Fraud Prevention

Some easy ways to protect yourself from fraud are to keep anything with your personal or account information in a safe place, provide your information only to trusted sources and reduce the amount of mail you receive with personal information.

Card Skimming

Quick Tip

Palmetto Citizens will never contact you by phone or email to solicit personal information. If any person or electronic media does so and claims to be from PCFCU, please contact us immediately.

Credit and debit card skimming is on the rise across the country and one of the leading causes of card fraud locally.

Thieves install electronic skimmers over card readers on ATMs, gas pumps, etc. along with small cameras or keypad overlays to record PINs. They come back later to remove the devices and access the card data collected.

Protect yourself and be alert! Check a card reader before inserting your card. Pull on or jiggle it - fraudulent devices are usually easy to move/remove; valid ones won't be. If you detect a skimmer, remove it and call law enforcement immediately.

Review Your Credit Report

It is important you understand the information on your credit report because it directly impacts your ability to obtain a credit card, buy a car or home, rent an apartment or even get a job. You should review it for accuracy, and for protection from fraud or identity theft.

Quick Tip

Palmetto Citizens will never contact you by phone or email to solicit personal information. If any person or electronic media does so and claims to be from PCFCU, please contact us immediately.

You can get a free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) every 12 months. Some consumers elect to get one report every four months, providing a staggered look at their credit status.

Annualcreditreport.com is the only authorized online source for you to get a free credit report under federal law. You may also receive your free credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Document Shredding

Someone can steal your identity and rack up thousands of dollars against you just by going through your trash. You should buy a cross-cut shredder and use it often! Palmetto Citizens also hosts a series of no-cost shredding events for our community.

To help protect yourself, consider shredding any unneeded documents, including junk mail, containing personal information, such as:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Account Numbers
  • Passwords or PINs
  • Birth Dates
  • Signatures
  • Contact Information (names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses)

Email & Text Scams

Thousands of forged emails and texts are sent out every day asking to supply, confirm or update personal information by clicking a link. Protect yourself and never respond or click on the link. The goal of the criminals is to get you to enter personal data so they can steal your identity. If you provide the information they requested, you may find your identity has been stolen within a matter a minutes.

Opting Out of Pre-Approved Credit Offers

You can remove your name from any list compiled by a credit reporting agency that can be sold and used for pre-approved credit offers. To opt out, visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call (888) 5OPTOUT or (888) 567-8688. This website and phone number can be used to remove your name from all three agencies. You may also visit each agency's website for their individual instructions.

Fake Check Scams

There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to send money anywhere in return. If that is the deal, it is a scam.

Phony sweepstakes, lotteries and grants, work-at-home schemes, foreign business deals and other scams are not new and do not always involve fake checks – sometimes the crooks simply ask you to send money. However, using realistic-looking checks or money orders makes their stories more convincing.

Fraud is constantly evolving, so be on guard for anything that seems suspicious. Since money sent to crooks is often gone forever, STOP, THINK, and GET ADVICE first from your state or local consumer protection agency.

If You Fall Victim of Identity Theft

If someone has stolen your identity, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you take the following actions immediately:

  1. Contact each of the major credit bureaus. Tell them to flag your file with a fraud alert and statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts. Credit bureaus must also give you a free copy of your report if it is inaccurate due to fraud. Review your reports carefully to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts.
  2. Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in the fraud department, and follow up in writing.
  3. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Keep a copy in case your creditors need proof of the crime.