Personal Branch Upgrade Affects Web PFM Solutions Like Mint.com

While Utah Community Credit Union took a giant leap forward with the latest Personal Branch upgrade, some members are unfortunately experiencing frustration with non-UCCU personal finance management (PFM) solutions.

To understand what’s broken, it helps to understand how solutions like mint.com work. Mint.com (and similar solutions like YNAB, Yodlee, etc) uses your Personal Branch credentials to login to www.uccu.com and “screen scrapes” UCCU’s online banking. A screen scrape is a delicate process that requires text data to reside in specific locations within a page. If a page changes, even slightly, the entire screen scrape process can break. We have provided mint.com with our new page specifications and asked them to update their screen scrape.

We understand how disruptive an outage of this nature can be. At Utah Community Credit Union we take pride in offering our members the very best in service and convenience. We are working with mint.com and others to ensure that the issue gets resolved.

While the issue with mint.com and similar outside services is addressed we encourage you to log on and enjoy the exciting and powerful new features of Personal Branch.

We appreciate you being a Utah Community Credit Union member, and thank you for your patience as we make these exciting new online banking tools available to you.

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Security Bulletin: “Vishing” Attack Targets Local Financial Institutions

We have received reports from members who have received phone calls claiming to be from Wells Fargo, Bank of America and most recently Bank of American Fork. A prerecorded message instructs the individual to provide information to unblock their debit or credit cards. These calls are a fraudulent “vishing” attempt.

As of now, UCCU members have not been affected by this attack. If in the future you receive this type of call please hang up the phone. You can protect yourself and your account by never giving out personal or account information to anyone who calls you requesting such information. We won’t ever call and ask for such information. If you did receive a call like this and provided your account or card information please contact us at (800) 453-8188 immediately.

What is Vishing? The term “vishing” refers to a technique for stealing information or money from consumers using telephone systems. The term comes from combining “voice” with “phishing”, with phishing being online scams that get people to give up personal information.

How does it work? Typically attackers use a caller ID spoofing technology to make it look like their fraudulent phone call is coming from a legitimate or familiar phone number. Because people typically trust caller ID, spoofing phone numbers is a particularly damaging component of vishing attacks.

Vishing attacks usually have a recorded message that tells users to press a number on their keypad to validate their account information. Usually this is in conjunction with a threat of some sort, such as “your account is disabled. To enable your account or to prevent your account from being locked out, please enter your credit card number.”

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Be suspicious of any unsolicited calls where personal information is requested. Be just as suspicious of phone calls as you are of e-mails asking for personal information.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Just because your caller ID displays a phone number or name of a legitimate company you might recognize, it doesn’t guarantee the call is really coming from that number or company.
  • Call them back. If someone is asking for information, tell them you will call them back. In the case of Utah Community Credit Union, call us using a number from your records.
  • Never provide credit card information or other private information to anyone who calls you.
  • Register your number with the National Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov. Most legitimate telemarketers obey the rules and laws about contacting consumers.

Report vishing to the FTC on their website www.ftc.gov or call them at (888) 382-1222. The FTC will ask for the number and name that appeared on the caller ID, the time of day you received the call and what was said or heard in any recorded message. If you think you’ve been a victim of a vishing attack you can also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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UCCU Announces New Statement Designs

Utah Community Credit Union is excited to announce that we have redesigned the monthly, quarterly and visa statements that members receive.

After researching industry best practices and incorporating member feedback, we have developed new Monthly and Visa statement designs. The fresh designs provide new tools and come with a cleaner, more modern look and feel. Our hope is that these enhancements will provide a statement that is easier to use, making them a valuable account management resource.

Please take a moment to review your statement when it arrives. If you have any questions or concerns please give us a call at (801) 223-8188 or toll free at (800) 453-8188. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm Mountain Time. You may also send us an email to feedback@uccu.com

At Utah Community Credit Union we work hard to offer you and your family valuable financial services. Our sole purpose for existing is to help you successfully manage your financial affairs. Thank you for putting your trust in us – we commit ourselves to maintaining it!

