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Protect Yourself in Several Ways

CPM Federal Credit Union is dedicated to member service and what better way to serve our members than to provide advice on how to protect against security threats! Unfortunately, there are increasing numbers of security risks popping up each day and the best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim is to understand these risks. Please click on the links to learn more about what you can do to prevent against such attacks!

Please be advised that CPM Federal Credit Union will never contact you by mail, e-mail, or phone to request account information. If you have been requested to provide such information please contact our Contact Center at 800.255.1513 and notify one of our agents immediately!

General Security Tips

Keeping your credit cards and personal information private is very important. Technology has made it easier for thieves to collect and use personal information to commit fraud use. Knowing the types of fraud that are common and how to protect yourself are important steps in preventing it.

What can I do to protect my credit card information?

  • Sign your card as soon as you receive it.
  • Safeguard your card as though it was cash.
  • Memorize your PIN. Never write it down.
  • Do not give your PIN to another person.
  • Make sure you receive your card back from the salesclerk or waiter when you use it.
  • Shred receipts that contain the full account number if you do not need to keep them.
  • Review your account statements as soon as you receive them to make sure all the transactions are yours.
  • Make a list of your credit card numbers and customer service phone numbers and store it in a locked place.
  • Don't give out your personal information such as your credit card number or Social Security Number over the phone or internet.
  • Don't lend your card to anyone. You will be responsible for the charges if they charge more than you allowed.

What do I do if there are unauthorized charges on my account?

Notify the credit card company immediately.

How much is my liability for unauthorized charges on my account?

You are not liable for unauthorized charges on your account as long as you notify us as soon as you discover the charges.

Internet Safety

The Internet has indisputably changed the face of business, becoming extremely popular with consumers and merchants alike. Unfortunately though, the Internet has also become a favorite tool of criminals who operate within the anonymity and secrecy of the Web. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with these basic safety practices.

Check out online merchants before shopping - Look over the site carefully, and take time to read the Privacy Policy. It should be prominently displayed and should clearly tell you whether or not the company collects your information, how that information is collected, and how it may be used. Whenever you have the opportunity, you should opt-out of third-party information sharing.

Protect your account numbers when shopping - To help protect you when you are making purchases over the Internet, MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa have been designed to give Internet shoppers more protection and greater control about where and how their cards are used. These Internet shopping tools allow you to create personal passwords to help protect your credit and debit card numbers against unauthorized use at participating Internet shopping sites. Check with your credit and debit card companies to see if they offer MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa.

Protect your personal information - It's easy to become overwhelmed with passwords and user names if you use the Internet often. Common sense dictates that you shouldn't write down your passwords just as you don't write down your PIN. Try to use the same password and user name at each site, and don't choose passwords that would be easy for someone else to acquire. For instance, your mother's maiden name, your Social Security number, and your birth date are three pieces of information that you should avoid using. There are plenty of words and numbers that would be easy for you to remember, but nearly impossible for another person to guess or even consider, for instance your best friend's birth date, your pet's name or your favorite flavor of ice cream. Think of something unique that will streamline your Internet usage and protect your privacy.

Keep a record of your Internet transactions to help you review your monthly statements. If you monitor your accounts each month, you will be much more apt to spot any inaccuracies that could indicate the fraudulent use of your account numbers. Another way to help simplify your record-keeping is to use only one card for all your Internet purchases. This means you'll only have one account number floating around in cyberspace, and it should help simplify your recordkeeping.

Reject "cookies" whenever possible. Cookies are information-gathering devices that track your habits and allow a site to learn more about you. Not all sites use cookies, and not all browsers support them. In fact, some browsers allow users to reject all cookies. The site's Privacy Policy should tell you about the use of cookies on that particular site.

Monitor children's use of the Web very closely. This may mean relocating the computer to a place where you can be nearby while they are online. Children need to understand that they should never give out personal information over the Internet unless they are supervised by an adult. Online research and shopping will become increasingly more common in the future. If children are taught safe Internet practices from the beginning, it will become as routine as buckling their seat belt and not talking to strangers.
Be aware of consumer protection such as Zero Liability, a valuable benefit for consumers, virtually guaranteeing protection against card fraud. Simply stated, if your card or your account number is stolen and used fraudulently, you will not be held financially responsible.
The Internet is a valuable resource, but it must be used with care. If you suspect that the security of your card has been compromised, stop using the card immediately and contact us at 800.820.8450. With knowledge, caution, and common sense, you should be able to explore and enjoy the limitless possibilities offered online.

Avoiding Identity Theft

Identity theft can occur so easily, and in such a variety of ways - over the Internet, through mail theft, from information taken out of your trash can or from a stolen wallet. With nothing more than your Social Security number, a thief can destroy your good credit by opening fraudulent credit accounts, applying for loans or even buying a car.

Your best defense is to stay current on the ways in which identity theft is committed, and then make modifications in your lifestyle to avoid becoming a victim. You'll find most of these points are simple and inexpensive to implement. And once you make them part of your routine you can rest much easier.

1.Minimize what you carry in your wallet or purse in case it is stolen. Your Social Security card should be the first thing to go into a secure location. You don't need it on a day-to-day basis. Receipts for charged purchases or ATM transactions contain valuable information, and should be cleared out as often as possible. Look through the cards you carry, and remove any that you don't use often. If you normally carry a checkbook, you may consider carrying only a few checks at a time.

