Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid Phone Fraud

Upset confused african woman holding cellphone having problem with phone

Everyone has a phone nowadays, which makes calling one of the easiest ways to reach people. However, it also makes fraud more prevalent when you have to deal with phone scams. Avoid falling for their schemes with these do’s and don’ts.

 

DO:  Register with the National Do Not Call Registry.
The Federal Trade Commission has a National Do Not Call Registry website through which you can submit your phone number to opt out of telemarketing calls. You can also call 1-888-382-1222. Keep in mind that this will only tell companies not to call you about sales pitches. However, it will lessen the number of unwanted calls, which will help you identify fraud. Any telemarketer contacting you after registering is likely a scammer.

DO:  Hang up on robocalls.
If you answer to an automated voice and it’s trying to sell you something, the robocall is most likely a scam. Only companies who have your permission to send you robocalls are allowed to do so, and you can opt out at any time. However, some robocalls are allowed to reach you in instances when they convey information like appointment reminders and prescription refills. If you receive a lot of robocalls that don’t fall under authorized categories, report the numbers to the FTC. Also, don’t further engage with the robocall by dialing numbers, even if it says it’ll direct you to someone who will take you off their call list. You’ll most likely end up receiving more calls in the future.

DON’T:  Respond with “Yes.”
If you answer the phone and the caller doesn’t identify themselves immediately, that’s your cue to be suspicious. By law, telemarketers must tell you who they’re representing and what they’re selling. If the caller instead asks, “Are you there?” or “Can you hear me?” don’t answer. Scammers try to get you to respond with “yes” so they can record it, which might be used later to make it seem like you agreed to something you didn’t, like a credit card purchase.

DON’T:  Give your personal information.
Many scammers will pose as bank or credit card company employees to trick you into offering information like your account numbers, Social Security number, or other personal information. Most companies won’t ask for this sensitive information over the phone, so if the person on the phone is insistent about getting it from you, they’re likely a fraud.

 

Keep your finances safe from fraud with the help of Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, we’re one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services online, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

How to Create an Emergency Plan Fund

emergency plan fundKeeping enough cash in your savings account gives you some financial leeway to address unexpected life events, like losing a job or sustaining an injury. However, many people don’t use their savings to the fullest, which is where this guide comes in to provide tips for making a financial emergency plan.

 

How Much Should You Keep in an Emergency Plan Fund?

You can’t always anticipate life’s obstacles, but you can allocate funds to cover unexpected expenses. The specifics of this emergency fund will depend on your lifestyle. Start by calculating all of your monthly expenses, including details like your rent or mortgage, utilities, car payment, and insurance costs. Then you can start taking steps to save. Many experts recommend putting three to nine months of income in your account.

How Much Should You Put Toward Financial Goals?

In addition to planning for emergencies, you might also have financial goals you’re trying to reach, like buying a home, preparing for retirement, or saving for your child’s college tuition. Many financial advisors recommend putting 20% of your monthly income toward these goals.

How Can You Save Up?

Here at Hawaiian Financial FCU, we want to ensure that you’re saving enough for your emergency plan and financial future.  Our account representatives and tellers can help you set up accounts to start putting money away. Tools like automatic deposits will ensure you keep growing your emergency fund and savings account. If you aren’t sure how much to put into each account, work with a financial planner. They can look at your income and goals to make specific recommendations for your needs.

 

Start saving for your emergency plan with Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, the credit union is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services online, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

 

Common Reasons for Financial Crises

medicalNo matter how carefully you manage your money, an emergency can put pressure on your finances and can last for years to come. Having the resources available to handle these unexpected situations can help soften the financial blow, which is why it’s necessary to put money in your credit union account every month. Below are a few emergencies to look out for that could lead to financial difficulties.

 

  1. Job Loss

Companies close, downsize, and reorganize all the time, taking away the income employees rely on. Even a few weeks of unemployment can leave you behind on your mortgage or unable to pay rent, which could even lead to bankruptcy. To protect yourself from unexpected job losses, financial experts recommend keeping enough to cover six months of living expenses in your credit union account.

 

  1. Medical Emergencies

An illness or serious accident can cost thousands of dollars, even if you have health insurance. Copays, coinsurance, and non-covered expenses can be financially devastating, especially if a member of your family requires surgery or needs to be hospitalized.  It’s important to build a savings account to have that extra cushion in events such as these.

 

  1. High Debt Levels

Credit cards, personal loans, and other high-interest debts can be a significant drain on your finances, leaving little room in your budget for savings or unexpected expenses. Paying down debts and not charging more than you can afford to pay in a single month will help keep minor emergencies from becoming financial disasters.

 

Emergencies are unpredictable and inevitable.  However, you can still prepare for whatever life decides to throw at you.  Something as simple as setting a certain amount of money aside every paycheck, starting an emergency fund account, or even just paying your debt down to make room for more savings is a great way to start!

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

 

How to Prepare for an Auto Loan

autoloanCar dealerships will usually arrange financing for you, but the convenience may come at the expense of your interest rate and other fees. Taking the time to line up an auto loan through your local credit union will often get you a better deal, though it does take some preparation. The steps below will help you get ready to apply for an auto loan.

 

1. Check Your Credit Report

Your credit history will have a major impact on the interest rate you’re offered, so order a free copy of your report from each of the major agencies. Check it over carefully for mistakes, such as accounts you’ve paid off reported as active or debts that aren’t yours, and report any errors immediately.

2. Pay Down Debt

Financial institutions also base lending terms on your credit score, which is heavily influenced by your credit utilization ratio. Lenders prefer borrowers with unused credit available, so pay down the balance on your credit cards before applying for a loan.

