Credit Review Reminder  April, 2019 Close/ Open

 

The last few years have seen data compromise after data compromise. Equifax was far and away the worst (more on that below, but there have been several others. We absolutely recommend you take a moment or two to review yours.

Pro-tip: You can pull your report from one bureau now, and another in four months. Then, pull your report from the third bureau in another four months to maintain the most contant, year-round monitoring.

You will want to use AnnualCreditReport.com to pull your information. Beware, the site may ask you to purchase your actual credit score. You most likely don't need this information as it is available elsewhere for free. Once you have your report, let us know if we can help you read it or if you have any questions.

Roof Repair Scams   April, 2019 Close/ Open

 

The following contains links to sites not owned or operated by ACU. Please review their terms of use.

District Attorney’s Office - 18th Judicial District

Roof Repair - Think Ahead as Hail Season Approaches

Spring and hailstorm damage go hand in hand, making it “high season” for contractor complaints. Given the numerous complaints law enforcement receives this time of year, now is the time to consider steps to take for repairing a roof or property in the event of hail or storm damage. Consider the following: The greatest number of complaints are against door-to-door contractors, especially those who come knocking right after a hailstorm.

The most common complaint type is contractor nonperformance—the homeowner gives money up front to an untrustworthy contractor who may or may not begin the work and then disappears—closely followed by poor quality of work grievances.

If the loss to the consumer exceeds the $7,500 amount for small claims court, the consumer may have to risk hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit. Consumers may end up winning judgments that they can never collect.

Under the Colorado Mechanics Lien Law – C.R.S. 38-22-101, subcontractors and suppliers have the right to place a lien on an owner’s property if they are not paid by the contractor for the work they performed on the home. The law insures that subs/suppliers are fairly paid for the value they provide to a home as a result of their work.

Before buying a salvage vehicle:

Door-to-door contractors are not necessarily scam artists, but doing business with one out of sheer convenience is risky.

  • Research all prospective contractors. Ask your insurance company for a recommendation. Review the business on the Better Business Bureau website at www.bbb.org Things to look for include the length of time the company has been in business and the number of complaints the business has received. How the business handles such complaints is often revealing
  • Check with the building department in your city or county to see if the contractor is licensed.
  • Get at least three bids. Many companies will not request any payment before work is completed. A roofing contractor is prohibited by law from waiving your obligation to pay your insurance deductible.
  • Understand the contract before signing. The contract should have a start and end date, and a clause that indicates how disputes will be handled. Understand your obligation if the insurance company does not pay for something. Once the work commences, get all change orders in writing.
  • Get a signed lien waiver from the contractor when you make your payment to insure that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid to avoid a lien being slapped on your home (see Mechanics Lien Law, above)
  • Understand your rights under the Residential Roofing Services statute, C.R.S. 6-22-101. A roofing contractor must disclose their surety and liability coverage insurer and provide the homeowner with written notification that the roofing contractor shall hold any payment from the residential property owner in trust until the roofing contractor has delivered roofing materials or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the residential property.
  • DA – 18th Consumer Protection Line: 720-874-8547

    Browser Extensions  March, 2019 Close/ Open

     

    We have recently seen instances of unusual and pretty clever attempts to steal information. To pull this one off, fraudsters rely on members to download specific browser extensions that often come attached to other downloads. They then use this browser extension to load dynamic ads onto a person's computer.

    What makes this clever is that the ad program/ extension knows when you are on a banking site and loads a pop-up that matches that site. This message builds fear by saying your credit union is compromised and you need to provide certain information. Of course, that information does not go to your institution and the message fabricated.

    Please know that this is a very clever scam. If you ever receive a message of account compromise, please contact us by phone where we can take further steps to ensure your account is unaffected. In the rare case something has happened, we may wish to begin your Identity Safe protection. Unfortunately, you will also need to take additional steps to remove the malicious software from your computer. Again, if you see something unusual regarding your account please contact us first before sharing any information.

