logo

fb-top phone icon 34319.266.7531
800.376.3090

 

CFCCU Blog

Free Annual Credit Report

The FACT Act allows all consumers the right to obtain one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies once a year.

This means you can obtain a free copy of your credit report every four months, if you keep track of which credit bureau you select. For example, select Experian in January, Equifax in May, and Trans Union in October. You can repeat this pattern each year.

Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain your free credit report.

Continue reading

CFCCU and TurboTax

logottax                     

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union has teamed up with TurboTax® to get you your maximum refund.

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union has teamed up with TurboTax® to get you your maximum refund.

  • TurboTax translates taxes into simple questions about your life and puts everything in the right forms for you so you can organize and complete your taxes easily.
  • Turbo Tax auto imports your information from your W-2 tax form so your information is entered quickly and correctly.
  • TurboTax searches over 350 deductions and credits so you won’t miss a thing.
  • TurboTax runs error checks as you go, with a final review to help make sure your taxes are done right.

© 2015-2016 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for Turbo Tax 2015. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice. Intuit, TurboTax and Turbo Tax Online, among others are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their prospective owners.

Continue reading

Helen Pearce Elected to Iowa Credit Union League Board of Directors

 

Helen Pearce Nov16Cedar Falls, Iowa – Helen Pearce, CEO, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union has been elected to serve as the Vice-Chairman on the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) Board of Directors for 2016-2017. By serving on the ICUL Board, Pearce represents the collective interests and future of Iowa's 93 credit unions and their more than one million members. ICUL is the trade association for Iowa's not-for-profit credit union industry.

 

"On behalf of the Iowa Credit Union League, I would like to congratulate Helen Pearce on being selected to serve on ICUL’s Board of Directors," said Patrick S. Jury, President and CEO, ICUL. “Helen brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the board and we sincerely appreciate her dedication to improving the financial lives of consumers and the credit union philosophy of people helping people. I look forward to working with her."

                                                                                               

Helen Pearce is the President/CEO of Cedar Falls Community Credit Union, serving 8,500 members locally in the Cedar Valley and managing over $100 million in assets. She has been with CFCCU for 33 years of CFCCU’s 58 year existence, serving as CEO for the past five and a half. In addition to serving on the ICUL Board as Vice-Chairman, she also serves on the Iowa Coop Board, and the ICUL Advocacy Committee. Helen is active in community groups and activities including the Housing Commission, Blue Zone Ambassador, Iowa Credit Union Foundation, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Cedar River Runners Club, and the Black Hawk Chapter of Credit Unions.

 

“It’s an honor to be elected to serve on ICUL’s Board of Directors as the Vice-Chairman,” said Pearce “I believe strongly in the credit union industry and look forward to working with other Iowa credit union leaders to develop initiatives that will help improve the financial lives of our members and advance the credit union movement.

icul 2016 2017 board

Back Row (L to R) – Denny Siemers, Town and Country Credit Union, Harlan; Jonathon Miller, IntegrUS Credit Union, Dubuque; Dave Cale, Financial Plus Credit Union, West Des Moines; Brent Helin (Chair), Des Moines Metro Credit Union, Des Moines; Dale Owen, Ascentra Credit Union, Bettendorf; Scott Zahnle, Greater Iowa Credit Union, Ames; Tim Chapman , Members Community Credit Union, Muscatine; Matthew Dodds, Dupaco Community Credit Union, Dubuque.
 
Front Row (L to R) – Murray Williams, COO, ICUL; Gary Key, Cornerstone Community Credit Union, Des Moines; Helen Pearce (Vice Chair), Cedar Falls Community Credit Union, Cedar Falls;  Jeff Hayes, North Star Community Credit Union, Cherokee; Patrick S. Jury, President/CEO, ICUL.

 

 

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union was originally chartered in 1958 as a member-owned financial co-operative serving the needs of a local machinists union.  Membership was extended to other groups of employees over the years until in 1982, CFCCU received a community charter.  Our current field of membership includes individuals who live or work in 7 Iowa counties: Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Grundy, Fayette, Buchanan, and Chickasaw.

