Basic Security Advice

• Protect your ATM or Debit Card and its Personal Identification Number (PIN). Keep your PIN a secret, memorize it, and do not write it on your card. If you forget the PIN, contact your financial institution.

ATM Usage
Checking and Savings Accounts
Credit & Debit Cards
Credit Reports
e-Mail
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Paper: Reduce or Eliminate it!
Personal Computer Usage
Personal Identification Numbers (PINs)
Personal Information Protection


ATM Usage[back to top]

  • When you approach an ATM and notice anything strange, return later or go to another ATM. Report unusual occurrences as soon as possible.
  • Immediately report a lost or stolen card to your financial institution.
  • Have your card ready and in hand, along with other transaction materials, before you approach an ATM.
  • Allow adequate distance between you and other ATM users.
  • Stand close to the ATM when entering your PIN and do not allow anyone to watch you. Use your body to shield the ATM keyboard.
  • Take receipts with you after completing your transactions, and wait until you leave the vicinity of the ATM to count your money.

Checking and Savings Accounts[back to top]

  • To avoid worrying about lost or stolen paper checks, sign up for LAFCU´s "Direct Deposit" service to have your paychecks, retirement checks, and other recurring checks electronically deposited into your checking account.
  • Use checks in sequential order to help you more easily identify fraudulent activity.
  • Do not print your Social Security, Driver´s License or Telephone numbers on checks.
  • Use checks printed on paper with special security features to help protect you against fraud.
  • Keep new and cancelled checks in a hidden place at home.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen checks.

Credit & Debit Cards[back to top]

  • When you receive your card, sign the back of it immediately.
  • After each transaction, make sure you get back both your card and receipt
  • Memorize and do NOT keep any card’s Personal Identification Number (PIN) with you.
  • Make copies of card data you might have with you during the day and keep it in a safe place.
  • Only give your card number over the telephone if you initiated the contact.
  • Review your monthly account statements, confirm that the correct amounts were charged, and research suspicious items immediately.
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
  • Do NOT lend your cards to anyone.
  • Keep all your receipts and statements in a safe place.

Credit Reports[back to top]

  • Monitor your credit report by contacting a major credit reporting agency and requesting a FREE copy of your credit report annually:
  • Protect yourself from identity theft by signing up for Identity Theft protection.

e-Mail[back to top]

  • Be cautious before typing your e-Mail address on a website with which you are unfamiliar. You could be unknowingly signing yourself to be on a mailing list!
  • When you receive e-Mails that look suspicious, do NOT reply or click their links...just delete them.
  • If you feel you accidentally provided personal information in response to a fraudulent e-Mail or website, report the fraud immediately to your financial institution, change your PINs, then monitor your account often.
  • Most computer files have filename extensions, such as ".doc" for documents or ".jpg" for images. Files that have a double extension, like "JustForYou.doc.pif" is probably a file with a virus and should not be opened.
  • Do not click on links embedded in e-Mails. It´s safer to type the web address into your browser’s address field.
  • Visit a company´s website to confirm requests for personal or account information. Open a new browser window, type the website address, then see if you must actually perform any activity that an e-Mail may be asking you to do, such as changing a PIN.
  • Only open e-Mail attachments if you know the sender. It´s safer to scan attachments with anti-virus software prior to opening.
  • Avoid opening e-Mail attachments that have file endings such as ".exe", ".pif", or ".vbs." These are file extensions for executable files, and could damage your computer if opened.
  • Make sure you confirm the validity of all requests for sensitive personal, financial, or account information, especially if they are made with an urgent or threatening tone.

Internet Crime Complaint Center[back to top]

Internet crime schemes that steal millions of dollars each year from victims continue to plague the Internet through various methods. Click to read some preventative measures before you enter transactions using the Internet:

· Auction Fraud · Counterfeit Cashier´s Check · Credit Card Fraud · Debt Elimination · DHL/UPS
· Employment/Business Opportunities · Escrow Services Fraud · Identity Theft · Internet Extortion · Investment Fraud · Lotteries, · Nigerian Letter or "419" · Phishing/Spoofing · Ponzi/Pyramid · Reshipping · Spam · Third Party Receiver of Funds.

Paper: Reduce or Eliminate it![back to top]

  • Sign up for LAFCU e-Statements instead of receiving paper copies in the mail of your checking/saving statements.
  • Sign up for LAFCU´s "Direct Deposit" service to have your paychecks, retirement checks, and other recurring checks electronically deposited into your checking account.
  • Use e-Branch to monitor your LAFCU accounts, at least monthly.
  • Sign up for and file other account statements electronically.
  • Shred un-needed financial documents when you are sure they are not needed.
  • Eliminate as much paper as you can, and be aware of what you receive in the mail.

Personal Computer Usage[back to top]

  • Install, keep current and use 1) anti-spyware protection software on your computer that detect and remove spyware, and 2) an anti-virus program.
  • Protect your personal and account data. "Cyber thieves" will try to trick you by creating websites that look similar to legitimate sites. To make sure you are visiting the site you want, type the web address in your browser´s address field.
  • Keep your web browser (like Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox) updated, since the latest versions have the most current protection against viruses, cyber thieves, phishers, etc.
  • Keep your computer´s software updated, especially ones related to security.
  • Install and maintain a firewall on your computer.
  • Do not download software sources unknown to you, since some could contain hidden forms of spyware or viruses that could compromise your computer´s security.
  • Always verify secure sites by "double-clicking" on the "padlock" icon located at the bottom of your browser application and read the site info in the box that appears.
  • Enable a "Pop-Up" blocker on your computer.
  • When not using your computer, turn the power off and/or disconnect it from the Internet.
  • Understand the Privacy Policies and legal disclosures of companies that provide your software.
  • Each time you finish using e-Branch, or any other online account access product, always log-off. Also, if the product allows it, set an automatic log-off time (like 10 or 15 minutes) for inactivity.

Personal Identification Numbers (PINs)[back to top]

  • Create and use PINs that are hard for potential thieves to decipher. Whenever possible, use a long (8 to 12 characters, if possible) combination of numbers, letters (upper & lowercase) and keyboard symbols (such as #, !, $).
  • Avoid using personal information in your PINs, since this data is easier to acquire by thieves.
  • Do not share your PINs with anyone, and change them often.
  • Use a different PIN for each online account.

Personal Information Protection[back to top]

  • Make copies of data you carry with you during the day and keep it in a safe place where you live or work.
  • Be careful and highly vigilant with telephone and door-to-door solicitations.
  • Carry only the bare minimum of identification with you, and avoid carrying hard or time-consuming to replace documents such as your birth certificate, Social Security card, etc.
  • Try to avoid giving out your Social Security number, and always confirm if it´s really needed for an application or transaction.
  • Do not provide personal information unless you initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person's identity.
  • Confirm the validity of all requests for sensitive personal, financial, or account information, particularly if they are made with an urgent or threatening tone
  • Discard by shredding financial documents as soon as they are no longer needed.
  • Reduce or eliminate as much paper as possible, and be cautious with the paper you receive.
  • Research ways to reduce the amount of mail you receive that displays personal information.
  • Pick up your mail daily. Use US Postal Service mailboxes for outgoing mail whenever possible.
  • Monitor your financial accounts regularly.
  • Monitor your credit report at least annually, by contacting a major credit reporting agency and request a FREE copy of your credit report: