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Written by Cyndie Martini
on April 18, 2017

It's a credit union's responsibility to ensure its members' personal and financial information is secure at all times. But one vulnerability that's notoriously difficult to control is how your members behave online.

Card-not-present fraud is on the rise. The number of people affected by CNP fraud jumped 40 percent between 2015 and 2016, a Javelin study found. Additionally, the total number of U.S. fraud victim numbers increased from 13.1 million in 2015 to 15.4 million in 2016.

Habits like online shopping and performing financial tasks on mobile devices can expose your members to identity theft risks. Teaching them best practices can go a long way in keeping your members safe. One of the best defenses against hackers is an educated member base. When each person involved within your organization knows how to prevent fraud, everyone wins.

Look for website clues

There are countless e-commerce websites, but some may put shoppers at risk. Your members need to look for the "S" in the "https://" at the beginning of a URL before entering personal information into any forms, PaymentsSource advised. Remember, the "S" stands for "secure." Don't trust a website without it.

Next, your members need to stick to trusted websites. An unfamiliar one could be a scam. Additionally, smaller merchants may not have the ability to keep their website as secure as bigger companies who have the knowledge and funds to invest in the right security measures.

Another way hackers can get to your members is by setting up look-alike sites to trick users into putting sensitive data right into their hands. Always double-check URLs to make sure they're spelled correctly.

Use their own Wi-Fi

Public networks give consumers the convenience to check their online profiles and conduct online business no matter where they are. These networks are available to everyone, whether they're malicious criminals or not. Tell your members not to enter their passwords, card information or any other personal data into any website while connected to public Wi-Fi. Instead, they should do their online shopping, mobile bill pay and other financial activities at home or on trusted networks.

Keep tabs on their spending

Online and mobile technology does more than just bring convenience to everyday life. It can also bring new layers of security. For example, your credit union should be giving your members the ability to opt into text updates for every transaction made. Encourage them to take advantage of this added layer of security. Be sure your members know the benefits, and give them clear instructions on how to take advantage of it.

Text updates are a good start, but it'll take more than passively checking on accounts to make sure their account is in good shape. They also need to be actively reviewing their statements on a monthly basis to ensure that nothing looks incorrect.

Keeping your members' information safe during their everyday life is important if you want to remain a financially sound institution. It's also critical for maintaining your members' trust. To do this, be sure you give your members all the information they need on ways they can reduce the chances of identity fraud.

 

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