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Michael’s Credit and Debit Card Security Breach

Michael’s (arts and crafts) has learned that PIN pad tampering occurred in at least 90 of its stores, and that their customer credit and debit card information has been compromised. Two of these 90 stores are located in Utah; one in Midvale on Fort Union Blvd and the other on 1300 East in Salt Lake City. Michael’s has indicated that their systems at these stores were compromised between February 8 and May 6, 2011. If you used your Utah Community Credit Union credit or debit card at Michael’s during this time frame please call us and we will replace your card free of charge. This once again brings to mind debit and credit card fraud and the unsettling fear of unauthorized transactions.

Click here to see a list of all affected Michael’s stores.

Rest assured, Utah Community Credit Union is a leader in credit and debit card security. We have extensive safeguards in place to protect our members from this type of fraud; and in the event you are a victim, the credit union has quick and efficient dispute processes in place so you can get your money back.

No matter where you shop (even online), you can feel confident using your UCCU Visa check card or credit card because we’re always working to keep you safe – with multiple layers of security.

Security Layers:

Card Data Mismatch

  • Several security values are checked before a transaction is authorized.

Fraud Prevention Tools

  • The 3-Digit Security Code on the back of your card provides Internet and phone security by helping verify that you’re in possession of your card.
  • With Verified by Visa, your identity is confirmed through a personal password while shopping at participating online merchants.

Real-Time Fraud Detection

  • Using best-in-class solutions for Real-Time Fraud Monitoring, we screen your account 24/7 to detect suspicious card activity outside your normal pattern. If something seems abnormal, you will receive a phone call to let you know.

We’ll Fix It

  • Our protection means you don’t pay for unauthorized use of your credit or debit card.
  • Access to Identity Theft Assistance helps you regain control of your account if you suspect you’ve been a victim of card fraud.

There are some steps you can take to help protect yourself as well. Some may seem like common sense, but it’s important to keep them in mind.

General tips on card safety:

  • If your card is ever lost or stolen, report it immediately
  • Don’t leave your card anywhere it could be easily taken (this includes the glove compartment of your car)
  • Monitor your account
  • Keep your account information current so that if there is suspicious activity we can contact you.
  • Make sure you memorize your PIN
  • Shred documents that contain any personal or financial information before you dispose of them
  • Before shopping online, ensure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus and spyware software installed

Keep Up-To-Date

You should look at your account details regularly to make sure you don’t have any unauthorized transactions. This can be made easier by checking your statements and paying bills online.

Irving, Texas-based Michaels Stores, Inc. is North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts,  framing, floral, wall décor, and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator. The company currently owns and operates more than 1,045 Michaels stores in 49 states and Canada, and over 140 Aaron Brothers stores.

UCCU is a leader in card security. By keeping these simple tips in mind, you can help us keep your card safe – at the store, online or anywhere else. Please contact us at pbsupport@uccu.com or (800) 453-8188 if you have any questions or if you need your card replaced.

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Security Bulletin: Sony Playstation Network Announces Data Breach

The SONY Corporation announced that 70 million consumers around the world have had personal data compromised in the latest major data-security breach, according to media reports.

As of April 27, 2011, SONY indicates that they have not yet completed a full damage evaluation. They have however indicated that they believe no consumer credit or debit card data was compromised.

Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications for SONY Computer Entertainment America wrote about the breach on the company’s blog:

“Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided,” wrote Seybold. Information like name, address, country, email address, birth date and game ID and passwords were compromised, he said. “It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address…and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained…. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility,” he added.

Because they cannot rule out the possibility at this point in time, Sony recommended in an official statement that users place fraud alerts on their credit card accounts through the three major U.S. credit bureaus.

SONY’s online network was launched in the autumn of 2006 and offers games, music and movies to people with PlayStation consoles. As of March 20, 2011 SONY reportedly had 77 million registered users. If you are a registered user and use your Utah Community Credit Union credit or debit card on your SONY Playstation account, please call us and we will replace your card free of charge.Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided,” wrote Seybold. Information like name, address, country, email address, birth date and game ID and passwords were compromised, he said. “It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address…and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained…. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility,” he added.

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KSL Editorial – Bank Fee Change a Bad Idea for Consumers

Please note: For a related post on this same topic please click here.

April 10th, 2011 @ 10:14am

By Con Psarras

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s freshman Senator is part of a group asking for a much-needed timeout before a law is implemented that could affect just about everybody who shops with a debit card.

