5 Top Tips from the Experts at Arizona Federal Credit Union
By Rachel Galvez
‘Tis the season… for financial fraud? Unfortunately, the holiday season is a busy one for money scams. And unsuspecting kids, teens, and young adults are often prime targets. The good news is, it’s never too early – or too late – to teach your tweens and teens how to protect their money and their credit rating. Turn this five-question quiz into a timely money discussion for the whole family.
- As you’re shopping at the mall, a salesperson asks for your debit card PIN to verify your identity before processing your purchase. Should you share it? A PIN is your Personal Identification Number. That means you should never share it with anyone. Take the same approach when it comes to other financial information, such as your Social Security number, bank account number, and online passwords.
- You found the perfect gift for your grandparents. Before you buy it, you need to make sure you have enough money in your bank account. What’s the one thing you should do before you log in to your mobile banking app? Managing your banking with your phone is quick and easy. But don’t make it easy for thieves to steal your account info or passwords by accessing the app via public Wi-Fi. Instead, disable your Wi-Fi connection and use cellular data to sign into your account. Once you’ve finished your banking tasks, you can log back into the public Wi-Fi.
- After a festive lunch, you need to pay a friend back for your meal. Is it okay to use a digital payment app to transfer the money? Absolutely! Digital pay apps, like Venmo or Zelle, are a convenient way to transfer money to friends and family. Follow these three rules to keep your payments safe.
• Only use digital pay apps to pay people (or companies) you know and trust.
• Double check to make sure you’re sending the money to the right person before pressing “send.” Unfortunately, once the money is sent, it’s almost impossible to get it back.
• Do some research before using digital payment apps to send money to make purchases via a social media ad or online site. (See rule #1!)
4. Your 13th or 16th birthday is approaching. As part of celebrating the milestone, you should ask your parents to check your credit score. True or false? True! Just because kids don’t have a credit card or loans doesn’t mean there can’t be fraudulent activity associated with their credit scores. In fact, kids make ideal targets for identity thieves because the fraud can go undetected for long stretches of time. Parents should request periodic credit reports for minor children from the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Learn more about what factors go into your credit score at ArizonaFederal.org/CreditPie.
5. You haven’t made any deposits or withdrawals from your savings or checking account recently. Do you still need to monitor your account? Yes! Check your accounts regularly, even if you don’t expect to see any activity. The good news is that mobile banking apps make keeping close tabs on your accounts easy. Use the app to monitor transactions, set spending limits, set alerts, or turn your debit card on and off for safety.
Preventing financial fraud is all about being aware. If you see suspicious account activity or think you’ve been targeted by a scam, contact the experts at your financial institution right away.
Rachel Galvez is the Marketing Partnerships Manager at Arizona Federal Credit Union. A mom of two, Rachel is committed to empowering families with the information they need to make smart financial decisions now and set their children on the path to financial success in the future.