Staying Safe Online

shopping online

With the average American spending 24 hours a week online, internet safety is more important than ever. A hacked or compromised computer can put you at risk for money loss, phishing scams or even complete identity theft.

It gets worse: If your computer’s security has been breached, it can be turned into a “middle man” for online theft. Criminals mayremotely control a computer with weak security and use it as a patsy for large-scale crimes against hundreds or thousands of other computer users. An unprotected computer can commit awful crimes without its owner even knowing about it!

Fortunately, keeping your privacy, money and sensitive information safe when browsing the internet is simple; all it takes is awareness, some proactive steps and lots of common sense.

Read on for steps you can take to keep yourself safe online.

Avoid fake sites

The easiest way to get scammed online is to visit a fraudulent site. If you’re browsing a site you don’t usually use, ask yourself these questions to make sure it’s safe:

  • Does your browser warn you against visiting the site? Whether you browse with Chrome, Firefox or Safari, your browser will warn you about certain sites based on actual data and user reports.
  • Is the web text riddled with grammar mistakes and typos? Reputable website owners are careful to present a polished, professional look. If a site looks like it was written by a second-grader, leave it.
  • Is the site secure? Only visit sites with an https and not just an “http” in the address bar.
  • Does the digital footprint check out? Google the company’s name to see what the internet and Better Business Bureau are saying about them.
  • Is there a legitimate “Contact us” section? There should be an authentic physical address and phone number for the business.
  • Is there an excessive amount of ads? Ads are intrinsic to the online world, but if a website seems to be covered in intrusive ads, it’s likely a fake.
  • Check the shipping and return policies. If you can’t find this information, the site probably doesn’t really sell anything at all – though they are happy to take your money.
  • Is there a trust seal? Companies that deal with sensitive information make an investment to earn your trust. A trust seal, like the PayPal or Norton Secured seal, tells you the company has worked hard to deserve your trust.
  • Is the URL authentic? When redirected to another site, check the new URL to see if it matches the original company.

Practice password safety

It’s your key to almost every online board and gated site; do your best to keep it safe! Here’s how:

  • Use a password generator. The best way to ensure that your passwords don’t get hacked is to use a password generator like Sticky Password, LastPass or 1Password. These services generate a super-secure password for every site you visit – but you’ll only need to remember your one master password.
  • Change your password. If you don’t like the idea of using a password generator, experts recommend changing your passwords every 30-40 days.
  • Never double passwords. Using common passwords across multiple sites is easy on the memory but hard on your safety and security.
  • Use strong passwords. For optimal security, choose passwords that include a mixture of capitalization use, numbers, letters and symbols.

Update your browser

Perhaps the most neglected and simplest step of internet safety is keeping your browser updated. With just one click, you’ll increase your browser’s security and improve your computer at the same time.  

Here’s why you’ll want to keep your browser running with its newest version:

  • Increased speed. Each new version of your browser is an improvement on the old one. Why lag behind when you could be using a faster browser?
  • Improved website compatibility. Lots of websites rely on updated browsers to share all of their graphics and features.
  • A better experience. A newer browser will offer you added features, customizable extensions and sleeker graphics.

Above all else, an updated browser will provide better security. Internet companies are constantly looking for ways to protect you and keep you safer; take full advantage of their efforts by always using the latest version.

An updated browser offers stronger protection against the most recent scams, phishing attacks, viruses, Trojans, malware and more. Newer browsers have also patched up security vulnerabilities that may be present in your older browser.

Updating your browser is super-easy and super-quick. Late model computers will update automatically as soon as new iterations are released to the public. If your computer is a little older, you can choose the “auto-update” feature available on some browsers for the same results. Otherwise, you can update your browser manually by following the instructions on your browser. These are typically easy to follow and take just a few clicks.

Follow these tips for safe online browsing. A few small steps now can save you heaps of aggravation and money lost down the line. Don’t let those hackers get to you!

Your Turn: How do you keep safe online? Share your best tips with us in the comments.

SOURCES:

https://www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-your-computer/update-your-browser/

https://www.whatismybrowser.com/guides/how-to-be-safe-online/why-should-i-update-my-web-browser

https://security.stackexchange.com/questions/186780/how-often-should-i-change-my-passwords

https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/top-10-internet-safety-rules-and-what-not-to-do-online

Advantages of Credit Cards

 

With all the flak they get, you might want to ditch your credit cards for good.

