Credit Identity Theft

Did you know that in 2020 there were 1.4 million reports of identity theft? According to Mint.com, credit card fraud accounted for 393,207 of the nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft.

Below is a story of how a Red Crown member was a victim of credit identity theft.

Our member received an email about opening a new line of credit from a credit card company. He became concerned about the email because he did not open a line of credit. His first step was to check his credit on an app. It showed the line of credit was open at Wells Fargo. He then called Wells Fargo’s Dispute Center and found out that he was a victim of credit identity theft.

An investigation showed that the criminal opened a line of credit at a furniture store. He created a fake license with the member’s information and knew his personal information. Luckily, the member was smart enough to know something was wrong and then followed the appropriate steps before it did any real damage to his finances.

Credit identity theft can happen when someone steals your personal information; driver’s license, social security number (SSN), birth date, and card information. You may fall victim to this type of theft without evening knowing. Some warning signs are: your credit score has changed, there are accounts on your credit report you did not open, and if collectors start calling you.

If you have fallen victim to credit identity theft, below are some things you should do:

Credit Report 

You should be monitoring your credit report to look for signs of fraud before there is a lot of damage. USA.gov suggests checking your credit report once per year. A free site you can use is annualcreditreport.com and a free app is Credit Karma.

Contact Credit Card Issuers Fraud Department 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the first step is to contact the company where the fraud took place. Once you know the company, call their fraud department or dispute center. They will be able to guide you on what to do next.

Credit Fraud Alert 

Your next step is placing a fraud alert on your credit report. The FTC says that a fraud alert will make it harder for someone to open a new credit account in your name. For example, a business must verify your identity before they open new credit in your name.

You can place a fraud alert on your credit reports once per year – free of charge. The credit bureaus are:

  • Experian: 888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 800-680-7289
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Credit Freeze

You can place a credit freeze on your credit report. When you place a freeze, no one (including you) will be able to open a new credit account. This freeze will last until you remove it.

Account Alerts

A great precaution is to step up alerts on your accounts. The type of alerts you can receive depends on the financial institution. Some examples are minimum withdrawal alerts, log-in monitoring, etc.

Passwords

Make sure you change your passwords regularly. When creating a password, make it unique and not used for other accounts. The more complex the password is, the harder it is for identity thieves to guess it.

Conclusion

If you have fallen victim to identity theft, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/ or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. You should follow their recommended steps to make a recovery plan.

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to prevent identity theft. Individual results may vary.

Taxpayer Identity Theft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time has flown by – it’s already tax season! During tax season, scammers are on the prowl. In 2020, The IRS Criminal Investigation identified $2.3 billion in tax fraud. That is something you do not want to be victim of! Scammers have been known to pretend to be the IRS and may contact you by phone, email, text message, and mail. Below are some common types of scams.

Refund Recalculation Scam

In this situation, you will receive a text or email from an imposter saying that the IRS recalculated your tax refund and that they owe you more money. The email may have the IRS logo and a link for you to click on to submit a fake form for the refund. The link will ask you to provide your SSN, birthday, address, driver’s license number, and other personal information.

Tip: If the IRS did make a refund mistake, they will contact you through the mail first. They will never ask for financial or personal information through email. If you get an email, do not click on any links and delete the email.

Gift Card Scams

The gift card scam is becoming more common. The criminal will call saying that you owe the IRS money and if you do not pay a penalty fee, they will charge you with criminal activity. They will instruct you to purchase the gift cards from various stores and then the scammer will ask for the card’s number and pin.

Tip: The IRS will never call you about taxes you owe or penalties. No government agency will ever demand that you pay by a gift card.

NCUA/FDIC Needs Your Bank Information

NCUA is a federal institution that insures your money if your credit union fails (FDIC is the insurance corporation for banks). The scammer will contact you through emails, phone calls, letters, text messages, and social media asking for your bank information. Scammers will claim that they are the NCUA, to get your personal information to commit fraud.

Tip: The NCUA says that they do not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money, sensitive personal information, bank account information, card numbers, SSN and will never threaten you.

Tax Transcript Email Scam

Scammers will email you claiming to be the “IRS Online”. The email will contain an attachment that has your taxpayer’s tax transcript. A tax transcript is a summary of your tax return.

