Tag: security

 

A Guide on How to Freeze Your Credit

By Rebecca Lake
April 16, 2020

Protecting your credit is important. For starters, a good credit score can help you get a car loan or a mortgage. So, it stands to reason that you’ll want to keep your credit information out of the hands of hackers.

One of the most beneficial ways to safeguard your credit against data breaches and identity theft includes a credit freeze. Here’s what you need to know about how to freeze your credit. 

What is a credit freeze?

A credit freeze or security freeze is a way to restrict who has access to your credit report. When you freeze your credit with the three credit bureaus, this means lenders and other entities can’t view your credit history. Since a lender or credit card company can’t pull your credit reports, this makes it hard for an identity thief to open a new credit account in your name.

A credit freeze, however, doesn’t mean no one can see your credit information. Your current creditors or debt collectors can still check your credit file. Government agencies can also access your credit if they have a court order, subpoena or search warrant. A credit freeze also doesn’t prevent you from getting prescreened offers for credit. For example, you can still get invitations to open new credit card accounts in the mail even if you have a credit freeze in place. 

How a credit freeze works

A credit freeze temporarily blocks access to your credit reports at the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It’s temporary because you can freeze or unfreeze your credit at any time. 

Credit freezes stay in place until you ask the credit bureau to remove them; no one else can unfreeze your credit. If you ask for a credit freeze to be lifted online or by phone, the credit bureau has to honor your request within one hour. If you make your request by mail, the freeze must be lifted no later than three business days after it is received. Also important to note: You have to request credit freezes and freeze removals individually with all three credit bureaus. 

Credit freezes affect specific types of credit activity. For example, when you have a credit freeze in place, you can still check your credit report and scores, apply for jobs, rent an apartment or purchase insurance. 

A credit freeze also has other limitations. For instance, if someone already has access to your bank account or credit card accounts, a credit freeze won’t prevent them from using your information to make fraudulent charges. In addition, credit freezes can’t prevent fraudsters from misusing your information without involving a credit check. So, for instance, someone may use your personal information to obtain government benefits fraudulently or file a fraudulent tax return in your name to get a refund. 

How do I freeze my credit?

If you’re interested in how to freeze your credit, it’s not a complicated process. But remember: You have to make your request for a credit freeze with each of the three credit bureaus. You can do that online or over the phone. 

Here’s how you can get in touch with each of the credit bureaus to initiate a credit freeze:

When you request a credit freeze, you’ll need to give the credit bureaus certain personal information. That includes your name, address, date of birth and social security number. Experian requires you to set up a personal identification number (PIN) to freeze and unfreeze your credit. With Equifax and TransUnion, you can set up an account online and create a unique password to log in. 

If you need to unfreeze your credit you can do so online. You can either unfreeze one or all three of your credit reports. You can also ask that a freeze be lifted for a certain number of days or permanently. As of September 2018, it’s completely free to freeze and unfreeze your credit

Do I need to freeze my credit?

Whether it makes sense to freeze your credit can depend on a couple of things, namely whether you’ve worried about being a victim of identity theft and whether you think you’ll need to apply for credit in the near-term. 

Again, while it isn’t completely foolproof, freezing your credit reports can help lower your odds of having your personal and financial information compromised. On the other hand, if you plan to apply for loans or credit cards in the short-term, you’ll need to plan in advance. While it’s possible to have a credit freeze lifted in an hour, it’s good to give yourself an extra cushion of time for the freeze to be lifted. 

You also may need to unfreeze your credit if you’re applying for a job and a prospective employer requests a credit check. While this isn’t the norm, some employers ask for credit checks and background checks as part of the hiring process. 

Alternatives to a credit freeze

If you’re interested in alternatives to how to freeze your credit, you can also consider a fraud alert or using a credit monitoring service. Fraud alerts let creditors know that your personal or financial information has been stolen. For instance, you can set up a fraud alert on your credit reports if your information was part of a data breach. 

It’s free to set up a fraud alert and they can stay in place for up to one year, or you can request an extended fraud alert that lasts seven years. Putting a fraud alert on one of your credit reports alerts all three credit bureaus.

Credit monitoring services, on the other hand, are often free and allow you to keep tabs on changes to your credit reports month to month. 

Regardless of whether you choose a credit freeze, fraud alert or credit monitoring service, keep in mind that it’s still important to monitor your credit card and bank account activity regularly for any potentially suspicious or fraudulent activity. 

[the_ad id=”21630″]

 

A Guide on How to Protect Yourself From Online Scams

By Chime Team
April 9, 2020

Online banking scams are on the rise. And with many of them, you are your best defense.

So, while Chime takes security very seriously — and works diligently to provide a safe mobile banking experience — we also believe it’s important to educate our members about the types of scams they may encounter. 

Here’s how to recognize online scammers so they can’t take advantage of you and your hard-earned money.

