Credit Union Highlights


HTFFFCU Photoshoot

5 Reasons every child should have a credit union account

Severe Weather

Scam Alert

The blazing fast car-buying experience

Options For Members With Low Or No Credit Score

What You Need To Know About EMV Chip Technology

Why You Might Want To Consider Going Digital…With Your Wallet

Online Security

Items Needed When Applying For A Loan

Turbo Tax

Online Banking Security Awareness & Helpful Tips

Guard Your Card: 5 Tips To Evade Gas Pump Skimmers

 
 

HTFFFCU Photoshoot

 
HTFFFCU-Photoshoot-Highlight.jpg
 

Do you enjoy the spotlight? Or keep hearing how photogenic you are?

If you answered YES to either question above, you may be the next face of HTFFFCU! We are always looking for members of all ages and ethnicities to illustrate our various marketing materials. Sign up as an individual or bring other members! Couples, families and even pets are welcome! Take part and see your face on our website, posters, postcards and more!

What you need to know:

Dates may vary depending on the time of year.

Time Commitment: Each participant or a group of participants will be allocated an individual time slot of approximately 30 minutes.

*The Photoshoot is open to HTFFFCU members only.

If you are interested in being featured in any of our HTFFFCU marketing materials please fill out this form.


Severe Weather

Severe-weather-highlight.jpg

When severe weather threatens our immediate area, it's important to be as prepared as we can. Even though the immediate threat of severe weather has dissipated, it's good to make note of the following safety and preparedness resources and telephone numbers.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
American Red Cross
NOAA National Weather Service
Houston Emergency Information
Disaster Assistance

Houston Command Center of the United States Coast Guard: 281-464-4851, 281-464-4852, 281-464-4853, 281-464-4854, 282-464-4855

Group Rescue: 713-426-9404

TxDOT: 800-452-9292

Find Towed Vehicle: 713-308-8580

For members who have a flood policy and need to file a claim, they may go to www.myflood.com.  The process is fast and easy!  If you don't have flood insurance, you may file for Federal Assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov

The credit union also has several resources available to you to ensure access to your money and account information.

  • Credit/Debit Cards - Using a credit card or debit card during emergent times can save you time in a pinch. If you don't have a debit card, visit our Main Office to get an instant-issue card at no cost.

  • Online and Mobile Banking - Keep up-to-date with your financial information. If you haven't already signed up to our online services, you have the ability to enroll online.


5 Reasons every child should have a credit union account

Child with a lunchbox


Credit unions have long been the back bone of financial success for many families. You may already enjoy the numerous benefits coming from your HTFFFFCU membership so why shouldn’t your child?
Our Puppy Pak Savings Club accounts are part of the credit union youth savings program. Puppy Pak accounts are tailored-made to suit the interest of children up to the age of 12. We’ve compiled a list of five reason why you should open a Puppy Pak Savings Account for your child or grandchild.

  1. Children will learn about money
    We can sometimes forget that in this day and age it isn’t that strange to find a three year old that can open and use a smart phone with ease. It’s amazing how children can learn valuable skills at the drop of a hat! Here at the credit union, we recommend taking advantage of this and exposing them early to finances.

  2. Quarterly newsletters & birthday cards
    All Puppy Pak members receive a quarterly newsletter known as The Paw Print. In each Paw Print, cool characters, including our Puppy Pak mascot Chief the Dalmatian, teach children about finances in a fun and friendly way. Each issue contains a small article, an activity, and a math brain teaser. Every fall we organize our annual Puppy Pak Drawing Contest which is announced in the fall edition of the Paw Print. Winners of the contest receive amazing rewards.

    Also as an added bonus, all Puppy Pak members receive a birthday card in the month of their birthday! Imagine your kids’ excitement when they open their very own piece of mail!

  3. Puppy Pak Day
    All Puppy Pak members are invited to our annual Puppy Pak Day! Puppy Pak Day is usually held during the summer when children are out of school. In the past we have had a day at the movies with Chief and the gang with lots of yummy popcorn and their very own Puppy Pak goodie bag!

  4. Prizes
    All Puppy Pakers that make deposits into their accounts are eligible to receive a Puppy Pak prize. These Puppy Pak prizes vary depending on the amounts deposited. The higher the deposit, the bigger the prize! Click here to see all of our current prizes!

  5. Saving for their future
    Opening a Puppy Pak account for your child or grandchild is a great stepping stone for their future. You can help them kick-start their savings for college or trade school. Or maybe they’d prefer to save for something else? Regardless of the goal, starting to save today can pay off big when the time comes!

