Get the latest news and trends affecting the Peabody Municipal Federal Credit Union.

Fraud and phishing information

The last year has seen a tremendous increase in the amount of identity theft by a technique known as Phishing. Phishing is an Internet based scam where people develop an email campaign or an Internet Website that impersonates a legitimate organization.

These people solicit personal and/or financial information from you via email or the Website. This can include Social Security Numbers, account numbers, passwords or PIN’s and of course credit/debit card information. You should never respond to any inquiry asking for this type of information.

The e-mail will encourage you to click on a button to go to the institution’s Web site. In a phishing scam, you will be redirected to a phony Web site that may look exactly like the real thing. In either case, you may be asked to update your account information or to provide information for verification purposes. Do not provide the requested information, you may find yourself the victim of identify theft.

Look at the bottom of the browser page for the padlock icon. The locked padlock represents a trusted secured site. If you don’t see a locked padlock then you are not actually in our secure site and may be being “phished”.

For a free brochure on how to protect yourself against Identity Theft call us at 978-532-1385, or visit our Contact Us page.

Auto Finance Tips – Refinancing Your Car Loan by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

As interest rates drop, people’s thoughts turn to refinancing – refinancing their home loan, that is. What they don’t know is that refinancing an auto loan is easier to do, and it can save you some serious money.

How much? Say you bought a new car six months ago. And say there were a few dings on your credit so the dealer told you that your auto loan would be 11 percent on a five-year loan for a $23,000 car. Your monthly payments are $500.

Now let’s say that you surf the Web until you find a company that offers auto refinancing. You could refinance the balance of your car loan and lower your payments to about $400 a month. That’s a savings of nearly $6,000 over the life of the loan.

Other examples could well be more dramatic. In some cases, a new-car buyer could wind up with an auto loan based on an 18-percent interest rate. By refinancing at a competitive rate, the monthly payments would be slashed, and all it takes is about 10 minutes to fill out the application.

CU Efficiencies Drive Dividends by Marygrace Murphy, Credit Union Times

Credit unions often differentiate themselves from banks by offering year-end bonus dividends to members. A number of credit unions are finding ways to operate more efficiently so that members can enjoy their portion of excess earnings this year.

Midland, MI-based Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union returned $9 million in year-end rebates and rewards to members who used the credit union to borrow or save money in 2008. On the other hand, Las Vegas-based Clark County Credit Union is not expecting to offer a bonus dividend at the end of this year.

This news comes in marked contrast to CCCU’s January announcement of a $2.9 million dividend for 2008, the ninth year in a row it had distributed such a dividend.