3 red flags for financial scams 🚩

If you’re on social media and see any of the following, there’s a good chance it’s a scam: 

  • Use of the term “free money”
  • Images of large amounts of cash or luxury items
  • References to Chime “ambassadors” or “reps”

You should also know that — no matter the platform — Chime will never ask you for your: 

  • Full Social Security number (though we may request the last four digits)
  • Personal information:
    • (Account and Routing numbers
      Debit or credit card number/information (except last 4)
    • PIN) 
  • Money in exchange for services
  • Username and password

If an individual asks you for any sensitive information like that, you should cease communications and alert Chime immediately.

How to tell you’re speaking to legitimate Chime employees 

While we know we’re awesome, we really wish people would stop impersonating us. But, until we’re able to crack down on every scammer, we’d urge you to double-check who you’re talking to. 

Before communicating with Chime on any social media platform, make sure the account is verified. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, this is signified by a blue checkmark next to our name. 

 

 

Also: We don’t initiate contact with members via direct message unless they’ve won a sweepstakes or a promotion. If you do win, you’ll hear from Chime’s verified accounts: we don’t have Chime “ambassadors” or “representatives” who speak on our behalf.  You’ll know a Chime sweepstakes or promotion is authentic because it will be advertised on our official Instagram account and on television.

As for email, you should always check the address to make sure it ends in @chime.com. If the email address has a different ending, it isn’t from us.

Types of scams to be aware of 👀

We’ve seen a variety of techniques used by individuals falsely claiming to represent Chime. Here are a few you might encounter.

Phone calls  📱

Some scammers call from a fake Chime support number, pretending to be a member services agent. After asking you about recent transactions, they claim your account has been compromised and say they need to mail you a new card. But, before doing so, they ask you to “verify” your account details. Then, once they have that information, they take over your account and drain your funds.

Remember: We won’t ever call you to ask for your personal information.

Text messages 📲

Same story, different platform. Scammers pretend they are verifying transactions via text, before ultimately asking you to share your account details. 

Pro tip: The scam texts below refer to “Chime Banking.” Note that we’ll never refer to ourselves in a text as Chime Banking.

How to Protect Yourself From Online Scams Text Scams

Cash or money flipping 💸

You may have seen promises of “cash flipping” on social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can often spot these posts because they feature images of cash or luxury goods, and are accompanied by a mountain of hashtags like #cashflip, #moneyflip, #cashout, or #fastcash. 

These scammers promise they have a “secret” investment strategy — all you have to do is send them some money, and they’ll return it 10 times over. 

As TechCrunch reported, “Some variations of money flippers ask for access to an empty bank account, depositing bad checks to make the mark believe they’re getting paid, then withdraw the money before the bank or the customer realizes the checks were counterfeit.” 

The bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Direct messages 📥

Also found on social media channels, these scammers tag or direct message you, claiming they can “adjust the funds” in your account. 

To do so, they may ask for your username and password, card details, transaction history, or even your Social Security number. 

REMEMBER:  Never share your username and password with anyone — we will never ask for it.

Fake Chime support websites and social media profiles 🖥

Some particularly ambitious scammers go as far as creating “Chime Support” websites and social media profiles, with the goal of luring members to share their login information and account details. 

As we noted above, Chime’s legitimate social media accounts are all verified with a blue checkmark next to our name. If you want to make doubly sure you’re interacting with the real Chime, you can visit our homepage and click the social media icons at the bottom of the page. 

 

How to protect yourself from online scams chime fake support

How to stay safe and avoid scams 🔒

If scammers are anything, they’re creative — and new types of scams crop up all the time. While we’ve detailed several popular techniques above, this list is by no means exhaustive. 

Since we’ll never be able to stay on top of the myriad scams out there, we’d urge you to stay vigilant — and remind you that Chime will never call, email, or text you to ask for personal information or passwords. 

Here are a few additional security tips: 

  • Never write any identifying information, especially your PIN, on your debit card
  • Never share your personal information, including your account number, user name, password, Social Security number, birthdate, or address with strangers or on unsecure websites
  • Enable push notifications in the Chime app so you’ll immediately be alerted of suspicious activity
  • When you’re not planning to use your card, you can even block all debit card transactions; all it takes is a quick toggle in the Chime app
  • Watch out for increased scammer activity during tax season

If ultimately, you think your information has been compromised, you should change your password immediately. And, if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, you should contact both Chime and the police right away. 

What is Chime doing about this? 

Although we strive to shut down fake accounts as quickly as possible, new ones continue to appear. 

We encourage you to guard your personal information carefully — and if you see a scam, let us know ASAP. You can do so by sending us an email or messaging us directly through any of our verified social media channels.

Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The Chime Visa® Credit Builder Card is issued by Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see back of your Card for its issuing bank.

Please note: By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Chime website and be directed to an external website. The privacy policies of the external website may differ from our privacy policies. Please review the privacy policies and security indicators displayed on the external website before providing and personal information.

© 2013-2020 Chime. All Rights Reserved.