Download messages, files, and photos with extreme caution
  • Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent activity
  • Don’t visit suspicious websites or follow links from sources you don’t know or trust
  • Regularly update your antivirus software, antispyware, Mobile Banking apps, and operating systems on all devices
  • Don’t share your personal information with sources you don’t trust
  • Avoid interacting with pop-ups when browsing the internet
  • Have different passwords for all of your different accounts
  • Turn your computer off when it’s not in use
  • Don’t give control of your computer to an unauthorized third party

The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a page dedicated to resources and information regarding cybercrimes. Be aware of the latest cyber scams by reviewing this page frequently and searching the internet for the most recent online scams and cybercrimes.

If you are a target of cybercrime, contact your financial institution immediately. Then, report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a joint government collaboration. The IC3 links complaints together to refer them for case consideration. It also uses data to identify emerging trends and patterns.


Scammers sometimes pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. They might promise government-sponsored lottery winnings if you provide your account information, or they might threaten you with arrest or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a supposed debt, like taxes. Regardless of their tactics, their goal is the same: to get you to send them money.

Don’t do it. Federal government agencies and federal employees don’t ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans. They also cannot ask you to wire money or to add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for anything.

Before you get caught in this type of scam, look for these warning signs:

  • You’ve “Won” a Lottery or Sweepstakes: Someone claiming to be a government official calls, telling you that you've won a federally supervised lottery or sweepstakes. Then, they claim they need your personal and/or financial information to verify your identity and deposit the funds in your account.
  • You Owe a Fake Debt: You might get a call or an official-looking letter that has your correct name, address, and even your Social Security number. Often, fake debt collectors say they’re with a law firm or a government agency, like the Federal Trade Commission, the IRS, or a sheriff’s office. Then, they threaten to arrest you or take you to court if you don’t pay off a debt you supposedly owe. It’s common for them to request payment in the form of wire transfers or prepaid cards.

To beat government imposter scams, you should:

  • Never wire money to someone you don’t personally know
  • Never pay to receive a prize or winnings
  • Never give any caller your financial or personal information
  • Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry at


EMV Chip Cards: This technology – which was developed by EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa – uses microprocessor chips to authenticate point-of-sale purchases for added security. Cards that have these chips use dynamic authentication, a process that changes authentication data on your card each time you use it. Dynamic authentication is more secure than magnetic swipe cards, which use verification data that stays the same each time you use your card.

Mobile Banking: Mobile Banking allows you to access the details of your financial accounts on your mobile device through a secure app. More consumers now access their accounts through Mobile Banking than through Online Banking. Some consumers who don't plan to use online tools to access their financial accounts are now asking for mobile-only account access.

Picture Pay: Picture Pay is a financial transaction tool that, in some institutions, is surpassing mobile bill pay usage. With this tool, you take a picture of a bill, confirm the payment amount, and submit it to your financial institution, and your financial institution pays the merchant. While online bill pay requires setting up payee information online, Picture Pay requires less effort from the consumer.

Online Wallets: This mobile tool allows for retail, point-of-sale (POS) transactions where your mobile phone replaces a plastic card for in-person purchases. It can also house digital items, like event tickets and loyalty points. As more retailers adopt the proper technology to enable these POS transactions, this technology is growing rapidly.

Biometrics: Biometrics use physical identifiers – such as facial features, retina or iris patterns, or fingerprints – to verify a user’s identity before granting access to a platform, application, or device. Biometric security measures make it more difficult for unauthorized people to access sensitive information, providing enhanced security. Most modern mobile devices feature biometric security options, as do many financial institution mobile applications.


What is phishing? Phishing (pronounced FISH-ing) is a high-tech scam that uses spam emails or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.

Tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:

  • If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply, and don't click on any links or attachments in the message, either. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned the message might be legitimate and important, contact the organization mentioned in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet window and type in the company's correct web address yourself. In any case, don't click or copy the link from the message into your browser – phishers can make links look like they go to one place, but actually send you to a different site.
  • Use antivirus software, antispyware, and a firewall on all of your devices, and keep them up to date. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities without your knowledge, but these cybersecurity programs block them. Antivirus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Antispyware detects traces of spyware and adware and alerts you or automatically removes them. A firewall monitors network traffic and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources.
  • Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon in the address bar or a URL that begins with "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). However, no indicator is foolproof – some phishers have forged security icons – so always use your best judgement.
  • Avoid opening any attachments or downloading any files from emails or pop-ups, regardless of who you think sent them.
  • Forward phishing messages to the Federal Trade Commission at and to the financial institution or organization that’s being impersonated in the phishing email. Most organizations have information on their websites about where to report problems.
  • If you believe you've been scammed, report it to the FTC, and then explore the FTC's identity theft resources. Victims of phishing can become victims of identity theft.

While you can't entirely control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take some steps to minimize your risk. If an identity thief is opening credit accounts in your name, these new accounts are likely to show up on your credit report. You may catch an incident early if you check your credit reports regularly. You can request free copies of your credit reports once per year online.


Smishing: Phishing via SMS messages is known as smishing. It uses text messages to trick you into providing personal and financial information. Smishers may use links, automated messages, or spoofed phone numbers in their messages.

Tip: Text messages can contain malicious software. To prevent further security issues, completely remove unsolicited text messages from your phone. This may take two steps: deleting the text and then completely removing it from your device.

Vishing: Phishing by voice, or vishing, occurs when a scammer calls you and attempts to trick you into providing personal and financial information, often using number spoofing – where it appears they’re calling from a different phone number than they actually are. Your best bet is not to answer calls from any number you don’t recognize (unless you’re expecting an important call), and if you receive an unexpected call or voicemail from an important figure – like your financial institution – then contact that figure directly at a number or website you trust (not one provided by the caller).


Older adults that may be less tech-savvy and more financially stable are often more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, especially financial and cybercrimes.

The elderly are the fastest growing segment of our society and they are also an important part of our country's economy. America's growing older adults population is uniquely vulnerable to a broad range of exploitation and abuse. Financial crimes in particular are targeted at older adults with alarming frequency, and are all too often successful. Familiarize yourself and your loved ones with common senior scams.


Once a criminal has your name and Social Security number, they can file a tax return in your name and make up financial information that generates a large refund, which could have serious repercussions if it isn’t detected.

Tip: Be extremely protective of your personal information, and only share it with trusted sources. Often, tax fraudsters will obtain your information through email phishing, social engineering tactics, the black market, and other sources.

  • Keep your transactions secure. Never enter sensitive information when your device is connected to a public network and use screen privacy devices when others are nearby to keep your personal and financial information safe.
  • Think before you click. Don’t interact with unsolicited or unfamiliar messages, photos, files, links, attachments, or phone calls.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel like something is fishy about a communication you’ve received, it probably is. Similarly, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always err on the side of caution.

Prevent Identity Theft

  • Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before discarding them
  • Sign up for online statements when possible, as paper statements can be stolen from your mailbox
  • Don't carry your Social Security card around with you or write your Social Security number on a check
  • Don’t give out any personal information over the phone
  • Use strong passwords that don’t contain identifiable information (like your name or birthday)
  • Inspect your credit reports from all three credit bureaus at least once a year to identify mistakes and fraud. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months by going to or calling 1-877-322-8228.
  • Never click on links, attachments, or downloads in unsolicited emails or text messages
  • Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your devices

If you suspect you've been a victim of identity theft, you should:

  • Close any accounts that might have been compromised or that were fraudulently established in your name
  • File a police report
  • Report it to IC3 or the FTC
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit profile with all three credit bureaus

Each credit bureau has guidance online for how to proceed, or you can call them directly:

Banking anywhere else would be a crime!


“The DAI keeps the tellers busy, and they always go above and beyond.”

– Joseph H.

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Banking anywhere else would be a crime!


“The DAI keeps the tellers busy, and they always go above and beyond.”

– Joseph H.

Share Your Thoughts


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