Tip: A tax transcript is a real thing from the IRS, but they will never email it to you. You will need to request it from the IRS and they will send it by mail.

These are just a few types of scams, but beware there are a lot more out there. Learn more about tax scams at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.

Signs of Identity Theft

The IRS says that you may not know you’re a victim of identity theft until you’re notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return.

Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:

  • You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
  • You can’t e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security Number.
  • You receive a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
  • You receive an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
  • You receive an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
  • You receive an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.
  • You’ve been assigned an Employer Identification Number, but you did not request an EIN.

Ways to Protect Yourself

  • Keep your SSN in a secure place.
  • Make sure your tax preparation services are a legit company.
  • File your taxes early.
  • If you file online, make sure you use a secure connection.
  • Don’t click on unknown links.
  • Don’t trust IRS calls, email, and text messages.
  • Don’t send personal information through social media.

Conclusion

If you have experienced tax fraud, visit the IRS taxpayer guide to tax fraud to learn what your next steps should be. If you have fallen victim to identity theft, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/ or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. You should follow their recommended steps to make a recovery plan.

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to prevent fraud. Individual results may vary.

 

Red Crown Helping Small Businesses

Red Crown was able to help local businesses during COVID-19 with the Oklahoma Relief Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These programs provided financial support for businesses that were affected by COVID-19.

The Oklahoma Relief Fund was established with the CARES Act. It helps businesses by giving them cash in the form of a grant, which does not have to be paid back. To qualify your business, you must be located in Oklahoma and be affected by COVID-19. Red Crown was the only credit union in eastern Oklahoma to assist businesses with this grant. We were able to facilitate payout totaling $803,838 to 63 businesses. The businesses ranged from independent contractors to a not-for-profit youth theatre program.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was originally passed under the CARES Act. It authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee low-interest loans to eligible small businesses. To qualify for this loan, you need to meet the SBA definition of a small business and be affected by COVID-19. In 2020, Red Crown was able to help 91 new and existing members with PPP loans. The businesses we helped were nail salons, nail techs, independent contractors, truck drivers, and larger employers with less than 100 employees.

The PPP loan is still currently available. You can apply until March 31, 2021. If funds are exhausted sooner than March 31, 2021, the application process will stop. The qualification terms are the same as above.

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding the PPP loan.

Do I need to be an existing member of Red Crown?

No, you do not. If you don’t have an account with us, you will be required to open an account. You can become a member if you live, work, worship, volunteer, or attend school in the Tulsa, Creek, Mayes, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, and Wagoner counties of Oklahoma.

How do I apply for a PPP loan?

  • Call us at 918.477.3200 and ask for Misty Wooldridge or Aaron Bertoson. They will provide the application.
  • When you first apply for PPP loans we will need your 2019 1040 Schedule C for self-employed individuals or payroll reports for W2 employees.

How can the money be used?

A PPP loan can be used for payroll expenses, utility expenses, rent or mortgage expenses, and certain COVID-19 related expenses. A business or individual must use at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll expenses and the remainder can be used for other qualified expenses.

Can a business apply for PPP more than once? 

Yes, as long as they meet the initial criteria and experienced a 25% gross revenue reduction between 2019 and 2020.

Red Crown is here to help you throughout this process. If you have any questions about the PPP loan, contact us at 918.477.3200 and ask for Misty Wooldridge and Aaron Bertoson.

 

Apps That Will Help You Keep Your Resolution

Have you made a 2021 New Year’s resolution? Some people have given up on making a resolution, but for others, it is a tradition. According to Forbes, only 8% of people end up keeping their resolution and it is typically because they make their goal too broad. Another reason is that they don’t have accountability.

To help you achieve your goal, we’ve created a list of apps that can help you succeed, no matter what it is! From fitness to being productive, we have an app for you.

Be Healthier 

One resolution that a lot of people make is to get healthier and it usually begins with weight loss. My FitnessPal is one of the best apps to help you achieve your goal of weight loss. It makes counting calories super easy, it has a database of over 11 million types of food, you can scan the barcodes on the food items, import a recipe, and look up nutrition. Another cool feature is that there are blogs on the app that give you recipes. And…. It’s FREE! Some features do involve fees, so watch where you click!