    Credit Freezes September 26, 2018 Close/ Open

     

    You can now make credit freezes for free. Last year's data compromise resulted in a bill asking agencies to start offering this resource for consumers. You can set up credit freezes at any of the agencies websites:(Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, ChexSystems.) ACU also has tools and resources available to help and want to keep our members informed about all options available. If you have any questions or concerns about a specific situation please contact us and we can offer guidance and assistance.

    IRS Tax Fraud Phone Scam February 16, 2018 Close/ Open

     

    Recently members have been receiving automated phone calls claiming they are with the IRS about committing tax fraud and using scare tactics threatening lawsuits, warrants, and family penalties; these calls are scams. If you do receive one please ignore it and don’t provide any information or account numbers in response to these calls. The IRS will contact you by mail not by phone or email. Although, if they do contact you by mail, be sure not to ignore any official letters and reply as soon as possible.

    Additionally, please remember to file your taxes as early as you can to avoid any mishaps or tax scams. Of note, TurboTax offers a $5 discount for credit union members. While we don't endorse TurboTax specifically, you can redeem that discount here.

    Additional Information: District Attorney’s Office - 18th Judicial District

    Fraud Alert Warning: New IRS Refund Scam is Gaining Traction

    There is a new IRS scam that’s spreading and is playing off of the more widely known tax imposter phone scam that claims money is owed to the IRS. This newly hatched, very intricate scam involves criminals who are processing and sending tax refunds directly to consumers and then calling and scaring them into returning the funds. Prior to late January when the IRS began accepting 2017 tax returns, criminals brazenly infected the computers of tax preparers and stole tax information on clients. Now they are using this data to process actual tax refunds. Once the refunds are sent, the crooks will call, text, or leave phone messages claiming to be agents or debt collectors from the IRS, and threatening victims with scare tactics if they don’t send their ‘fraudulent’ refunds back. There are obvious red flags with this scam, the most notable being that crooks are demanding payment using a wire service, or are instructing their victims to load a pre-paid card with money, then calling in a code, instead of instructing them to send the refund directly to the IRS. This tactic of requesting funds through round-about means is the hallmark of a typical phone scam. The second red flag is that the IRS won’t call you, even if you owe them. If your caller ID shows up as “IRS”, or “U.S. Department of Treasury, it’s a scam, and don’t respond. Although the IRS won’t call you, crooks will try to make it look that way by “spoofing” the information that appears on your Caller ID.

    Steps to take if you are concerned, or have already received a refund:

    • Immediately contact your tax preparer if he/she has not notified you of this scam, especially if you’ve already received a refund, or a refund you weren’t expecting. Usual turnaround time on a refund request is ten days, so any quick return of a refund should be questioned.
    • In truth, fraudulent refunds must immediately be sent back to the IRS so they can take measures to correct and restore the client’s account to good standing, then process an appropriate refund. If you received a mailed refund check, void it and send it back to the IRS, along with a copy of the return and explanation as to why the check is being returned. If the check was automatically deposited, call the IRS to explain what happened (800-829-1040 for individuals or 800-829-4933 for businesses), then notify your bank so they can return the money. Finally, if you’ve already spent part or all the refund, you will need to write a check to repay the IRS. Send your check to your local IRS service center, along with a note explaining you were a victim of this scam. Make certain you have the correct IRS return address. Your tax preparer will have this information and should be able to guide you through these steps. For more information on this scam, contact the IRS at: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts

      The following contains links to sites not owned or operated by ACU. Please review their terms of use.

      Lastly, if you are unsure about a call, email or letter you receive, don’t hesitate to contact ACU by simply clicking/tapping the button below and we can provide assistance.

    Equifax Breach September 8, 2017 Close/ Open

     

    The following contains links to sites not owned or operated by ACU. Please review their terms of use.

    The breach has been reported as potentially affecting 143 million US consumers. Personal data, including birth dates, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and more, were obtained in the breach. This potentiates identity theft opportunities related to the 143 million personal data records that may be appended to other acquired records and leveraged for account takeovers.