Puppy Pak accounts are an awesome benefit that your credit union is proud to offer. For more information on our Puppy Pak accounts click here and open an account for your child or grandchild today!


The blazing fast car-buying experience

blaze-check

Blaze Check is the lightning-fast car-buying solution available now to HTFFFCU members.

The concept behind Blaze Check is not new in the financial market. It has been offered by lenders for a few years now under different trade names, and it has been growing in popularity ever since. The HTFFFCU management team has observed the trend for a while and ultimately decided to follow suit. Since June 2017, members can avail of it at their credit union. Why is this product so important? We spoke with Torrance Harris, former AVP of Lending at HTFFFCU, to tell us what the fuss has been all about.

Why is Blaze Check called the lightning-fast solution to buying a car? What’s so fast about it?

Blaze Check is a blank check pre-approved up to a certain amount. It makes your car shopping experience much smoother because it works as if you are handing over the cash. The sale can be made on the spot without going back and forth with your financial institution or accepting less favorable loan terms offered by the dealership. In fact, having Blaze Check ready means that you have the upper hand when negotiating the price with the dealership.

How would that work?

Let’s say you are told the car you want to buy costs $40,000. Since you have a blank check in your hand, you can use it to your advantage and say that you will buy the car for $37,000. You are prepared to hand the check right there and then. The salespeople do not have to deal with your credit union. The check is ready to be cashed. It is not easy for dealerships to walk away from such an offer.

So I can buy the car faster once I have Blaze Check. How do I obtain the check in the first place?

The process is the same as with applying for a car loan. You can apply in person, over the phone or online. If you get pre-approved, a loan officer will contact you and explain the process of using Blaze Check.

Do I have to make a lightning-fast decision about the type of car I am going to buy?

No (smiling). Your check is valid for 60 days from the date it has been issued.

And what happens if I do not purchase within 60 days?

Nothing. The check expires.

No penalty?

No.

Can I buy any car with Blaze Check?

You can buy any car up to the amount you get pre-approved for but not higher than $60,000.

What if I want to buy a car that’s more expensive than that?

We can finance any car for you up to the amount you get pre-approved. The only difference is that you will not be able to use Blaze Check for that loan. If you are set on a luxury vehicle above $60,000, our regular car loan procedures will apply. The dealership sends us the purchase order once you make your decision. In this case, you are using Blaze Check as your pre-approval letter.

So is the value of the car the only condition why I would not use Blaze Check?

There are some other terms and conditions associated with using Blaze Check. If you are planning to look for a car outside of Texas, you will not be able to use Blaze Check. Also, you should know that it can be used only at franchised dealerships backed by major manufacturers and at CarMax and Texas Direct Auto. Moreover, if you are shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, the maximum age for a car purchased with Blaze Check is seven years from the current year while the maximum mileage is 75,000 miles.

If you find yourself looking at a car that doesn’t qualify for purchase with Blaze Check, you can still use that check as a preapproval letter. In both scenarios, having Blaze Check with you is going to help. So keep it in mind when shopping for your next vehicle.


Torrance Harris is the former AVP of Lending at HTFFFCU where he oversees the lending department. He is in charge of training, coaching, staff and product development, all to enhance the HTFFFCU member experience.


Scam Alert

Houston decorative

Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. As your financial institution, we are aware of the problem, and while we cannot eliminate the scams, we want to help you recognize them. Below you will find the most recent scam that has come to light, involving your credit union's name. We will keep updating this page as new information becomes available.

Scams involving Social Security

Many people have claimed to have received calls or voicemails regarding suspended Social Security benefits from people impersonating US government representatives. These scammers make phone calls in hopes of extracting personal information or money.

For more information and tips on how you can identify these fraudsters and protect yourself, click here.

Hiring Survey Evaluators or Secret Shoppers Scam

We were recently alerted to a scam where fraudsters invite people to apply for a job as survey evaluators / secret shoppers with emails or job ads stating the following:

We're hiring survey evaluators to conduct surveys at local stores like Walmart, Apple, Target, BestBuy, Local grocery stores and restaurants around you. Wage is an average of $500 to $1,000 for Part time or Full Time weekly work. I have attached an application form in pdf, you can also click the link below to read more and fill out an application... [ACTUAL EMAIL]

After the survey completion, members are issued a fraudulent Cashier’s Check in the amount of $1,950 that appears to come from our credit union. The intention is that a member deposits the fraudulent check and issues an original check to the scammers covering the overpaid amount. 

