Data breach. That’s been the “it word” for cybersecurity in 2019, and you can’t seem to go more than a week without hearing of another security breach of a huge company. Then, if your information was compromised, thus begins the process of minimizing the negative impacts.
Identity Theft and Fraud Trends in 2019
Identity theft is occurring at alarm rates and is showing no sign of slowing down. In 2018, the FTC processed 1.4 million fraud reports totaling $1.48 billion in losses. According to this recent Consumer Affairs study, cybercriminals are getting more and more advanced in their methods of committing identity theft/fraud and they’re attacking a broader group of targets. Here are a few recent statistics on identity theft.
Formjacking is up 117%
Nearly 58,000 websites were compromised by form jacking in 2018. This is when cyber criminals hijack credit card data from online payment forms and it’s affecting millions of people worldwide.
New account fraud is up 13%
Last year, new account fraud accounted for $3.4 billion in losses. Be extra cautious if you open a new account for a mortgage, car loan, student loans or credit card.
Account takeovers are up 70%
This is when a fraudster uses someone else’s personal information to obtain products and services illegally. Credit card fraud is the most rampant but skimming and phishing are also common types. Both individuals and enterprises are at risk for account takeovers.
Who’s Most at Risk?
Anyone with a Social Security number is at risk for identity theft; however, the very young, the very old, and members of the military pose the highest risk.
Children are targeted because their Social Security numbers are seen as a “clean slate” to identity thieves. Seniors are most often targeted with telephone or internet phishing scams. Older people tend to check their credit less often and have become more trusting as they age, making it difficult for them to detect those with malicious intentions.
According to FTC reports, members of the military are most affected by credit card and bank fraud. Deployed active duty military members are also at a heightened risk because they may not check or notice mistakes on their credit report and wouldn’t get a call notifying them of a (potentially) fraudulent charge. Other criteria that could make you more vulnerable to identity theft and fraud include social media users, those that have had their identity stolen previously and the deceased.
How Do I Protect Myself?
Of course, stay vigilant. Check your credit reports often and be smart with your password selection. Here are some other tips to help protect yourself against fraud.
Know who you’re working with
Make sure any business you conduct transactions with is credible. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other consumer protection agency and call the phone number listed on the website to verify its legitimacy.
Pay with a credit card
When making online purchases, credit cards are the safest way to pay. Any unknown charge can be disputed, and you won’t be missing the money from your checking account while it’s investigated. Plus, Federal law limits your liability to $50 for any unauthorized charges.
Don’t hand out personal information
Always take extreme caution when giving out your personal information (name, DOB, Social Security #, bank account info, etc) and never give out any information unless you are confident the person/company requesting the information is legitimate.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
Sorry, but you can’t make money by doing little to no work. Anyone promising you a “get rich quick” idea investment is likely a scammer.
Want to read up on even more tips to protect yourself? Check out this list from Fraud.org or contact us for more tips!
We have good news for you: it is indeed possible to get a car loan online. You can obtain a loan through the internet for both used and new vehicles. While there is an undeniable appeal to completing this process from the comfort of your home, there are some important facts to consider before making any decisions.Continue reading »
Living paycheck to paycheck? According to a recent survey by Charles Schwab, 62% of Millennials fit into this category.
In the same survey, this generation also stated they spend an average of $478 a month on “nonessentials” including eating out, entertainment and vacations. Overspending and under-saving appear to be the trend here. The sooner smart banking habits are established, the better off you will be. Here are a few banking tips to get your finances on the right track.
Set Up a Checking Account
Before you do anything else, make sure that you have a checking account. A checking account establishes your financial profile and it’s the best way to track your day-to-day spending. Using a debit card instead of a credit card ensures you are living within your means and not getting into unnecessary debt. Plus, you can track your purchases online or on the mobile app!
Emergency Saving Fund
It’s important to have 3-6 months of living expenses set aside in case of an emergency. Job loss, illness, medical emergency… there are so many unknowns in life and having a cushion to live on in the event you cannot work will ensure you do not lose your home, car, and other necessities.
