How Safe is Online Shopping?

Paper boxes in a shopping cart.

In 2017, more than 1.6 billion people around the world shopped for goods online, driving global sales via e-retail to a whopping 2.3 trillion dollars (U.S.).  Amazingly, this number is expected to nearly double in the next three years.* In short, online shopping has become a juggernaut that is just too big to ignore.  As scores of once-stalwart big name retailers like Sears, K-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us are either scaling back their locations or closing their doors completely, it’s clear that “brick and mortar” is increasingly being replaced by “click and order.”

The huge shift toward shopping on the internet seems to suggest that consumers have a high level of confidence in the safety and security of their online transactions.  But in this age of near-constant news stories of cyber-hacking and data compromise, exactly how safe is online shopping?  The good news is that most experts agree that the e-retail environment is, in fact, relatively safe and that you are more likely to have your credit card information compromised over the phone, in a restaurant or through the mail than you are on the web.

Still, the old adage “better safe than sorry” applies, so here are a few tips to help make sure your online shopping activities don’t bring you more than you bargained for.

 

Safe Shopping

  • Go with what you know. Only visit websites of brands that you know and are familiar with. Be vigilant.  Look for clues to a website’s authenticity.  Often, misspellings, poor grammar, and a site design that is just plain ugly are top indicators that you are on a fraudulent website.
  • What’s in a (domain) name? Legitimate sites usually have short, clean domain names (e.g., http://www.amazon.com, http://www.rolex.com, http://www.tiffany.com), whereas fraudulent ones have long, overly hyphenated and unsightly names like Cheap-designer-name-handbags.com and Best-wholesale-boots-on-the-web.com. What’s more, they often mislead you by including the name of legitimate online stores or brands in their domain name. For example, Amazon0213.com or Denim-Jeans-Wholesale.com may seem okay at first glance, but after a closer look, they become suspicious.
  • Be Wi-Fi wary. Shopping using Wi-Fi hotspots (such as those found in coffee shops or airports) should be avoided. These public Wi-Fi networks are fertile ground for hackers to steal your information.
  • Avoid going viral. Before attempting ANY online activity, it is important to have anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on your computer. Malwarebytes is a popular (and free) choice.
  • No kidding around. Make sure your kids are unable to access your online accounts or credit card and bank account information. Although this would seem like a no-brainer, there have been many incidents where kids inadvertently (and maybe not so inadvertently) racked up thousands of dollars of purchases on their parents’ cards.

 

Checkout Checklist

  • The bare minimum. Only give the necessary information that is required to complete your online purchase. If a question or uncertainty regarding your transaction leads to a phone call with a customer service agent, keep in mind that personal information should NEVER be shared over the phone unless you initiated the call.  Also, if you receive any unsolicited requests for your passwords, or bank account or credit card information, do not reply to them.
  • Rely on your pay pals. Payments should only be made using methods that have a solid track record such as PayPal or Amazon’s Log-in-and-Pay. It is a good idea to use credit cards whenever possible, since your purchases will (in most cases) be insured.  If you suspect your credit card information may have been compromised (either via a fraudulent website or a suspicious email), contact your credit card company right away.

 

Wrapping it up

  • Log off before you rush off. Once you are done with your online shopping spree, don’t forget to log off. This is especially important if other people have access to your computer or if you have used a computer in a public place, such as a library or Wi-Fi network.
  • Keep the receipts. Be sure to print and save all receipts and records of your online transactions.
  • Scrutinize your statements. Make a habit of going through your credit card statements each month. Be thorough.  Report any unauthorized charges or suspicious activity right away.

 

*SOURCE:  http://www.statista.com

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Summertime Adventures

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Summer time is the best for adventures! With the sun shining and the weather just right, Hawaii has loads of places to explore. Living on Oahu, we have an extensive amount of beautiful mountains and oceans. Some of the best beaches may be right down the road from you!

 

Outrigger Canoe on Lanikai Beach of Oahu Hawaii

Some of our favorite beaches to visit are Lanikai Beach, which is located in the beautiful town of Kailua on the Windward side. This beach is calm all year long, offering great swimming conditions, and beautiful views. About less than a mile off shore, there are two small islands which house bird sanctuaries. Honu’s (Hawaiian sea turtles) and reef fish are often seen here, so be sure to respect the sea creatures while visiting.

 

Hawaii Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is another great beach spot. Waikiki Beach is probably Hawaii’s most famous beach that offers a 2-mile stretch of white sand, which is divided into sections by various hotels. Waikiki Beach stays connected by a boardwalk running all through the 2-mile stretch. Swimming and surfing, as well as fun activities are available all year long as this beach also offers peaceful waters.

 

Hawaii is often the popular tourist attraction due to all of the unique places we have in store. Although visitors may come and go, many of us living out here rarely have time to explore our beautiful aina (land).

