Tips and Useful Information for Financial Security

​Published February 9, 2023

How Secure Are Online Banking Apps? Top 3 Safety Tips to Keep Your Money Safe in 2023.

Mobile applications like Instagram, Disney+, and YouTube have established credibility with strict security measures to keep consumer’s payment information secure. Online banking apps are no different. With more and more people taking advantage of the convenience of managing their money from anywhere – the couch, hotel, or while out to dinner with friends – online banking has become a must in the digital age. With increased usage comes the need to maintain your personal financial security. Here are 3 safety tips to keep your money safe in 2023.

1. Avoid public Wi-Fi when accessing your online banking services. 

Wi-Fi makes it easy to access information and do business online, but Wi-Fi also broadcasts data to anyone in range, putting your sensitive data at risk for interception. At home, if you’re a careful user with up-to-date anti-virus software, then transferring funds on a secure, private network is reasonably safe and reliable. Checking your account from a hotel or coffee shop is another story. There, it’s best to skip the public Wi-Fi and opt for a VPN or use your cellular data connection. And, before opening your banking app, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

2. Use two-factor authentication. 

Technology is getting better at making more things accessible online for all generations. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are, too. Enabling two-factor authentication adds a second layer of protection for your data in case your login info gets into the wrong hands. Two Factor Authentication (TFA) works by requiring users to verify their identity with another factor, such as a code sent via email or text. Biometrics, like fingerprint or facial scanning, are also becoming more common and offer even more security.
“Premier America takes security very seriously,” says Paula Kim, VP of Digital Products & Services at Premier America Credit Union.

“We have strict security measures for our members who bank digitally with us through their browser, or our mobile app. We have in place Two Factor Authentication with a Secure Access Code (SAC). This helps keep you at ease knowing your account, personal information, and money are secure.”

3. Use a mobile banking app for greater security.

People often ask is it safer to use a banking app or website? Experts say, using a mobile banking app, especially when away from home, has several added security benefits:

  • Apps run in highly controlled environments, where there are limits to what the program – or any malicious program that gets in – might access and do.
  • Secure authentication – Most mobile devices have biometric authentication, which is highly effective in keeping out unauthorized users, while many online banking websites require only a password.
  • Less vulnerable to malware – Web browsers pose greater risk than apps for a variety of attacks, such as phishing sites and malware links and attachments.
  • App store security – Official mobile app stores rigorously vet the security and validity of apps on their platforms and remove any that are deemed insecure.

So, are banking apps safe? Yes... if you follow these best security practices and one final precaution: Smartphones and tablets can be compromised by fake and lookalike apps. To be safe, use banking apps directly from reputable financial institutions. Visit the Premier America Banking App page to learn more.


​Published December 2, 2022

Zelle: How to Outsmart Holiday Scams

The holiday shopping season is officially here, and just as you’re looking for the hottest deals, scammers are shopping as well.
You’ve probably heard of phishing. But do you really know what it is - and more importantly, how to protect yourself from falling victim to it? Phishing scams have become very sophisticated, but there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and keep your personal information safe.

What is Phishing

Let’s start with a basic description: Phishing is a type of scam where an attacker sends a fraudulent message to trick you into revealing sensitive information - often to access your accounts or commit identity theft. Phishing attempts usually occur through email, over the phone, or via text message. They can be very well-designed to look or sound like legitimate messages from those you know and trust, such as your financial institution, and may contain a link that directs you to a fake website that looks legitimate.

Tip #1: Do not expect phishing emails to be filtered into your Junk mail. Because they are often individually crafted based on information gathered on your social media sites, they can avoid detection from advanced email filters.

How to Dectect Phishing Scams?
There are ways to avoid phishing scams if you know what to look and listen for. Be on the lookout for these identifying factors:
  • Inconsistencies in email addresses. Phishing emails will typically come from an unfamiliar, unusual email address. The easiest way to detect this is to hover your cursor over the email address to reveal the true “from” address. This will usually reveal the email as a fraud and can be done without actually clicking into the email itself. For example, if an email allegedly originates from your financial institution, but the domain name reads something else, it’s likely a phishing email. Delete it immediately.
  • Unfamiliar greeting or salutation.Sometimes the informality or other irregularity of a salutation can and should provoke suspicion. Be on the lookout for this type of irregularity in emails and text messages, and perhaps even phone calls. For example, if your financial institution greets you with a nickname you don’t use with your accounts, it’s an indication of phishing.
  • Bad grammar, spelling mistakes or unusual language.Legitimate emails and text messages will not have these mistakes. However, they are often found in phishing scams.
  • Demand for urgent action.This is key! Emails, text messages and phone calls threatening some type of negative consequence, loss of money, or missed opportunity are key factors in phishing scams. The urgency prompts you to act without thinking and is what ultimately gets intelligent consumers to fall for these well-designed phishing scams. The scams have flaws, but the panic they create can cause consumers to take swift action before errors can be spotted.
  • Requests for passwords. Do not respond to a text alert, email, or phone call asking for a password, PIN, or any other security information. Never give this information to anyone, even if you think it’s your bank or credit union. They will never ask you for this information. Ever.

Tip #2: Be wary of long text numbers. If you receive a text message from an unidentified number longer than 10 digits, the odds are high, it’s a scam.

More Dos and Don’ts to Protect Yourself

  • Don’t click on links in an unsolicited email or text message.
  • Don’t use the phone number a potential scammer provided in an email or text message. Look up the company’s phone number on your own and call to verify the authenticity of the message or request.
  • Don’t give out personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or Social Security numbers.
  • Don’t respond to suspected phishing emails, text messages or phone calls, even if you think it would be fun to tease or trick them. It’s best to avoid responding in any way.
  • Do be suspicious of anyone pressing you to act immediately.

Tip #3: Phone numbers and caller identities can be faked to look like the caller ID is from a business you know and trust, like your financial institution. Never trust that the caller ID is accurate. It is best to look up the company’s phone number on your own and call them.


If you detect suspicious activity, contact the alleged company directly. In the case of your financial institution, call at the number listed on the back of your bank-issued debit card, in your banking app, or the bank’s official website. Learn more about scams and ways to protect yourself by visiting


Published December 1, 2022

Spot the Scams targeting your online Banking

As technology gets more advanced, so do scam and fraud attempts. Scammers continue to find new ways to disguise themselves and lay their traps in the hopes of accessing your online account and funds. Know how to spot and dodge their schemes before they get started.


There are a variety of Imposter Scams, where a fraudster poses as a business or person you trust and tricks you into sending them money or sharing personal information.

It happens by you receiving a call, text, email, or computer pop-up with an official-looking logo, email address, or phone number on your caller ID. The message may claim to be from your banking institution, a business-like Amazon contacting you about an unauthorized transaction, a loved one who needs help, or from a federal agency, like the IRS. The urgent message prompts you to call or take steps that can quickly lead to trouble. It is important to remain vigilant and if anything, ever doesn’t feel right, reach out directly to your financial institution or the business/organization allegedly contacting you.

