How You Can Protect Yourself

Account and identity security begins with you! Learn how to dramatically reduce your chances of being a victim of fraud.

General Precautions

  • Security Reminder! Please use caution when you are using a walk-up or drive-up ATM, or walking to and from your car at a branch. Watch your surroundings, pay attention to your environment and call 911 if you see anything suspicious. Trust your instincts. We care about you and your safety!
  • Never share Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or other sensitive account access information with others.
  • Only share your Social Security number when it is absolutely necessary. Many businesses request this information, but they will accept other forms of identification if you press them. Ask before you automatically provide your Social Security number!
  • Limit what you carry with you. When you shop, travel or just go out on a daily basis, carry only the necessities. Leave your Social Security card, extra credit cards, and PIN numbers stored safely at home.
  • Sign up for Online Statements. The number one place thieves go for your personal information is your mail box! If you use SECU’s free Online Banking Account Access service, you can sign up for free e-statements quickly and easily.
  • Never put personal papers in your trash can or recycling bin. If a document contains personal or financial information, shred it. Thieves often rummage through trash cans to retrieve sensitive information they can use to commit fraud against you.
  • Photocopy important financial documents and store them securely. If vital account information is lost or stolen, photocopies of your credit cards, Social Security card, etc., will make it easier to keep track of what you’ve lost and replacement easier.
  • Review your credit report annually. If there are inaccuracies or you suspect suspicious activity, report it immediately. Find the names and addresses of the three major credit reporting bureaus here.
  • Place your name on the National Do Not Call registry. This will stop or dramatically reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. Visit www.donotcall.gov to register.

SECU's Web pages may contain links or references to other Web sites. Please be aware that we do not control other Web sites and that, in any case, SECU's Privacy Policy does not apply to these Web sites. We encourage you to read the privacy policy of every Web site you visit.

E-mail Security
Online Security
ATM Security
Credit Card and Account Security
Phone and Mail Security

E-mail Security

Phishing e-mail scams are becoming more and more prevalent. Protect yourself by carefully scrutinizing all e-mails you receive. Here are some typical e-mail scam techniques that should put you on the alert:

  1. A request for personal financial information, such as complete account numbers, Social Security numbers, PINs, passwords, or credit card security codes. This e-mail may even mimic the "look" of your financial institution’s website. SECU will never ask you to disclose sensitive information by e-mail or by clicking through a link.
  2. Being asked to provide any financial information to an unsecured site or in a pop-up box link. Neither these nor e-mail are protected by encryption. Encryption translates your confidential information into a secret code before it’s sent across the Internet, so criminals can’t read it.
  3. False links leading to bogus websites set up to gather and pass along your personal information. Check links before clicking on them by moving your mouse on top of them. Look for "https" in the front of any URL in your browser window. If you see “http” without the "s," that site is not secure. Plus, check the URL again after you click through. If the first part after "www." changes, you may have been directed to a scammer’s website without your knowledge.
  4. Attachments sent by an unknown person or company. These may contain viruses or load spyware on your PC to gather information about you without your knowledge.
  5. A supposedly "official" e-mail message with odd formatting, bad grammar, and misspelling. This is a tip-off that it’s a fake. Also, unsolicited e-mails about foreign lottery winnings or requests from strangers to deposit or cash checks should be ignored—these are tried-and-true scam techniques used to steal your funds or identity.
    If you receive a suspicious e-mail that appears to have been sent by SECU Credit Union, please do the following:
    • Do not click on any links within the e-mail or provide any information that is requested.
    • Check the Fraud Alerts page of our Website to see if the e-mail you received has already been reported to the credit union.
    • If the e-mail does not appear on our Fraud Alert page, call SECU’s Contact Center at 410-487-7328 or 1-800-879-7328 to determine if the e-mail is legitimate.
    • If it is determined that the e-mail is not from SECU, delete it immediately. Remember to empty your deleted e-mails when you log off of your computer.
  6. Vishing and smishing are related to phishing. Vishing is voice-based phishing, when the spam request comes via an automated phone message. In smishing, the spam request comes via a text message.

Online Security

Each year, millions of Americans will transact business online. Protect yourself by doing the following:

Protect your passwords.

  • Don’t write them down; memorize them.
  • Do not share your passwords with others and change them regularly.  
  • Create passwords that use a combination of letters and numbers.
  • Do not use sensitive, personal information like your Social Security number as your username or password.
Safeguard your computer.
  • Install a firewall.
  • Purchase anti-virus software.
  • Install a pop-up blocker.

ATM Security

Please follow these safety precautions, particularly if you are using an ATM at night:

Be aware of your surroundings. If the ATM area is not well lit or you feel uncomfortable, don't use it.