Credit is a part of life and having a good credit score will help you obtain better interest rates and lower fees on loans, among other things. Use credit cards responsibly (pay in full every month), pay your bills on time, and stick to debit cards for everyday purchases to avoid racking up bills you can’t afford.
Pay Off Debt
If you have debt, focus on paying it down as quickly as possible. Student loan debt tends to be a huge contributor to overall debt for Millennials with the average being around $19,000. The total average debt for those 20-35 years old is $36,000, according to a recent survey by LightStream.
Save for Retirement
No matter how old you are, start saving for retirement now. Many employers offer to match your retirement savings in a 401K that can be taken out of your paycheck pre-tax, so your overall taxable income is reduced. The earlier you start, the better your nest egg will be when you are ready for it.
Use Bank Technology
It’s 2019 and technology has reached all industries, including banking. Automatic transfers, apps to track spending, budget creation, and email/text alerts are all free and readily available to help you keep your finances on track. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account to occur every month. You’ll be surprised how fast it adds up! Apps such as Mint are great to help you stick to a budget and track your spending. Eastex’s mobile app is free, and you can pay bills, transfer money, check statements and account balances, contact us directly, and much more!
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We hope these banking tips will help remove some of the unnecessary stress that comes with managing your finances. Eastex Credit Union is committed to educating our members on the importance of banking smart. We and are here to help any way we can.
The holidays can pose a lot of financial stress for everyone. We want to give our friends and family meaningful presents, but that often translates into spending more than we might have intended. Here are four simple tips to help you stay in budget during the Christmas season.Continue reading »
Debt, a word that means that something, usually money, is owed or due. It’s a word that no one likes using. It’s understandable where the stigma around that word comes from; debt can leave you stuck, hopeless, and unmotivated. Once you get a game plan together, you will be able to tackle debt and put it all behind you.
If you are dealing with a mountain of debt, you probably don’t know where to begin climbing. First, you need to examine what you owe. Make a list of every debt with the amount, interest rate, and minimum payment. The list is a great first step to getting organized and it just might motivate you to tackle your debt once and for all.
Second, make a calendar of when each bill is due. See if you can turn on notifications for each account to get reminders of when a bill is due. Examine your bills instead of just blindly paying them to ensure there are no errors. Look at them to see if there is anything you can cut. Do you need that big of a cable package or that many streaming services? Even if those bills are small, they’ll still make an impact when paying off your debt.
Once you have assessed and organized all your bills and payments, it’s time to make a plan. There are many ways to tackle debt and one is called the “Snowball Method” where you start with the smallest debt, pay it off, take the payment you were putting towards that debt and start putting it towards the next one, and just keep doing that method of building, snowballing, the payments on top of each other until all the debt has been paid.
Another method is to start with the largest debt amount first. By doing this you’ll save more in interest and will probably pay less money in the long run. Whichever way you choose, once you get the first debt out of the way you’ll feel more confident and motivated to keep pushing forward.
Paying off debt is vital to have financial peace of mind, but it’s gonna cost. Finding a way to earn some extra income, it can help when it comes to paying down debt. If you are able, find a better paying job or take on an easy part-time job. If that is not an option for you, look into selling things you no longer need or if you have a hobby/talent try turning that into a side job to earn some extra money as well.
No matter which route or options you take, it will be in your best interest to ask someone to hold you accountable. It may be embarrassing and hard to confide in someone about your debt troubles, but we are all human and they may have even gone through something similar. Check-in with them weekly and ask about your spending habits and see if they have any suggestions and different points of view. They can also check in with you to make sure you are staying on top of your payments. Some people suggest getting an accountability partner when going on a new diet or workout plan to help you stick with it and this is no different, except it involves money.