Watch out for these notification requests:

Many scams come in the form of SMS text, email, or calls asking you to:
  • Verify your account or a transaction with your name, account PIN, full credit card number, or other personal information that the scammer can use to gain access to your account.
  • Provide a confirmation code that you believe a customer representative sent to your phone. The code you receive is prompted by the scammer on the phone clicking the “forgot password” link. Providing the code lets them reset the password and take over your account.
  • Update or submit payment details for a company you pay regularly or a potential employer from a job website. This redirects payments to the scammer’s account and opens the door for them to access your personal account.
  • Click a link or download an attachment (known as a Phishing Scam), which loads malware onto your computer, or links you to a look-alike online banking or merchant site, prompting you to log in or fill out a form. The scammer can now capture your passwords and data.
  • Pay in advance which pressures you to wire or transfer an upfront fee to receive money, a prize, or goods you weren’t expecting, start a free trial, or process an online application for a dummy loan or job. Once paid, the fraudster – and your fee - are gone forever.
  • Pay yourself (using Zelle®) which often comes as a text alert about a fraudulent Zelle® transfer. If you respond to it, a fraudster calls appearing as your financial institution. They say you can recover the stolen funds by transferring the same amount “back to your Zelle® account.” You’re instructed to provide a security code and re-link your mobile number, while the scammer connects your details to their own account. Then, money you think you’re sending to yourself is sent directly to their bank account.

Contacted Out of the Blue? Heres What To Do:
Slow down and call back to verify


Contact your financial institution directly. To discuss any suspicious activity, call the number listed on your debit card, in your banking app, or on your institution’s official website.

Don’t give out full account numbers, PINs, or verification codes. Premier America and other legitimate financial institutions will never text, email, or call you and ask for these.

Avoid links and attachments unless you’re certain they’re from a trusted source. When in doubt, close it out, and visit the official website or Online Banking app directly. Never respond to demands for payment by gift card, wire, or money transfer, not even to yourself!


How Safe is Online Banking?

Our Online Banking and Mobile App protect your information using advanced data encryption and the latest fraud detection measures that help safeguard your account.

Always use a strong password and two-factor authentication and do your online banking from home or your device’s mobile app. Whenever possible, do not connect to public wi-fi when conducting your Online Banking. Be sure to monitor your account regularly. If you spot suspicious activity, please contact Premier America at (800) 772-4000 or visit a local branch near you.

Published September 26, 2022

How Safe is Public Wi-Fi? Useful Security Tips for Online Banking

The convenience of connecting to a public Wi-Fi connection in seconds while you’re out and about can’t be beat, but it’s always wise to think twice before connecting. Oftentimes, these ‘free’ public internet connections are not as secured as you might think.

Public Wi-Fi Security Risks

Whether browsing on public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, library, or airport, you’re sharing that connection with others. There’s a chance that a hacker may intercept your information that’s transmitted. This means not only the work or personal email you sent, but your photos, calendar, and other private information. Some applications on your device “communicate” discreetly in the background when connected to public Wi-Fi. They may check for new messages or updates, causing them to send and receive unencrypted1 personal information that could be intercepted by a hacker on that same network.

Imposter Wi-Fi networks pose added threats. If you mistakenly join a clone network, a hacker may gain access and start monitoring all your online banking, shopping and other activities while gathering login credentials. Using a secure private connection to browse the internet, log in to online banking, and share on social is the safer choice.
  • Use your smartphone’s cellular connection or turn your phone into a hotspot to connect your tablet or laptop to a more direct, encrypted transmission.
  • When visiting friends or relatives, use their password-protected Wi-Fi network if you can’t get a cellphone signal.

Safety Tips When using Public Wi-Fi

If you must use public Wi-Fi for online banking, employ these security tips to minimize your exposure:
  • Update your device with the latest operating system security releases and malware scanning before you leave home.
  • If using a web browser, check the address bar for the padlock icon (top left of your screen), indicating data encryption is secured. Heed browser insecurity warnings, including website redirections. Also, never save your online banking password in your browser or a public computer.
  • Better yet, skip the web browser and use your official online banking app instead. Without the browser “middlemen,” the data transmission is more direct, and there’s less chance of navigating to a fake banking site. Premier America’s free Mobile App is available to download in the Apple Store or Google Play.
  • If using public Wi-Fi often, consider getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN)2.
  • Log out when finished. Don’t assume that closing the app or browser window will end your online banking session.
  • Always have two-factor authentication3 set up on your online banking account for an extra layer of protection in case an online fraudster obtains your login credentials.
  • Change your password often to help safeguard your account.

It’s important to know the best practices for browsing the internet on-the-go. Connecting to Wi-Fi always poses some risk, so monitor your online banking account regularly to spot and report any suspicious activity.

For more on online security tips, please visit our Security Center.
1Encryption: The process of encoding a message so that it can be read only by the sender and the intended recipient.
2Virtual Private Network (VPN): a system or technology that uses a public network, usually the internet, to transmit encrypted data between a private network and a remote authorized user.
3Two-Factor Authentication: a security system that requires two distinct forms of identification in order to access something.

Published August 11, 2022

Securely Use Online Banking Tools

Budgeting for your next vacation? Check. Instant payments to friends and family? Check. While Online Banking has made it easier to manage, budget, and send money, it is also important to keep your personal information safe. Online Banking provides the tools you need to meet your goals and plan for a better tomorrow, while ensuring your information is secure. Here are 3 tools that you can start using today:

1. Biller Direct: Helps eliminate the needs to use multiple sites and login credentials to pay bills. Schedule payments in advance to pay on time. See here to learn more about Biller Direct.

2. Send Money With Zelle®: Send money directly from your account to friends and family - typically in minutes, and the best part is, there are no fees!

3. Account Alerts: You can set up to receive an email or text alert for International purchases, purchases without a card present, declined transactions & more. Enroll your credit and/or debit card/s today. From the Online Banking menu, select Card Controls > Debit or Credit Card Management > Card Details.

Online Banking Security Tips

It’s important to take every precaution to protect yourself from a potential scam when using Online Banking. Here are a few online banking security tips to help you keep your information safe:
  • Use strong passwords and never reuse them across different accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Review your account activity (and eStatements) regularly to look for any suspicious activity.
  • Don't click on links or attachment in emails from unknown senders.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi when accessing your bank account.

Published April 13, 2022

Beware of Scams Targeting Ukraine Relief Efforts

Ukrainian relief efforts are being launched across the nation. Unfortunately, as with most national or global  tragedies, scammers move quickly to prey on the empathy of individuals, with fundraising schemes. If you wish to make a donation, it is always encouraged to conduct proper due diligence to ensure funds are going to legitimate organizations and recipients.