  • If you have started a transaction and notice something suspicious, cancel the transaction and take your card.
  • Whenever possible, take a companion along when using an ATM.
  • Place your cash in your pocket or purse as soon as your transaction is complete.
  • Count your cash in the safety of a locked car or at home.

Follow these safety tips to protect your ATM accessible accounts:
  • Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others cannot see you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or transaction amount.
  • Keep your "secret code" a secret. Do not share your PIN with anyone.
  • Do not write your PIN on your ATM card or store it with the card.  
  • Never give your PIN to anyone over the phone.
  • For your safety, SECU only prints the last four digits of your card number on your ATM receipt. However, we still encourage you to take your receipts and check them against your monthly statement to prevent ATM fraud.
If you are a victim of ATM crime:
  • Report a lost or stolen card at once. Call SECU at 410-487-7328 or 800-879-7328 and speak to a Member Service Representative. For TDD, call 410-487-3709 or 888-833-7328. After business hours, call and select the option for lost or stolen ATM Cards.
  • Immediately report all crimes to local law officials and to the institution that operates the ATM.

Credit Card and Account Security

Report lost of stolen credit cards and checks immediately. It’s the best way to quickly stop fraudulent use of your money.

Review your account statements carefully. Get into the habit of thoroughly reviewing your account statements. This is the best way to quickly identify and stop fraudulent activity. You can review recent transactions on your SECU Visa credit card online at www.ezcardinfo.com. Your SECU Checking and Savings and other accounts can be reviewed online by signing up for SECU’s free Online Banking Account Access service.

Never use your Social Security number as a user name or password. SECU’s Online Banking Service and our online Visa credit card service allow you to choose your own private password.

Contact us about suspicious charges. If a credit card or account transaction does not look familiar to you or another person listed on your account, contact us or the appropriate card issuer immediately.

Cancel and cut up unused credit cards, check cards, or ATM cards. If you no longer use a credit card or other account access cards in your possession, cut them up before throwing them away. Then contact the card issuers and cancel the card. Cut up expired cards, too.

Limit the personal information you provide on checks. Never have your Social Security number or driver’s license number pre-printed on your checks and only write it in the memo section when absolutely required.

Store new and cancelled checks in a safe, secure location. Only carry your checkbook when necessary and be sure to document the check number of all checks you write as soon as you present them.

Phone and Mail Security

Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls about your accounts. Never provide anyone with personal information over the phone, no matter who they say they are. SECU Credit Union employees will never ask you to provide full account numbers, E7passwords, or other sensitive information during a call you did not initiate.

Place your name on the national Do Not Call list. Visit www.donotcall.gov to register online.

Promptly retrieve mail from your mailbox. Never let mail collect in your box. Retrieve it daily to limit the opportunity for theft.

Do not place outgoing mail in your personal mailbox. Place your outgoing mail in a United States Postal Service box or drop it off at your local post office to reduce the chance of mail theft.

Know your billing and statement cycles. If you do not receive your account statements when they are expected to arrive, contact your provider immediately. Someone may have removed it from your mailbox.

Consumer Check Fraud Tips

Fraud professionals have become increasingly skilled and sophisticated, thanks to advances in readily available technology such as personal computers, scanners, and color photocopiers. Criminals today can defraud you and your financial institution quite easily with a blank check taken from your check book, a canceled check found in your garbage, or a check you mailed to pay a bill. Therefore, it is important to follow a common-sense, logical approach with the way you use and store your checks.

