Expecting a refund? We've got 3 Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund

 

If you have a tax refund coming your way, consider using it to bolster your personal balance sheet. We’ve list out 3 smart uses for your tax refund.

 

 

Get Rid of Your High-Interest Debt

Using your refund to pay off a balance with an 16% interest rate is like earning 16% on your investments -- an incredibly valuable use of the money. And if you pay off your balances, you can afford to close some cards that are now charging high fees. We listed this first for a reason. Simply put, it doesn't make sense to put more money in your savings or even to invest when you're paying someone else 16% interest or more for the privilege of owing them money.

 

Replenish Your Emergency Fund

Many people have raided their emergency fund over the past several years and have had little extra money to restore it. You could use your refund to start rebuilding that fund, which can help you avoid landing in credit-card debt if you have an emergency. Keep the money easily accessible in a money-market account or savings account that earns interest.

 

Boost Your Retirement Savings

If the first two items on this list are taken care of, that is, you don't have a significant amount of credit card debt and you have enough cash in the bank to cover an unexpected expense, the best use of your tax refund may be to invest. Retirement saving is hands-down the best tax break of all, and for good reason. Not only can you get tax savings, but you'll be setting yourself up for financial comfort later!

 

Whether it’s a major windfall or just a drop in the bucket, your refund should feel like “found money” – and if you’re smart, you can put it to work for you and improve your financial situation. You can even treat yourself – just don’t blow it at on a huge, unnecessary splurge. 

 

Need a little extra help with your credit cards, auto loan rates, or mortgage rates? Stop by any of our branches and our staff will be happy to help you.

 

Or if you’re looking for investment planning, retirement planning, college funding, etc. contact our Money Concepts representative Andy, to schedule your complimentary discovery meeting.

 

March 2017


 

Century Federal Credit Union security efforts

 

Century Federal has a wide variety of security tools in place for the protection of our members’ accounts. The following is an overview of these security efforts.

 

  • Our data center and other facilities have a number of technologies, back-up systems and products that we use to protect our systems from intrusion and other criminal activity. We are continually monitoring fraudulent activity on the internet as well as researching and utilizing technologies that can help combat this fraud.
  • We protect account information accessible through our Online/Mobile Banking systems with unique user ID and passwords. To access your account online; you must provide a user ID and a password. Your User ID and password are compared with what we have on file for you. If you enter your password incorrectly more than a few times, your account will be locked until you contact us to unlock your account and reset your password.
  • Your Online Banking sessions will time out after a specified time period of inactivity. This prevents other people from continuing with your existing Online Banking session if you walk away from the computer or forget to log out.
  • You have the ability to set up account e-lerts through our Online Banking system. A number of different notifications can be sent to you when different account activity takes place in your Online Banking account. For example, if your account balance falls below a certain threshold.
  • Century Federal cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information you send using your own email service because the information may not be encrypted or transmitted over a secure network. Specifically, we discourage you from including the following in unsecured email:
          • Your Social Security number
          • Your Century Federal member/account number
          • Other confidential financial information
          • Your Online Banking user ID and/or password
  • Century Federal will not include such information in any unsecured email messages we send you. Century Federal is not responsible for any damages you sustain or the privacy and security of your account information if you transmit confidential or sensitive information to us via unsecured email.
  • Century Federal will not ask you for confidential financial information, such as member/account numbers, PINs, Social Security numbers or passwords, via email. If you receive an email that appears to be from Century Federal and it solicits you for this type of confidential financial information, it is most likely fraudulent. You should contact our Member Service Center immediately at 216-535-3200 and, if possible, forward the email to memberservice@CenFedCU.org.

 

January 2017

 

 

What to do if your login credentials are compromised

 

If you suspect your login credentials have been compromised you should take immediate action to identify and change the compromised accounts.

 

Below are some tips regarding what to do when your credentials may have been stolen:

 

  • Try to determine all of the computers or mobile devices used with those credentials. Any or all of them may have malicious software installed; the malicious software may capture everything you typed and the content appearing on your screen.
  • For the devices you used, try to determine what other websites you accessed by entering the same user name and password. Those credentials may also be compromised.
  • Immediately examine the accounts or sites where you used those credentials for unusual activity, even if they have not been reported as stolen.
  • If you used the same user name and/or password on any other websites, change them immediately, you should assume they are compromised.
  • If you answered security questions during any online session on a computer that may be compromised; you should assume the answers to those security questions are compromised and may be used to compromise other accounts.
  • You should assume all of your user names and passwords have been compromised, and you should change every user name and password you use. It is also recommended that you consider changing your security questions at the same time.
  • Consider putting a fraud alert on your credit reports to reduce the risk of additional lines of credit being fraudulently opened in your name.
  • If any of your accounts have fraudulent activity you should create an Identity Theft Report, which involves reporting the identity theft to the FTC and filing a police report.
  • Consult with a computer professional on how best to check and repair your computer(s).

 

November 2016

 


 

10 Tips to Help Prevent Card Fraud During the Holiday Season

 

Consumers are more frequently using their debit and credit cards to make purchases for loved ones during the hooliday shopping season. In order to protect ourselves from theives and minimize losses, here is a list of helpful tips to keep in mind--so you have an enjoyable holiday season.