The Scam

Fraudsters are seizing the opportunity to scam people who just want to help.
Scammers use phone calls, texts, and emails (often with a link to a spoofed website, or an attachment), social media networks, banner ads, and the internet, sometimes posing as friends, family, or romantic interests on social media, to request donations.
The reasons for the donation often seem legitimate – the need to relocate a family or child within or outside the country, their home has been destroyed, or the need for medical or rebuilding supplies including medication and food. Key red flags include a sense of urgency and requesting donations in the form of gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency.
Bottomline, the scammer receives the donation rather than helping the intended cause.

Ways to Protect Yourself

If you want to donate to this cause, consider these risk mitigating tips:
  • Do not click on a link or attachment in an email to donate online if it is received from someone you do not know.
  • Connect through a different method to verify an online donation request is from a friend or family member.
  • Do not provide Personal Identifying Information (PII) or debit / credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited donation request.
  • Resist high pressure tactics and those with a sense of urgency. Be aware of direct emails from  “victims” and solicitors who have a heart-wrenching story.
  • Research the organization and make sure it is legitimate before donating. Enter the URL of the charity yourself to independently confirm you are contacting the right organization.
  • Be wary of requests for wire transfers, cryptocurrency and gift cards.
  • If donating on a charity’s website, make sure the website is secure, your internet connection is secure, and your computer is equipped with the latest anti-virus protection.
  • If possible, always pay by credit card, which offers additional layers of protection. If donating using a check, always make the check payable to the charity instead of an individual.
  • If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the credit union to put a hold on the account or credit card. Be sure to your check accounts regularly for any suspicious activity or unauthorized charges and set up notifications that will track your credit card transactions and alert you to account activity.

Published April 1, 2022

Pay It Safe With Zelle®

While Zelle is the easy way to pay friends, family, and people you trust, fraudsters frequently target Zelle. A popular fraudster scheme is to trick Zelle users into thinking they are transferring funds to themselves under the guise that it will replace funds originally stolen from their account. However, the Zelle transfers ultimately go to the fraudsters!

Here’s how the scam works:
1. A fraudster sends a text alert that appears to be from the Zelle user’s financial institution (FI), indicating that a large dollar transfer was made with Zelle.

2. The fraudster then calls from a spoofed phone number, appearing as the FI fraud department, and tells the Zelle user that the supposed fraudulent transfer went through, but the funds can be recovered.

3. The fraudster tells the Zelle user that they may transfer the funds back to their own account, but they must first remove the mobile number associated with their Zelle payment account and then re-link the mobile number.

4. Once the Zelle user removes their mobile number from their Zelle account, the fraudster actually links the Zelle user’s mobile number to their own account. A Zelle verification code is then generated and sent to the Zelle user to link their mobile number with what they believe is their own account.

5. The fraudster then requests that the Zelle user provide them with the verification code. Once provided, the fraudster enters the code to link the mobile number to their own Zelle account.

6. The Zelle user is then instructed to send themselves the funds that were originally reported to have been stolen. In doing so, the Zelle user is actually transferring the funds to the fraudster’s Zelle account that is now linked to the Zelle user’s mobile number.

  • Never share a Zelle verification code with anyone. Premier America and other FIs will never contact you to request that you provide a Zelle verification code to them.
  • Be wary of texts or calls appearing to come from the credit union or another FI. Phone numbers can easily be spoofed.
  • Never use Zelle to transfer funds to yourself.
  • If you have concerns about the legitimacy of a Zelle payment, contact the credit union directly using only the contact information published online at
  • If you receive a text or an email containing a Zelle verification code, and you did not request it, call the credit union immediately to report the incident.

Published December 7, 2021

Protect Yourself from Scams

The holiday season is here and scam artists are stepping up their deceptive tactics to trick people into providing personal and financial account information. Increasingly, fraudsters are posing as representatives of major retailers such as Amazon or Costco, and presenting information related to previous transactions to gain the trust of their intended victims. Incoming calls with faked phone numbers that appear to be from the actual business make phone scams difficult to detect.

Being cautious of direct calls you receive from any businesses, including Premier America, is the first step in protecting yourself from a potential scam. Here is a current phone scam you need to know about to protect yourself from fraudsters.

With this scam, a fraudster will:
  1. Call claiming that 'due to fraudulent activity on your account, you’re due a refund'.
  2. The caller claims that remote access to your computer is needed to provide a refund and you must log into your bank account so the refund can be processed.
  3. The scammer will then try to convince you that you were refunded too much money and need to buy gift cards or wire money to pay back the overage. Also, the scammer now has access to your accounts and can make unauthorized changes.
You should always be wary of calls reporting suspicious activity that instruct you to press a menu option or call an unfamiliar number. When it comes to protecting your Premier America account:
  • Never provide your password or a secure access code to anyone. A Premier America Representative will never call you directly and request Online Banking log in information or an account number.
  • When calling for assistance, be prepared to answer security questions to verify your identity. If you are unable to pass the initial verification, a one-time, 6-digit secure access code will be provided to you, to verify your identity.
  • Expect a call to confirm a wire transfer. For your protection, a Member Service Representative will contact you within 24 hours to verify wire transfer information.
  • If you receive a call that appears to be from Premier America, pay attention to the information that is being requested. If in doubt, hang up and call Premier America back.
IMPORTANT: Never provide your password or 6-digit secure access code for Online Banking.

Published October 7, 2021

Helping You Stay Safe Online

Making sure you stay safe online and your account information is secure, is important to us. Here is helpful information to help ensure your online experience is safe and secure.

Never share your Online Banking Login ID or Password
Play it safe and keep your log in information private, never sharing it with others or storing the information in an unsecured area. You’ll never be contacted directly by a Premier America representative and asked to provide this information. If you ever need help accessing your account online, you can contact our Online Banking Support directly at 800-772-4000, option 8.

Fraudsters are good at spoofing phone numbers
Be wary of any direct calls or text messages you receive from someone claiming they’re a representative from Premier America or another financial institution. It’s best to politely end the call or not respond to a text message, and call the institution directly to verify the legitimacy of the initial call/text you received.

Be vigilant when sending money online
There are a lot of convenient ways to send money to people online, but these services are often a target of fraudsters. A common tactic is for a fraudster to send you a text or email notifying you of an online payment that you didn’t initiate. It’s often a means to get you to contact the fraudster who will appear to represent your financial institution. From there, the fraudster will typically have you complete a number of actions, supposedly to help you cancel the payment, but the real goal is to have you unintentionally release the funds to them. To guard against this scheme, be sure to only use contact numbers you know to be legitimate and never respond directly to a text message, email or phone call you suspect might be fraud.

Just remember, a Premier America representative will never contact you directly to ask for your Online Banking login information or secure one-time-passcodes you receive when enrolling with our new Zelle® payments service. Please review these tips for staying safe when sending money with Zelle®.