 

About the Iowa Credit Union League The Iowa Credit Union League is the trade association that represents the interests of Iowa credit unions and their more than one million members. Credit unions are not-for-profit, financial cooperatives owned and operated by their members. Iowans use their credit union membership to receive higher interest rates on savings and lower interest rates on loans. For more information on ICUL, visit www.IowaCreditUnions.com/ICUL. For information on Iowa credit unions, visit www.IowaCreditUnions.com. Follow ICUL on Twitter at www.twitter.com/icul or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iowacreditunions.To learn more about credit unions, visit www.ASmarterChoice.org.

 

Continue reading

2016 Best of the Best

2016CFCCU Best of Best banner

Thank you to our members for voting us Best of the Best!

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union is a Hometown Credit Union which meets the financial needs of the people who live and work in the Cedar Valley.  They have been successful in the Cedar Valley since 1958, because they take pride in what they do, and they do everything with accuracy and efficiency. Their staff builds relationships with their members on a personal level which helps them recognize member needs and then to accommodate those needs.

Helen Pearce, CEO, said: “We are so fortunate to have such a knowledgeable staff who really care about what they do. It also makes our jobs easier when we have the best members anyone could ask for who trust us to help them. And when we are able to help members in a time of need, that’s when we create those unforgettable bonds.”  

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union is a local member-owned financial cooperative, providing a wide range of financial products and services, including savings accounts, certificates, IRA’s, and loans of all types, with competitive rates. In the Cedar Valley since 1958, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union continues to be large enough to provide valuable services to their members, yet still small and local enough to really know their members and their needs and expectations.

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union has been among the “Best of the Best” 14 out of 14years.

 

123 W 4th St, Cedar Falls (Main)

420 Viking Rd, Cedar Falls

2000 Heritage Way, Waverly

319-266-7531

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

We Are Where You Are

SharedBranch V KWhether you're away on business or pleasure, your finances don't have to be put on hold—thanks to shared branching. Shared branching is a network of credit unions that actually "share" their branches with one another. And, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union is one of the participants. This way, if you travel, change jobs, or move away you still can find a credit union branch ready to meet your needs. How does it work? Just find any credit union that displays the "Swirl" logo. To find which credit unions are shared branching participants, call 800-919-CUSC (2872) or visit www.sharedbranching.org. You'll be asked to enter your zip code or street address and the system will find participating shared branching credit unions in your area. Using a shared branch is just as safe as using your home branch. Members of shared branching credit unions generally can conduct these transactions:

* Deposit checks and cash * Withdraw cash * Make loan payments * Transfer money between accounts * Receive statement printouts * Purchase money orders * Purchase traveler's checks * Purchase certified checks

Because you're a member of Cedar Falls Community Credit Union, you can use any shared branch--just like you'd use your regular branch. In good times or bad—say, following a natural disaster that makes it impossible to get to the credit union—you'll value the convenience. For more information call Cedar Falls Community Credit Union today.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Continue reading

Get Wealthy, Not Rich: Change How You Think About Money

safe

How do you define wealth? The dictionary says wealth is “a large amount of money and possessions." But I propose the following, straight-forward definition: wealth is the difference between what you are earning and what you are spending.

If you have never been “rich,” you’ve probably never defined yourself as wealthy, but no matter what your definition of “rich” is, most of us want to be rich. But why? Do you think that your financial problems will go away if you suddenly acquire more money?

Super sorry, but the studies disagree. According to a 2010 joint study conducted by Vanderbilt University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Pittsburgh, the more money you win in the lottery, the more likely you are to go bankrupt. Yikes. And a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education estimates that 70% of people who unexpectedly come into large sums of money end up broke within seven years.

Continue reading

EMV Debit Cards Have Been Mailed

cfccu debit card web

EMV debit cards have been mailed. 

Look for yours...it's on the way!