2.Review your checking account and credit card statements regularly. This is where you will spot discrepancies that could indicate identity theft. For many people this is not routine, but once you get in the habit, it goes quicker each month. The time you spend balancing your checking account or reviewing your credit card statement is nothing compared to the time and expense it takes to deal with identity theft.

3.Get a copy of your credit report annually, and review it carefully. If you spot new accounts that you don't remember opening, this could indicate identity theft. Check them out immediately. You may also notice old accounts you had forgotten. Take the time to close them. Your credit report will look better in the future should you choose to apply for additional credit. To order a free annual copy go to or call 877.322.8228

4.Be aware that a merchant cannot require you to present a photo ID in order to complete a card transaction. If your credit or debit card is in good condition, the expiration date is valid, the card is signed and your signature on the sales draft matches the signature on your card, no other ID should be required. If for some reason you are asked for an ID, do not permit the merchant to copy any of the information from your ID onto the sales draft.

5.Install a locked mailbox at your residence for incoming mail, or get a Post Office box. An unsecured mailbox is like a welcome mat for an identity thief. What they're looking for are credit cards and checks that come to you in the mail. Another hot item is credit card solicitations that thieves could try to accept in your name. Even your bills provide account numbers that could be used to your disadvantage.

6.Place outgoing mail in a USPS drop box. Outgoing mail is just as enticing to a thief, who will commonly steal outgoing mail looking for account numbers on your bills. Your checks can be altered and then used for cash, and your checking account number can be used to access your account.

7.Purchase a paper shredder. They aren't expensive. Shred all documents containing private information before putting them in the trash. This includes pre-approved credit offers that come to you in the mail. Any charge receipts that you are going to throw away should be shredded. Many merchants still print your entire account number and card expiration date on the receipt. (In many states there are laws prohibiting this, but merchants have been slow to respond.) If you need to save a receipt, be sure to mark over the account number, or at least all but the last four digits.

8.If you shop online, check out to locate companies that live up to the standards of the Better Business Bureau. Or check the sites you use for the BBB OnLine Reliability Seal, which labels a safe shopping site. Be very cautious about the information you give out online. Protect your Social Security number by not providing it online. It should never be needed to complete a purchase.9.Avoid account passwords like your birth date, mother's maiden name or any part of your Social Security number. These are easy for someone else to obtain and therefore could compromise the security of your account. Pick something that's easy for you to remember, but something that's not easy to obtain, (perhaps a nickname, pet's name or best friend's birth date.)

10.Be careful about the information you disclose over the phone. Never provide personal information unless you initiated the call, and are certain you are dealing with a reputable party. Remember that cell phones and cordless phones are vulnerable to eavesdropping because the signals are transmitted over radio waves.


What is Phishing and how do I protect myself from email scams?

Phishing attempts are getting more sophisticated as they manipulate members into believing received email requests appear to be valid from their financial institution. The ultimate goal of Phishing attempts is to retrieve sensitive information such as account information and passwords from a member which results in the member’s identity being stolen. Once the thief obtains the member’s information, thieves may open accounts and obtain credit with the member’s sensitive information.

Phishing scams to be cautious of:

  • Emails containing misspelled words, broken English and bad grammar.
  • Emails may ask you to reply with sensitive information (social security #, credit card #, account #, passwords, etc.) or direct you to a website where it will request your information. CPM FCU will never ask for your password or tell you over the email to renew your account information.
  • Verify links are valid prior to “clicking on them.” Many Phishing attempts will direct a member to a website that was created by the thief to resemble a legitimate website. Once the member accesses the false site, members are requested to provide sensitive information (social security #, credit card #, account #, passwords, etc.). One way to determine a link to a false website is by placing your mouse over the link without clicking a button. With the mouse over the link, you should see the actual link that it points to. It is typical behavior for a phishing email to link to an IP address (i.e., and a bogus website such as instead of the legitimate website (
  • Verify all sites (i.e., financial institution internet banking site, internet shopping sites where you enter your credit card information, etc.) where you enter sensitive information begin with https: Think of the “s” at the end of the http: as secure.


What is Vishing and how do I protect myself from these scams?

Vishing is an attempt by thieves to access member’s sensitive information by means of the telephone and is becoming popular among ID thieves because more members are able to detect email phishing attempts.

Common Vishing attempts are,

A thief contacts a member and pretends to be an employee of a financial institution and will ask a user for their account information and/or password.

An attacker sets up an automated message which asks you to either speak or key in your account information and/or password.

Vishing and Caller ID boxes

Caller ID boxes can easily be manipulated into showing the name and number of any company a thief wants the member to see. Even if the caller id box states CPM FCU, do not give sensitive information to the caller or respond to an automated message.

If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to work at CPM FCU who needs your password and/or account information, hang up immediately and call CPM FCU to report the issue.


What is Smishing and how do I protect myself from these scams?

  • Smishing is a derivative of Phishing that uses text messages (SMS) to try to obtain personal information from members.
  • If you ever receive a text message from someone claiming to work at CPM FCU who needs your information, please immediately report the incident to CPM FCU. We will never send you a text message asking you for your sensitive information.

Protect Your Social Security #

If you suspect that someone may be using your Social Security Number, you should take the following steps to protect yourself and your financial health:

* Educate yourself about identity theft
* File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1.877.ID.THEFT
* File an online complaint with the Internet Crime Comp Complaint Center at
* Check your Social Security records (Call toll-free at 800.772.1213) to ensure your income is calculated correctly
* Monitor your credit reports

Please remember to always keep your Social Security card in a safe and secure place and never carry it with you.

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