08 Sep

8 Ways to Protect Your Identity

8 Ways to Protect Your Identity

Having your identity stolen is not only unsettling, but can take years of frustration and red tape to fix. It will likely take a major toll on your credit score, wallet, and even well-being. To help avoid this nightmare from happening to you, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 best ways to protect your identity.

1. Protect your Social Security number.

This simple number can give thieves access to your credit reports, bank accounts, and a number of other pieces of important personal information. Don’t keep your Social Security Card on your person, in your phone, or anywhere it can be easily stolen. Your card should be stored in a secure location and digits kept a secret.

2. Use strong passwords and change them frequently.

Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords including birthdays, common phrases, and names of schools or workplaces. Strong passwords usually consist of a long combination of letters and at least one uppercase letter, number, and symbol. It is best to use different passwords for all accounts and change them frequently to avoid being targeted.

3. Monitor and review financial statements.

Periodically check the vendors and retailers on your credit and debit card statements to ensure you recognize them. Report any suspicious activity or charges to your bank or credit card company as soon as possible.

4. Destroy records and credit card statements.

Make sure you shred documents containing sensitive information and, if you are keeping hard copies for your records, store them somewhere secure. Don’t throw away bank or credit card statements as they may contain private financial information that could be used by identity thieves.

5. Don’t fall for phishing scams.

Don’t give out personal information to unknown callers, in email, or to unfamiliar websites. These scams usually claim to be from a trustworthy company that you know, like a bank or popular company. It is always better to double check that an inquiry is legitimate by calling the company yourself and verifying before giving out any personal information.

6. Secure your mobile device.

Although phones are easy places to store information, avoid keeping passwords or important information in them, like bank account numbers or your social security number. Ensure the highest protection by locking your device with a passcode and don’t leave it unaccompanied in public places.

7. Check your credit report.

There are three major credit reporting bureaus that are required to give you one free credit report a year, each. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Utilize them all and check your credit once every few months to keep up to date and review information. If you notice suspicious activity, contact your credit card company immediately.

8. Get Kasasa Protect™.

Worrying about identity and credit theft can be exhausting; that’s why we offer Kasasa Protect. Kasasa Protect is a comprehensive identity protection and restoration solution available to add to your RMLEFCU checking account. It provides you peace of mind by offering 24/7 credit monitoring, identity theft protection, restoration services, and more. Check out our account services to learn more and register today!

Although there are many more ways to protect your identity, by following these simple steps you can greatly decrease your risk of identity theft and fraud. It is better to be proactive in protecting your information than dealing with the headache of a stolen identity after the fact.

18 Jan

5 Financial Milestones to Hit in 2017

Financial milestones are goals we aim to achieve. Some should be stressed at certain milestones in our own life. In this vein, we picked five financial goals you may have depending on your current age.

Are you just entering workforce?

Start saving for retirement

If you can stand to, save 10% of your salary. The earlier you start doing this, the more you can take advantage of compound interest. If you’re a woman, chances are you will live longer (sorry boys), so try and factor that into your retirement savings. Although you may be receiving a pension if you joined the force, it might not be enough for you to live on entirely.

You’re in Your Mid-Twenties

Set up an emergency fund

Save to be able to cover all your expenses for 6 months if you’re single, three months if you’re married. Start by adding $100 a month to a separate account. You can set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account to help build your emergency fund. Read More

22 Dec

Teaching Teens about Money

Lesson 1: Stress Savings!

There are many reasons that saving is first on this list. Teaching teens about money needs to begin with how they can save what they earn. Having savings can protect them against a lifetime of debt and financial security.

  • Saving money can help teenagers reach a financial goal and have more respect for the purchase. For example, putting a down payment on a car. When they’re more invested in the vehicle, you can bet they’ll be safer driving it.
  • Saving money is one way to avoid life’s hiccups, aka unforeseen incidents. If they lose their job or head off to college but still have expenses like car insurance, their savings will help.
  • If they have money saved, they’ll earn financial peace of mind. Life as a teenager is stressful enough – why make it more so by worrying about late payments.
  • More Money = More Independence from you. The more money they save, the less they have to rely on you and the more financial decisions they can make on their own. Teens need some financial independence and it is made possible due to savings.

Here is another article we wrote that talks about savings. If you are interested in setting up a savings account for young person, talk to a RMLEFCU representative about our piggy bank savings account. We’ll automatically kick off their savings with a $25 CD!

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10 Aug

Save on Back to School Expenses

Although it’s not news to parents, back to school costs are nothing to sneeze at. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Back-to-School Spending Survey of 6,500 consumers, the average family with children in grades K-12 planned to spend $630.36 on clothes, electronics and school supplies this year. Regardless of whether you have overspent, underspent, or kept to a budget, we have a few back to school shopping tips for kindergarten through college graduation that you may be able to incorporate into your spending (or saving) repertoire.

Students in any grade or year – Shop out of season. Shopping post-season sales and clearance racks is a great way to build up you or your child’s wardrobe on a budget. Take inventory to determine exactly what pieces you or your kids will need for the upcoming year, and then organize your budget around what you still need to buy. Keep a look out for winter coats, boots, and jackets in late February, and summer clothing in late August. If you have one, shop where your Student ID gives you a discount.

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