5 Steps to Take After a Data Breach

Data breaches are becoming more and more frequent. According to Risk Based Security’s Mid-Year Data Breach Report, there were 1,767 publicly reported breaches in the first half of 2021, exposing 18.8 billion records. If your personal information has been compromised by a data breach, take these five steps to mitigate the damage.

Step 1: Read all notices from the compromised company

The business that’s been breached will generally reach out to all potential victims to notify them of the exposure. it may also advise them about next steps. If you believe your information may have been compromised in a breach, read every message you receive from the exposed company. 

Step 2: Alert your financial institution 

Next, let Olean Area Federal Credit Union know if your account may have been compromised.  We will review it for potential signs of fraud.  Watch your accounts closely, sign up for our E-Alerts that will text or email you regarding balance changes that you set up.  Stay vigilant as you may not see anything right away, many times these hackers wait 6 months to a year before trying anything.

Step 3: Change your passwords

A data breach generally means passwords of all kinds may have been compromised. It’s best to change as many as possible after a breach to keep information and money safe. Start by changing passwords you are sure were a part of the breach.

Take these precautions to protect your information from future data breaches:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for each account and opt for two-factor authentication when possible.
  • Never share sensitive information online and review your security and spam settings ensuring they are at their strongest levels.

Step 4: Consider a credit freeze

A credit freeze will alert lenders and credit companies to the fact that you may have been a victim of fraud. This added layer of protection will make it difficult, or impossible, for hackers to open a new credit line or loan in your name. 

Step 5: File an identity theft report

If you believe your identity has been stolen, file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as soon as possible. 

  • Monitor your credit for suspicious activity on a regular basis. 

Don’t Get Spooked by One of these Halloween Scams!

That cackling witch might send your heart fluttering, but Halloween scams are even spookier! Here’s what to know about them:

1. The Joker

Scammers target people with messages promising loads of money for little effort. Just send a bit of money to a digital address using a money transfer app, and your money will double, triple or more. Unfortunately, the joke’s on you.

Spot a money-flipping scam through the amateur writing and the promises of unreal rewards. Also, you know what they say about anything that sounds too good to be true … it probably is. 

2. Night of the Living Dead

In the deceased identity theft scamscammers steal the identity of someone who is no longer living. They may empty the decedent’s accounts, use their credit history as their own, and use their Social Security number.

Protect a late loved one’s identity by locking their social media accounts, credit report, and Social Security number. Keep an eye on their accounts until their assets have been lawfully divided. 

3. Trick or Treat

You found the perfect costume online – and for a bargain price! You complete your order and wait for the package to arrive. And wait … and then you realize you’ve been tricked. 

In a variation of the online order scamthe package arrives but looks nothing like it did online. You try to find a customer service representative, but they’ve apparently vanished!

Don’t get tricked! Only order from reputable sites that display complete contact information for the company. Ignore offers that scream “Hot Deal! Act Now!” Shop with caution so you’ll only walk away with treats. 

4. Hitman

There’s a hitman at your door – and no, this is no disguise! 

In the hitman scam, scammers pretend to be assassins hired to take out a target. They’ll send extortion emails and messages, promising to spare the target’s life for just a few thousand dollars. Yikes!

Don’t get scammed! If you receive an extortion message, contact local law enforcement. Never share money with an unverified contact. Keep your money and your life safe.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Olean Area FCU ranked among top Commercial Lenders.

Olean Area Federal Credit Union (FCU) was recently ranked among the top 20 largest Buffalo Commercial Lenders by Buffalo Business First. With four branch offices, an expanded Field of Membership, and a $47.41 million Commercial Loan Portfolio, Olean Area FCU earned its seat among 19 other reputable financial institutions in Western New York. 

“It’s exciting to see our credit union on this list,” said Olean Area FCU’s Director of Commercial Lending, Mike Smith. “I sincerely believe this achievement can be attributed to our focus on excellent service and providing the best possible products to our members,”

Olean Area FCU offers a variety of commercial products to meet businesses everyday needs. Their deposit products include business checking, savings, certificates, and merchant services.  Their commercial lending programs give local business owners peace of mind knowing that their commercial team is comprised of local lenders making local decisions. Lending services include term loans, lines of credit, commercial mortgages, credit cards, as well as offering loan programs through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Over the past year, while many business owners navigated their way through the pandemic, the Credit Union assisted over 250 local organizations with over $21 million in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

As Olean Area FCU approaches their 50th anniversary in 2022, CEO Richard Yeager recently commented on their growth and dedication to service, “To be included as one of the top commercial lenders in our area reflects our commitment to the communities we serve. We strive to give our commercial members flexible rates and terms to assist in their growth, and in turn, the growth of our local economies.” 

Olean Area FCU is the second largest credit union in Western New York, with assets of $388 million. It currently serves over 19,000 members with four locations: 1201 Wayne Street & 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville, NY. In addition, Olean Area FCU recently opened an Operations Center at 234 Homer Street in Olean.

Beware Cryptocurrency Scams

Cryptocurrency is one of the hottest investments on the market. It’s also a popular ruse topic for scammers. Here’s what you need to know about cryptocurrency scams

How the scams play out 

There are several ways scammers are using cryptocurrency to con people out of their money. 

  • Blackmail. Emails are sent to targets, falsely claiming to have compromising photos, videos, or embarrassing info about them. The contact threatens to go public unless the victim pays up — in cryptocurrency. 
  • Social media. A target receives a social media message appearing to be from a friend, asking for cryptocurrency to help them out of a bind. 
  • Giveaways. These “giveaways” claim to be sponsored by celebrities or big-name cryptocurrency investors. They promise exponential returns for small investments in crypto, or for simply sharing personal info. 
  • Unrealistic Investment Opportunities. Some scammers make offers to invest in a nonexistent crypto mining operation. This is just a way for them to take your money!
  • Romance. Scammers convince victims they have met a legitimate love interest who soon starts talking about fabulous cryptocurrency opportunities with incredible returns. The victim acts upon this advice, and, sadly, loses their money. 

In each of these scams, the victim has no way of recovering the cryptocurrency they shared once an “investment” has been made. 

How to spot a cryptocurrency scam

Look out for these red flags to help avoid cryptocurrency scams: 

  • You’re promised big payouts with guaranteed returns on a small investment in cryptocurrency. 
  • A celebrity or famed cryptocurrency investor is sponsoring a cryptocurrency giveaway.
  • A friend contacts you on social media, claiming they’re caught up in a bind and need quick help by cryptocurrency. 
  • You’re promised free money in cryptocurrency in exchange for sharing some personal information.
  • A caller, new love interest, or organization insists on payment by cryptocurrency.

Never share personal information or money with an unverified contact. Also, if you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency, look up secure investment sites like Robinhood and Coinbase on your own.

If you’ve been targeted

If you believe you’ve been targeted by a cryptocurrency scam, report it to the FTC. If the scam was pulled off on social media, also let the platform know so they can take appropriate action. 

Proceed with caution to keep your money and your information safe. 

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