Here are a few cool hiking spots on Oahu if you ever feel like exploring this summer:

Rail from the mountain

  • Ka’au Crater: Offers 5 hours of waterfalls, rope climbing, and a huge crater with panoramic views
  • Olomana Trail: This hike is not for the beginners; you will experience a challenge with beautiful views
  • Wiliwilinui Ridge: This hike will give you panoramic views of Waikiki and the beautiful waters of the east coast of Oahu.
  • Koko Head: This hike offers a great workout that will make your legs feel like Jell-O! After completion, you will get to see the awesome views over the ridge.

Always remember to stay safe, follow all posted signs, and keep hydrated this summer. If you visit any of these spots this summer, be sure to tag us on our social media so we can see your awesome adventures!

 

 

My Mom ROCKS

Mother’s Day as we know it has been around since 1908.

Mother’s Day is the busiest day for florists, followed by Valentine’s Day, according to www.theledger.com. Across the nation, grammar school children, full of pride, present their lovingly-made art projects as gifts to their mothers. There is a lot of attention given to this day, and rightfully so, as it’s a wonderful opportunity to show our appreciation for everything that mothers do for us.

We, too, at Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union would like to give a tribute to all our employees’ moms.  Those special ladies who raised our stellar staff, who go beyond to assist with their grandchildren, and who will always be their child’s biggest supporter.

Our staff went on camera to say why, “My Mom ROCKS”!  From cancer survivors, great cooks, and hard workers, to just being the best friend we’ll ever have, the reasons were as diverse and unique as our moms themselves.  They truly exemplify what it means to ROCK!

Check out our videos below:
Kapolei Branch

Maui Branch

King Street Branch

New Accounts Dept

Marketing Dept

Thank you MOMS, for all that you do!

Why does YOUR mom ROCK?

 

Zippy's Data Breach: What You Should Know

On April 27, 2018, Zippy’s Restaurants announced that they experienced a data breach of their own in which customers’ card information may have been impacted.  The breach spanned from November 23, 2017 through March 29, 2018, and information such as the cardholder’s name, card number, expiration date, and security code may have been compromised during that time.

Although this may sound scary for many of us, as Zippy’s is a popular local eatery and this incident literally hits close to home, here’s some important information we can all use to become diligent fraudbusters:

Your Money’s Safe with Us
As a HiTel FCU member, you will not be liable for any unauthorized transactions.  These are transactions that you, the account holder, did not make yourself nor grant permission for.  Report fraudulent transactions in a timely manner and be sure to include any supporting documentation, such as police reports and notarized affidavits.

Be Proactive
Here are a few things you can do to actively stay on top of your account:

  1. Set up alerts for your Debit Card.  As a HiTel FCU member, you have access to our free fraud alert service.  Our fraud detection program is constantly monitoring all transactions and will contact you immediately via text regarding any suspicious activity.  Simply reply “Yes” to confirm that you authorized the payment in question.  Reply “No” if you did not, and a fraud specialist will contact you to help protect your account.  For enhanced security for your HiTel FCU Mastercard Debit Card, download our MobiMoney app to take charge of your account.  With this app, you have full control:
  • Receive alerts whenever you have a transactionMobiMoney
  • Adjust the type of alerts you receive by location, type of merchant, type of transaction, and spend limits
  • Restrict card usage according to location, type of merchant, type of transaction, and spend limits
  • And switch your card “On/Off”. When your card is switched “off”, all transactions (except for recurring payments) will be denied until you switch your card back “on”.  This is helpful in the event that your card ever goes missing or stolen.
  1. Sign up for Credit Card alerts in VISA Online.  VISA Online is not only for viewing your HiTel FCU VISA Credit Card statements or making payments, you can also set alerts!  When you enroll in alerts, you can tether your e-mail address or phone number (or both!) to receive these messages:
      • Alerts for transactions greater than a set amount
        **Alert Tip**  Sign up for “Alerts for transactions greater than a set amount” and set the notification to $1.  You will get all transaction notifications, including international, online, and declined if it is $1 or more.
      • International transactions
      • Transactions outside of every day use
      • Online transactions
      • Declined transactions
  1. Review Your Account Activity Regularly. Whether you’re looking at your monthly paper statements, checking your account activity online via Home Branching, or even just taking a quick glance through our MyMobile app, checking your accounts regularly makes it easier for you to catch potential fraudulent charges.  Report suspicious charges immediately to HiTel FCU at (808) 832-8700.

Below are other important numbers you can call:
If your ATM ShareCard or HiTel FCU MasterCard Debit Card is lost or stolen during non-business hours, please call:
(800) 528-2273 (within US)
(812) 647-9794 (international)

If you are having problems with your HiTel FCU VISA Credit Card, please call:
(866) 820-6822
If your HiTel FCU VISA Credit Card is lost or stolen, please call:
(800) 449-7728

  1. Never hesitate to reach out to us for account guidance. As your Credit Union, we are here to help you with all your financial needs. Contact us at (808) 832-8700 or
    click here to submit an inquiry online.
  1. Close and reopen the affected credit/debit card(s) that was potentially compromised. HiTel FCU will issue you new cards free of charge.  If you feel the need to, we can also help you close and reopen the account associated with your debit/credit card(s).
  1. Review your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Simply request your credit reports and follow the instructions to view your scores online.  You can also view your scores for free at these three reporting agencies (Equifax.com, Experian.com, and TransUnion.com).  These agencies can also put a freeze on your credit file to prevent identity thieves from opening any accounts in your name (keep in mind that this will require time and your permission to thaw when credit is required).

