Tough on Fraud

You hear about it on the news every week. You’re constantly warned about being careful, and it may have even happened to you. Fraud is becoming more common with access to the internet and it has the ability to affect almost anyone. As scary as it may seem, AmeriChoice has some easy tips to prevent it from happening to you as well as what to do if it does.

Basics of Fraud Prevention

There are simple ways to help protect yourself online and from common scams. If you follow these tips you can reduce the chance that fraud will happen to you, and if it does, these tips will help you identify it as quick as possible.

Simple Tips:

  1. Watch your accounts. Regularly check your home banking and mobile banking applications to monitor your accounts. Check your history to see if the transaction list is legitimate and matches your receipts.
  2. Be cautious with email. Only read emails from people you know are sending you something that you might expect from them. Emails can be easily hacked, so be cautious opening an attachment in an email, even from someone you know. Contact them separately to make sure the email is legitimate.
  3. Know your credit history. You can check your credit report multiple times a year for free. Try it at annualcreditreport.com! If any information is inaccurate, you can file for changes to be made.
  4. Know who you are giving your information to and know how it will be used. This is a broad tip that can be applied to many different situations. If you get an email, letter, or phone call asking for personal information, tell them you’ll call them back at their official number. That way you can make sure you’re speaking to your credit union, financial advisor, doctor, etc. Also, when you’re paying for items on the internet, make sure the website is a reputable source and is using a secure site certificate (https).

There will always be new scams and ways to commit fraud, and many of our members have experienced this at one time in their life. But if you stay cautious and aware of your personal finances, you can reduce your chances of becoming the next victim.

AmeriChoice is Tough on Fraud

At AmeriChoice, we have a system in place to monitor all activity on our ATM/Debit cards. If anything is out of your normal spending pattern, it will create a possible fraud alert.

Here are some examples of spending patterns that might signal fraud:

  • Many small charges
  • Purchases larger than normal amounts
  • Out of the area charges
  • Two charges at the same time in two different areas
  • Too many purchases at the same location within an hour

Our card processor will then text you asking if a purchase was legitimate. If you respond, “yes,” then the card remains open and you can continue shopping. If , “no,” then the card is blocked and a follow up call is placed. We encourage you to contact AmeriChoice directly for further instruction on card replacement. Although our card processor has this ability, we prefer to have personal contact with our members who experience fraud on their card. We know it can be a scary time, and our eServices wants to take that time to reassure you and make sure you understand what happens next.

In most cases, the charge is stopped and never posts to your account. eServices then issues another card at no charge, and you’re back on track!

If fraudulent charges do make it onto your account, the following will occur:

  1. You will be assigned a personal case worker from our eServices Department.
  2. A new ATM/Debit card is ordered immediately. The card is created the same day and mailed the following day. If you are not local and need the card immediately, we will pay our card processor to have the card expedited, at no charge.  If getting cash becomes a dire need, we can offer alternative solutions, like a limit increase on your VISA credit card, Western Union, wire transfers, checks, cash back, etc.
  3. Your account is monitored on daily basis for any outstanding checks or automatic drafts to the account. All items are paid up to the fraud amount and no items are returned. You are free to continue to use the account as normal – only the ATM/Debit card needs to be replaced.
  4. You then must complete a fraud packet that consists of forms verifying that you did not participate, or had knowledge of the transaction(s), nor did you authorize anyone to use the card. We will also need a copy of your driver’s license, the ATM/Debit card returned if not lost/stolen, an affidavit for our insurance company, and a police report. The police report is used for subpoenas to pull ATM video to try and find the perpetrator. Many steps occur behind the scenes to investigate these crimes. We take fraud very seriously!
  5. Once we receive the completed fraud packet, the account is completely reimbursed since AmeriChoice is fully insured.

At AmeriChoice, we try to make this process as easy and painless for our members, as we know it’s a difficult time. We’ll be with you every step of the way if fraud happens to you.

Written with assistance from Tom Ha, VP of Information Technology & Karen Vafias, eServices Manager.