3. Get Pre-Qualified for a Loan

Most credit unions will issue auto loan pre-qualification letters based on some preliminary information about your finances. Knowing what your payments might be can help you set a budget and avoid overspending on your new car.

4. Collect Your Financial Information

Once you’ve found the right vehicle, the lender will need to see verification of your income. In addition to your previous years’ tax returns, you should collect W-2s and pay stubs covering the past three months.

5. Choose a Lender

Your monthly payment is an important factor when choosing a lender, but it shouldn’t be the decisive element. You should also pay close attention to the interest rate, fees added to the balance, and your total cost over the life of the loan to determine which lender will offer you the best deal.

 

If you’re looking for an auto loan, turn to Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

 

3 Steps to Saving for a Down Payment

first homeUnless you plan on using a VA or USDA loan, you’ll have to put down at least 3% to secure a mortgage for your first home. Considering the median price for a home in Hawaii is more than $500,000, that means you’ll have to save at least $15,000 to buy a modest residence on one of the islands. Thankfully, putting aside such funds is relatively straightforward with these simple tips.

3 Steps to Saving for a Down Payment

1. Pay off High-Interest Debt

It’s wise to pay off any expensive debts you’ve accumulated before buying a home, including credit card accounts, personal loans, and auto loans. While it’s ideal to pay off student loans before taking on a mortgage as well, your timeline may not necessarily line up. But as long as the payments are manageable and your income is high enough, student loans shouldn’t inhibit you from qualifying. Once your high-interest debts have been paid off, put those payments into a savings account instead.

2. Devise a Reasonable Goal

Determine how much should you save for a down payment to provide a concrete goal to work toward. If you want to avoid private mortgage insurance, you’ll have to put down at least 20%. Additionally, lenders don’t want you to spend more than 28% of your gross income on your mortgage. By using these two figures, you can determine how much you should save based on the amount of the loan you’ll likely qualify for.

3. Determine Your Timeframe

Although life can be unpredictable, it’s wise to devise a deadline for your savings goals, which will help you stay on track and make saving for a down payment easier by breaking it up into dozens of small deposits. If you want to buy in five years, for example, you have 60 months to save up. If you decided you’ll need $100,000, that means putting aside just over $1,600 a month.

 

When you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, turn to Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union for a stress-free loan application.  With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

 

3 Steps to Take If You Lose Your Credit Card

walletCredit cards are a marvel of modern convenience, but having so much financial power on a small piece of plastic may not seem like such a good idea when yours goes missing.  Although Hawaiian Financial FCU has safeguards to prevent unapproved purchases, you should still take the following steps after your credit card is lost or stolen.

You Lost Your Credit Card; Now What?

  1. Report Your Card as Missing

As soon as you realize your card is gone, contact the financial institution responsible for issuing it, whether that’s Hawaiian Financial FCU, a credit card company, or a bank. Since you won’t be able to refer to the help number on the back of your card, look through your last bill or statement and call the number listed there. Once you report your card missing, any subsequent transactions will no longer be your responsibility.  To report a lost or stolen Hawaiian Financial FCU VISA credit card, call 1-800-449-7728.

  1. Be Ready With Information

There’s a chance that your card was used after you lost it but before you reported it missing. Providing the right information to the card issuer will help them determine which purchases are fraudulent. Be ready to supply the approximate time when it was missing or stolen as well as the last purchase you remember making. You’ll also need to verify your identity, which usually requires your contact information and Social Security Number.

  1. Check Your Credit Card Statement

You can also look out for fraudulent charges on your own. If you see any suspicious purchases after making the call, reach out to your card issuer again. You may want to follow up with a letter to the credit union that includes your personal information and when you called to report the card missing. A formal notice will come in handy if there are disputes about charges in the future.

If you lost your credit card from Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions.  Learn more about our broad array of services online, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

 

5 Ways to Help Prevent Online Credit Card Fraud

avoid credit card fraudOn any given day, billions of dollars in online credit card transactions are made around the world. Unfortunately, online fraud continues to be a problem as cyber thieves look for opportunities to infiltrate personal accounts. Protect yourself and shop with confidence using the following tips.

 

  1. Avoid Public Wi-Fi Connections

It may be convenient to do your online shopping while waiting at the airport or lounging in your hotel room, but insecure public Wi-Fi connections could leave you vulnerable to hackers. Use a secure connection, or if available, the retailer’s mobile app.

  1. Delete Suspicious Emails

Never enter your credit card number, PIN, or password in emails from retailers and other entities. Reputable companies will not ask for this information through this channel. Don’t click on any links, and delete the message immediately. To make a purchase, go directly to the retailer’s website or app instead. Look for the lock symbol in the browser bar, which indicates that it is a secure site.

 

  1. Install Anti-Virus Software

These programs provide protective layers of security against viruses and malware, which can make it easy for cyber thieves to gain access to your credit card account and make illegal purchases. Download updates from the anti-virus software provider to ensure you have the latest safeguards against online fraud.

 

  1. Log Off When Finished

After you’ve made a purchase from a secure site or app, always log off. If you leave the session open, hackers may gain entry to your credit card information and go on a shopping spree. When you log off, close the browser or app too.

 

  1. Monitor Your Account Activity

Keep track of all your credit card transactions by reviewing your online statements. If something looks suspicious, contact your credit card issuer right away.

 

If you’re concerned about credit card fraud, having a reliable credit union to back you up and provide online banking solutions will provide peace of mind. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services online, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5244 with any questions.