Banking and shopping online are modern conveniences we’ve come to rely on to make our lives easier and more efficient.

We use our phones, computers, and tablets to manage everything from checking account balances, depositing checks, and paying bills, to shopping for clothes and even groceries online.

While virtually anything can be done online in the blink of an eye, it is important to take a few extra minutes to protect yourself and your money, from fraud or identity theft.


See our top five tips for keeping yourself safe online:


1. Make Sure You Are Shopping on a Secure Website

This may seem like an obvious tip, but is an important one. It isn’t unheard of for hackers to spoof an official website, or create an unsecure website to gather your personal information.

To check the security of a website make sure the URL begins with https:// and look for the padlock sign next to the URL, which indicates a higher level of security.

https security url view


2. Choose Unique Passwords and Change Them Often

It is tempting to use a simple password that is easy to remember, such as your child’s name or pet’s name followed by an exclamation point. Many people choose easy passwords and use the same password for all their online logins, in some cases for months or even years, before updating them.

Passwords that can be easily guessed, or quickly discovered by hackers, are far more likely to get compromised. In the event your password is compromised on one website, it is likely compromised across multiple sites.

While it takes more effort, selecting unique and complex passwords for each login, and changing passwords often, is a key step to protecting yourself online.

If you aren’t sure how to keep track of all your new passwords, consider a professional level password manager.


3. Don’t Save Credit Card Information on Retailer Websites

When shopping online at a store you frequent, you’ve probably been asked if you want to save your credit information for later. This makes shopping easier - especially when shopping at home from your own computer or phone and the risk seems low.

But if your device is lost or stolen, your personal information can easily end up in the wrong hands. It takes less than a minute to enter your credit or debit card information at checkout, so err on the side of security and choose not to save your card information online.


4. Avoid Automatic Logins Across Websites

When setting up a new account online, many websites offer the convenience of connecting a pre-existing account, such as a Facebook, Google, or Amazon account to speed up the registration process.

Instead of taking the time to set up a profile on the new site, you simply click a button and all your personal information is transferred to the new site for quick and easy access or shopping.

This may save you time, but isn’t a recommended practice, especially in cases where sensitive personal information is stored and will be transferred to the new account you are creating. This leaves you even more vulnerable to fraud if either of the accounts are breached.

Going back to the first tip above, to protect yourself, create a new account with a strong password.


5. Sign Up for Fraud Alerts or Notifications

UCU provides an option to receive a fraud alert when purchases are made or when trying to log into your account. In addition, card manager, available in mobile and online banking, can help you manage and block your UCU credit and debit cards.

While this extra step might seem unnecessary when everything is going smoothly, receiving an alert your card was just used at a store you don’t recognize, or seeing an alert someone is trying to log into your social media account, can go a long way to provide peace of mind and protect you from fraudulent activity.

In the event you do get this type of notification, report it immediately, then work just as quickly to change your password.


How University Credit Union Keeps Members Safe

Securing your personal information is of the utmost importance to us at UCU.

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of fraud, please contact us immediately at 800.UCU.4510. Learn more about how strongly we take your online privacy and safety. Visit our security page.


UCU Security