 Please note that our debit card is now a MasterCard brand card.  You will need to activate your new card by October 1st and destroy your old VISA branded debit card.  Your pin from the VISA debit card will work with the new MasterCard debit card.

Continue reading

Updated Scam Alert

fraud banner4

 

UPDATE:  Mystery Shopping Cashier's Checks

UPDATE Aug 25th: We have had some reports that individuals are receiving text messages that appear to be from Cedar Falls Community Credit Union and Helen Pearce, CEO.  These messages involve the person becoming a "Secret Shopper" to perform a mystery shop on us through the Shared Branching Network at branches all over the US.  We do not send out text messages.  This is a scam. There is no Secret Shopper program.


There is also an ongoing Mystery Shopping scam involving fake USPS Postal Money Orders and/or fake Cashier's Checks from banks and credit union's including Cedar Falls Community Credit Union. The scam appears to be a mystery shopping program where you are sent a fake Postal Money Order or Cashier's Check. You are to cash the check or money order, send money orders back out to the fraudster, and then keep a portion for yourself. Always be suspicious if you receive an unsolicited check.

WHAT IF IT IS A SCAM?

  • The Cashier’s Checks and/or Money Orders are fake.  If you receive something like this, you can report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
  • If the scam involves the Cedar Falls Community Credit Union name, please also report it to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Cedar Falls Community Credit Union is committed to doing everything we can to help keep your accounts protected. Your security is our top priority. Arm yourself with the knowledge to avoid fraudulent schemes----the below information will guide you in keeping your money safe.

General Rules:

  • NEVER give out your PIN to anyone for your debit and/or credit cards
  • Cedar Falls Community Credit Union employees will never ask for your PIN via phone, email, mail or any other form of communication.  When in doubt, please report all suspicious correspondence to Cedar Falls Community Credit Union at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • NEVER give out your online banking password

Tips to avoid mail scams including checks/money orders

  • Don't believe everything you see. It's easy to steal the colors, logos, signatures and header of an established organization.
  • If you received an unexpected cashier’s check/money order or an offer of a large payment from a company that may or may not be posing as a mystery shopping company or reviewing service…this is a SCAM.
  • If you are asked to send some of the money you may have received in a check/money order to someone else via services such as Western Union, or asked to purchase pre-paid cards.
  • If someone offers to pay you more for an item you are selling, with the agreement to send you a check for an even larger amount and asks you to return the difference to them.
  • Beware of notices announcing that you’ve won a prize for a contest you did not enter
  • Notify your post office if you change address
  • Make sure your mailbox is secure
  • Collect your delivered mail; don’t let it sit in the mailbox too long
  • Have your mail held when on vacation

Use these tips to help combat online fraud (phishing):

  • Use caution. Only open emails, attachments, and links from people you know.
  • Don't believe everything you see. It's easy to steal the colors, logos, signatures and header of an established organization and make emails appear legitimate.
  • Consider all email requests for personal information to be suspicious
  • Do not respond to such emails or enter information on questionable websitesNever reveal personal or financial information in an email, text or over the phone with companies you cannot verify as valid.
  • NEVER give out your PIN for your debit and/or credit cards

 

When in doubt, please report all suspicious emails or what you believe to be a scam involving us to us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Continue reading

Credit Union Members Enjoy Low Fees

In today's credit crunch, more consumers are fighting back against the high transaction fees charged by their banks. But credit union members have a much more effective way of influencing fees and other charges—as member-owners, you keep fees down simply by using credit union services. The more services you use, the more cost-effective all services become. And credit union fees are low to begin with, because credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that return income to members in the form of lower fees and loan rates and higher savings rates.

Continue reading

SCAM ALERT: Mystery Shopping Cashier's Checks

Be aware that there is an ongoing Mystery Shopping scam involving fake USPS Postal Money Orders and/or fake Cashier’s Checks from banks and credit union’s including Cedar Falls Community Credit Union.  The scam appears to be a mystery shopping program where you are sent a fake Postal Money Order or Cashier’s Check.  You are to deposit the check or money order and keep a portion for yourself.

