From Lee: A New Era for Crime


Criminal dishonesty is something that will never go away. It just takes on new forms as society changes. From the earliest days of banking, criminals understood that money was in the banks and that’s why they robbed them, usually at gun point.

Various types of security alarms, armed guards, cameras and other preventive measures have made it more difficult to rob a bank today. Therefore, they simply use other methods. Now that we’re in the digital age, the “tool of choice” is no longer a gun. It has been replaced with computers, software, and modern technology.

To the average person, it seems different than the past bank robbers, and there are reasons for this other than the use of a weapon:

1. Today’s digital robbers are more personal. The one being robbed is typically a person – not a bank. Stolen identity, card fraud, unauthorized transfers, etc., are crimes committed at the account relationship level. This means preventive measures must be instituted primarily by the individual account holder, with the assistance and guidance of the bank.

2. To some extent, there is a limit on ways to physically rob a bank. When it comes to fraud, especially digital fraud, the ways are almost endless. There is no way to stop the explosive growth of digital banking, online, and mobile banking solutions. And the creative ingenuity of today’s cyber criminals is just as endless.

3. And lastly, it is most common that bank robbers are caught, as least eventually. Fraudsters and those involved in cybercrime often are not caught. Once their scheme is detected, they simply move on to the next opportunity.

So, how do we work together to slow cyber criminals? At Family Trust we spend great time and resources protecting your data. Even at that, it is difficult to stay one step ahead. The good news for members is that the credit union and Visa can cover many losses, unless there is material negligence on behalf of the member.

Here is a list of things you might do to make it more difficult for the criminals:

Protect your data. Don’t leave account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers or any personal information in unprotected places. Don’t share this information unless you are certain who you are doing business with.

Don’t fall for senseless scams. Any calls, email or other contact offering something for free but you have to give them personal information or money in advance is a scam 100% of the time. Do not do it!

Consider passwords and other forms of bothersome authentication as your protection. Most of the time, we only hear what a tremendous annoyance it is – until someone loses money. Then we hear how we didn’t protect them.

Make certain you have IDProtect, which provides identity theft monitoring and protection. At $1.95, it’s extremely affordable compared to most protection products and it covers the entire family, provides credit score updates and will assign a fraud specialist to you should your identity be compromised.

Call before you travel, especially internationally. It’s also important to call before you make international purchases online or when booking flights and accommodations for international travel.

Fraud and card breaches don’t make the news much anymore because they happen so frequently. But it’s real and it’s everywhere. Let’s work together to prevent and combat it.