Learning to protect your identity

Each year, identity theft affects millions of Americans and costs billions of dollars. Methods to steal your identity can range from digging through the recycling bin in your front yard, to digging through your computer files in a country halfway around the world. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of fraud—let's jump in.

Suspect a scam? Heard about a hack?

When personal data is compromised, often the vendor’s security where you used your card was breached (e.g., Your local department store’s systems are hacked, and criminals gain access to your credit and debit information.)

Solarity Credit Union will never contact you via email, text, or telephone asking for confidential or sensitive personal information.

If you have questions or notice unusual or suspicious activity on your Solarity Credit Union credit or debit card, our security department will contact you by telephone from phone number 800.890.5097.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses any of your personal information to commit fraud, open accounts, or make purchases in your name. Recovering from identity theft can take years, and the damage inflicted isn’t limited to financial debt. An imposter could provide false identification to police, creating a criminal record or leaving outstanding arrest warrants in your name.

How do I prevent identity theft?

Experts recommend checking your credit report regularly with the major bureaus, following up immediately with creditors if bills don’t arrive on time, and destroying unsolicited credit applications. Most importantly, never share personal information, such as account information or social security numbers, over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you initiated the contact and know precisely with whom you are dealing with.

Tips on protecting your identiy

Tip: Create secure "levels" of passwords

Steer away from selecting passwords that serve any significance to you (e.g., birthdates, anniversaries); however, try to select something you can still remember without writing it down anywhere. Tricky, huh? Although it’s recommended to vary your PIN or password for different accounts, that can be a lot to remember without the help of a password manager. As a solution, we suggest creating several “levels” of passwords. The less secure passwords could be used to access trivial accounts (think: Netflix or your cell phone), whereas the more secure passwords would be reserved for accounts that require more protection, such as bank accounts, utilities, and credit cards.

Tip: Go further and generate ultra-secure passwords

The strongest passwords are the ones that are hardest to remember unfortunately. But therein lies the problem. If you’re not supposed to write your passwords down anywhere, how can you be expected to remember a 16-character password that looks something like this: MVmMM3SDKxhJVCMx

Online password managers (both free and premium services) allow you to generate, store, and manage a different 16-character password for each of your accounts—the only thing you need to remember is the master password. Most password managers also even include a browser plugin to autocomplete your password into the field, rather than finding it and typing it manually. To find a password manager, search online and compare features to find a product that meets your needs.

Tip: Guard your mail

Empty your mailbox often and don’t let bills and unsolicited credit card offers pile up. If possible, lock your mailbox or get a P.O. box. It’s also a good idea to not mail bill payments and checks from home, as they can be stolen and doctored.

If you’d like to stop credit card pitches from arriving in your mailbox in the first place, learn more here.

Tip: When you're online, look for the "HTTPS"

Before making any sort of transaction online, you should check for a few things. Look at the website URL (https://www.solaritycu.org).

If you’re about to make a purchase or provide personal information from a fishy looking website, make sure the web address includes an “s” after the “http” —accompanied by a lock symbol. HTTPS and the lock symbol signify that the connection between you and the website is encrypted, so anybody trying to steal your information can’t see what you’re transmitting or requesting from a particular website.

For more information about protecting your identity online, visit: OnGuardOnline.gov.

Tip: Invest in a crosscut shredder and file cabinet

Keep any important records and documents locked away, ideally, in a fire-safe container or filing cabinet. Shred any documents you don’t need to keep, such as credit card applications, insurance forms, bank statements, and essentially anything that includes any personal information.

Fraud and Scams

Unfortunately, cybercrime, identity theft and all kinds of phishing scams are more prevalent than ever before. People fall victim to schemes everyday, as fraudsters attempt to gain your trust and gather your personal information. At Solarity, we want you to stay safe and keep your information secure. We employ multiple layers of state-of-the-art security and our Information Security Team keeps your information secure and alerts members if there is ever a problem.

In addition to aggressive cyber security protection measures, we encourage members to:

  • Contact Solarity immediately if you notice any fraudulent activity on your account.
  • Change your passwords regularly, ensure you’re using a ‘strong’ password and do not reuse password for multiple accounts.
  • Protect all your computers, mobile phones and tablets by installing malware detection software for virus detection and firewall protection – we recommend that members verify the software is reputable and legitimate before installing to any web based devices.
  • Ensure the operating system on your phone, tablet and computer is current.
  • Stop using any operating system no longer supported by its manufacturer, (e.g., Microsoft XP and Ubuntu 12.04).
  • Use the most current version of your preferred browser.

Cardholder dispute form

Use this form to dispute authorized purchases on signature and PIN transactions made using your Solarity Visa Check Card or ATM Card. IMPORTANT – Visa regulations require that an attempt to contact the merchant to resolve the dispute must be made PRIOR to completing this form.

Download Form

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All information on this page is intended to be a helpful resource when researching, but does not constitute financial advice and should not be relied upon as such.