Community News

Monday, February 11, 2013

Member vigilance the first line of defense in card fraud

With the introduction of chip-enabled Member cards, credit unions took a big step toward reducing the risk of card fraud. By relying on a secure chip for transactions, as opposed to the more vulnerable magnetic stripe, chip cards reduced the incidence of card skimming.
However, criminals are always ready to change and adapt to any preventative measure. In recent months, tampered chip point-of-sale (POS) devices have begun to surface.
The picture below provides an example of a tampered chip POS device. The ‘clean’ POS device on the right shows how far the card needs to be inserted to engage the chip. On the left, the card needs to be inserted much farther because the grey outer shell contains a mag stripe reader that skims the card information. Both devices will process the chip transaction, so members have no clue that something is amiss, unless you know what to look for.
The best advice is to remain vigilant. If you insert your card in a POS device and it doesn’t seem quite right, ask to use a different device (if the business has more than one) or consider canceling the transaction altogether. 

Proper retirement planning remains elusive for many Canadians

Several recent surveys have found that while saving for retirement is a high priority for most Canadians, many are not doing a good job of actually planning for their golden years. Three separate surveys released in January reached similar conclusions: Canadians need a plan for retirement saving, they need that plan sooner rather than later, and then they need to stick to that plan.
The first survey, by Angus Reid, found that although 65 per cent of Canadians are worried about their financial wellbeing during retirement, 56 per cent admitted they may not have enough income to sustain a good quality of life.
A second survey, by Leger Marketing, found that while 69 per cent of current retirees feel good about their finances, 28 per cent are afraid of running out of money at some point down the road.
Finally, an Environics Research Group poll of current retirees found that the top piece of advice retirees have for working Canadians is to save more money by creating a budget and sticking to it. A significant portion of retirees surveyed (44 per cent) also recommended contributing the maximum amount to your RRSP each year.
If you’re one of the many Canadians concerned about your retirement plans, why not speak to North Winnipeg Credit Union representative today? Contact us at (204) 954-7450. We can help you begin developing a plan that will put your retirement goals on the right track.

Financial co-operatives making a difference half a world away

There are more than half a million credit union members in Manitoba. Most join for familiar reasons: they prefer the great rates, friendly, personal service and highly competitive products credit unions have to offer.
Half a world away, however, many thousands more are joining credit unions for a much more basic reason: because belonging to a financial co-operative gives them the opportunity to escape poverty and achieve successes they would otherwise never know.
In countries like Uganda, fledgling Savings and Co-operative Credit Organizations, or SACCOs, often with the support of the Canadian Co-operative Association — and, by extension, credit union members like yourself — are making a dramatic difference in the lives of their members.
People like Boniface Ayo, one of the founding members of Ikwera SACCO in Aduku, a town in the Central Ugandan district of Apac. Ayo, a farmer with five children aged two to 18, said that like many members of the SACCO, he joined to get access to money to pay school fees.
"Money is the source of everything. With it, you can send your children to school," Ayo said. "If there is poverty, if there is nothing in your pocket, then there is nothing."
The Ugandan school system consists of government-run schools and private schools. The government-run schools are more affordable, but class sizes can be as large as 500 students for one teacher. Private schools offer more reasonable class sizes and higher quality education, but they're also costlier, out of the reach of many rural Ugandans.
Through school-fee loans from SACCOs, however, many Ugandans are beginning to be able to send their children to private school.
For parents like Ayo, that means the opportunity to see his children reach their full potential.
“I would like to struggle very hard so they each can go to school and reach the level they can reach," he said.

Beware of mystery shopper scam

Every year, hundreds of unsuspecting Canadians become victims of mystery shopper scams.
The scam works when people receive a legitimate-looking cheque from a legitimate company and are asked to conduct mystery shopping excursions to specific stores to purchase specific items. Once done, they are asked to rate a money transfer company by wiring the difference, usually in the thousands of dollars, back to the fraudsters. The mystery shoppers get to keep a few hundred dollars and whatever they purchased.
By the time the cheque is discovered to be fraudulent, which it will be, the criminals have their wired money and the victim is left holding the bag for the entire amount.
Does it sound like a scam? Yes.
Does it sound too good to be true? Yes.
Do people fall for it anyway? Yes.
Any proposition that includes the wiring of any amount of money to someone you’ve never met is almost certainly a scam. If you receive such a proposition, steer clear of it and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
If you still think it’s legitimate, thoroughly investigate the company whose name is on the cheque, starting by Googling the company and phoning it (not the mystery shopping contact) to ask about the proposition. Your due diligence will save you money and heartache.

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