If your goal is getting fit, then the Nike Training App and the Peloton App will help you get there in no time! The Nike Training app gives you free guided workouts from Nike trainers. From 10 minutes to forty minutes to an hour they’ve got something for you. You don’t even need a bike to use the Peloton app. This app offers guided workouts from five minutes to an hour and it’s for any fitness level. They offer strength, yoga, cardio, meditation, running, outdoor audio, and more. The only catch is, it costs $12.99 a month.

Save More Money 

Budgets can be a hard thing to stick to or even make. Mint is a free app that will help keep you on track. All you need to do is plug in some of your bank’s information, set your guidelines, and you’re good to go! Mint brings together your accounts, bills, and what you are spending in one area. Using Mint will help you save more money and spend less.

Be More Productive 

Do you want to get more out of the day? Then the Productive App is for you. This app will help you build a routine by setting a goal, tracking your progress, and sends reminders to you. By using this app, it can analyze your productivity progress. You can break down your productivity by what you are doing daily, weekly, or monthly. Using this app will help you build good habits that are life-changing and it will cost you nothing!

Learn Something New 

If your goal is learning something new, Masterclass is the way to go. It is a streaming platform that you are learning from people who are the best in their field. You can learn how to play tennis from Serena Williams to cooking with Gordon Ramsey. The categories they have are arts, entertainment, home, lifestyle, business, food, music, writing, design, style, sports, gaming, community, government, science, tech, and wellness. Each course contains at least two hours of video. You can watch these videos anytime. The app costs $15 a month, and you can cancel whenever.

Conclusion

Resolutions can be hard to keep. These apps can help you be accountable, focused, motivated, and make sure you are not doing it alone. On top of that, they cost little to nothing and will help you stay on track.

How to Get Your Paycheck Early

 

Who wouldn’t like to get their paycheck before their co-workers? With the Red Crown Early Payday Program, you can receive your money before your actual payday!

There are tons of benefits in participating in the Early Payday Program. A few of them are; you receive your money early, you can reduce stress, and you can pay your bills in advance. The only requirements are to be a Red Crown member and sign up for direct deposit.

What is direct deposit?

Direct deposit is an electronic payment directly from the account of the payer to your account. The funds reach your financial institution through an electronic network. This network is called an automatic clearinghouse (ACH). ACH is a safe and secure network to receive your payment.

What information do I need to set up the direct deposit option?

You will need your account number, the Red Crown routing number (303986148), the type of account (savings or checking), and our address (5001 E. 91st St. Tulsa, OK 74137).

How do I get my paycheck early?

You will need to sign up for direct deposit with the payer (if they offer direct deposit). When we receive the pending credit notification, we immediately post the upcoming deposit to your account. For example, if we receive the file on Wednesday, October 9, and your payday is Friday, October 11, we will credit your account on the 9th! Essentially, this means we are advancing your paycheck for FREE!

Can you guarantee that I receive my paycheck early?

No, we do not guarantee that you will receive the payment early, it depends on when we receive notification from the payer. Also, if the notification is submitted on a holiday or the weekend, it does not apply. This program works during our regular business hours which are Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Why wait? Sign up for our Early Payday Program now!

If you have any questions, give us a call at 918.477.3200.

Mastercard Benefits

Red Crown is excited to announce that we have moved our debit cards to Mastercard.  This change gives our members some great benefits; some of which are:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Financial Account Takeover
  • URL and Domain Monitoring
  • Monthly Risk Alert/Newsletter
  • Identity Monitoring
  • Resolution Services
  • Lost Wallet Assistance
  • Single Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • Mastercard Global Service
  • Extended Warranty
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge
  • Priceless Cities

We will highlight a few of these benefits below:

Identity Theft

Mastercard ID Theft Protection puts your mind at ease when it comes to identity theft. There are at least three ID Theft Protection programs that will help monitor and detect if there is any potential threat occurring.

Financial Account Takeover – This program monitors your account for high-risk transactions.

Identity Monitoring – This program searches the internet to see if your personal information is being compromised. They look at emails, debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts, web logins, medical insurance cards, driver’s licenses, passport number, social security number, and more.

You do have to sign up for Identity Monitoring. Simply go to https://mastercardus.idprotectiononline.com/enrollment/embedded.html. Click the “Activate Now” button and you will be guided.

Resolution Services – An identity theft team is available to you 24/7. You can authorized them to act on your behalf to contact police, credit agencies, and other authorities regarding identity theft issues.