Continue reading

Call for Volunteer Community Board Members

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union Seeks Members to Serve on Volunteer Board of Directors

The credit union philosophy of "people helping people" is central to the mangement of the Cedar Falls Community Credit Union.  If you share this belief and would like to make a difference for the credit union and the local community, we invite you to run for election for our Board of Directors. Eligible candidates must be a member in good standing and at least 18 years of age.  Applications are due by March 10th, 2016.

Continue reading

CFCCU and TurboTax

logottax

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union and Turbo Tax                      

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union has teamed up with TurboTax® to get you your maximum refund.

  • TurboTax translates taxes into simple questions about your life and puts everything in the right forms for you so you can organize and complete your taxes easily.
  • Turbo Tax auto imports your information from your W-2 tax form so your information is entered quickly and correctly.
  • TurboTax searches over 350 deductions and credits so you won’t miss a thing.
  • TurboTax runs error checks as you go, with a final review to help make sure your taxes are done right.

© 2015-2016 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for Turbo Tax 2015. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice. Intuit, TurboTax and Turbo Tax Online, among others are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their prospective owners.

Continue reading

Professional Cooperative Spirit Award

CooperativeSpiritProfessionalAward JuryPearceCale

Helen Pearce, President/CEO, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union CEO Helen Pearce has received the Iowa Credit Union League's Professional Cooerative Spirit Award.

This award recognizes individuals who have shown outstanding service, committment and leadership in the credit union movement.

Helen Pearce was presented with the 2015 Professional Cooperative Spirit Award in recognition of her outstanding service, commitment and leadership in the credit union movement. Pearce has served the members of Cedar Falls Community Credit Union in just about every capacity – from teller to loan officer to her current position as CEO. She is heavily involved in the credit union movement, having served as president of Iowa’s Black Hawk Chapter of credit unions, a member of the ICUL Board of Directors and as Vice President of the Iowa Credit Union Foundation Board of Directors. She lives and breathes the credit union movement so much so that her vanity license plates say “LOVE CU.”

(Photo from L to R: Patrick S. Jury, President/CEO, Iowa Credit Union League, Helen Pearce, President/CEO, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union; and Dave Cale, Chairman, Iowa Credit Union League.)

Continue reading

11 Tips To Make Your Vacation More Affordable

 financial tip

Used with Permission © Jim Garnett.

Family vacations can be great opportunities for making memories.  I still remember vivid scenes from childhood vacations traveling in our 1960 Nash Rambler.  We often traveled to see relatives, but once in a while headed to a someplace like the Grand Canyon, the Black Hills, or the Ozarks.Our family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I discovered later on in life, that we were actually quite poor. Interestingly enough, not one of those vacation memories I hold dear has anything to do with an activity that cost money.

Therefore, even when finances are lean, a little forethought and planning can create a great family vacation filled with one memory after another. Here are a few tips that will help you save money on your next vacation.

1. Stay in one place. The cost of gasoline can be cut a lot if you travel to one area and stay there.  This presupposes that there is something to see and do in that location.

2. Rent multiple nights at a time. Staying in one area also enables you to rent by the week instead of one night at a time.  Discounts always await those who stay more than just a night.  This also eliminates having to pack up everything and move the family every day.

3. Shop Internet prices. There are bargains to be found for those who will spend a few minutes on Priceline or web surf to see if any destination hotels are running specials.

4. Try Camping. It costs around $12-$25 to spend a night at these campgrounds, which is much less than the cost of a motel room these days. Parks are typically run by park rangers, who also provide security at the campgrounds. Each campsite will likely have a fire-pit, charcoal grill, and a picnic table. There will be an area to set up your tent or camper, and a place to pull your car off the road. These parks usually have buildings that enclose bathrooms and showers. You’ll also find drinking water available, places to do your dishes, and trash containers.