Published June 8, 2021

Seller Beware: 6 Tips for Avoiding Overpayment Scams

If you are selling something online, or through an ad, you may be targeted by an overpayment scam. Overpayment scams occur when someone sends you too much money, then requests a refund for the excess amount. Then eventually, the check/money order/cashier’s check for the original payment turns out to be counterfeit.

To explain the overpayment, the buyer may claim that they made a mistake, or the extra funds were intended to cover shipping costs, or they may provide one of many other reasons. The scammer is relying on your honesty and sense of fairness to get you to return funds that don’t exist. They will also offer to let you keep an amount to compensate you for your trouble. In the end, the buyer’s form of payment is fake, and you’re responsible for the entire amount deposited to your financial institution when the funds are deducted from your account.

Whether you run a business, or just want to sell a personal item, follow these tips to help avoid overpayment scams:
  1. If you receive a check or payment for more than the agreed upon sale price, send it back or cancel the order and ask for another payment with the correct amount. No matter how tempting it is, do not accept a payment for more than your selling price. If a sale is concluded before you discover the overpayment, try to cancel it, and do not agree to return any overpayment. If possible, ask for payment in cash and provide a receipt.

  2. Do not ship any item or return any funds until you are sure the payment is valid. Even when a payment clears in your account, the money can be withdrawn later if the financial institution determines that the check is fraudulent or the true account holder (if an account number has been stolen) reports unauthorized activity. Remember, just because the financial institution makes the funds available to you, it doesn’t mean they have cleared the other financial institution.

  3. Only use secure payment methods you are familiar with. Instead of accepting checks, which offer less protection from fraud, accept cash or a person-to-person payment through trusted, secure payment systems, such as Zelle, Venmo, Popmoney, Apple Pay or Google Pay. This may dissuade scammers from targeting you in the first place. Some auction sites and payment apps also offer added protections for sales transactions.

  4. Be cautious when a buyer proposes alternative payment or delivery methods. A scammer may try to involve another shipper, or they may suggest the seller return excess funds through online banking transfer, gift card or a wire transfer such as Western Union. With these nearly untraceable methods, you will have little to no recourse if something goes wrong.

  5. Communicate your policies up front. When listing your ad or item for sale, specify the terms you will accept for payment and shipping. You can also review the safeguards experienced sellers use in their listings.

  6. Keep it simple, and consult help early. If a buyer makes alternative requests that complicate the transaction, walk away. If using an auction or reseller site, such as eBay or, follow their policies, which may prescribe one way only for documented messaging. This is for your protection to avoid contact using your personal phone or email.

    If you have concerns about a sale in process, contact the listing or ad service you used. They often have a fraud department experienced in advising you on your situation.
By following a few sound practices, you can avoid become the victim of a scam when selling your personal items. The old saying is very true in these situations, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

If you believe you’ve been targeted by an overpayment scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Vaccination Scams

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to more people, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seeing a spike in vaccination scams and is alerting the public to be careful. They especially warn folks to stay informed and be extra cautious when sharing personal, health, or financial information. Here are 5 ways to protect yourself:
  1. You will never be asked to pay out of pocket to be put on a list or to speed up your eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Know your region’s plan for rolling out the vaccine to avoid being a victim.
  2. Avoid scheduling vaccination appointments through unverified platforms. It’s best to schedule appointments through your health department or local pharmacy.
  3. Do not respond to unexpected calls or click on links in text messages regarding COVID-19, from unknown individuals. If you’re sent any communication about the COVID-19 vaccine that seems suspicious, always check it out with your local health department.
  4. Avoid sharing your vaccine cards on social media. Posting content that includes your personal information, including birthdate or any personally identifiable information, can be used to steal your identity.
  5. You should only receive a vaccine at an authorized vaccination site. Avoid falling for scams that allow you to pay for a dose to be shipped to you.

To get legitimate COVID-19 vaccination information, please visit the Los Angeles County Public Health website or reach out to your healthcare provider. If you suspect you have been a victim of COVID-19 healthcare fraud, report it immediately by calling 800-447-8744.

Published January 15, 2021

5 Common Stimulus Payment Scams to Watch For

As part of the December 2020 Coronavirus Response and Relief Act, the IRS has begun issuing a second stimulus payment – formally known as an Economic Impact Payment - to tens of millions of qualifying Americas. Once again, scammers are taking the opportunity to trick people into stealing your payments, as well your personal and financial information. To avoid being a victim, here are 5 of the common stimulus payment scams to look out for:
  1. Unsolicited Calls, Text, or Emails – The IRS will never send unsolicited texts or email messages. If you receive a message, especially if it is marked as urgent, do not respond, and avoid clicking on any suspicious links or opening attachments. There have been reports of individuals receiving text messages encouraging them to click on a link to accept their stimulus payment. This is a major red flag.
  2. Verify Personal Information – If you receive a call or text asking you to verify information about yourself to receive your payment, this is a scam. Only use the IRS webpage to submit information about yourself, if requested. In most cases, you do not need to take additional steps to get your payment.
  3. Faster Payments – Anyone who promises that you can receive your payment faster is a scammer. To check the status of your payment, visit
  4. Paying Extra Fees – Be aware of calls or text messages urging you to pay additional fees to claim your stimulus payment. Keep in mind, you will never have to pay to receive stimulus funds. The IRS says that stimulus payments will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on an individual’s most recent tax return. If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to your most recent address on file.
  5. Lookalike Checks – Be extra cautious about bogus checks mailed to you with an odd amount (specifically non whole dollar amounts).  A tip off could also be inclusion of a letter instructing you to call a number or verify information online. This is a scam.

If you think you have been a victim of a stimulus scam, the IRS suggests you visit The site lets you report identity theft to the IRS and FTC simultaneously and develop a recovery plan. 

For more information about the second round of Economic Impact Payments, visit

Published September 16, 2020

4 Tips to Help You Identify a Package Delivery Scam

Have you received a text message recently asking you to claim or confirm a package that needs to be delivered? If you haven’t, then you need to be aware of the latest credit card scam, where hackers try to get you to click on a link in a text message in order to get your personal and financial information.

The text message will generally have wording similar to “[Name], we found a package from July owed to you. Please claim ownership and schedule for delivery here: [link]”. The link will likely ask you to confirm your personal information and, although there are no charges owed, you’re still asked to provide your credit card information.

Here are a few tips to help you identify this scam:

  1. The from phone number is not a known number or it may look suspicious.
  2. Your name may be misspelled or incorrect.
  3. You do not recall a missing delivery. Most delivery carriers will send you a text prior to sending you delivery updates asking your permission to receive these messages.
  4. Link looks suspicious. Most links in text messages are from actual delivery carriers and will have their name in the link, for example…
  5. You are asked to provide your personal information and/or your credit card number.

What should you do when you receive a message like this?

