Credit and Debit Card Fraud and How to Avoid It

Identity fraud occurs when an impostor steals your personal information – such as your name, payment card, Social Security, and driver’s license numbers – and uses it to assume your identity. These thieves can use your identity to open banking accounts, make purchases, obtain cash, or even get an apartment in your name.

On December 18, 2013, several news agencies issued reports of a data breach at Target that potentially compromised credit and debit card information for as many as 40 million cardholders. Target has indicated that the breach occurred between November 27 and December 15, 2013. Such reports bring fears of card fraud to the forefront, but be assured that Utah Community Credit Union has extensive safeguards in place to protect members from this type of fraud; and in the event you are a victim, the credit union has quick and efficient processes in place so you can get your money back. Target is also offering a free year of credit monitoring to help safeguard your identity. For more information, visit their site here.

No matter where you shop (even online), you can feel confident using your Utah Community Credit Union Visa® check 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 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

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 or contact us.

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. 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


If You’re Already A Victim

  • Contact the police to file a report. When talking to the police, make sure you get the police report number and information on how to reach the investigator. Give this information to all the companies you contact in getting your credit cleared up after the crime.
  • Cancel checking and savings accounts and open new ones.
  • Inform UCCU if your wallet or purse was stolen or lost. Tell us what account information, including account numbers, ATM cards, or checks it contained.
  • Document your actions, such as the time and money you spend on straightening out your identity theft.
  • Stop payments on outstanding checks.
  • Contact the credit bureaus and have them flag the accounts with a “fraud alert.” Then contact any credit card companies where your accounts may be at risk.
  • Keep copies of correspondence and documents related to the theft and make note of all telephone calls, including the date and time of your call and the name and title of the person who assisted you.
  • Contact government authorities (the Federal Trade Commission runs the ID Theft Hotline and ID Theft Data Clearinghouse).


Internet “phishing” involves a bogus email message that uses legitimate materials, like the look and feel of another company’s logo, and tries to entice you to provide personal financial details, such as account information, credit card, and Social Security numbers. Remember, UCCU will never contact you through email and request your personal account information.


  • Never respond to an unsolicited email that asks for personal financial information.
  • Report anything suspicious to the proper authorities.
  • Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center at if you think you have received a phishing email.
  • Closely read your emails before responding with any information and contact the organization if you are in doubt.

If you’ve Been a Victim of Phishing

  • Immediately contact those organizations for which you provided the information.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report. (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion)
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at or (877) 382-4357.
  • UCCU has multiple safeguards in place to protect you from credit card and e-mail fraud schemes. But new scams are constantly surfacing and you need to be alert to questionable requests for personal account information, particularly over the Internet.


Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, the three largest credit reporting agencies, have set up a special site where consumers can request, view, and print their free report. That site is and is the only authorized site to request your free report(s).

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