Senator Mike Lee is among the leaders of a move in Congress to derail a last-minute amendment to a series of sweeping financial reforms designed to protect consumers.

The problem is, this particular measure appears to have nothing consumer-friendly about it.

The so-called “Durbin Amendment” to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would cap the fees that banks and credit unions charge to process debit card transactions. Bankers say the measure would greatly benefit large retailers who pay the processing fees.

The fees are currently negotiated between banks, retailers and the card issuers, under an extremely complicated set of parameters. By setting a firm cap on fees, banks say they will not be able to afford the costs of processing and insuring debit transactions against fraud. They would be forced, in that case, to increase the fees they charge – quite possibly, for all bank services.

One large bank has already suspended its rewards program for debit card users, directly because of the amendment.

Consumers could lose, or pay more for banking services they currently take for granted. It’s also possible the use of debit cards may eventually be restricted to only certain retail establishments. Consumers would only win if the money retailers save by paying lower processing fees is passed on to their customers in the form of lower prices.

We’re not willing to bet it will be.

The Durbin Amendment was passed with little debate, and it represents the worst kind of government meddling in a marketplace that is not, by any obvious measures, broken.

KSL supports Senator Lee’s efforts to bring this law back to the drawing board for a full and open reckoning on whether it fixes a problem that even exists.

Email: cpsarras@ksl.com

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Recent News Regarding Online Security: Protect Yourself Against ID Theft

Epsilon, a large marketing firm, recently announced that an unauthorized person outside its company accessed files that included e-mail addresses of some of its customers.  Epsilon has indicated that the files that were accessed did not include any customer financial information, but they are actively investigating to confirm this. So far, Citi, Chase, U.S. Bank, Capitol One, Barclays Bank of Delaware, Verizon, Walgreens, Visa, Kroger, Marriott International, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Brookstone, New York & Co., TiVo, HSN and L.L. Bean are among the confirmed entities to be hit by what some observers say could be one of the biggest data breaches to date.

Although Utah Community Credit Union does not utilize this marketing firm, we felt that it was important to let our members know about this security breach and to remind members that Utah Community Credit Union will never ask for personal information or credentials in an email.

Don’t Respond To Emails Requesting Your Personal Information

Many businesses use email to communicate with customers. Online banking and shopping are safe. But remember that UCCU will never ask you to provide personal information such as account numbers, passwords or your Social Security number via email.

This is important to remember because you may occasionally receive “official looking” emails from people posing as legitimate organizations, asking you for your personal information – this is illegal; it’s called “phishing”.

Don’t fall for scare tactics in emails that threaten things like ‘if you don’t respond immediately, we will close your account’ – if you receive an email that you’re not sure about, forward it to feedback@uccu.com or contact UCCU.

Keep Up-To-Date

You should look at your account details regularly to make sure you don’t have any unauthorized transactions. This can be made easier by using the credit union’s electronic banking technology to monitor your account, like checking your statements and paying bills online, as well as setting up alerts with UCCU’s Text Message Banking or Email Alerts services. These services enable you to receive real-time notification when your balance goes below a predetermined amount or if you have a transaction come out above a certain value. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report annually for any activity you didn’t initiate. For information on how you can obtain a free annual credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com

UCCU is a Leader in Security.

Protecting your privacy, security and personal information is our top priority. Utah Community Credit Union employs best of breed technology with multiple layers of security to protect your information and your finances because we understand the importance of security when managing your finances online. We use the most advanced security methods available to ensure your personal and account information is for your eyes only.

Internally, UCCU has implemented strict policies and procedures to safeguard your personal information and keep it confidential. Remember, if you receive an email or phone call that you’re not sure about, forward the information about it to feedback@uccu.com or contact UCCU.

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A Call to Action by your Credit Union CEO: “Save our Debit Cards”

The very popular VISA debit card program at UCCU that dates back to the mid 80’s has recently come under fire from Congress. Last fall, in a last minute move, Senator Durbin (D-Illinois) added an amendment to the Frank/Dodd financial reform act. Without the benefit of Senate review, research or scrutiny, the amendment passed along with the rest of the huge Frank/Dodd act.