  1. Most importantly, DO NOT click on the link.
  2. DO NOT provide your personal information or your credit card number.
  3. Delete the message. You can even block the phone number in Settings so you don’t get any more messages from that number.
  4. Contact your wireless provider and report it to their Fraud Department.
If you feel like you need extra protection, you can contact your wireless provider and ask if they have a tool or service that helps you block calls and text messages that may be a risk for fraud.

During times like these, it’s important to keep vigilant for possible scams whether they are through text, email or a phone call.  Implementing these precautionary measures can help you better identify a scam when you see one.

Published August 17, 2020

How to Protect Yourself From COVID-19 Employment Scams

As of July 2020, the unemployment rate in the United States was 10.2%. With tens of millions of people out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, scammers are hard at work trying—and often succeeding—to take advantage of the financial difficulties many Americans are currently experiencing.

Job scams aren’t new, but as unemployment has surged, they’re becoming more prevalent. Fraudsters are posing as legitimate employers and using increasingly sophisticated methods to prey on innocent Americans, posting job listings for positions that don’t exist, creating websites that look like the company they’re impersonating and scheduling “job interviews” with potential candidates.


Signs of a Scam

If you’re currently searching for a new job, here are some things you need to know to help you identify potential scams.
  • The job ad or “recruiter” asks you to pay for supplies, training materials, certifications, application fees, to receive more job listings or anything else. Legitimate employers won’t ask you to pay to apply for a job. And if they want to send you for additional training or certifications, they’ll typically do it after you’ve accepted a job offer and been onboarded as an employee.
  • You see a listing for “previously undisclosed” government jobs. All listings for open positions within the federal government are available for free at
  • The listing says the company is hiring but doesn’t list a specific job, promises guaranteed employment or says you’re guaranteed to make a certain amount of money, often from the comfort of your own home. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What You Can Do to Prevent Being Scammed

Just like no one can guarantee you a job before you apply, no one can guarantee that you won’t be the victim of a scam. But there are things you can do to minimize your risk.
  • Don’t respond to emails or phone calls from people you don’t know, especially if they promise you a job you didn’t apply for.
  • Never send money or credit card information to an employer. If an employer asks you to wire money or provide them with your credit card number, that’s a red flag.
  • Don’t click on links in emails you receive from people you don’t know. Clicking on a link may download malware onto your device or send you to a website that look legitimate but is really designed to collect sensitive data that can be used to steal your identity or gain access to your financial accounts.
  • Be wary of job placement services. Some are legitimate, but others aren’t. If you want to work with one, find out what they’re offering before you start. If you have questions they can’t answer or they pressure you into signing a contract without reviewing it, it could be a scam.
During times like these, it’s important to be extra vigilant and take steps to protect yourself from fraudsters. If you’ve been the victim of a job scam, file a complaint with the FTC.

Published July 22, 2020

5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against the Latest COVID-19 Health Care Scams 

As the world continues to be impacted by COVID-19, hackers are using the pandemic to their benefit to collect personal and financial information from the public. The latest alerts come from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, alerting the public about people being offered COVID-19 tests in exchange for sensitive information.  Information is requested via telemarketing calls, text messages, social media outlets, as well as door-to-door visits.  Here are 5 ways you can protect yourself and avoid being the next victim.

1. Be cautious of unsolicited requests for Medicare or Medicaid numbers. Scammers will pretend to be COVID-19 contact tracers. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Medicare number or financial information.
2. Be suspicious of unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites.
3. Only a physician or healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for testing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first. You can also visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
4. Do not respond to, or open hyperlinks in text messages about COVID-19 from unknown individuals.
5. Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone claiming to offer grants related to COVID-19.
As COVID-19 continues to affect the world, we will continue to see a rise in reported fraud cases. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately online or call 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

Published June 19, 2020

6 Tips to Protect Yourself While Using Smartphone Apps

Nowadays, we reply on the convenience of our smartphones, to manage a multitude of daily tasks and to access entertainment. Our phones allow us to get the latest news, check the weather forecast, check our account balances, save myriad account passwords, send and receive money, as well as connect with friends and family. With this level of smartphone dependence, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect our private information. Here are 6 tips to protect yourself while using smartphone apps:

1. Keep Apps and Operating Systems Up-to-Date
Make it a habit and set aside time to make sure your apps and operating systems are up-to-date. By doing this, you are staying one-step ahead of hackers. Double check your phone settings, many will allow you to enable automatic updates.

2. Avoid Connecting to Public WIFI
If you must connect to Public WIFI, make sure you’re not logging into sites or apps requiring entry of personal or financial information, such as account numbers or passwords. Be extra cautious about pop-ups and requests to download items onto your device. If possible, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

3. Research the App
Before downloading an app, research the company to validate if they are legitimate. By doing your research, you can see if there have been recent data breaches.

4. Use a Password Manager Tool
Password manager apps can help you generate strong passwords, as well as help keep all of your passwords protected. Remember, a strong password should include a random string of numbers, letters and special characters.

5. Double Check App Permissions
We are all guilty of quickly accepting all permissions requested by apps. Take a second to think about what they’re requesting and if it makes sense. You can also go back to existing apps and reevaluate the permissions you have already granted.

6. Only Use Reliable App Stores
It’s highly recommend that you use established app stores like Google and Apple when downloading apps. Apps on these stores are vetted and meet the standard quality for data protection. If you’re asked to download an app from a text message be very cautious. This is a method hackers will use to place malware on your phone.

While businesses do their best to protect consumers, you should do your part to protect yourself from hackers and potential online intruders. By following these tips, you can confidently take advantage of all the benefits a smartphone has to offer.

Published April 29, 2020

How to Identify & Avoid COVID-19 Phishing Scams

As we all continue to navigate the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, searching for informational resources online has become a common practice. Hackers are taking advantage of this practice to obtain consumer’s personal and financial information. Over the last few months, online phishing attacks have tremendously increased, specifically targeting people who have been hurt economically. These phishing attempts range from fake job offers, fake news, loan or foreclosure offers and relief programs, and even messages impersonating government officials. More than ever, we need to be aware of what information we are accessing or responding to online. Here are 3 ways to identify and protect yourself against online fraud:

Think Twice Before You Click 
Before you click on any links, hover over them to reveal the full website address. Look for misspellings, grammatical errors, apparent fake website names or anything that may look suspicious. Keep in mind that hackers are creating links that closely resemble legitimate addresses. If you sense you have received a phishing email, delete it right away.

Don’t Open Suspicious Attachments
If you have received an email from an unrecognized source with an attachment, be very cautious about opening it. By opening a suspicious attachment, you could unintentionally download malicious software onto your device, giving hackers the ability to access personal information.

Guard Your Personal & Financial Information
Be aware of phone calls, text messages, or emails from someone claiming they are a government official or someone who is raising money for COVID-19 victims or disease research. Be especially wary of individuals pressuring you to act fast.  If you are interested in giving to a charity, the Federal Trade Commission has provided tips to ensure your donation gets to where it needs to go.  Click here to learn more.

