Helpful Password Creation

Tips to help improve password security

Many of us spend a great deal of time on our computers and mobile devices connected to the Internet. In order to access certain secure websites, like the sites you use to do your online banking, you need to have a password. But if you are still using your name, your birthday or your cat’s name as your secure password, it is time for a refresher in keeping your passwords up to date.

Today, it is increasingly vital to create secure passwords for your virtual life. Unfortunately, there are sophisticated criminals using advanced technology to decipher your passwords in order to gain access to sensitive information or commit identity theft-related crimes. Banks and the authorities are working on ever-stronger methods of protecting your information, but there is no substitute for a strong, effective, frequently revised password.

Tips to help improve your password security:

  • Easy recall. It is important that you can commit to memory whatever password or passwords you create. It is more secure than having a sticky note stuck to your desk with your password on it, especially if you are in a public work environment. If number, symbol and letter combinations are too difficult for you to recall, try choosing a word or phrase and spelling it backward. For example, the word “significance” becomes “ecnacifingis.”
  • Change it up. A password made up of a combination of numbers and letters is more desirable than one made up of just numbers or just letters, which is easier for criminals to crack. It is also best to include lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and characters such as * or #. For example, the password phrase “Serenity now!” Becomes “$eReNitY n0w!” (You will need to remember which letters are uppercase and lowercase, of course.)
  • Size matters. It is much better to have a longer password than a shorter one. In fact, some say it is preferable to use a passphrase rather than just a password. For example, “my gIrL WakeS up AT 6” is a strong passphrase. In any case, 10 characters should be the minimum, but using 20 or more is stronger.
  • Password generators. There are programs available that will generate and remember secure passwords for you, such as 1password by Agile Web Solutions. This type of program works directly in your web browser and can be synced to all of your computer and mobile devices.
  • Do not be redundant. It is best to use multiple passwords online rather than just one, because if a hacker does get your information, he can use that password to access your Facebook or email account and other valuable information.
  • Be unpredictable. Avoid taking the easy way out by choosing simple password combinations such as consecutive letters or numbers, your name, or the family dog’s name. Also, resist easily guessed passwords, including your college’s name, your child’s name or your favorite baseball team. Try picking a sentence and using just the first letters of each word as your passphrase, e.g., “You are the love of my life” becomes “YATLOML.” Make it more secure by changing it to “YatL0mL$*.”
  • Boost security. Error on the side of caution by having not one but two base passwords. You can use each to keep more sensitive accounts separate from less important ones.
  • Always update passwords. To keep your security intact, it is important to update your passwords on a regular basis. You cannot do it too frequently, but once a month is a good rule of thumb. You can switch the lowercase and uppercase letters, change special characters of your existing passwords, or change the password entirely.

Make password security a high priority if it is not already. Incorporating the tips above should help keep your personal information safe and offer you more peace of mind. If you use online banking, that should be one of the first password updates you make. If you have not yet tried UCCU’s personal branch online banking, sign up today by visiting uccu.com/personalbranch. Just remember, be password-savvy.

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Student Wins 32” HD TV from Career Development Center and UCCU

Student Wins 32” HD TV from Career Development Center and UCCU

Miles Killian, a senior from Provo, UT, won a HD TV sponsored by the Utah Community Credit Union (UCCU), just for attending events hosted by the Career Development Center (CDC) at Utah Valley University.

In order for students to enter the drawing they simply had to attend one of the many workshops held by CDC each semester. With each event attended, students received entry forms that they turned in at the UCCU branch on campus. Events included workshops on topics ranging from resume writing, to interviewing, to professionalism and more.

Killian, who is a Behavioral Science major with an emphasis in Social Work, said, “I can thank my instructor, Tara Ivie for this as well. She teaches my grad school preparation class and told me about the resources available at the career center.” Specifically, Killian was encouraged to, and attended the CDC open house on Halloween and presented his “Me in 30 Seconds” speech for his entry form. UCCU has been a sponsor of CDC for several years. Jennifer Bates, UVU branch manager, appreciates the awareness these campaigns bring to her branch. “We have hundreds of students who come in our branch each semester for this, so this has been a great partnership for us,” says Bates.

Michael Snapp, director of the CDC said, “Karen Tebbs of UCCU had the idea for this kind of partnership years ago. It helps us reach far more students, and it’s just one example of how UCCU reaches out to help students…it helps us help them.” The Career Development Center is located in the Losee Center in LC 409 and assists in finding work opportunities for students throughout their college education as well as career counseling/coaching and locating internships.

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President’s Message December 2011

2011 Nears an End

As 2011 comes to an end, it offers us an opportunity to reflect on the past year. While the local, national, and global economies continue to struggle with uncertainty and troubling trends, we are reminded of some positives and reasons to expect better days ahead. Locally, economists note a slight decline in unemployment. Some sectors of the housing market in Utah appear to have “bottomed-out” and new home construction has actually picked up in some areas – despite a record number of homes available for sale. Lower prices and record low rates have made home purchases a good possibility for many.

Members Save on Mortgage Refinances

The credit union’s mortgage department has been very busy the last several months helping members refinance existing mortgages in order to take advantage of record low mortgage rates and the associated savings in interest costs.