The Durbin Amendment is unnecessary- and it is wrong! Save our Debit Cards! Contact your elected representative today by clicking here or by visiting www.saveyourdebitcard.com!

What is “interchange”? Why is interchange necessary? How will changing interchange fees impact UCCU members? For this and other answers click here and review the factsheet.

In short, the Durbin Amendment removes the free market forces that determine the amount of the fee paid by retailers to participate in the plastic card payment network and puts the government in charge of determining the fee amount. In addition, the amendment disallows the government from considering all appropriate costs associated with operating a debit card program. For example, the cost of fraud, security, and fraud prevention are not allowed to be part of the formula to determine the fee paid by merchants. The government is also not allowed to allow for any profit in the formula. As a result, the fee income is expected to drop by a devastating 70%-80%! This money, considered by some to be as much as $18 Billion a year would now go to the retailers and merchants. Meanwhile, financial institutions like UCCU are left with not only the costs associated with operating the debit card system but also the costs of  fraud prevention, insurance, and the actual fraud losses – all with no way of covering those costs! Fraud loss alone during 2010 at UCCU was over $500,000!  And that is a lower-than-typical loss rate for operating a VISA program. Under existing laws, neither retailers nor the members have liability for those fraud losses – they are absorbed by the credit union and are covered as part of the costs of providing the service to members. We spend $10’s of thousand each year on fraud prevention software and systems to fight fraud and keep transactions as safe as possible for all members. The retailers enjoy the instant and safe reassurance of receiving the money for sales and we have nearly all the risks. This is a bad amendment that will end up lining the pockets of retailers and ultimately the costs will be borne by the American consumer. The loss of this income is financially devastating to financial institutions trying to offer their customers a VISA debit card program. Senator Durbin knows this and so he offered a handwritten change in the amendment at the last minute that would exclude all financial institutions under $10 Billion in size. This two-tier pricing program would mean that merchants would pay lower fees on debit cards from huge banks like Bank of America or Chase – but they would pay higher fees on debit cards issued by local institutions like UCCU, Bank of American Fork and others. Huge retailers will not want to accept cards from local, smaller institutions.

Recent Senate testimony from FDIC chairman Sheila Bair, and NAFCU President Fred Becker clearly warned that this two tier system won’t work. Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Bank made it clear that excluding financial institutions under $10 Billion won’t work and predicted that despite this exclusion in the Durbin Amendment, all financial institutions would end up following the government established fee structure. With a 70%-80% loss of income, financial institutions will be forced to replace the needed income by raising fees and/or rates. Even a not-for-profit organization like UCCU must find the income to pay the expenses of operating the debit card program. So, the money goes to the retailers as increased profits and comes from – guess who- the consumer. Government should not be involved in picking winners and losers and should let the free market determine prices and costs.

As Senators and Congressmen have come to understand the real impact of this amendment they see that it is an unwise insertion of the government into the free market forces and that it rewards retailers unfairly at the expense of financial institutions and consumers. As a result, Senator Testor (D) from Montana introduced SB 575 which doesn’t repeal the Durbin Amendment, but rather delays its implementation and requires that a study be done to determine the true costs of operating a debit card program and the ramifications of such an intrusion by the government would have on financial institutions and consumers. (This study should have been required before this amendment was hastily added at the last minute!) Utah Senator Mike Lee sees through the smoke screen thrown by Senator Durbin and the retailer lobby and has signed on to support SB 575. Our local Congressman, Jason Chaffetz has also thrown his support behind a similar delay bill in the House. We commend both these elected officials for protecting the Utah consumer and the smaller financial institutions across the country. Congressman Jim Matheson has not yet signed on to this bill. Senator Hatch has not yet signed on.

Now – the call to action. As a member of UCCU we ask that you consider the following material and that you take advantage of the simplified process to contact your elected officials regarding this important matter. In the case of Senator Lee and Congressman Chaffetz – a message of thanks and support is important. Both are taking a lot of heat from the merchant and retail lobbies. By hearing from our 105,000 members that their efforts are appreciated, they will remain committed to delaying and/or repealing this terrible amendment.

If your elected representatives have not yet signed on to support these delay bills: Senate Bill 575 and House Resolution 1081 please urge them to do so immediately! The next few weeks are crucial in delaying and possibly overturning the Durbin Amendment. Follow the simple steps outlined and protect your Debit Card and your Credit Union (and all credit unions and community banks) from the nasty effects of this unwise, special-interest amendment. The government has no business setting debit card fees.