To find the most accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, it is recommended you visit a credible source like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and World Health Organization (WHO).



For more tips on how to avoid COVID-19 scams, please visit

Published April 20, 2020

Stimulus Check Scams to Be Aware of

The best defense against fraud during these difficult times is to know the facts that will stop scammers in their tracks. With the Economic Impact Payment now on its way to many taxpayers, scammers are trying to trick you out of your share. Here are the 4 stimulus check scams to be aware of:
  1. Requiring sign-up – Payments are automatic; you will not be required to take any action to obtain your stimulus check. If someone contacts you requesting your information, or asking you to sign up or enroll, it should raise a red flag.
  2. Verify your password or direct deposit – Scammers are sending “official” looking postcards, texts, and emails asking you to go online and verify your payment or direct deposit information. Please note, the IRS will never contact you to verify your financial information.
  3. Expedited Payments – Scammers may contact you by phone, email or text promising you, for a fee, to obtain your government payment sooner than scheduled. Don’t fall for it! You can confirm the status of your check by visiting
  4. Over-payment checks – This scheme involves scammers sending you a check for more than you are supposed to receive. The scammers will call you to apologize for the mistake, and ask you to return the difference in cash, gift card or by wire transfer. Then the entire check will bounce and you will be out of funds that you returned to the scammer.
The first round of economic impact payments are now being issued to taxpayers via direct deposit and mail. To check the status of your payment, update your records to receive a direct deposit instead of a paper check, or for general information please visit

Published January 6, 2020

Don't Abbreviate the Year 2020

We are all used to using the last 2 digits of the year when signing things. Last year we simply used '19 when adding the date.
But that may not be the best idea in the new decade. With the dates now ending in '20, that opens up the possibility of fraud should someone decide to change the date. Signing and dating documents with just the 20 could be fraudulently changed to another date such as 2017 or 2018, for example.
When you write a date on a document, don't shorten the year 2020 to just "20." Writing out the whole thing will keep the documents you have signed from getting changed.
The last thing anyone needs are issues with legal documents. Protect yourself. Do not abbreviate 2020.

Published October 10, 2019

What You Need to Know to Protect Your Business From Inventory Fraud Schemes
Business email compromise schemes aren’t new. Historically, criminals have tried to steal money from their victims by tricking them into sending wire transfers or ACH payments to illegitimate accounts.
But recently, a new scam emerged. Instead of requesting money, fraudsters trick their victims into shipping electronics such as laptops, tablets, drones and more to unauthorized recipients. The perpetrators in this latest scheme are targeting electronics companies by using hacked business email accounts from small to mid-sized IT vendors.
The criminals use the hacked email accounts to contact electronics companies and order large shipments of inventory. The electronics company ships the items in the order while the invoice or third-party financing is being processed.
The company never receives payment, and the criminals fence the stolen inventory, which is never recovered by the victim. Some of the fraudulent shipments have been valued at as much as $600,000.  
Warning Signs of Inventory Fraud
Because of the significant impact this type of fraud can have on your bottom line, it’s important to be on the look out for signs that your business is being targeted. Here are a few:
  • Emails have been deleted or are missing from email inboxes without the user’s knowledge or permission
  • Inactive accounts become active again
  • Vendors or clients call asking for information about shipments or to change their payment information
Ways to Protect Your Business
While there’s no way to guarantee you won’t be a victim of inventory fraud, here are a few things you can do to help minimize your risk.
  • Disable old or unused business email accounts
  • Monitor email inbox settings for unauthorized installation of email rules to auto-forward or delete emails
  • Enable multi-factor authentication on email accounts to make it more difficult for thieves to gain unauthorized access
Call vendors directly to confirm requests for changes to orders or bank account information

Published September 18, 2019

Six Ways to Keep Your Mobile Devices Secure 

  1. Select apps carefully. You wouldn’t visit a questionable website you’re not familiar with. And it’s a good idea to avoid apps you’re not familiar with, too. Only download apps that come from sources you trust, to reduce the risk of having malware installed on your device.
  2. Say “yes” to updates. Maintaining the most current versions of your operating system and apps resolves known security vulnerabilities. Consider setting up your devices to install updates automatically to help keep your information safe and secure. 
  3. Install an anti-malware program. Anti-malware software on computers has been commonplace for decades. But it’s not as prevalent on smartphones or tablets, and the incidence of malware on mobile devices has skyrocketed in recent years. Consider installing anti-malware software to help protect your devices against viruses, ransomware and other types of online threats.
  4. Use a password. Require users to input a password to gain access to your phone or tablet. Set up your devices so they default to the password log-in screen after a short period of inactivity. If your device is lost or stolen, this will make it more difficult for unauthorized users to access your information. 
  5. Back up your data. Use either an external drive or cloud storage to back-up your data, so you can recover it if your device is lost or stolen. 
  6. Install an app that lets you delete data remotely. If your smartphone or tablet falls into the wrong hands, this will enable you to remove your personal information without having the device in your possession.
To learn more about keeping your devices safe online, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s online  security resources at 

Published August 15, 2019

Protecting Yourself from Financial Fraud

Every year, millions of people in the U.S. fall victim to financial schemes. Here are some current scams to be aware of:

Overpayment Scam - Online classified ads and auction websites are rife with overpayment schemers. In
this scam, a potential buyer offers to send a seller a check or money order for an amount greater than the item sales price and instructs the seller to return the overpayment amount to them. After the seller  has sent the overpayment, it’s discovered that the buyer’s original payment is fake and they’ve lost the money remitted to the buyer.
      Avoiding this Scam - A legitimate buyer won’t offer to overpay you. Use a secure online payment
      system like PayPal that offers purchase protection for buyers and provides dispute resolution for

IRS Imposter Scam - Fraudulent IRS phone calls claiming a taxpayer owes back taxes have spiked in
recent years. These scammers often reference personal information they’ve obtained and threaten impending arrest and criminal prosecution, motivating victims to send funds to resolve the matter.
    Avoiding this Scam - The IRS will always contact you by mail before calling you regarding unpaid taxes
    and will never threaten arrest if you don’t make immediate payment. Never provide private information
    to an unrecognized caller and always contact the IRS directly to verify any alleged claim.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam - High-stakes lotteries and sweepstakes advertising easy money or fabulous
prizes in exchange for a small handling or processing fee are a common scam. No legitimate program will require you to pay to collect a prize you’ve allegedly won.
    Avoiding this Scam - Never provide your credit card number or other private information to participate
    in an unrecognized lottery or sweepstakes without verifying a program’s legitimacy with the Federal
    Trade Commission and your State Attorney General.