However big or small your debt is, the only way to pay it all off is just to start. Putting it off or shoving your bills in a drawer is only making the debt mountain grow. You will have a huge weight taken off your shoulders once you pay it off and a newfound sense of accomplishment that will make you feel like you can do anything.
Eastex is here to help. Set bill pay options, set-up card alerts and more. Stop by your local branch to learn more.
What’s the difference between a Roth IRA and Traditional IRAs and which one is best for you?
If you just got a full-time job, or have been working for many years, it is important to think about your retirement. Statistics say that the average person will retire at the age of 66 and will live until around 79. On top of that, nearly 55% of Americans retire earlier than expected due to certain circumstances such as health, family, and stress. Furthermore, only around 6 in 10 Americans are saving for their retirement. Since retiring is something that everyone hopes to do one day, you should begin retirement planning as soon as you start working. When thinking about retirement, there are a few different terms that get used quite often. Some of the most common are Roth IRA and Traditional IRA.
Before understanding what the terms Roth IRA and Traditional IRA, you must first understand what IRA stands for. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. This means you place money into an account, and it is invested into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or CD’s to give you a higher return on your deposited money. That being said, there are multiple forms of individual retirement accounts (IRA) and the most common are Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs. Listed below are detailed descriptions of what a Roth IRA consists of and what a Traditional IRA consists of.Continue reading »
The cliché image of a broke college student only surviving on ramen noodles isn’t so cliché once you actually go to college and become that person. Let’s be real, college is expensive, but why should that mean we have to sacrifice things we “need” as humans, like food and entertainment? With a little bit of digging, there are a lot of ways you can save money while still getting a good education and still enjoy life.
This is the most known and obvious way to save money when going off to college. The majority of colleges have scholarships they offer for academics or financial need. If you did not qualify for any of these, don’t worry because there are millions of private scholarships that you can apply to. There are scholarships for practically everything, being left-handed, being a girl, being a good writer, you are sure to find one that matches you. Simple searches online can lead you to tons of helpful sites that can help you with your scholarship search. One called www.scholarships.com is a free scholarship search that can find the right financial aid fit.
Did you know that over 60 million people in the United States have a Netflix subscription? Subscriptions to multiple online services is a part of the modern culture, and it can be quite expensive once added up. Fortunately, for college students, they can still have the luxury of having these services for a discounted rate.
Spotify, a music streaming service, has a premium student plan that is only $4.99 a month and it includes a subscription to Hulu and Showtime. Three subscriptions wrapped in one for under $5! YouTube also has a premium student account for only $6.99 a month versus the usual $11.99 a month. For online shoppers, Amazon offers a prime student account that includes a 6-month free trial, then it will cost less than $7 a month. Another helpful thing is how some colleges will provide Microsoft Office free to enrolled students.
Saving money is incredibly important, and if you’re working while in college, it’s smart to put at least 10% of your paycheck into a savings account. What you will use your savings for us up to you, but you need to start somewhere, so why not now? With the iSave savings account through Eastex CU, you’ll get your own savings account along with a debit card, 1% off the loan rate on your first loan, have access to annual scholarships, and so much more. By creating a habit of saving some of your money when in college will only create that smart habit you can take with you when you graduate and enter into the world.
Getting a new car is exciting, but many buyers go in blind and end up getting financially taken advantage of. Go into the process informed about what you can afford and know what to look for when getting a car loan.Continue reading »
From multiple charge cards to the first multi-purpose credit card from the Diners Club, all the way to the modern-day credit card, there has been tons of growth in the way people spend money. Credit cards are a more accessible alternative over carrying around cash, especially for big purchases like appliances or a car. The little plastic card in your wallet continues to evolve. The ways you can make it work for you. Here are some easy “hacks” to utilize to ensure you are getting the most out of your credit card. Continue reading »
If your Eastex CU Visa debit card has been lost/stolen or suspected of fraudulent activity, CANCEL YOUR CARD immediately. Call us during business hours at 409-276-2525 / 1-866-445-9622. After business hours call 1-800-791-2525.
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