If you want to learn more about identity theft programs, click Master Card Benefits.

Airport Concierge

Mastercard gives you a chance to have a less stressful and seamless trip. On their website, https://mastercard.globalairportconcierge.com/, they will help you search for the best prices for your flight.

Their Airport Concierge arranges a Meet & Greet agent to escort you to your departure, arrival, and connecting flights. This benefit does cost you, but Mastecard gives you a 15% discount on their service.

You can at last say goodbye to long security lines! Using your Mastercard Airport Concierge, you are expedited through security at certain airports.

Mastercard Connecting Flight Services is a transit service. From the moment you land, they will assist you with all your transit services. The Connecting Flight Services are available to you at any time, on any day, at over 700 destinations worldwide.

You have to sign up for airport concierge. Simply go to https://mastercard.globalairportconcierge.com/.

Priceless Cities

Mastercard Priceless Cities gives you a one-of-a-kind experience when you are at home or away. With this program, you receive discounted prices on events or items because you are a Mastercard holder.

There are six different categories for you to choose from; dining, sports, arts, shopping, entertainment and travel around town. These exclusive deals are available in the USA, Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America, and Asia. Some examples of discounts include:

  • Tower above the Windy City with a VIP 360 Chicago Experience
  • Miami Starlight Cruise
  • Cooking Classes
  • Talk to a New York Yankee

All you have to do is sign up for the program at pricless.com. The deal you choose is not free, but you receive an exclusive discount on the experience because you have a Mastercard.

 

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or financial advisor. This is general information and is not a guarantee of saving money.

5 Ways to Save Money

Can we all agree that 2020 has kept us on our toes? Some days feel like time is going so slow and other times it is flying by! Before we know it, the holidays will be here.

Red Crown wants to help you find ways to save during these crazy times. Below are a few examples of ways to help you save money:

Spend a Little Less on Yourself 

According to CNBC, online shopping has gone up 31.8% since the pandemic. Along with online shopping, companies have started to re-open and we are getting back to normal, which means even more shopping.

One great way to save money is to cut back on things you want and do not need. Cutting back on small items can add up dramatically. We all know the Starbucks analog; if you spend $4.43 per drink at Starbucks and you indulge every workday, you will have spent $22.15 in one week on coffee. Cut your trips in half and you will save $11.07 each week. That is $44.30 in just a month!

Look at how much you are spending on random online shopping, going out to eat, Door Dash, and more. You may be shocked. Say no to the some of those “wants” and watch your savings grow.

Stick to Your Shopping List

How many times have you veered off your grocery list or just went from memory? People who do not stick to their grocery list or shop from memory tend to spend more money. Grabbing random items can add up quickly. People who make a list and stick to it end up spending less.

Bring Cash

Go back to when you were a kid and had no debit card or credit card. Do not use any plastic while shopping. Using cash will force you to spend only what you have in your wallet.

Finance Apps

Finance apps can help you make a budget that works for your lifestyle. Within these apps, you can create categories for your paycheck distributions. The program will advise you on what percentage of your check should go into each category. These apps help you to take control on how you budget your money each month.

Using one of these apps can be very useful in knowing how to save, when to save, and how much to save.

Look for Deals

Deals happen all year around. You can find deals when purchasing food, gifts, clothes, and more. Look for sales, coupons, and plan ahead.

Conclusion

These five tips may seem easy, but breaking habits can be a hard thing to do. You do not have to try all of them at once. Using one from this list is a great way to start. When you get comfortable with one, add another. Just start.

 

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to save money. Individual results may vary.

New Claremore Location

Red Crown Credit Union (Red Crown) is happy to announce our new location for Claremore, Oklahoma, set to open in Winter 2018. Red Crown purchased the building that was originally Health Center Pharmacy, located at 113 W. Blue Starr Dr. “Our management team was in town for a planning session and we saw that the building was for sale,” said Mike Moyer, President/CEO – Red Crown. “We discussed it and felt that would be a great spot for a Claremore location,” said Moyer.

“This will be a full service location with a lobby, loan offices and a drive thru,” said Deanne Waguespack, Chief Operations Officer – Red Crown. “We wanted a vintage, but modern look, so we hired W Design out of Tulsa and we are very impressed with the work they have done,” said Waguespack.

The picture above is a rendering of the location by W Design.