Here’s why that’s not the best idea:

First, credit cards can boost your credit score. You’ll need a credit history and a respectable credit score to qualify for any major loan. If you don’t have any open credit cards, it’s going to be difficult for you to land a favorable loan term.

Second, there are rewards and benefits. Many credit cards offer airline miles and points that are redeemable for merchandise or other rewards. If you play your cards right, you can have your credit card company foot the bill for an entire vacation!

And finally, your cards have purchase protection. Lots of credit card companies offer theft and loss protection for purchases that are made on your card.

Of course, credit cards must be used responsibly: Always pay your bill on time, don’t spend more than you can afford. And don’t sign up for a card that has a high annual fee.

The gifts and rewards may be worth less than a better interest rate–which is why your credit union’s credit card is usually your best bet.  A Mutual Credit Union Credit Card offers you – our member – advantages. For details CLICK HERE. 

Federally Insured by NCUA.

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FAKE CHECK SCAMS ON THE RISE

Scam Alert!

writing a checkIn early September, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) released a report warning about a spike in fake check scams across the country. While these scams are not new, their occurrence rate has doubled over the last three years and is up 12% from 2017. 

The BBB further announced that billions of dollars in fake checks circulate each year, and that the number of victims this scam snares annually is close to 500,000. 

The amount of money lost from these scams is just as staggering: The FTC reported losses of approximately $40 million from fake check scams in just one year. 

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this scam is the fact that the largest pool of its victims falls between the ages of 20 and 29 – a segment of the population that is far more familiar with electronic payment methods, like PayPal and Venmo, than with the archaic paper check. This makes them easy victims for the scam.

Aside from ordinary paper checks, this scam can also be pulled off with cashier’s checks and money orders. Regardless of the medium, each of these scams involves a scammer “overpaying” a victim and requesting the check be cashed with the difference being deposited into a designated account belonging to the scammer.

Steve Baker, an investigator with the BBB, cautions: “What they all have in common is that the check is counterfeit, and just because the money is credited to your account does not mean the check is good.”

Here are the most common variations of the fake check scam:

  1. “Buyers” send sellers a check written out for more than the asking price of an object sold on an online marketplace, such as Craigslist.
  2. Lottery “winners” are rewarded with an inflated prize and given instructions to pay back a part of the check to cover taxes or fees.
  3. “Employees” are granted checks for supplies, with instructions to wire back a part of it to the “company.”

In each case, the fake check or money order seems to clear in the bank or credit union. It is only a few days later, when the victim’s payout to the scammer is deposited and the account does not have sufficient funds to cover it, that the scam becomes clear.

The BBB warns that this scam can be hard to spot, especially for millennials who may not be familiar with paper checks. To that end, learning what to look for to determine a check’s authenticity is the public’s best weapon against this scam.

Wondering if a check is a fake? Hold it up to this checklist:

  • Is the check’s paper stock weak and flimsy?
  • Check the company’s name and address. Are they spelled correctly?
  • Every check will have an identification number printed toward its top and again at the bottom. Verify that these numbers match up.
  • If you’re allegedly holding a lottery-winning check in your hands, the check should be written out from a state lottery commission. If it’s made out by a random company, it’s bogus.
  • Look for the special ink required for the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) code that’s at the bottom of the check.
  • The check should have a routing number from its bank. You can Google the bank to find out if the routing number is genuine.

Aside from knowing how to recognize a fake check, it’s important to know which kinds of transactions are likely to be scams. If you come across any of the following, run the other way and don’t look back:  

  • You’re asked to wire money to a company you’re not familiar with.
  • You’re given a check by a “buyer” that is made out for more than the item’s sale price.
  • You’re given a check from a foreign bank you’ve never heard of.
  • You’re asked to pay a fee to claim a “prize.”

Now that you know how to spot a fake check and which kind of transactions to avoid at all cost, those scammers don’t stand a chance!

Your Turn: Have you ever been targeted by a fake check scam? Share your story with us in the comments!

SOURCES:

http://www.semissourian.com/story/2549480.html

https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2018/09/05/better-business-bureau-releases-report-fake-check-scams/1202964002/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/fake-check-scams-an-exploding-epidemic-new-report-says-better-business-bureau/

Mutual Credit Union Celebrates The 70th Anniversary of International Credit Union Day

2018_ICU_EN_Logo_HighRes_White.jpgOn Thursday, October 18th, Mutual Credit Union will, along with more than 56,000 credit unions around the world, celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day), and the philosophy and achievements of the credit union movement. The Credit Union Movement would not be possible without each of YOU our dedicated members of Mutual Credit Union.