Published July 15, 2019

Travel Safety Tips

Keep your personal and financial information safe while traveling! Keep your personal and financial information safe while traveling!
  1. Let us know when you’re traveling. Maintain uninterrupted use of your Premier America debit and credit cards by submitting a travel notice before you leave. To submit a notice online, log into Online Banking and click on the “Services and Forms” tab. Or, call us at 800-772-4000, option 0 to submit a Travel Notice.
  2. Make copies of important documents. Copy the front and back of your passport, driver license and credit cards to leave copies at home and carry with you while traveling. That way if your passport or cards are lost or stolen, you’ll have copies of the information to replace them.
  3. Beware of free public WIFI. Avoid logging into financial accounts or entering passwords while using free public WIFI. Only enter passwords when using secure, password-protected WIFI.
  4. Separate your sources of money. Don’t keep all of your cash and cards in one spot.
  5. Beware of a helper at an ATM. Never let anyone near you while you’re making an ATM transaction, and ALWAYS cover the number pad with your hand while entering your pin code. If someone approaches too closely, take your card and find another ATM.
  6. Password protect your phone and add a tracking tool. Set up a password to unlock your device using a strong, unique password and change it regularly. Also, enable location tracking and install a wiping software so you can track down your phone or destroy data if it’s stolen.
  7. Avoid over-sharing online. Sharing travel plans on social media makes it easier for thieves to time a crime. Instead, wait to post about your trip after you get home.

How Not to Fall for Phishing Scams

A social media giant made headlines again this spring when more than 540 million user records were exposed to the public. As online data continues to be compromised, it becomes easier for hackers to trick people into handing over sensitive personal and financial information as well as their hard-earned money.
One of the challenges social media poses is that hackers aren’t just using information they find on a single site. They’re gathering information from multiple social media platforms and using it against you to create targeted messages that look legitimate.

Here are just a few of the ways hackers try to use your information to their advantage:
  • They hack social media accounts of people and organizations you trust, including customer support accounts from businesses you have a relationship with.
  • They send direct messages that look like they’re coming from someone you know, hoping you’ll click on the embedded links.
  • They try to get you to click on links they include in comments they post.
 If you have a social media presence, here are some tips to help keep you safe:
  • Limit what you share on social media and only post things you don’t mind everyone in the world seeing.
  • Be suspicious. If you’re not expecting a communication from an individual or organization you know, assume it’s a scam. If you’re not sure whether it’s legitimate, contact the sender at a phone number you trust.
  • Don’t click on links or attachments unless you’re certain they’re legitimate.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be wary of requests for confidential information. Legitimate businesses and non-profit organizations won’t request confidential information through social media channels or email.

Published May 24, 2019

Six Steps to Help Keep Your Social Media Accounts Secure

In today’s digital world, it can seem like hackers are lurking around every corner waiting to steal your information and use it to help themselves to everything from your credit card accounts to your identity. If you have social media accounts, it’s just as important to secure them as it is to secure your other online accounts. Here’s how:   
  1. Don’t sacrifice security for convenience. When you log into your accounts, you’ll often be asked whether you want to save your password or activate the auto login feature. Don’t. These options may be convenient and save you time when you want to log into your accounts, but it can also make it easier for hackers to access your user names and passwords.

  2. Adjust your private settings. When you set up a social media account, the default privacy settings are typically the least restrictive. Consider adjusting your settings to limit who can see your posts.

  3. Monitor your email for login notifications. Most accounts send you an email when someone logs in from a device it doesn’t recognize. These emails can alert you that someone is trying to access your account without your permission.

  4. Set up a separate email address to use only with your social media accounts. If your social media accounts get hacked and the fraudsters get into the email account that’s linked to them, the information they’ll have access to will be limited.

  5. Close old accounts. If you have accounts you no longer use, close them right away. If you’re not consistently monitoring them, you may not notice if someone is trying to gain unauthorized access to your account. 

  6. Choose what you post carefully. You don’t want to make it any easier for fraudsters to gather personal information about you that they can use against you.

Published March 27,  2019   

4 Ways to Identify an IRS Scam

Tax filing season is a big time of year for scammers. Fraud schemes range from debt collectors claiming you haven’t paid your taxes, to someone posing as an IRS official or law enforcement agency threatening arrest, suspension of your driver’s license or some other penalty if you don’t immediately wire funds to pay your taxes. The scams have become increasingly sophisticated and hard to detect.


The first contact from the IRS will be through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media. Only after mailing an official notification of an audit can an auditor/tax examiner follow up by phone. Forward any suspicious emails to the IRS at Alleged IRS or tax-debt collection calls should be reported to (800) 366-4484.

Payments to the IRS are only payable to the United State Treasury. They do not accept payment in the form of prepaid debit cards, gift cards or wire transfers. IRS agents will NEVER demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or dispute the amount they say you owe. They have to advise you of your rights as a taxpayer. They cannot threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying your taxes. The IRS also has zero authority to revoke your driver’s license, business license or immigration status.

If an IRS representative calls or comes to your home or business unannounced to collect a tax debt or as part of an investigation, they will always provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and an HSPD-12 card. You have a right to see the credentials and can call the IRS to verify the identity/information on the representative’s HSPD-12 card.

Use a reputable tax preparer. Make sure you verify credentials and references before you hire a preparer. Red flags include charging fees based on the value of your refund, requiring refunds to be deposited into their bank account (or open a temporary account), or writing you a check in advance and stating your tax filing is complete. Beware of claims that you can get a larger refund than normal as this may involve falsifying your return.

To report tax-related illegal activities, contact the Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration
at 800-366-4484. Unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or from a related component
such as EFTPS, should be reported to the IRS at

Published March 11,  2019

What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself from Job Scams

It can often feel like fraudsters are lurking around every corner, just waiting for their next target. One way they try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims is through job scams that provide fraudsters with sensitive data that allows them to gain access to your existing accounts or create new ones in your name. Common scams include:

  • Unsolicited job offer scams
  • Make easy money, no experience required scams
  • Secret shopper scams
Unfortunately, if you fall for one, you could experience financial losses you may not be able to recover. To help protect yourself from becoming a victim, here are a few things you should know.
How do they work?
Fraudsters send emails listing job openings to individuals, or they post ads to online job boards (e.g. Craigslist) and social media sites. In general, if you respond to one of these ads, all communication will be conducted via email, although you may be asked to complete a phone interview or video chat.
When the scam artist offers you a “job,” they’ll ask for a variety of personal and financial information, so they can “onboard” you as an “employee” and set up direct deposit for your “paycheck.” Information they may request includes: 
  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Credit union name
  • Account numbers
  • Routing numbers
  • Debit card and PIN
  • User name and password to online/mobile banking
  • Driver’s license
  • Social security card
  • Passport

