No Cost Workshops to Help You be Financially and Professionally Savvy

Summit Credit Union is Here to Help You

2022 Alliance sponsor feature article courtesy of Summit Credit Union

It is never too late to change your financial health and overall wellbeing. As a partnership benefit of Summit Credit Union, we offer no-cost virtual and in-person workshops to our members and non-members. Below are some of our workshops to help you be financially and professionally savvy.

  • Fraud and Identity Theft: We may all be targets, but we do not have to be victims. Find out what schemes crooks are currently using to try and steal your money. Learn how to protect yourself from fraud attempts.
  • Understanding Your Credit Score: Discover how credit scores are determined, how to raise your credit score, and how to avoid common mistakes that lower your score. It’s not always common sense.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Workspace: What is diversity and inclusion? Learn how to encourage inclusive actions and behaviors in the workplace. Explore why it makes good business sense to incorporate a diversity and inclusion strategic plan of action, and how it can impact growth and revenue for your company.

Our workshops typically run 45-60 minutes, but can be divided into two parts for shorter sessions. Most can be presented in a Lunch ‘n Learn format, either in-person or online. Visit or contact your Regional Partnership Manager at for more information or to schedule an on-site or virtual workshop for your team.

About Summit Credit Union

Summit Credit Union was established in 1935 and is a full-service not-for-profit financial cooperative, providing services to employees at over 300 companies throughout North Carolina. It has about 37,000 members and approximately $338 million in assets. Summit Credit Union offers a full portfolio of personal financial products, including checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, online banking, direct deposit, mobile app, ATMs, and more.

For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

How to Protect Your Practice from Payment Fraud

2019 Alliance sponsor feature article courtesy of First Citizens Bank

Eighty-two percent of finance professionals say their companies were victims of payment fraud in 2018, more than in any other year, according to the Payments Fraud and Control Survey by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). These businesses also faced hefty legal fees and administrative costs to sort out the aftermath.

What can you do to protect your practice? A key starting point is understanding the prevalent risks and how to respond so you can recover quickly.

Types of Payment Fraud

Thieves have devised creative ways to attack almost all types of transactions. Common schemes include:

Seventy percent of companies that fell victim to payment fraud in 2018 experienced at least one instance of check fraud, the AFP study revealed. Common check fraud schemes include:

  • Altered checks: This occurs when a check has already been issued, but data fields on the check are changed to reflect alternate, fraudulent amounts and payee names.
  • Counterfeit checks: Advances in software applications and printers have given fraudsters a way to create imitation checks if they have a company’s bank account information.
  • Forgeries: Often involving stolen checks, forgeries occur when there is an unauthorized signature from the payer or endorsement from the payee.

Electronic Payments
Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions are increasingly targeted, according to the AFP report.

In some cases, all that is needed to initiate the fraud is an organization’s bank account information. A primary reason for the recent spike in electronic payment fraud is from wholesale hacking schemes known as “imposter fraud,” which target company employees who have access to sensitive and financial data.

In addition, according to the AFP, 80 percent of organizations experienced fraud through a business email compromise (BEC) tactic in 2018. This type of fraud is also known as “phishing.” It occurs when a fraudster poses as someone within your organization, or as an influential individual outside of your organization, to gather sensitive information and exploit your practice.

The fraudster may act as a supervisor or upper manager, providing instruction to wire funds or make a payment with a sense of urgency. The employee takes action and responds to the request. By the time the mistake is realized, it is often too late to stop the funds.

Credit Cards
Twenty-nine percent of companies reported at least one instance of corporate credit card fraud in 2018, according to the AFP. Unauthorized users, whether an employee or outside individual, commit this type of fraud by using a corporate credit card to make unapproved purchases.

Credit card fraud can occur when company cards are lost, stolen or duplicated as counterfeit cards. Credit cards can also be obtained through “account takeover” in which a fraudster gathers company financial data and contacts the bank to report a change of address and lost card. They are then sent a replacement card, giving them access to a company’s finances.

Merchant Services
Merchant services fraud, or debit and credit card processing fraud, has decreased in recent years thanks to the adoption of EMV chip cards. However, fraudsters can create a counterfeit card simply by capturing card information embedded within the magnetic strip.