5. Vacation in the non-peak season. If you vacation in the off-season, the crowds will be smaller, the lines will be shorter, the beaches will be emptier, and prices will be lower. Campgrounds can be great places to stay when everyone else is gone!

6. Stay at relatives. I am sure that this can be a blessing or a curse, but if both families have kids, a few days with kinfolk can be pretty neat.  Plus, one of the greatest vacation expenses, lodging is eliminated.

7. Look for destinations where the fun is free. A trip to the Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, a State Park, or the beach offers days of exciting things to do at little cost.

8. Check out local guidebooks. Most of these contain discount coupons for local attractions.

9. Eat out only once a day. A place with a built in kitchen can let you choose which meals to eat out.  A hotel with a complimentary breakfast can take care of breakfast.   A cooler with soft drinks, fruit, chips, and sandwiches will satisfy most families for lunch. This approach can enable your family you to save hundreds of dollars a week or enjoy eating the evening meal at a more expensive restaurant.

10. Bring home free souvenirs. Most expensive gift shop souvenirs will hold no better memories than a vase of sea shells, a piece of driftwood, or best of all – a family picture on location!All of these tips can save you money or at least allow  you to spend your vacation money on your vacation priorities.  But the last tip may well be the biggest saver!

11. Pay yourself in advance. The average vacation costs the American family around $1600 and many charge this cost on credit cards.   To pay off a $1600 vacation in minimum payments, will take 14 years and 9 months, and will
actual cost you a whopping $3399 for your $1600 vacation!How much better to plan ahead for vacation. That $1600 vacation would require an auto deduct of only $135 per month from your paycheck to a vacation account.  If you only have 6 months to prepare, $270 needs to be set aside.  The point is simple – when vacation is over, you want its memories to remain for years, not its payments!   Paying for your vacation in advance will allow you to take two vacations for what the cost of charging one on credit cards would be!To be sure, family vacations can be a great time for making memories.I hope these tips can help you focus even more on having fun because you have your vacation finances under control.

© Jim Garnett.

The information on this site should be understood to be a general discussion of the subject matter and DOES NOT constitute a legal opinion about the situation. For further information please consult a qualified attorney.

Continue reading

Place a Fraud Alert

Why Place an Initial Fraud Alert

Three national credit reporting companies keep records of your credit history. If someone has misused your personal or financial information, call one of the companies and ask for an initial fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert is free. You must provide proof of your identity. The company you call must tell the other companies about your alert.

An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The initial alert stays on your report for at least 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days. It allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies. Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.

How to Place an Initial Fraud Alert

  • Contact one credit reporting company.
  • Report that you are an identity theft victim.
  • Ask the company to put a fraud alert on your credit file.
  • Confirm that the company you call will contact the other two companies.
  • Placing a fraud alert is free. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days.
  • Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.
  • Update your files.
  • The credit reporting company will explain that you can get a free credit report, and other rights you have.
  • Mark your calendar. The initial fraud alert stays on your report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days.
  • Update your files. Record the dates you made calls or sent letters.
  • Keep copies of letters in your files.

Equifax
  1-800-525-6285

Experian
  1-888-397-3742

TransUnion
  1-800-680-7289

Continue reading

IRA Alert-New IRS Rules

IRA Alert

IRA Rule Change

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published a change in interpretation of an IRA rollover rule. Before 2015 IRA Owners were allowed to do one IRA-to-IRA rollover per year per IRA they owned. If they had 6 IRAs they could do 6 IRA-to-IRA rollovers. Effective January 1, 2015 that stopped.

Now IRA Owners are allowed to do only one IRA rollover per 365 days, regardless of the number or types of IRAs they own. It is a rolling 365 days – not a calendar or a fiscal year. It is also important to note that there are NO do-overs. An IRA Owner cannot argue that they were not aware of the new rules. Once it’s done – it’s done.

In the world of IRAs (individual retirement accounts), a rollover occurs when an IRA Owner withdraws money from one IRA account they own, receives a check from their IRA custodian, and puts the money into another IRA they own, or even back into the same IRA at a later date. Ordinarily, when you take money out of an IRA you have to pay income tax on it, but no tax is imposed on rollovers that comply with IRS rules.

