Fraudsters are smart. Be smarter!

Fraudsters are growing more sophisticated and perfecting their skills with each passing day. And now that shopping, dining out and travel are dramatically rising, they’re also ramping up their game. Anyone can become a victim. However, if you just practice a few basic “smart habits,” you can protect yourself, reduce your potential for fraud losses and keep fraudsters away.

Charity and Travel Scams

  • If someone is pressuring you into making a donation “now” – don’t do it! It’s a fraudster. Never send donations in the form of gift cards or wire transfers.
  • Beware of travel deals that are too good to be true. Be sure it’s a legitimate travel business.

Two-Factor Authentication Scams

  • Never reveal these codes to someone over the phone. Fraudsters use automated phone calls to steal authentication codes, then hack into your banking, merchant, and third-party payment accounts.
  • These scams can be damaging if a fraudster already has several details about you collected from breaches and hacks or given out by cardholders themselves.

Phishing/Smishing Attacks

Phishing (scams by email) and smishing (phishing by SMS texts) are attempts to trick you into providing sensitive confidential information in order to perpetrate fraud.

  • Avoid clicking on links in random emails and instant messages. Go directly to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

Who To Contact

  • If you receive a suspicious phone call, email or SMS text message seeking personal or account information, you should immediately notify your financial institution.
  • If you note fraudulent activity using your personal or account information, immediately notify the appropriate financial institution and one of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. A temporary freeze can be placed on any account openings.

Beware – Fraudulent Text Messages

It was brought to our attention that members of Hawaii FCU as well as non-members received fraudulent notifications on their mobile phones. The message states that their online banking account was locked and has to be reactivated. In order to do so, a bogus link was also provided.

If you receive a phishing text message, what should you do?

  • DO NOT respond. If you suspect a text is from a scammer, DO NOT reply. Replying will confirm your number is active.
  • DO NOT click links in a message. Clicking may infect your mobile device with malware that could copy your stored personal information or financial information.
  • DO block the number. Scammers will send messages using different names and numbers, but blocking will slow them down.
  • DO install spam blocking apps that prevent text frauds.

If you are not sure of the sender even though it says Hawaii FCU, please take time to call us at 808-847-1371 or 808-433-8698. Use your best judgment and always exercise caution.

Get Your Free Credit Report

With identity theft all too common today, it’s a good idea to be more proactive to protect your personal information. Reviewing your credit report at least annually is a good idea – and it’s free!

Federal law requires each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months. All you have to do is ask.

How to request your free report

You may request your free credit report from all three companies at one time or stagger your requests by contacting each company at different times throughout a 12-month period.

What’s in a credit report?

  • A list of businesses that extended you credit or loans;
  • Loan amounts and credit limits;
  • On-time payments and the amount paid;
  • Missed or late payments;
  • Bad debts;
  • Businesses that obtained your credit report; and
  • Personal information, including current and former names, addresses and employers, and bankruptcies.

What to do about errors?

If you find any discrepancies on your credit report, you should contact the credit reporting company immediately.

Be aware that the only legitimate website for obtaining your free annual credit report is Take a few minutes to fight fraud, protect your identity and your good name.

Hit the Reset Button on Your Finances

Saving for a “rainy day” is good advice, but building an emergency fund seems an impossible task if your paycheck just doesn’t stretch beyond monthly expenses. Then the pandemic hit and we all experienced how important an emergency fund really is. Now that Hawaii is heading into a new normal, it’s the perfect time to hit the reset button on our personal finances. Hawaii Federal Credit Union offers these tips to help you get started.

Build an emergency fund – Financial advisors recommend setting aside an amount equal to three to six months of your living expenses. The higher interest paid on Hawaii FCU’s Preferred Management (Money Market) Account or Certificate Account can help you reach your savings goal faster.

Save for retirement – It’s never too early to start an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Saving even a little bit over a long period of time will put compound interest to work for you. With the average monthly Social Security benefit payment currently at $1,522.70, you can estimate how much cash you’re likely to need in retirement with inflation added.

Manage your debt wisely – Pay down high-interest credit card balances. Refinance auto, home or home equity loans. Utilize a low-interest bill consolidation loan. Check out our Home Equity Line of Credit or Personal Loan and save with low-interest loan rates and affordable monthly payments.

Overhaul your fixed expenses – Housing costs, utilities, food, insurance and property tax are all necessary expenses, but there are still ways to save. Turn off lights when you leave the room. Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Comparison shop when you buy insurance. Consider all the ways you can put your money to better use.

Control discretionary spending – Pay closer attention to how much you spend on clothing, entertainment, dining out, recreation and elective shopping. It’s okay to reward yourself every now and then, but remember that unnecessary spending today pushes your future dreams further down the road.

Plan out short and long-term goals – From a family vacation or new car to college tuition or your dream boat, set aside some money from every paycheck in separate savings accounts and resist the urge to “borrow” from these funds for other reasons. Set your goals and don’t stop until you reach them!

Hit the reset button on your finances and get going! And if you need assistance, our financial counselors are ready to assist you. Call us at 847-1371 to schedule an appointment.

Why To Get (Or Not Get) a Personal Loan

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. It’s even more true given the uncertain times we are in. Until our national and local economies are set on a more stable and predictable path, it’s probably a good idea to take a more measured approach to spending, and especially to borrowing money.

When it comes to applying for a personal (unsecured) loan, take the time to give it proper consideration. There are always good reasons to borrow. But in the current environment of economic uncertainty, there are also good reasons to hold back.

Reasons to get a loan

  • Pay off high-interest debt – If you qualify for a loan at a low interest rate, using the funds to pay off high-interest debt makes good financial sense and saves you money.
  • Consolidate debt – If you have multiple loans with varying interest rates and due dates, consolidating them into a loan at a lower rate will help you save and make bill paying simpler (and harder to miss) with just one due date.
  • Essential purchases – Your car breaks down, the refrigerator doesn’t chill, and the washing machine just quit in mid-wash. It happens, and these are all items you can’t be without. You can easily justify the need to make these types of purchases.

Reasons to NOT get a loan

  • Unnecessary impulses – Ask yourself if the purchase is really a “need” and not simply a “want” that may change over time. Can you live without it? Can you put off the purchase until a better time? If you had the cash, is this how you would spend it?
  • Unaffordable status symbols – We are bombarded by TV shows, movies and advertising that create a desire for luxury items most of us really can’t afford. Resist the urge! Make it your goal to live within your means.
  • Unsustainable lifestyle – Constantly spending more than you can afford leads to an unhappy and unfulfilling life that is unsustainable as well.

Use credit wisely. At some point, everyone should have the personally satisfying experience of paying off debt, and that can only be accomplished through the responsible use of credit.