Remember: If a job offer looks amateurish in terms of its content, grammar, spelling and the pay seems too good to be true, it usually is a scam! You will also not be asked to send money back for legitimate work purposes. Anytime someone tells you they have overpaid you and ask you to return some of the funds, please contact us. If you, however, already signed up and received a check, please contact the financial institution that the check appears to come from to confirm its validity before you deposit the money to your account.  It is also advisable to verify the authenticity of the company before you share private information such as your Social Security number, Date of Birth and other sensitive information. If in doubt, please contact us for help.

Recently Financed Loan Scam

If you have recently financed a loan or mortgage with us, you may receive a postcard (or an email) mentioning your recent business and urging you to call a 1-800 number. That number is an automated service trying to sell Carribean cruises.

These postcards are sent by a company called Mortgage Protection Services, and they are not affiliated or endorsed by HTFFFCU. They state it in the small print on the postcard itself.

Protect yourself
If you receive a postcard or an email urging you to call a non-credit union number, let us know! Not only will we be able to immediately verify the legitimacy of the message you have received, but we will be able to warn other members.



Items Needed When Applying For A Loan

Applying-for-a-loan-highlight.jpg

Most people tread applying for a loan very carefully. They put a lot of thought into whether they REALLY need the loan, how much they can truly afford, should the payments be monthly, bi-weekly or even weekly… The list of all the items to consider is pretty extensive.

To ease the process of applying for a loan here at HTFFFCU, we’ve prepared a list of items you need to bring with you if you apply in person at the credit union. Of course this list of must-haves depends on the type of loan you wish to apply for.

Consumer Loans

Applying for a car loan? Boat loan? Vacation loan? Any other secured or unsecured loan? Here are the items you need to bring with you:

  1. Verification of income
    This can include your two most recent paycheck stubs from each job you hold or your complete two years tax returns with schedule C attached for those who are self-employed. Other, less common sources of income may include retirement income (for example Awards Letter from Pension Verification Office, original W2s, signed tax returns or original bank statements) or Social Security income (either Social Security Awards letter or two of your most recent original account statements).

  2. A form of government-issued ID
    I.e. a driver’s license, ID card or passport.

  3. Two references
    We need contact details and names of two people that you’re close to; one of those must be a family member.

Real Estate Loans

Real Estate loans are a tad more complicated than consumer loans so the list of items needed to start your loan application is bit longer. Obviously, depending on the type of loan you’re thinking of applying for, the list of must-have items varies slightly. (Bear in mind that you will also need to complete an application form as well as bring the listed supportive documents)

If you’re applying for a new mortgage loan or you’d like to refinance your mortgage, you need to bring:

  1. Verification of income
    Let us know about all your income sources which may include:
    Salary income

    1. two most recent paycheck stubs from each job you hold and

    2. Original W2s for the past 2 years

    Commission income
    Tax returns for the past two years with Schedule A attached (signed by you as a confirmation of their legitimacy)

    Sole proprietorship income
    Tax returns for the past two years with Schedule C attached (signed by you as a confirmation of their legitimacy)

    Rent income

    1. Tax returns for the past two years with Schedule E attached (signed by you as a confirmation of their legitimacy) and

    2. Mortgage statement on each rent house you own (if applicable)

    If you cannot access the above, you’ll need to bring instead original, current, signed rent agreements for a rent property purchased within the same year you’re making an application.

    Retirement income

    1. Awards Letter from Pension Verification Office and

    2. Original W2s or 1099R

    If you cannot access the above, you’ll need to bring either signed tax returns from the last two years or original bank statements from the last three months.

    Social Security income

    1. Social Security awards letter or

    2. Last two original bank statements

    Child support income*

    1. Fully executed divorce decree and one of the following:

      1. Original printout from the Attorney General

      2. Last 12 original bank statements

    * Only if the payments are scheduled for more than 3 years. Child Support Income does not need to be disclosed unless the applicant wishes to include it for determining creditworthiness.