Take Preventative Steps

Preventative steps can go a long way toward sidestepping attacks. If you don’t already use these best practices, be sure to implement them:

Train your staff. Teach your associates to recognize the signs of payment fraud. For example, fraudulent checks may have a missing or poor-quality watermark or microprint, which is a small line of print that is difficult to photocopy and can be read only when magnified. Credit card fraudsters may buy many expensive things and attempt multiple transactions, even in a single visit. Offer guidance on how associates can report any fraudulent activity they notice and how they can scrutinize all e-mail requests for transfer of funds to determine if they are out of the ordinary.

Use EMV terminals. Minimize the likelihood that counterfeit cards can be used at checkout by updating your system to support payments through an EMV system. If you don’t have an EMV terminal already, think about upgrading.

Verify card not present transactions. Have strong verification processes in place when customers pay by mail, phone or online, known as card not present (CNP) transactions. Always use address verification (AVS) to confirm that the billing address they provide matches the address on file with their credit card provider. Also, request the three- or four-digit code, known as the card verification value (CVV), which helps to verify the buyer has physical possession of the card.

Strengthen internal safeguards. Be sure you have a dual-approval process in place for payments, in which one person initiates a transaction and another approves it. For large-dollar check payments, require more than one signature. Also, consider using a dedicated computer for banking transactions to limit access to sensitive financial information.

Understand the rules. Businesses typically have shorter windows for disputing transactions than do consumers. For example, companies have 24 hours to alert their bank to an unauthorized ACH transaction once it has posted, compared with a 60-day time frame for consumer transactions. Reach out to your business banker or merchant services provider to clarify how you should respond to suspect transactions.

Monitor account activity. Make a point of reviewing your transactions daily so that you can spot fraudulent payments right away. This can improve your chances of having these charges cleared. Sign up for account alerts that can help you monitor activity more closely.

Talk with your insurance agent. Check whether your current policies would cover losses resulting from payment fraud. This type of coverage is fairly new, so it may not be included in a long-held policy. Many commercial crime policies, for instance, cover losses when funds are taken by a third party, but may not cover losses when associates are tricked into initiating a transfer, as in an imposter fraud scheme. Specialized coverage may help to fill in gaps.

Tap bank services. Some banks offer services that can protect against potential fraud. For instance, Positive Pay and Reverse Positive Pay are services that can ensure checks issued from your practice are matching up with the ones being processed. An ACH monitoring service can closely watch your accounts and block any unauthorized transactions.

First Citizens can help you maintain control of your practice’s financial security and reduce your risk of payment fraud. For more information, contact Andy Shene, Charlotte Metro Area Executive for First Citizens Bank, 704.338.3926. First Citizens Bank. Forever First®.

Account openings and credit are subject to Bank approval. Member FDIC.

Frauds, Scams, and Lies, Oh My!

2016 Feature article by Alliance sponsor Summit Credit Union

Crooks are constantly coming up with creative ways to steal your hard-earned money. Here are just a few schemes that are currently making their rounds.

IRS Impostors. During tax time fraudsters pose as IRS agents who threaten arrest or seizure of property unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes. Threats come in the form of phone calls or even in emails which link to a look-alike IRS website. Sometimes their approach is that they owe you money and need to get it to you. In either case the crooks are just hoping to get your banking information so they can loot your bank account. Remember the IRS never contacts anyone by phone or email, only by certified letters.

Medical Fraud. Baby boomers are getting older and frequently get calls promising that “our doctor can certify you for a free electric wheelchair.” They then ask for a Social Security number and Medicare and secondary insurance information so a fraudulent claim can be filed. Medicare loses an estimated $60 billion a year to fraud.

Lotteries and Sweepstakes. You can’t win if you didn’t enter, but every week victims fall prey to phone calls, letters with enclosed checks, or even emails saying they have won millions. All the victim has to do is send a money order to pay initial taxes or provide banking information so the crooks can “transfer the winnings into your account.” Of course, in either case, there are no actual winnings.

These are just a few of the ways crooks try to defraud consumers and/or steal their identity. Summit Credit Union has a full seminar for your employees that it will bring to your work location at no cost. For details, contact Lindy Fuller at 336-662-6259 or