To celebrate You and International Credit Union Day we INVITE all members of Mutual Credit Union to visit any of our four branch locations plus our Monroe Street Drive-Thru for refreshments and a few goodies on Thursday, October 18, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please find a list of locations below or follow this link for more location details. Refreshments and Mutual Credit Union items available while supplies last.

  • Clay Street Branch – 4210 Clay Street Vicksburg, MS
  • South Frontage Road – 2086 S. Frontage Road Vicksburg, MS
  • Monroe Street Drive-thru – 1604 Cherry Street Vicksburg, MS
  • Raymond Branch – 460 East Main Street Raymond, MS
  • Yazoo Branch – 1505 Grand Avenue Yazoo City, MS

Mutual Credit Union celebrates ICU Day because it believes the not-for-profit structure and people-first principles of credit unions make them the ideal financial partners for all people. This year’s ICU Day theme is “Find your platinum lining in credit unions,” a celebration combining the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries with a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining.”

Mutual Credit Union members are welcome to celebrate with us this worldwide movement that’s made helping people its No. 1 priority for more than 160 years.

For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our web page. Any additional questions, please contact the marketing department at marketing@mutualcu.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1220.

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7 HALLOWEEN HACKS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

Halloween house.jpgHalloween is coming – and so is the fun! Everyone wants to win the prize for creepiest costume and the most frightening yard décor in the neighborhood.

But all that spookiness comes with a scary price tag. The average American will spend $169 on Halloween costs this year. And, if that’s not enough to terrify you, consider this: Most people spend close to $70 just on their Halloween getups. That’s a lot of money for a costume you likely won’t wear again.

Ready to save big? Read on for 7 awesome Halloween hacks that are just too good to miss. From DIY décor that will scare the living daylights out of your guests to effortless costumes that look great without costing a bundle, we’ve got you covered!

1. Is that real ketchup?

No Halloween costume or party is complete without some sickly-looking crime scene splatter. And there’s no need to blow big bucks on whatever concoction the party store’s got in stock. Make your own fake blood with this quickie recipe. All you need are 3 ingredients:

  • 4 cups corn syrup
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring

Pour the corn syrup into a large bowl and start adding the red food coloring a few drops at a time. Stir your mixture with a whisk until you reach your desired consistency. To darken the “blood,” add a few drops of blue food coloring while continuing to stir.

You’re all set – now go scare someone silly!

2. Whose hand is floating in the punch bowl?

For a super-scary addition to your Halloween party, fill a rubber glove with water and seal it shut. Stick it in the freezer and just a few hours later, you’ll have an iced severed hand to drop into the punch bowl and really freak your guests out.

3. Stick ‘em up!

For a ridiculously easy costume that will make people laugh, go as a stick person!

Dress in black from head to toe. Use white masking tape to add stick lines to your legs, arms and torso. Put some lines in the back, too. For a full-body costume, take a paper plate and paint it black. Use your tape to draw a stick-face on the plate and glue a popsicle stick onto the bottom so you can hold it up.

Don’t forget to do the stiff stick-walk and you’ll really crack people up!

4. Is that a witch sticking out of your snake plant?

Got some spare pool noodles lying around? Dress them up to go as witch legs!

Take two pool noodles and stuff them into a pair of striped leggings. Top it off with black witchy-looking shoes and you have yourself a pair of witch legs! Stick them upside down into the plant on your front porch, or make them look like they’re coming out of your garbage can.

Now sit and watch your visitors’ reactions and you’ll have the last cackle!        

5Would you like some spiders with that?

Have fun with a cheap bag of plastic spiders! Here are some ways to use these creepy crawlies to add the fear factor to your Halloween party:

  • Stick them in your ice cube tray for floating critters that will terrify your guests.
  • Drop them inside your soap dispenser to frighten anyone looking to wash up.
  • Scatter them inside the popcorn bowl for a scary surprise.

6. Did you really just kill a box of cereal?

Looking for a funny-scary costume you can make yourself? Go as a serial killer! Err … a cereal killer, that is.