  2. Original bank statements (printed electronic or paper) for the last three months

  3. A credit report fee paid by a check, debit to your account or cash

  4. Property purchase contract if you have one

  5. Mortgage statement on the mortgage that we will pay off **

  6. Copy of your deed**

  7. Original survey**

  8. Homeowner’s insurance policy**

** Only if applying for refinancing your existing mortgage

If you’re applying for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), here’s what you should bring:

  1. Verification of income (see above a comprehensive list of items)

  2. Tax statement on your property

  3. A copy of your deed

  4. Mortgage statement (if you still have a mortgage)

  5. Homeowner’s insurance policy

  6. Recent pictures of your property (inside and out) if it’s not located in Harris County

Thinking of a remodel or renovation? If you need a little help and planning to apply for home improvement loan, bring these:

  1. Verification of income (see above a comprehensive list of items)

  2. Tax statement on the subject property

  3. Your general contractor’s name and mailing address

  4. Your general contractor’s list of all suppliers and subcontractors

  5. A copy of your deed

  6. Mortgage statement (if you still have a mortgage on the subject property)

  7. A credit report fee paid by a check, debit to your account or cash

  8. Recent pictures of your property (inside and out) if it’s not located in Harris County

And the other of real estate loans – unimproved property loan or refinancing unimproved property loan and the list of items needed to apply for it:

  1. Verification of income (see above a comprehensive list of items)

  2. Original bank statements for the last 2 months (either printed electronic or paper)

  3. Property contract if you have one

  4. A credit report fee paid by a check, debit to your account or cash

  5. Mortgage statement**

  6. Copy of your deed**

  7. Original old survey**

** Only if applying for refinancing your existing unimproved property loan

Something still unclear? Let us know!




Options For Members With Low Or No Credit Score

Coins in a glass jar

If you have a low credit score your financial options are vastly limited. But here at HTFFFCU we offer a range of products that will help you both, borrow money that you can use towards any financial goals or obligations you might have, and to build your credit score at the same time (if you make regular payments in full).

And the best part is: we don’t pull your credit history to approve any of them so if you have no credit score at all, you can still take advantage of them!

Certificate Secured Loan

Do you currently have a term share certificate with HTFFFCU? If so, the Term Share Certificate Secured Loan is available to you. With the interest rate only 2% over your existing Term Share Certificate rate, this loan allows you to borrow against 100% of the balance of your Term Share Certificate. And you are not losing any dividends you have already earned - you can continue to earn them.

Share Secured Loan

No term share certificate? That’s no problem. All HTFFFCU members must have savings accounts and you are allowed to borrow against 100% of the balance of your saving account (minus the initial $5 deposit) at only 3.25% APR. The funds are secured by the money in your savings account but you will continue to earn dividends.

Co-Maker Loan (up to $5,000 at 5.9% APR)

If you don’t have enough money saved up either in a term share certificate or in your savings account to make borrowing against them work for you, there is another option that might be just right up your alley. Co-Maker loans allow you to borrow between $1,000 and $5,000 at a competitive 5.9% APR. This signature loan must be co-signed by a minimum of 4 and up to 20 active or retired Houston Firefighters depending on the loan amount. Both you and your guarantors must be members of the credit union in good standing.

Secured Credit Card

Another option to help in building your credit score is applying for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards allow you to borrow money up to the limit you set for yourself by depositing the set amount into a dedicated HTFFFCU account. This sum essentially secures your future borrowing on the credit card. After some time (we recommend 12 months of perfect payment history) you can move to an unsecured credit card* and you will get your initial deposit back in full.

* Any unsecured credit limit you qualify for will depend on your ability to repay the periodic payments.

Any questions? Talk to a loan officer! Call us at (713) 864-0959!



Turbo Tax

Turbo-Tax-Highlight.jpg

Houston Texas Fire Fighters Federal Credit has teamed up with TurboTax to bring you a smarter way to get your taxes done right.


File your taxes the smarter way and save up to $15 ! TurboTax® translates taxes into simple questions about your life to get your taxes done right.

  • Get your maximum refund. TurboTax searches over 350 deductions and credits to make sure you get your biggest possible refund, guaranteed.

  • Be sure nothing gets missed. TurboTax CompleteCheck™ reviews every detail in your return, walks you through any final changes, and gives you the green light to file.

  • You’re never alone. Connect with an expert live, on-screen to get answers when you need them with TurboTax SmartLook™.

HTFFFCU members can get up to $15 off TurboTax federal products.

Get started today and save!



What You Need To Know About EMV Chip Technology

Credit Card

EMV chip technology has changed the security game for how credit and debit cards operate. It is no secret that electronic transactions make up the majority of how you make and receive payments in today’s world. We’ve recognized this technology boom and constantly strive to give our members the best. This is why we’ve dived head first into the innovative chip card technology. So what is the 411 on all things EMV? We’re glad you asked…

What does EMV stand for?
EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. It is named after the companies who created the technology.