This is the verbiage directly from the IRS Announcement 2-014-25: “These actions by the IRS will not affect the ability of an IRA owner to transfer funds from one IRA trustee directly to another, because such a transfer is not a rollover and, therefore, is not subject to the one-rollover-per-year limitation of § 408(d)(3)(B). See Rev. Rul. 78-406, 1978-2 C.B. 157.”

In not so much IRS jargon - If an IRA Owner gets the money, touches it, smells, it, walks out the door with the money (and or a check) – it’s a one-time deal… the 365 day clock starts. If the transfer is between 2 custodians and the IRA Owner does not have access to the funds – it does not count as their one rollover for 365 days.

IRA Owners were able to make rollovers to give themselves short-term loans. They took the money out of an IRA, used it for up to 60 days, and then deposited the same amount back into a new IRA (or back into the old IRA). Prior to 2015, the rule the IRS followed was that you could do one such rollover per year for each IRA that they owned. Not so in 2015. IRA Owners are now allowed only one rollover per 365 days and it doesn’t matter how many IRAs they own.

 

Additional information is available at: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/new-rules-ira-rollovers-2015.html and the IRS Announcement is available here: IRS Announcement 2014-15. If you still have questions contact the custodian of your IRA funds and they will be able to explain the new rules.

Continue reading
Tags:

Iowans Love Credit Unions

 

love credit union

This year credit unions achieved a significant milestone by reaching 100.1 million memberships in the U.S. Memberships in not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions are now equal to more than 31 percent of the U.S. population. In Iowa, where the state’s credit unions have more than 1 million members, a recent statewide survey of more than 1,500 credit union members and other consumers by the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) revealed:

  •   87.3 percent of respondents said they love their credit union.
  •   78.6 percent of respondents said being treated like a member owner, not just a consumer, was what they valued most about their credit union.
  •   86 percent of respondents said when choosing a financial service provider, customer service is the most important quality to them.
  •   89 percent of respondents said they encourage family members to use a credit union for their financial needs.

Nationally, the numbers are just as favorable. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), credit unions are ranked first in customer satisfaction among financial institutions with a score of 85. The average bank score is 76. The 2014 ASCI report, a respected measure of customer satisfaction, ranks credit unions substantially better than traditional banks on every component including expectations, quality, value, loyalty and having lower complaints. This is the seventh consecutive year that credit unions have ranked above banks.  “Credit unions continue to be recognized as trusted financial partners who place the needs of consumers first,” said Murray Williams, Chief Operating Officer, ICUL. “Simply put, credit unions put people before profits and that has been the driving force of our growth and satisfaction numbers. Iowans want a member-owned alternative in the financial marketplace and are highly satisfied with the service their local credit unions provide them.” The ACSI report showed members of credit unions have higher expectations of their credit union than customers of banks do – and over the past two years, not only have member expectations increased, but credit union satisfaction scores have increased as well. For those who would like to join a credit union, Williams said credit unions make switching financial institutions easy. “It can seem daunting to switch all of your accounts to a new financial institution, but if you aren’t a member I encourage you to check out the credit union difference.” Williams said. To find a credit union near you, click here. Additional benefits of credit union membership include:

  •   Lower Loan Rates - Credit unions offer comparable lending products and services as banks, but with statistically more attractive loan rates.
  •   Higher Saving rates - Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, which enables them to routinely offer their members more competitive rates on saving accounts.
  •   Lower Fees - Credit unions typically have lower fees than for-profit banks.
  •   Federally Insured Deposits - The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures members’ deposits up to $250,000, the same level that banks are insured through the FDIC.
  •   Convenience - Most credit unions offer leading edge mobile and/or online banking and easy nationwide access through shared branching with fellow credit unions and surcharge-free ATM networks.
  •   Commitment to Service - Credit unions continue to receive the highest marks in the financial services sector for customer service and trust.
Continue reading

50 Percent of Iowans Check Their Credit Report for Inaccuracies

b2ap3_thumbnail_ProtectfromIdentityTheft.jpg

By Emily Caropreso, Director of Communications & Marketing, Iowa Credit Union League
 

According to a recent survey by the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL), only about half of Iowans are currently monitoring their credit reports as a means of fraud protection, and more than three quarters of respondents feel their financial information is secure.