UCCU Remains Healthy and Growing

UCCU membership continues to grow at a rate faster than our local population is growing. Unrest in the financial world, and well publicized concerns about big banks and big fees, have encouraged many members of our community to join our not-for-profit credit union. Growing numbers of members are moving their checking accounts to UCCU where checking truly is “free”.  There are no hidden fees, no required balances, no tricky account requirements, and no gimmicks.  At UCCU, checking really is free – still.

Services to Help You Succeed

Credit union membership provides you and your family with access to all the services and tools you will need to reach your financial goals. In addition to free checking, free Personal Branch online account access, and free 24/7 Bill Payer services, the credit union also offers several VISA card products – including our Cash Rewards Visa that not only features a low 8.25% APR rate but earns you up to 1% cash back on all your purchases! UCCU offers a full range of popular mortgage and home equity products – and you can even apply online -simply and quickly- at UCCU.com.  Rates have never been lower for autos, RV’s and personal loans of all kinds.

New, Innovative Mobile Services!

We are pleased to report the popularity of our new mobile banking and text banking services. Members love the convenience and safety of staying in touch with their finances via mobile devices. Check out the many features at our website, http://www.uccu.com/mobile, and sign up for these time-saving, convenient services.

2012 Looks to be Better

Most economists expect continued improvement in the economy and the job market. We want to assure you that come what may, we will be here, beside you, doing all we can to assist you in your financial planning and in managing your finances. We appreciate the opportunity we have to serve you and are grateful for your trust and your business.  We pledge to you our best efforts in providing you and your family with valuable services and professional, friendly service. We look forward to serving you in 2012 – and beyond and hope to continue providing you with relevant services and helping to inspire smart financial decisions for years and years to come!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Jeff Sermon
President/CEO
Utah Community Credit Union

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Making a Nice Christmas on a Budget

December is here and that means we are all getting ready to celebrate the most awaiting festival of the year called “MERRY CHRISTMAS”. We hope you have already planned to celebrate it with your family and friends. But you should be little caution about a proper budgeting. To avoid huge credit card payments in January, here are a few ideas for making financial responsibility a family affair this Christmas.

BUDGET

Budget the gift giving. Decide how much your family will spend during this holiday season. Encourage extended-family gatherings to reduce costs. Tell your children how much they can expect to receive and ask them to work their wish lists to fit within the budget (number of gifts or dollar value).

Create a wish list. Ask kids to cut out items from magazines or catalogs, and glue them to a piece of cardstock. Stick it to the refrigerator, and as you get closer to Christmas, ask them to narrow their choices, based on the budget you have set.

Give one, get one free. We all have items we know we need to purchase throughout the year. There is nothing wrong with going double-duty at Christmas. Consider giving basketball shoes, dance accessories, piano music or guitar tuner. It is nice to have extra things to open, and you will need to buy them anyway.

Buy pre-owned. Especially for small children, buy pre-owned. While new may make a difference to preteens, we have never met an infant, toddler or preschooler who looked at tags. You can get some items for pennies on the dollar at stores such as Good Will, Savers, Salvation Army, or garage sales. Then work out a coop with your friends so you can rotate the toys. Your kids will never miss them while the trucks and Legos entertain another toddler for a while.

Think outside of the gift-box. Consider gifts that provide future opportunity to do something fun. These can be low-dollar gifts like “DQ trip with Dad” or “free movie/game rental” or high-dollar items, like concerts or museum field trips. Older kids may appreciate a gift certificate to use during the after-Christmas sales instead. Even a shopping spree at a second-hand store will be well appreciated by kids who understand the bargains to be found.

TIME

Shop one-to-one. Make special time to shop with your child to purchase gifts for siblings, spouse or grandparents. Encourage your child to participate in choosing the gift. Shopping can be a joy for kids, even if they receive nothing material at the end of the trip.

Find fun without presents. At large family gatherings discover other ways to entertain besides giving gifts. Most kids would be thrilled to play board games, make crafts, watch movies or play Bunko for a white elephant gift exchange.

Start a family tradition. The holiday season is really built on traditions. Whether yours involves baking a ham or helping at the homeless shelter, reestablish it this year. Help out at the church benefit, the soup kitchen, bell-ringing or caroling at the nursing home. Take a drive to see the Christmas lights, watch a holiday parade, bake krumkake or make lefse. Those memories will live on generations after the broken toys take up permanent residence in a landfill.

We wish you all a healthy wealthy Merry Christmas!

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The Giving Tree & Other Donations

Food, Cash and Giving Tree donations are needed more than ever. UCCU is accepting the following types of donations.

FOOD DONATIONS

Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any UCCU branch.

CASH DONATIONS

100% of the cash donations are used to purchase food for the needy. The cash donations can be accepted at any UCCU branch.

GIFT DONATIONS: GET INVOLVED WITH THE GIVING TREE

  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 16th.

Utah Community Credit Union is a 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 23rd.

Thank you for helping and making a difference to the people that live in our community.

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The Giving Tree & Other Donations

Food, Cash and Giving Tree donations are needed more than ever. UCCU is accepting the following types of donations.

FOOD DONATIONS

Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any UCCU branch.

CASH DONATIONS

100% of the cash donations are used to purchase food for the needy. The cash donations can be accepted at any UCCU branch.

GIFT DONATIONS: GET INVOLVED WITH THE GIVING TREE

  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 16th.

Utah Community Credit Union is a 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 23rd.

Thank you for helping and making a difference to the people that live in our community.

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