August 20, 2018

Equal Housing LenderEqual Opportunity Lender

 Federally Insured



Spojnia Credit Union does its

best to be compliant with the

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Member Education



Identity Theft

An identity thief works in a variety of ways:

  • He impersonates you when he calls your credit card issuer and asks to change the mailing address on your credit card account. He runs up charges but you are unaware because bills are sent to another address.
  • Using your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, he opens a new credit card account. Unpaid charges eventually show up on your credit report.
  • He opens phone or wireless service in your name.
  • A bank account is opened in your name and he writes bad checks on that account.
  • To avoid paying debts he has incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction, he files for bankruptcy under your name. He counterfeits checks and debit cards and drains your bank account.
  • He buys a car by taking out an auto loan in your name.
  • He writes a letter to you, using letterhead stolen from a financial institution, stating that you must furnish your Social Security number to clear up a problem He sends you a phony IRS form that requires personal information.
  • With a stolen ID, he opens a bank account, takes out a loan using your address; you are now responsible for the payments never made on the loan.

How To Guard Against Identity Theft

  • Guard your social security number. Do not give your PIN or credit card numbers over the phone unless you initiated the transaction.
  • Be very careful with receipts. Make sure you have them when you leave the store or ATM and do not throw them into public trash cans.
  • Destroy pre-approved credit card offers before you throw them out. A home shredder is the best thing to use on financial statements, receipts and old cancelled checks that you are discarding.
  • Account for all new checks for your checkbook when you receive them in the mail.
  • Block your ATM transaction with your body to prevent someone from learning your PIN.
  • Commit all passwords and PIN numbers to memory so no one can see them in writing.
  • Be creative when you select a password. Don’t be obvious like using the last four digits of your social security number, phone number, address, birth date or any format that could be easily decoded by thieves.
  • Remove mail promptly from your mailbox. Never use your mailbox for outgoing mail. Identity thieves raid mailboxes for credit card offers and financial statements.
  • Protect your identification and credit cards from pickpockets. Close your wallet and keep your purse shut and close to your body.
  • Limit the number of I.D. and credit cards that you carry. If they are stolen, you’ll have fewer to replace.
  • If your social security number is used as your driver’s license number or appears on another I.D. card, ask the issuer for a new card with a different account number. If your social security number is printed on your checks, reorder checks without it. Also, if your driver’s license number is printed on your checks, consider removing it.
  • Keep your birth certificate and social security card in a safe deposit box. Carry these items with you only on the days that you need them.
  • Review your credit report each year. If someone is applying for credit in your name and you haven’t noticed any warning signs, a copy of your credit report may help point this out. You can obtain a FREE credit report once a year from each of the credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. FREE Credit Report - Apply for your FREE credit report at or call toll free at 877-322-8228.

Help Keep Online Transactions Secure

  • Avoid sending sensitive information, such as account numbers, through unsecured e-mail.
  • Passwords or PIN numbers should be used when accessing an account online.
  • General security over your personal computer such as virus and spyware protection with physical access controls should be used and updated regularly.
  • Read mail only from senders that you know.
  • Do not open suspicious attachments. (If it is a friend, verify it first).

What To Do If You Are A Victim

  • Contact your credit card company and your financial institution and close your accounts. The FBI suggests that you put passwords (not your mother’s maiden name) on any new accounts you open.
  • Call the three major credit bureaus (numbers shown below) to tell them your identity has been stolen. Request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your file and that no new credit be granted without your approval. Equifax:  800-525-6285 Experian: 888-397-3742 Trans Union: 800-680-7289 or email, or by mail at Trans Union, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton CA 92834.
  • Call the Social Security Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) theft hotline: 877-438-4338,
  • You should not only file a report with the police, but also get a copy of the report in case you need proof of the crime later for credit card companies, etc.

Phishing Scams

Phishing attacks are “spoofed” e-mails and fraudulent websites designed to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account user names and passwords, social security numbers, etc. By hijacking the trusted brands of well known financial institutions, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers are able to convince up to 5% of recipients to respond to them.