But identity fraud is on the rise meaning Iowans may be feeling a false sense of financial security.

In fact, the 2014 Identity Fraud Study recently released by Javelin Strategy & Research noted someone falls victim to identity fraud every two seconds. The study revealed an increase of more than 500,000 victims of identity fraud to 13.1 million people in 2013, the second highest number since the study began 11 years ago. 

The ICUL Mid-Year 2014 Consumer Survey revealed:

  • 53.2 percent of respondents said they had checked their credit report for inaccuracies over the past year, with 47.5 percent noting it was accurate and 5.7 percent noting it was inaccurate.
  • 46.8 percent of respondents had not checked their credit at all or indicated they did not know how to check.
  • Only 19.9 percent of respondents had fraud protection set up on their accounts, while 55.1 percent did not and 25 percent did not know if they had it or not.
  • 83.5 percent of respondents felt their financial information was secure, somewhat secure or very secure.


Patrick S. Jury, CEO/President, Iowa Credit Union League said these numbers signify that more needs to be done to educate consumers on how to protect themselves from identity fraud.

Karen Postma, AVP, Fraud Operations and Asset Management, The Members Group, agrees and recommends a few easy steps consumers can take.

“Consumers must pay attention to their accounts,” she said. “Being able to log into your account any time to check your balance and see what items have cleared makes keeping an eye on your money much easier. In addition, consumers can and should get a free copy of their credit report once a year, directly from the reporting agencies. I also encourage consumers to find and evaluate credit monitoring services to see if one fits your budget and your needs.”

“Secondly, consumers should ensure they are being secure on the Internet,” Postma warns. “Keep your access information safe with robust, multi-character passwords, and don’t over-share information. Dispose of personal information appropriately by shredding documents containing personal information.”

Postma is scheduled to participate in a public education event focused on cyber security at the Iowa State University (ISU) campus in Ames on Sept. 4, 2014. A part of the National Cyber Security Alliance “Two Steps Ahead: Protect Your Digital Life” tour, the event is designed to educate consumers and businesses about adding layers of security to their everyday online activities.

To lessen your vulnerability to identity theft:

  • Monitor accounts and check your credit report. Check your account activity daily and request a free credit report annually.
  • Register for a credit monitoring service. Shop for one that provides the level and kind of protection that will best meet your individual needs.
  • Keep online information secure. Keep your passwords robust, and don’t share access information or personal details.
  • Limit the items you carry in your wallet or purse. This minimizes your exposure to losses if these are lost or stolen. 
  • Avoid carrying your PINs or other private, security safeguards in your wallet or purse. Don’t keep your PINs in the same place you keep your cards.
  • Don’t assume a criminal will look like a criminal. Be aware of anyone trying to look over your shoulder or steal your wallet.


Should your information become compromised, there are three main steps the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers to consumers:

  • Place a fraud alert on account. If you have fallen victim to ID  theft, immediately place a fraud alert on your account by calling one of the three national credit reporting companies (Equifax: 1.800.525.6285; Experian: 1.888.397.3742; TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289). This will make it more difficult for an identity thief to open accounts in your name. The alert will remain on your report for at least 90 days.
  • Order your credit reports. Once you’ve placed the initial fraud alert, you’ll be entitled to a free credit report from each of the three reporting companies. The company you call will explain your rights and how you can obtain your free copy. Order the report and ask the company to show only the last four digits of your SSN on your report. If you know which accounts have been tampered with, contact the related businesses, talk to someone in the fraud department and follow up in writing. Send your letters by certified mail and ask for a return receipt so you have record of your communications.
  • Create an Identity Theft Report. To create a report, file a complaint with the FTC and print your Identity Theft Affidavit. Use that to file a police report and create your Identity Theft Report. You’ll be able to use this report to get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft or selling the debt to another company for collection, place an extended fraud alert on your report and get information from companies about the accounts the identity thief opened or misused.


