Your Safe Holiday Shopping Season Guide

The holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year.  However, it is also prime season for thieves and scams.  As you approach the busiest shopping time of the year, Scient FCU would like to help you keep your personal information safe, so you can relax and enjoy your time with family and friends. 

Remember:  Scient Federal Credit Union will NEVER request sensitive information from you through email. And, if you are ever concerned about the legitimacy of request, please contact us at 877.860.6928 for verification before providing any personal or account information.

Don’t fall victim to phishing scams
Phishing is when someone tries to obtain confidential information by appearing to be a legitimate business. Avoid phishing scams by keeping the following information in mind:

  • Don’t reply to any email, text, or message that asks for personal or financial information. A genuine business would not ask you to send sensitive information through unsecure channels.
  • Don’t open emails from someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t make purchases through social media website advertisements. Go directly to the website to make a purchase. A new version of online shopping scams involves the use of social media platforms to set up fake, online stores.
  • Don’t download unexpected attachments. Opening a file from someone you don’t know could expose you to a computer virus or spyware.
  • Don’t click on links in emails that ask for personal information.

Example of a phishing email: “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”

Additional safety tips and Scient tools to use during this busy time of year.

  • Use credit instead of debit. Even when using your Scient Visa® debit card, select credit and sign vs. using your PIN.  Processing your purchase as a credit card transaction provides you with VISA’s zero liability policy.  Please review item #32 of the Electronic Funds (EFT) Disclosure.
  • Review your credit report once a year to be certain that it doesn’t include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from Annualcreditreport.com.
  • Know the daily VISA Debit Card Transaction Limit. If you do make purchases as debit card transactions, please be aware of the daily transaction limit.  This information was provided to you in the Electronic Funds Disclosure.
  • Inform us before you travel. If you plan on traveling out of town during the holiday season, please do not forget to contact our Call Center at 1.877.860.6928 and let us know.  We will place a note on your card so the processor knows your spending pattern will be different from the norm.  This will help reduce the possibility of  declined transactions. 
  • Sign up for Email Alerts. Receive free, real-time alerts to your email to monitor account activity. These alerts serve as an early warning system for potential fraudulent activity and help you better manage and track your spending.  Sign-up for these alerts in our Online Banking system (Login and/or Enrollment in box above).
  • Use Digital Wallets. Now you can use your Scient Visa® debit card with Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Visa® Checkout.  Your actual debit card numbers are never shared with merchants or transmitted with payment. In addition, paying with a Digital Wallet is private — the cashier never sees your name, card numbers, or security code.  Download a digital wallet here.
  • Look for the “S”. Look for the “https” instead of “http” on the web address of the payment page before you enter a credit card number or other personal information.  The “s” stands for a secure connection which reduces the chance of online scams.  Also, do not use free, public Wi-Fi to enter your credit card or other financial account information. 
  • Review your monthly statement. If you are not using real-time alerts to monitor your card activity, you should always review your monthly statement as soon as it arrives for any fraudulent charges. 
  • Call us. If you suspect fraudulent activity on your Scient account, please call our Member Services department at 1.877.860.6928
  • Respond to phone calls from 1.888.918.7313. This is the number to our fraud monitoring service and the call is legitimate.  The monitoring service will review your transactions, block a card if necessary, take fraud reports, and send for card re-orders.  They will also unblock cards and clear the parameters if the transaction is valid.
  • Visit our Security Center. For more general information regarding internet safety and identity fraud visit our Security Center here

There are several common types of identity theft that can affect you:

  • Child ID theft. Children’s IDs are vulnerable because the theft may go undetected for many years. By the time they are adults, the damage has already been done to their identities.
  • Tax ID theft. A thief uses your social security number to falsely file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service or state government.
  • Medical ID theft. This form of ID theft happens when someone steals your personal information, such as your Medicare ID or health insurance member number to get medical services, or to issue fraudulent billing to your health insurance provider.
  • Senior ID theft. ID theft schemes that target seniors. Seniors are vulnerable to ID theft because they are in more frequent contact with medical professionals who get their medical insurance information, or caregivers and staff at long-term care facilities that have access to personal information or financial documents.
  • Social ID theft. A thief uses your name, photos, and other personal information to create a phony account on a social media platform.

For more information on identity theft, click here.