Take an old white T-shirt and decorate it to look like your favorite cereal box. Then take a dress-up dagger and carefully cut off its tip. Glue the blunted dagger to the middle of your cereal box so it looks like it’s piercing it right in the heart. Then use your fake blood to add splatters and drippings all over your shirt. Make your face look menacing with some dark costume makeup and add an ominous scar across your cheek, too.

You’re ready to hunt down those no-good cereals!

7. Anyone care for some fresh worms?

Serve up an entrée from the dark side that will have your guests completely grossed out!

Drip a bit of black food coloring into boiling pasta and it will instantly turn your dinner into a dark, horrendous-looking creation. Drain your pasta as usual and then bring it out to the table, asking if anyone would like some delicious hot worms for dinner.

Don’t let Halloween costs scare you. Follow our hacks for a frighteningly fun time that won’t kill your budget and will still terrify the entire neighborhood!

Your Turn: What’s your favorite Halloween hack that’s easy on the budget? Tell us all about it in the comments!

SOURCES:

http://www.the36thavenue.com/halloween-hacks-and-diy-ideas/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/last-minute-halloween-hacks?utm_term=.oo7EPKBAN#.xn4VMabN8

https://www.littlethings.com/diy-halloween/

Featured

CHERRY STREET BRANCH TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2018

Press Release

October 1, 2018

Mutual Cherry Branch pic

(Vicksburg, MS): The Main Branch of Mutual Credit Union located at 1604 Cherry Street will close to the public on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to undergo extensive renovations to both the exterior and the interior of the building. Conditions at each entryway and entrances to the branch will at times be hazardous or impassable to members. We encourage all members during this time, to utilize services at the other four branch locations of Mutual Credit Union provided below.

  • 2086 S. Frontage Road                Vicksburg, MS
  • 4210 Clay Street                Vicksburg, MS
  • 460 East Main Street                Raymond, MS
  • 1505 Grand Avenue Yazoo City, MS

The Monroe Street Drive-Thru will remain open to members and hours of operation will continue unchanged Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Account access is also available 24/7 by using the Mutual Credit Union app on your mobile device, by calling our SAM Audio Response System at 1-877-457-3654 Option 1 or by visiting www.mutualcu.org.

The 1604 Cherry Street location was built in 1984. In 1998-1999 it was renovated to add a Drive-Thru and to expand the main branch and support offices. These upgrades will continue to promote growth and support services to members for generations to come. We appreciate both our members’ and our staffs’ patience as we work through the renovation process. We look forward to welcoming our members and the community we serve back to the newly remodeled branch in January of 2019.

For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our webpage. Any additional questions, please contact the marketing department at marketing@mutualcu.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.

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Featured

TEMPORARY CHANGE IN AVAILABILITY OF STAFF & SERVICES AT CHERRY STREET BRANCH STARTING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2018

Press Release

October 1, 2018

update Mouse Social

(Vicksburg, MS): The Main Branch of Mutual Credit Union located at 1604 Cherry Street will close to the public on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to undergo extensive renovations to both the exterior and the interior of the building. During this time, some staff members will be re-positioned to better serve our members. Below you will find a list of Mutual Credit Union Staff affected.

  • Warren Pace, Loan Officer                                              Clay Street Branch
  • Karen White, Loan Officer                                              Clay Street Branch
  • Elaine Davis, Financial Services Representative        Clay Street Branch
  • Jessica Lowery, Cherry St. Branch Manager                By Appointment Only
  • Terisa Cochran, Member Services Representative     By Appointment Only

This transition will start on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. We encourage all members during this time to utilize services at either the South Frontage Road Branch or the Clay Street Branch located in Vicksburg. The Monroe Street Drive-Thru will remain open and the hours of operation will continue unchanged Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

To further assist members accessing your safe deposit box please call or email to make an appointment. You can reach us at 877-457-3654 option 2 for Dial by Branch and then option #0 for Cherry Street Branch or you can reach us at mainbranch@mutualcu.org.

Please also note that the coin machine currently housed inside the Cherry Street branch will not be available after Friday, October 5th. Access to the coin machine will return upon completion and re-opening of the Cherry Street branch.

We know that change is painful and inconvenient at times, but we thank you for your patience as we continue to grow and improve for the future.

For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our webpage. Any additional questions, please contact the marketing department at marketing@mutualcu.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.

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