About the Iowa Credit Union League
The Iowa Credit Union League is the trade association that represents the interests of Iowa credit unions and their more than one million members. Credit unions are not-for-profit, financial cooperatives owned and operated by their members. Iowans use their credit union membership to receive higher interest rates on savings and lower interest rates on loans. For more information on ICUL and Iowa credit unions, visit www.IowaCreditUnions.com. Follow ICUL on Twitter at www.twitter.com/icul or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iowacreditunions. Learn more about credit unions, visit www.ASmarterChoice.org.

Continue reading

Bad Guys Go On Vacation With You

Bad Guys Go With You On Vacation

bad guy

 

Some excellent information provided by Shazam on Cybersecurity and how to protect yourself while you're on vacation.

The summer vacation season is underway, and for many of us that means lounging on sunny beaches, reading a book under a shade tree or hitting the road for a new adventure. It can also mean identity theft and other crimes if we aren’t careful about our online activities and protecting our information. Cybercrime does not take a summer vacation; we need to remain vigilant. Fortunately, by following some best practices, we can minimize the risk of becoming the next statistic.

Save the Social Media Vacation Posts Until You Get Back Home

It may be tempting to post details of where you'll be traveling, but don’t. By revealing such specifics, you are providing information that could be used by criminals to target your home while you’re gone. Another common scam involves compromising email accounts to contact your friends or family with requests for help, claiming that you were robbed while on vacation and need money.

Do Not Use Public Computers and Public Wireless Access for Sensitive Transactions

Whether you're entertaining the kids by streaming a video on a tablet, downloading new travel apps on your smartphone or even taking your tablet poolside, there are precautions you should take to make sure your personal information is safe. Wi-Fi spots in airports, hotels, train stations, coffee shops and other public places can be convenient, but they're often not secure and can leave you at risk. If you're online through an unsecured network, you should be aware that individuals with malicious intent may have established a Wi-Fi network with the intent to eavesdrop on your connection. This could allow them to steal your credentials, financial information or other sensitive and personal information. It's also possible that they could infect your system with malware. Any free Wi-Fi should be considered "unsecure." Therefore, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release. Consider turning off features on your computer or mobile devices that allow you to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. Also, consider using a cellular 3G/4G connection, which is generally safer than a Wi-Fi connection.

Protect Your Smartphone, Laptop or Other Portable Devices While Traveling

Don’t let your devices out of your sight. Just as your wallet contains lots of important information you wouldn't want to lose, so do your portable devices. Never store your laptop as checked luggage. If there is a room safe available at your hotel, use it to securely store your devices. Make sure your laptop and other mobile devices have the latest software installed. Your device manufacturer should notify you whenever an update is available. Use of security software is a must. Many of these programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, tablet or other similar device. These programs will back up your data and can even remotely wipe all data from the phone if it is reported stolen. Make sure you have strong passwords and encryption, where possible, on these devices in case they are  lost or stolen.

For more information about how to stay safe in cyberspace, visit the Center for Internet Security.

Continue reading

Fraudulent Phone Calls

SHAZAM is aware of an issue where some cardholders are receiving fraudulent telephone calls from someone claiming to be from SHAZAM, Inc.  During the telephone call, the fraudster asks the cardholder for personal information, such as a primary account number (PAN) and PIN.  DO NOT GIVE THIS INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE.

Important to Know 

SHAZAM will never ask for a full PAN or a PIN if we are calling them directly. The exception to this is if a cardholder calls SHAZAM to report his or her card lost or stolen.

Action
Please call us at (319) 266-7531 if you receive a fraudulent telephone call.

Continue reading