What makes EMV chip cards more secure?
EMV chip cards are more secure in a sense that every time your card is used the EMV technology created a one-time user code for your payment. This means that if someone is nearby with a card scanner they will not be able to obtain all of your card information.

What is the procedure when using an EMV chip card?
With your new EMV chip card there comes a new process of purchasing at the checkout counter. Instead of swiping your card as you use to do with a magnetic stripe, you will now insert your card (chipped side) for the card to be read. As stated in the answer above, this is the time that a transaction code is created for your card and read by the card reader.

What is the difference between an EMV chip card vs a magnetic stripe card?
There are two major differences between chip cards and magnetic stripe cards. The first major difference is the extra layer of security provided by the chip cards. Since the cards contain a computer chip that generates a one-time transaction code, it is considered less vulnerable to card scanners and cyber hacks. The second major difference is that while it takes the same amount of time to make a purchase as it does with a magnetic stripe card, instead of the traditional swipe we are used to, the chip card stays in the machine the whole time it is being processed.

For more information on our HTFFFCU credit cards please click here.

Sources: http://www.creditcards.com



Online Banking Security Awareness & Helpful Tips

Online-Banking-highlight.jpg

Regulation E protections related to accounts with internet access:

  • Please review the EFT Disclosures section of your deposit account contract (known as part 2).

HTFFFCU will never send e-mails requesting personal information, ask you to verify information, or ask you to click on a special site link.

  • Do not hesitate to call the credit union at 713-864-0959 to confirm any communication we may send you.

Steps members can take to reduce online risk on commercial accounts:

  • Perform employee background checks on all account representatives and signers

  • Segregate duties and require dual control

  • Establish minimum requirements for online account passwords

  • Establish monitoring procedures to detect suspicious account activity

  • Establish response procedures to specify actions to be taken by specific individuals when unauthorized access is suspected

Steps members can take to reduce online risk on personal accounts:

  • Regularly log into HTFFFCU Online to check your account balances and transactions

  • Notify the credit union immediately if you notice any unexpected account activity

  • Create strong passwords that use a combination of letters and numbers that are not easily guessed.

  • Make sure that the anti-virus software on your computer is current and that it scans your e-mail as it is received

  • When conducting business online, make sure your internet browser’s padlock or key icon is active.

  • Always click the “Logout” button on HTFFFCU Online immediately after you are finished.

  • Do not share your login ID or password with anyone.

  • Do not send or receive personal account information by unsecure or unencrypted e-mail

  • Never respond to an e-mail that requests information about you or your accounts.

  • Do not open e-mails or attachments from unknown sources.

Important contact information for victims of identity theft:

Call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT or visit their website  www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity

Contact one of the three consumer reporting companies and have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. This will help stop fraudsters from opening any additional accounts in your name. Contact only one of the following (the others are required to contact the other two):

Equifax: 1 (800) 525-6285; www.fraudalerts.equifax.com
Equifax Fraud Division, P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian: 1 (888)-397-37426; www.experian.com
Experian Fraud Division, P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013

Transunion: 1(800) 680-7289; www.transunion.com
TransUnion Fraud Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA



Why You Might Want To Consider Going Digital…With Your Wallet

money in wallet

It’s 2018. We have keyless start vehicles, voice activated TVs and watches that we can use to talk to people. Needless to say, technology has made a major impact on our society. Every day brings forth new ways of doing things to make life easier. However, with all of the new technological advances, a new breed of criminals were born. These criminals prey on cyber security systems and attempt to steal information from merchants (i.e. Home Depot, Target). While most merchants are beefing up their cyber security to ensure that your information is safer than ever, it never hurts to add another layer of security. This is where using a digital wallet comes into play.

What exactly is a digital wallet?

The term “digital wallet” refers to a computerized non tangible payment storage system that can be accessed via your mobile phone. This secure digital payment system stores your information and passwords for multiple cards so you can pay smarter and faster. The magic of quicker and safer payment options comes into play because applications like Google Pay and Apple Pay both use NFC technology. NFC stands for “Near Field Communication.” This is how you can conduct a transaction with the simple tap of your mobile device. When you use NFC technology your information is extracted from your digital wallet via a magnetic field. Imagine going to the store and making a purchase, only to realize a few days later that the store you went to has had a data breach. If you used your digital wallet such as Google Pay or Apple Pay to purchase your items, then your information may have been safe.

How is your information safer?