What happens after you’re “hired”?
What happens next depends on the type of job scam the fraudster is using. Here’s what you can expect for a couple of common scenarios.
Unsolicited job offer or make easy money, no experience required scam
The fraudster will often send you a check to deposit into your bank account. You’ll be asked to email a picture of your deposit slip or ATM receipt to the scammer to authorize payment of the check.
Then, they’ll contact you to let you know you were overpaid and need to return the excess amount via money transfer. Because the check is fraudulent, when you transfer the “excess funds,” you’ll give them your hard-earned money.
If you provided the log-in information to your online/mobile banking during the “onboarding” process, instead of receiving a check in the mail, the fraudster may tell you he’s using remote deposit to deposit the funds into your account. He then deposits the check and makes person-to-person transfers to himself with money from your account.
If you provided your debit card and PIN, he’ll tell you he’s depositing your paycheck into your account. Then use your debit card to make purchases with your money.
Secret shopper scam
You’ll receive a check to deposit into your bank account, and you’ll be asked to email a picture of your deposit slip or ATM receipt to the fraudster to authorize payment of the check. You’ll also get your secret shopping assignment, where you’ll be asked to make purchases at various stores. And “shop” the money transfer services by sending the remaining money from the check you deposited to a specific person.
Can you recover your money?
Unfortunately, in many cases you’re stuck with any financial losses you experience. If you deposit a fraudulent check into your account and use or transfer some or all the funds from it, you’re liable for the money that was used. 
Furthermore, when you share your online/mobile banking credentials or give out your debit card and PIN numbers, you’re authorizing access to your accounts and any transactions that may take place.
To make matters worse, the fraudster may have enough information to withdraw additional funds from your account not related to your “job” or open new deposit accounts, lines of credit or loans in your name.
And if the login credentials you provided are similar to your other online accounts, they may be able to figure out how to access those as well.
What should you do if you’ve been the victim of a job scam?
If you’ve been the victim of a job scam, consider closing your existing accounts to prevent additional fraudulent activity. Be sure to consult your financial institution before taking this action.
It’s also a good idea to update your user names and passwords for all your online accounts to prevent unauthorized access. And freezing your credit by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies or ChexSystems may help prevent new credit accounts from being created in your name. You can also monitor your credit report at to see if any new accounts have been opened.

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Published  February 28, 2019

Five Ways to Keep Your Email Account Secure

Having your email account hacked and receiving hundreds of spam messages is a nuisance. But the consequences could be much more serious if fraudsters use information they gain from your email to impersonate you.
While there’s no foolproof way to keep your account from being hacked, here are five tips to help keep your account secure. 

  1. Choose your password carefully. You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating. It’s important to use complex passwords that are difficult to guess. And be sure to use a different password for every account you have.
  2. Limit apps. The more apps you download, the more entry points hackers have to gain access to your system. Keep only those you use regularly and make sure you download them from a source you trust. Delete apps you don’t use.
  3. Select security questions wisely. Many email programs require you to complete security questions in case you forget your password, so it can be reset. If you use questions such as “what’s your mother’s maiden name” or “where did you graduate from college,” hackers can easily find that information and use it to access your email.
  4. Install anti-malware programs on your devices. Viruses, keystroke programs and other types of malware make it easy for hackers to access your computer and all the information on it. Anti-malware software may help prevent your computer and other electronic devices from becoming infected.
  5. Enable 2-step verification. Some email programs offer two-step authentication, which provides an added layer of security by requiring you to input a verification code in addition to your password before you can access your account.

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Published January 24, 2019

New Year's Resolutions to Help You Stay Safe in a Digital World

As more of our daily activities take place online, it’s important to take steps that help ensure our personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Here are a few tips to help protect you and your family in today’s digital world.
Enable multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication requires you to enter multiple pieces of information about yourself before you can access your online accounts. If it’s available, consider taking a few minutes to enable it.

  1. Avoid public WiFi. Using the free WiFi in your doctor’s office, airport or favorite coffee shop to pay bills or take care of some online shopping may seem like an efficient use of your time. But it’s not worth the risk. Public WiFi isn’t secured, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts and steal your personal information.

  2. Safeguard devices in your home. Computers aren’t the only devices that are vulnerable to being attacked. Any device with an Internet connection, including smartphones, smartwatches and tablets are susceptible. While there’s no foolproof way to protect all your devices, taking these steps can help keep them more secure.

    • Run the current versions of all software, apps and operating systems. Updates often resolve security vulnerabilities.

    • Use complex passwords. Consumers often use passwords such as family members’ names and birthdays because they’re easy to remember. But that also makes them easy for criminals to guess. Instead, opt for long, complicated passwords that incorporate upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and are tough to figure out.

    • Password protect all devices, so it’s more difficult for someone to access your information if a device is lost or stolen.

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Published January 24, 2019

Avoiding Debit and Credit Card Fraud

Credit or debit card fraud can strike anyone. But you can help prevent your account information and personal data from being compromised.
Here are a few ways you can reduce your risk of fraud:

  • Use credit and debit cards with EMV chips. EMV chips make it more difficult to hack your information. You can still swipe your card if a merchant doesn’t have chip-enabled technology, but you won’t get the security benefits of the EMV technology.

  • Watch out for phishing scams. Don’t click on emails or texts that look suspicious. Fraudsters use phishing emails to trick you into entering your personal information including account numbers, logins, passwords and more.

  • Fill out your credit card receipts completely. Don’t leave the spaces on your receipts for “tip” and “total” blank because someone could write in a dollar amount. Instead, put a line through the spaces or write $0.

  • Shred documents with sensitive information. Criminals have been known to go through trash to obtain enough information to commit fraud.

  • Review your credit card and bank statements monthly. If you notice any transactions you don’t recognize, immediately report the unauthorized activity.

  • Even if you take all these precautions, it’s impossible to completely prevent fraud. Fortunately, your Premier America debit and credit cards have zero liability protection, which means if your card is used without your permission, you’re not responsible for fraudulent purchases.

Published January 24, 2019

Five Steps to Help Prevent Identity Theft

Every year, victims of identity theft spend countless hours working with creditors, and credit reporting agencies to repair the damage caused by identity thieves. Here are five tips to help keep you from becoming a victim.

  1. 1. SHRED IT. Shred all documents with sensitive information such as account and social security numbers before you throw them away.


    2. BE CAREFUL ONLINE. One of the ways identity thieves access personal information is by hacking online accounts. Free Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop is great, but it can put your personal information at risk. Only use a secure, private Internet connection any time you log into your accounts or submit personal information online. Don’t click on links you receive from anyone you don’t know. And if you’re shopping, only use sites you trust.


    3. ENABLE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION. Multi-factor authentication requires you to input more than one piece of information to verify you’re you. If you have service providers that offer this added security, you should enable it.


    4. CONSIDER USING A PASSWORD MANAGER. Password managers generate and store complex passwords for your online accounts that are difficult for hackers to guess. Password managers make it easy to create unique passwords for all your online accounts instead of re-using the same one.


    5. UPDATE YOUR DEVICES. It’s easy to click “remind me later” when you see the system update notice on your phone, tablet or computer. Keeping your operating systems, software and apps up to date may resolve known security issues and can help keep your personal information secure.

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