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

  • Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information.
  • Don’t use the links in an e-mail to get to a web page, if you suspect that a message might not be authentic.
  • Always insure that you are using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your web browser.
  • Regularly log on to your online accounts and check your financial institution credit and debit card statements to make sure that all transactions are legitimate.
  • Make sure that your browser is up to date and security patches applied.
  • Always report “phishing” or “spoofed” e-mails by forwarding the e-mail to the following groups: The anti-phishing network at:, The Federal Trade Commission at:


Spyware is software installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge, often through a virus or when a user downloads a free program. It is designed to let a hacker eavesdrop, collect personal or confidential information and perhaps track and record a user’s activities. Some spyware can obtain such information as passwords or credit card numbers. It also often bombards computer users with unwanted ads. Avoid the risk of banking online on public computers like those in hotels, libraries or internet cafes where spyware might have been installed.


Pharming is a twist of Phishing. Security experts are now concerned about a new internet-related fraud know as “Pharming.” Pharming attempts to fool online users through a virus that alters the behavior of internet browsers, thus, redirecting users to a fictitious site when they attempt to log on to their financial institutions web site.

This can be done by changing – or “poisoning” – some of the address information that internet service providers (ISPs) store to increase the speed of web browsing. Some ISPs and companies have a software bug on their computer servers that permits fraudsters to hack in and change those addresses.

One way consumers can protect themselves is to make sure they land on special secure web pages that use encryption to protect data transfer, a standard practice for any financial web site.

Always look for the lock icon which confirms that the site with its secure socket layer (SSL) certificate is secure for your information. The absence of this icon is a clue that something is wrong.

Eight things you should shred right now

To avoid identity theft, you need to shred paper and plastic documents with information you don't want someone to get hold of like Social Security and account numbers.  The eight items you should shred are:

  1. Old Tax Returns-Keep at least three to four years of tax returns in a firebox.  Shred anything older.
  2. Credit Union/Bank Statements-Anything with an account number should be shredded.  There was a time when Social Security numbers were printed on brokerage and credit union/bank statements.
  3. Credit Card offers.  Unless you're going to actually take up the offer and open an account, you should destroy these mailed offers right away.
  4. Old photo IDs- While a photo ID alone isn't enough to steal your identity, keep in mind that the ID and the information it contains could be used as a part of a larger identity theft scheme to bypass fraud-prevention measures.
  5. Pay stubs-It might not seem so at first glance, but your pay stub is full of information that can be used by a skilled identity thief.
  6. Covenience checks-Credit card companies often send so-called "convenience checks" to cardholders, which are basically checks you can use to borrow against your line of credit for quick cash.  Needless to say, you don't want theses to end up in the wrong hands.
  7. Canceled checks-Just because you write "void" on it doesn't mean a canceldd check can't be a ticking time bomb.  Remember your account and routing numbers are listed on the bottom of every check.
  8. Canceled credit cards-Sometimes you need to cancel a credit card or a debit card.  Maybe you want to rein in your spending, or you're leaving your financial institution, or you suspect the number was stolen.  Be sure to cut the magnetic stripe as there is encoded information on it.     

Shredding documents isn't just for account firms and people with something to hide-every day working Americans have houses full of documents containing potentially compromising information.  To dispose of them, security experts recommend getting a good cross-cut shredder, which makes your documents into confetti, as opposed to the long strips that a determined thief could reconstruct.

IRS Alerts Public to New Identity Theft Scams

The Internal Revenue Service reminds consumers to avoid identity theft scams that use the IRS name, logo, or Web site in an attempt to convince taxpayers that the scam is a genuine communication from the IRS.  Scammers may use other federal agency names, such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The IRS urges consumers to avoid falling for the following recent schemes:

  • Making Work Pay Refund- This phishing e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, references the president and the Making Work Pay provision of the 2009 economic recovery law.  It says that there is a refundable credit available that can be paid into the recipient's bank account if the recipient registers their account information with the IRS.
  • Inherited Funds/Lottery Winnings/Cash Cosignment - In this phishing scheme, recipients receive an e-mail claiming to come from the U. S. Department of the Treasury notifying them that they will receive millions of dollars in recovered funds or lottery winnings or cash consignment if they provide certain personal information, including phone numbers, via return e-mail.
  • Form W-8BEN - In this scam, fraudsters modify a genuine IRS form, the W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, to request detailed personal and financial information.  They either e-mail or fax the form or letter.  The letter, which claims to come from the IRS, states that the recipient will face additional taxes unless he or she quickly faxes the required information to the number provided by the scammer.
  • Refund Scam - The bogus e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount.  It instructs the recipient to click on a link contained in the    e-mail to access the form and enter personal and financial information.

The IRS does not initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited e-mail or ask for personal identification or financial information via e-mail.  If you receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS, take the following steps:

  • Do not open any attachments or click on any links in the e-mail, in case they contain a malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you.
  • Forward the suspicious e-mail or URL address to the IRS mailbox, then delete the e-mail from your inbox.

The only genuine IRS Web site is  All Web page addresses begin with



USA Patriot Act of 2001

As required by the USA Patriot Act of 2001, which requires Spojnia Credit Union to help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, the credit union must obtain basic identifying information from you and verify that information when you open a new account.

This means Spojnia Credit Union staff will ask you for some basic information such as your name, address, date of birth and other information designed to help us identify you. Spojnia Credit Union staff may also ask to see documents identifying you too such as a driver’s license, passport or some other government-issued document. Spojnia Credit Union appreciates your patience and understanding as we all do our part in complying with the new account identification procedures required by the federal USA Patriot Act of 2001.

Dormant Account

You may have recently received a letter indicating that you have a dormant credit union account. You have received that letter because Spojnia Credit Union has established a dormant account policy.

Member accounts are considered dormant when the account has had no activity for 21 months. Spojnia Credit Union will make all the necessary attempts to notify you of this status. At 24 months you will be assessed a monthly dormant account fee of $5.00. 

To activate your account a small deposit or withdrawal will make it current.  You may also contact the credit union at 570-344-1513 and inquire about your share account balances.  This will also activate your account. 

If no response is made to this request or if the correspondence is returned unopened by the United States Post Office, it will be considered abandoned and sent to the State’s Unclaimed Property Division at 3 years

Changes in Funds Availability

The Funds Availability Regulation CC will be in effect as of January 1, 2010, at which time, all checks will be considered local checks.  There will no longer be any checks considered non-local.  This process will make check clearing faster, which in turn will make your funds available sooner, in most instances on the next business day after deposit; however, there will be exceptions.

Checks deposited at the time of account opening and any checks which cause reasonable doubt will remain subject to a 5-day or extended hold.  These will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

All Commercial Accounts will be subject to this new law.  The Act "prohibits any person engaged in the business of betting or wagering from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling." (Reg GG-UIGEA)

Should the credit union have actual knowledge that any member is participating in such transactions, the credit union will comply with all regulations of Reg CC and have the right to close any and all such accounts.

 Regulation Changes

Regulation D - Effective March 1, 2010, we are required to enforce Federal Regulation D restrictions on share(savings) accounts.  Transactions on your share (saving) accounts will be restricted to six automated withdrawals per month.  Regulation D defines automated withdrawals as electronic withdrawals (utilities, gym membership), transfers from shares (savings) to share draft (checking) accounts by home banking, phone, fax or email requests.  The share draft account is not affected by Regulation D and may have an unlimited number of transactions.  Transfers from shares to make loan payments does not count as part of the six transactions.  Withdrawals from shares that result in a check being issued to you does not count. You may wish to consider having your ACH debits deducted directly from your share draft account.  When you have reached your limit, we may return the withdrawal as unpaid.  Please plan your transactions accordingly.

Regulation DD - Spojnia Credit Union is required to disclose fees and charges assessed for paying items when there are insufficient funds or an account is overdrawn on the statements.  A grid listing the total overdraft fee and the total returned item fees will be listed for the statement period as well as  the total year to date.  Contact the credit union at 570-344-1513 with any questions you may have concerning these regulation changes.