First, don’t panic. As a member of Ironworkers USA FCU, we’re here to help you through the tough times. We will work with you to make sure you can get through your situation. To start, here are five things to consider when tackling your money emergency
- Find immediate ways to save. If you don’t already have a budget, access your checking account statement and review your expenses. If you’re spending money on things that you don’t really need, stop and tighten your belt asap. If it’s a true emergency, you may need to make some tough decisions but having the extra cash will be worth it.
- Ask a relative. Before you max out your credit cards, think about whether or not you have a relative you can ask for help. It is important to pay them back in a timely manner, but the “Bank of Family” usually has more flexible terms than most financial institutions.
- Use credit wisely. If putting your emergency debt on a credit card or getting a personal loan is your only option, be careful. You may get immediate relief, but interest rates can dramatically increase the size of your debt.
- Stay clear of payday loans. Payday loans can be a quick way to access money if you have bad credit, but they can be really expensive. Call the Credit Union before thinking about this option.
- Give us a call. No matter how helpless you might feel in a money emergency, we are here to help. Give a member representative a call at 1-877-769-4766 to set up an appointment to discuss your options. Ironworkers USA FCU is here to help you in good times and bad.
Keep Your Identity Safe
Equifax breach compromises millions of Americans.
In September, Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, revealed that cyber criminals gained access to company data in July which compromised sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver’s license numbers, for 143 million U.S. consumers.
Since personal information was stolen, along with approximately 209,000 credit card numbers, this breach will increase the opportunity for identity theft to occur. It’s important to be proactive in order to keep your identity safe.
Enroll in Equifax’s identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services. Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/ to begin the process of enrolling in Equifax’s program. This multi-step program will first help you identify whether or not you are potentially affected by this breach. Follow the instructions carefully as it will provide an enrollment date and requires you to go to a different webpage on your enrollment date.
Check your credit reports. Even if you are not identified by Equifax as a potential victim, we recommend you check your credit report for any suspicious activity. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free reports from the three credit bureaus.
When viewing your reports, look for any credit card accounts or loans that you did not open, late payments on debts you don’t recognize or any other unusual activity. If you see unauthorized accounts, immediately contact the bank or credit card company. You won’t be responsible for the fraudulent charges, but you must report the problem in a timely manner
Freeze your credit. Another way to protect your credit is to freeze your credit. Putting a freeze on your credit restricts access to your credit report which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name as most creditors need to see your credit report prior to approving a new account.
To freeze your credit, contact each of the credit bureaus using these phone numbers: Equifax: 1-800-685-1111
There is usually a small fee for freezing your credit, and you may temporarily lift the freeze if you are applying for credit or a job. If you find out which credit reporting company the business will contact for your file, you can save some money by lifting the freeze only at that particular company.
Set a fraud alert. If you have already been a victim of identity theft or are concerned about it, you may set a fraud alert. A fraud alert is free, and you only have to contact one of the credit bureaus as they will contact the other two. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information.
To set a fraud alert, contact ONE of the credit bureaus above and ask for an initial fraud alert. Once the alert is set, it will last 90 days. You will have to renew it after the initial 90 days.
If you have questions about fraud prevention or think your Credit Union account may have been hacked, call us right away at 1-877-769-4766.