 

  • Carry only the cards you need. The holiday season is a heightened time for pickpockets, so leaving unnecessary cards at home will help limit exposure to fraud.
  • Keep credit/debit cards close. Never leave a wallet or purse unattended, it only takes seconds for a thief to steal a wallet and all of the personal information it contains.
  • Never let a salesperson take your card out of sight. Skimming devices, which record card information, can be hidden in a hand or under a counter.
  • Don’t lend out your cards. It may be more convenient to divide and conquer with friends or family members when trying to complete your shopping list, but once you card is out of your hands it’s out of your control.
  • Always check receipts against your statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If anything looks fishy, report it immediately.
  • Make a list of card numbers, expiration dates, and the toll-free numbers of your financial institution. Keep this record in a safe place, separate from where you keep your cards. Use this information if you ever have to report your cards lost or stolen.
  • When shopping online, stick to reputable sites. Check to be sure the sites are secure by looking for web addresses with “https” in the address.
  • Avoid shopping online using public WiFi, hackers can easily gain access to public networks and steal your information.
  • Don’t respond to emails asking for personal financial information, they are likely phishing emails attempting to capture passwords, logins, credit card details etc.
  • Always report lost cards and suspected fraud right away.

 

November 2016

Data Breach Awareness:


Many of you may be aware of the data breaches at Home Depot, Target and others. Credit card and debit card information was compromised. Century Federal Credit Union takes these situations seriously and protecting your account information is our number one priority.

 

Here are some things that you may find helpful:

 

  • We have proactively identified cards impacted.
  • We will reach out to those impacted directly with more detailed information.
  • Century Federal is proactively monitoring fraud and if we suspect fraud on your account we will reach out to you.
  • Please remember that you can also monitor your accounts from your mobile device and online banking.
  • Consumer debit cards are protected by Mastercard Zero Liability, which means that consumers are not responsible for unathorized transactions. In addition, VISA cards are protected in the same manner under our VISA program.

 

Our commitment to you is to continue to stay informed as information develops. We will continue to strategize against fraud in protection of your assets.

 

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Service Center at 216-535-3200.

 

November 2014

 


Home Depot Data Breach:

 

Home Depot recently confirmed a nationwide breach of its customer's personal data at the 2,200 Home Depot stores in the United States from April through September 2014.  This data breach could prove to be on the same scale or larger than the Target breach last year.

 

Century Federal strongly recommends that all members that have conducted transactions at Home Depot using their debit and/or credit cards carefully monitor their accounts for any suspicious or unknown activity. Home Depot stated that it has not determined whether a breach actually occurred, but customers will not be responsible for any possible fraudulent charges on their credit or debit cards if one did.

 

For more information, we recommend concerned members read Home Depot’s statement on the matter, posted to their internet webpage.

 

With the recent rash of data breach notifications, Century Federal continues to recommend that all members regularly monitor their debit and credit card activity. For more information on ways to protect against identity theft, please see the numerous security articles (Phishing Scams, Heartbleed Security, Century Federal Security Enhancement) posted below.

 

September 2014


Phishing Scams:

 

Century Federal Credit Union will never ask for any personal or account information, including Social Security numbers, account numbers, card numbers, security questions, PINs, email addresses or passwords via email, unsolicited phone calls or text messages.

 

To report a suspicious email or text message that uses Century Federal Credit Union’s name, please forward the email to us immediately at memberservices@CenFedCU.org or call us at 216-535-3200. Century Federal will never send emails or text messages asking you to reveal your account information (we already have that information).  If you receive an email or text message with this request, delete the message immediately and do not click on the link(s).

There has been a recent increase in phishing scams against financial institutions, including those targeting Century Federal Credit Union. Current phishing attempts on Century Federal Credit Union are in the form of emails and text messages to customers asking them to complete an online form by supplying account information and PIN numbers.

If you receive an email, phone call or text message requesting verification of your Social Security number, account number, password or PIN, DO NOT ENTER the information. Instead, please contact Century Federal at 216-535-3200 for verification before responding to any such request.

 

August 2014

 


To all Century Federal Credit Union members:

 

We are aware of the data breach recently announced by Target on some credit and debit cards used at Target stores between November 27 and December 15.

 

Here's what you should know:

You do not need to call us at this time unless you see transactions you do not recognize. We will let you know if we see unusual activity on your account. We will also send you a new card if we determine that is necessary.

 

Here's what you should do:

Continue using your Century Federal debit and credit cards. We will continue to monitor activities and information as it unfolds concerning the Target data breach.

 

Monitor your account - including using www.CenFedCU.org or Eagle Mobility - and let us know if you see any transactions you do not recognize.

 

If you have not already done so, enroll in Century Federal's Online Banking here. It is free to all Century Federal members, and allows you to track all activity in your accounts.

 

December 2013


Protect Yourself From Fraud

The United States Postal Inspection Service has created a new web site designed to help consumers avoid scams. Credit Unions nationwide, including Century Federal Credit Union, are getting involved to make members aware of the web site.

www.fakechecks.org
contains videos, research findings, a question-and-answer section and other tools to help consumers avoid scams. Check it out and learn how you can protect yourself from multiple scams, such as mail fraud.

 

April 2013