And lastly…

Stay Up to Date
Knowledge is power.  Visit www.zippys.com/security for detailed information regarding the data breach.  You can also visit www.hitelfcu.com/zippys for updates and answers to frequently asked questions.

81st Annual Meeting and Dinner

Saturday, March 24, 2018 marked HiTel FCU’s 81st Annual Meeting and Dinner.  This year, we went back to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballrooms to celebrate.

The meeting was business as usual as Board Chairman Primo Pimental and President Norman Okimoto went over the past year’s successes – our continuing growth in membership and assets, and the welcoming of our newest members from HALFCU.  And, of course, Augie T ended the meeting with door prizes.  Over 90 members won a variety of prizes, from gift cards, pieces of art, hotel stays, and the grand prize: a trip for two to Las Vegas!

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Chairman Pimental makes important announcements during the 2018 Annual Meeting.

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Augie T gives away door prizes to 92 lucky HiTel FCU members.

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Congratulations to our lucky Las Vegas winner!

After the meeting, everyone made their way next door for dinner and was met with a pleasant surprise of pupus already laid out for them to eat.  This year’s menu consisted of Hawaiian food, starting with ahi poke, pipikaula, dinner rolls, and fruit.  The main course consisted of kalua pork, grilled chicken, fresh catch, and chicken long rice.  For those with room to spare, dessert was a decadent pineapple upside down cake.

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Guests were greeted with ono Hawaiian food.

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The ballroom was filled with members and guests alike, eager to dig into their dinner.

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HiTel members enjoyed the Annual Dinner with their friends and families.

Our dinner entertainment was filled with both familiar and new faces.  To start, Sonya Mendez dazzled us with her jazzy hits and matching dance moves.  From Gloria Estefan to Earth, Wind, and Fire, Sonya and her band had the whole room grooving.

A newer face in Hawaii, NomaD came on stage and filled the room with reggae hits and original songs.  He even made a song about HiTel FCU; how cool is that?!  He had the crowd jamming and asking for a “hana hou”, so he performed his hit single “Take It All” to end the night.  Fun fact:  “Take It All” was the number one most requested song on Island 98.5!

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Sonya Mendez grooves to the beat of her jazz band.

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NomaD engages the audience with his fun and easy-going performance.

All in all, the 81st Annual Meeting and Dinner was a great, fun way to celebrate the successes of 2017.  Mahalo to everyone who came and made that night a memorable one!

Happy Birthday!

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A birthday is a reason to celebrate. But why? What are the reasons for many of our birthday celebrations?

The idea of celebrating the date of your birth is a pagan tradition. In fact, many Christians didn’t celebrate birthdays historically, because of that link to paganism.

Pagans thought that evil spirits lurked on days of major changes, like the day you turn a year older.

The ancient Greeks believed that each person had a spirit that attended his or her birth, and kept watch.

So why do we blow out candles?

The candles were a response to the evil spirits. They showed up to communicate with the gods. A light, in the darkness.

The Germans are credited with starting the kids birthday tradition in the 1700s. They put candles on tortes for “kinderfeste,” one for each year of life, along with some extras to signify upcoming years.

Who’s Birthday is it?

Our birthday! We’ll be 81 years old on October 22! Happy Birthday to us! We thank you members. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be celebrating. Thank you for keeping us in your Ohana!

 

Follow us on our  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep in touch and enter our contests!

Equifax Breach: Protect yourself.

 

You probably already heard of the recent Equifax breach. If you haven’t Equifax discovered the breach on July 29 and immediately stopped the hack. Potentially 143 million U.S. customers could be affected.

What is Equifax? Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency in the United States. It’s  considered one of the three largest American credit agencies along with Experian and TransUnion. According to Equifax the information that was accessed primarily included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.

Do this before November 21…

Visit the company’s website – www.equifaxsecurity2017.com – to see if you were potentially affected. According to their site, they’re offering free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring to all U.S. consumers (see image below) for one year.

Equifax2

We recommend that you be vigilant in reviewing your account statements and credit reports, and that you immediately report any unauthorized activity to Hawaiian Tel FCU. We also recommend that you monitor your personal information and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft, to obtain information about steps you can take to better protect against identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts and security freezes.

You can also visit Hawaii’s News Now’s article: What to do if you think you’re a victim of Equifax breach

Tips
If your identity was breached, here are some tips on what you can do:

  • Update all IDs
  • Change online banking password and make sure it’s a strong password
  • Check statements monthly