When you use your digital wallet your card numbers are not directly shared with a merchant, but instead, a simulated account number is used to signify your card data. This means if a merchant is ever hacked, your information stays safe. It’s more secure than swiping your card and quicker than writing a check or paying with cash.

Where can you use your digital wallet?

There are two ways you can find out where your digital wallet is accepted.

1. You can always check online to see what vendors accept Google Pay or Apple Pay.

2. Just look for the symbols below when you are ready to checkout.

How do you start and use your digital wallet?

Creating a digital wallet is very simple. All you really need to know to get started is what kind of mobile device you have. For more information on how you can set up and use Google or Apple Pay please click on the buttons below.



Guard Your Card: 5 Tips To Evade Gas Pump Skimmers

gaurd-your-card-highlight.jpg

Heading out on a vacation road trip? Watch out at the fuel pump for a threat to your debit or credit card: skimmers. Gas stations, among the last retailers to install fraud-reducing EMV-chip card readers, remain an attractive target this summer for card-skimming crews.

Skimmers can be hidden in and around gas pumps' card readers, secretly recording the data stored in your credit or debit card's magnetic stripe. Fraudsters use that data to make counterfeit cards, rack up pricey purchases at your expense, and potentially drain your bank account.

Tips for safer swiping

Here are five ways to feel more secure at the gas pump:

  1. Run your transaction (even with a debit card) as a credit card purchase. If thieves crack your debit card, they'll be able to access your bank account. And although you can minimize your losses if you call your bank quickly, your liability for losses on credit card purchases is much more limited.

  2. Choose a fuel dispenser that's close to the store — ideally, one with security cameras installed nearby. Criminals would be less likely to tamper with pumps that are visible to workers inside the store.

  3. Opt for well-maintained service stations. Proprietors who keep their premises shipshape are also more likely to be inspecting and taking care of their pumps, says Jeff Lenard, vice president for strategic industry initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores. These stores account for 80% of all U.S. gas sales. Some stations have adopted visible anti-tampering measures, such as placing tamper-resistant tape over the front panel edges. That's a reassuring sign of vigilance.

  4. Take a minute or two to examine the dispenser before inserting your card. Does it look like the front panel has been pried apart? Is the keypad raised, rather than flush against the console? Do its buttons look different from the ones at neighboring pumps? Does the card reader look different? Is the reader loose in its socket? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the pump may have been tampered with; don't use it.

  5. Pay with cash. No card use means no risk of skimming.

For that matter, take similar precautions at the ATM during your summer road trip; skimming crews still target cash machines too. And if you fear your debit card or credit card has been compromised, stolen or lost, contact your bank or credit card issuer right away. Get in touch within two business days of the event, if you can; that will limit your liability for any unauthorized charges to $50.

Why fraud lurks at the pump

Installing EMV-chip card readers is a costly and complex upgrade for gas stations, industry experts say: Replacement of the entire fuel dispenser is required. An October 2017 EMV compliance deadline imposed by Mastercard and Visa on gas stations has been extended to October 2020.

But even EMV is no magic bullet.

“Without PIN use, EMV is less successful in reducing fraud,” Lenard says.

A PIN is an additional layer of security, and although your debit card requires it, you probably won't punch in a PIN at the pump when using an EMV credit card.

Visa noted late last year that fraud at EMV-enabled merchants had been reduced by 43% — huge strides, but the crime is far from eradicated.

Caren Weiner Campbell is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ccampbell@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ccampbell_nw.

The article Guard Your Card: 5 Tips to Evade Gas Pump Skimmers originally appeared on NerdWallet.



Online Security

Lock

Security Precautions to your Online Banking

Stay safe by taking simple precautions:

  1. Never share credentials.

  2. Ensure that any computer system used to connect to a banking website is updated with all applicable security patches.

  3. Ensure that any computer system used to connect to a banking website has effective antivirus software installed and the virus definitions are updated and installed automatically on a regular basis.

  4. Initiate an antivirus scan of any computer previously used to connect to a banking website. This should help uncover any viruses that have already been installed on the system. To remove an already present virus, the user may need to take additional steps including but not limited to, contacting technical support for the computer manufacturer or antivirus company, or installing a fresh version of the operating system.

  5. Consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service as a precaution against further identity theft.

  6. Set up alerts to be notified of transactions or significant balance changes.

  7. Monitor statistics and account history.

  8. Monitor e-mail to ensure that a notification hasn't been received regarding a change of e-mail address.

  9. Verify e-mail addresses periodically.

  10. Change multi-factor authentication and PINs regularly.