Take action and let your voice be heard! We have made if very simple and easy for you to communicate with our elected representatives. Your voice matters! Let it be heard.

 Remember, the Durbin Amendment is bad because:

  1. It interferes with the free market and puts the government in charge of determining prices and fees.
  2. It does not require that the “savings” go to consumers. In fact, the “savings” will go to the retailers as increased profits. (Otherwise, why would the retail lobbies be so active in supporting the Durbin Amendment?)
  3. It does not make sure that the two tier pricing system will ever materialize and it does not require that merchants and retailers continue to accept cards from all financial institutions.
  4. It does not make sure that all the costs of compliance don’t eventually get paid for by the American consumer. (In Australia where the government did the same kind of thing as called for in the Durbin Amendment – research shows that the “savings” did NOT get passed on to the consumer but rather went to the retailers and merchants. Surprise, surprise!)

In conclusion, and just in case you are still wondering if the Durbin Amendment is good or not – just imagine the screaming we would hear from retailers such as Walmart if the government decided that they needed to interfere with the free market system and by setting the prices Walmart could charge for their groceries in order to protect the small “mom-and-pop” grocery stores threatened by Walmart’s low prices. And let’s say that the government would set the prices based on just the costs of buying the groceries and produce. They would not consider the costs of security, the costs of shoplifting, the costs of spoilage, the costs of bad checks or other fraud, the costs of advertising or marketing. On top of that, they would not build into the price limits any allowance for any profit at all for Walmart’s grocery sales. (Walmart sells 1/5 th of the nation’s groceries. If they weren’t allowed by the government to make a profit – they wouldn’t sell groceries.) And let’s say that the government price setting plan would take all that “saved” money and give it to the banks – just to increase their operating profits! Can you imagine the complaints we’d hear from Walmart about the government interfering with the free market process and robbing Walmart of a chance to compete and prosper. If Walmart’s grocery profits, as a result of this government intervention, shrunk by 70% – 80% – Walmart would have to find other ways to replace it by raising prices or fees for other services or by marking up prices for clothes, toys, or other goods. Again, the American consumer would end up paying for the government program.

Yet, that is exactly the kind of thing that the Durbin Amendment proposes to do to financial institutions and American consumers. But sadly, in this case – since it puts money in the pockets of retailers, now Walmart is among many retailers who support and actually praise the government for interfering through the Durbin Amendment. So much for principle.

Even though I don’t like to see smaller stores close their doors because of the arrival of a Walmart or Home Depot, I support completely their right to pursue success, sell things cheaper than competitors, and operate without the government interfering and picking winners and losers in the retail industry. I support completely the retailers’ freedom to compete and charge what they want to. I also understand that many UCCU members shop at and even work for Walmart or other retailers. I have no negative feelings about that at all. But I believe in the free market system and am convinced that service, industry, businesses, and communities are better when the free market system is allowed to operate. In those few cases where government intervention is deemed appropriate, it must be done correctly, fairly, and not at the expense of one industry and the enrichment of another. The Durbin Amendment is unnecessary- and it is wrong!

Save our Debit Cards! Contact your elected representative today by clicking here or by visiting www.saveyourdebitcard.com!

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Giving Tree

Utah Community Credit Union is a proud sponsor of the Giving Tree.  Over the years, UCCU members have helped hundreds of individuals in need during the holidays.  All gifts will be delivered to the person or family by December 22nd.

Here is how you can help an individual or family in your community.

  1. Stop by any UCCU branch to select a special person or family from the Giving Tree at the branch. Be sure to show a UCCU employee the name of the person or family who you will be providing gifts for.
  2. Go Christmas shopping for the person or family.
  3. Return your wrapped gifts to the credit union branch by December 18th.
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Cash For the Holidays

Lower your rate. Lower your payment. Plus get cash back for the holidays.

Earn 1% cash back up to $250.00 for each Auto, Boat, RV, Credit Card or Home Equity loan you transfer to UCCU. It’s easy to take advantage of this offer! Just click here to apply and one of UCCU’s Loan Officers will take care of the rest.

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