    Attached is the link to the Equifax website. On the home page, you will be able to determine if your credit information was exposed by clicking on the “Potential Impact” button, then following the instructions.

    What you can do

  • Monitor credit activity (www.annualcreditreport.com, etc.)
  • Reset account passwords, PIN codes and other log-in credentials on financial accounts that may be vulnerable.
  • Establish multiple-authentication protocols for financial accounts and email, when possible
  • Establish credit monitoring service through Equifax or through other service providers
  • For more information on the Equifax breach and other precautions to take, click on the Federal Trade Commission link

    Shred Event
    Promotional Item

    You are legally permitted to access your credit report, for free, once a year. If it's time, you can begin the process at this link. Please note that ACU does not own or operate this site, however.

    Shred Event
    Promotional Item

    Most members have ACU Identity Safe, an ID recovery tool that is free to use. If you believe that your identity may have been compromised, please use it!

    Colorado Bureau of Investigation Identity Theft & Fraud Unit
    Equifax Data Breach Tips/Recommendations
    Close/ Open

     

    The following contains links to sites not owned or operated by ACU. Please review their terms of use.

    The recent announcement regarding the data breach at Equifax has many people concerned about how to respond and protect your identity from ID thieves. Equifax is just the most recent of a number of data breaches that have impacted the majority of Americans. Here are some steps we recommend everyone take to protect yourself and your family from ID thieves and data breaches.

    • Assume your information has been breached and act on that assumption. This is one time when assuming the worst will actually protect you.
    • If you already have a credit monitoring/ID theft protection service, contact them immediately to determine what assistance they can offer you.
    • Obtain a copy of your credit report. You may obtain a copy here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
    • Set up a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze with the Credit Reporting Agencies. Here is some information on setting up a Fraud Alert: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert
    • Here is information on an Extended Alert and Credit Freezes: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0279-extended-fraud-alerts-and-credit-freezes
    • Consider your children’s credit reports as well as your own. Your child may not have a credit report, but it doesn’t hurt to try and check it out. In Colorado, the law says that “all consumers” may place a credit freeze. If your child does have a credit report, as that person’s guardian or parent, you may freeze their credit to protect them.
    • Monitor your accounts for any suspicious or fraudulent activities. If you choose to access accounts online, just remember to use strong passwords and make sure you are not accessing your account on a public Wi-Fi network.
    • Check your mail for anything that may indicate that someone is using your ID to try and obtain credit.
    • Opt Out of pre-approved credit offers. Find out how here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0148-prescreened-credit-and-insurance-offers
    • Request a year end analysis of services provided from your health insurance provider. This will show what doctor visits or other medical services have been billed to your insurance. This will help you determine if someone is using your medical ID.
    • You may want to consider setting up an account with My Social Security. Sometimes ID thieves will try to set up this account using your ID. If you already have an account established, the thief will not be able to get into your account. This site does require two step authentication (2 passwords) for extra protection. Learn more or sign up here: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
    • If you KNOW that your ID has been breached, complete an IRS Form 14039 (IRS ID Theft Affidavit) to alert the IRS that someone else may file fraudulent tax returns in your name. Find this form and instructions here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf
    • If you notice anything suspicious in any of your accounts or your mail, don’t ignore it. Check it out!
    • Be very careful about emails or text messages you may receive offering your assistance in fixing the data breach problems. These are most likely scams! DO NOT click on any links or open attachments. Simply delete. If you receive a similar phone call—hang up on the caller. DO NOT give out any personal information!
    • Data Breaches can be scary, but help is available. By taking a few simple steps and working closely with your local law enforcement, financial institutions and specialized victim advocates, you will be able to recover and repair the damage.

      For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Identity Theft & Fraud Investigations Unit

      Email:
      CBI.StopIDTheft@state.co.us

      24 Hour Identity Theft Hotline:
      1-855-443-3489 (toll free)

      Victim Assistance Program:
      303-239-4242

      Visit us on Facebook:
      https://www.facebook.com/CBI.IDTheft

      Close

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