  1. Make sure your checks are endorsed by your financial institution and incorporate security features that help combat counterfeiting and alteration.
  2. Store your checks, deposit slips, bank statements and canceled checks in a secure and locked location. Never leave your checkbook in your vehicle or in the open.
  3. Reconcile your bank statement within 30 days of receipt in order to detect any irregularities. Otherwise, you may become liable for any losses due to check fraud.
  4. Never give your account number to people you do not know, especially over the telephone. Be particularly aware of unsolicited phone sales. Fraudsters can use your account without your authorization and you may end up being responsible.
  5. Unless needed for tax purpose, destroy old canceled checks, account statements, deposit tickets, ATM receipts (they also frequently have your account number and worse yet, your account balance). The personal information on it may help someone impersonate you and take money from your account.
  6. When you receive your check order, make sure all of the checks are there, and that none are missing. Report missing checks to your bank at once. Should you fail to receive your order by mail, alert your bank. Checks could have been stolen from mail box or lost in transient.
  7. If your home is burglarized, check your supply of checks to determine if any have been stolen. Look closely, because thieves will sometimes take only one or two checks from the middle or back of the book. The longer it takes to detect any of your checks have been taken, the more time the criminal has to use them successfully.
  8. If someone pays you with a cashier's check, have them accompany you to the bank to cash it. If at all possible, only accept a check during normal business hours so you can verify whether it is legitimate. Make sure you obtain identification information from the individual
  9. Do not mail bills from your mailbox at night. It is a favorite location from which a criminal can gain possession of your check with the intent to defraud you. Criminals will remove a check from your mailbox and either endorse it using bogus identification, photocopy and cash it repeatedly, scan and alter the check, or chemically alter it. The Post Office is the best location from which to send your bill payment.
  10. Limit the amount of personal information on your check. For example, do not include your Social Security, driver's license or telephone numbers on your check. A criminal can use this information to literally steal your identity by applying for a credit card or loan in your name, or even open a new checking account.
  11. Don't leave blank spaces on the payee and amount lines.
  12. The type of pen you use makes a difference. Most ballpoint and marker inks are dye based, meaning that the pigments are dissolved in the ink. But, based on ink security studies, gel pens, like the Uniball 207 uses gel ink that contains tiny particles of color that are trapped into the paper, making check washing a lot more difficult.
  13. Don't write your credit card number on the check.
  14. Use your own pre-printed deposit slips, and make sure the account number on your slip is correct. Thieves occasionally alter deposit slips in the hope you won't notice and the money goes into their account.
  15. Don't make a check payable to cash. If lost or stolen, the check can be cashed by anyone.
  16. Never endorse a check until you are ready to cash or deposit it. The information can be altered if it is lost or stolen.

For more information about check fraud, visit the National Check Fraud Center at www.ckfraud.org.

FTC Launches Site to Battle Cybercrime

OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

Interactive quizzes teach you about identity theft, phishing, spam, and online-shopping scams. The program explains misconceptions about Internet security and how it can lead to trouble. Additionally, you can find detailed guidance on how to monitor your credit histories, use effective passwords, and recover from identity theft.

Five federal agencies -- the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Homeland Security, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Commerce, and the Securities and Exchange Commission -- and 13 private organizations partnered to sponsor the Onguard Online website.

Have you heard about trigger leads??

When someone applies for a mortgage, the credit bureaus immediately sell the applicant information to other mortgage companies to contact as prospects. These are called "trigger leads". Some of our members who are applying for loans through SECU have received prospecting phone calls from other mortgage companies who have bought trigger leads.

Sometimes, the caller begins the conversation by thanking the member for applying for a mortgage and explains that he/she is calling to continue the process. The impression is that the caller is with SECU. Some of our members have provided the caller with information only to find out later that the caller was not with SECU.

In other cases, the caller is up front about the company he/she represents, but is very persistent in the sales effort. One member showed us a whole loan package that was sent to him from another company after he applied to SECU for a mortgage. Another member told us that a caller became verbally abusive when the member was not interested in hearing what the caller had to offer.

Here is some important information for you to know:

  • SECU does not ever sell member information! When you apply for a mortgage, it is standard procedure for the credit bureaus to sell your name to other mortgage companies to use as a prospect.
  • Some lenders might call you after you apply for your SECU loan. They might give you the impression that they are with SECU. They might be very forceful and persistent over the phone. If this happens, hang up and call your SECU loan officer for clarification.
  • If you receive a call (or a letter), please verify what company the caller is with, and ask him/her the name of your loan officer. If they cannot/will not answer these questions, hang up immediately and call your SECU loan officer for clarification.
  • Protect yourself. Protect your identity. Don’t give out any information if you are not certain who is asking.

A missing period when typing in SECU’s URL can direct people to a misleading website.

Have you ever left out the period between the third 'w' and the rest of a Web address in a site you've tried to visit? It could take you to a site you didn't intend to go to.

SECU Credit Union's website is www.secumd.org. If you happened to leave out the period between the third 'w' and the 's' in SECU's Web address, you would have ended up at a site named wwwsecumd.org, rather than SECU Credit Union’s website. The address wwwsecumd.org actually redirects you to the address of this website: landing.domainsponsor.com/index.mas?epl=UVsPWVALXVUMVV8UTxIVVgJBC1NNWkUGR1RqUVwJBV0A. Please be aware that this website is not associated with SECU Credit Union in any way; please do not conduct any SECU-related business or communications at that site.

For your security, always exercise caution when typing a URL into the address bar on your Web browser.

ID Theft Complaints

If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft or have a complaint concerning identity theft click here to file a complaint with the federal Trade Commision

For detailed information about how to protect yourself from identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.