How to Protect Yourself

Take charge in safeguarding your accounts and identity.

Let's work together to combat fraud and scams that can damage your finances.

Use our digital services
Learn to spot online scams
Monitor your credit report

Be vigilant in the fight against fraud

Use these tips and resources to help protect yourself from identity theft, fraud and other scams.

We offer many products and services you can take advantage of to further protect yourself from fraud and identity theft. With online banking and the Michigan First Mobile App, you can bank anytime, anywhere and stay on top of your accounts. We use industry-leading security technology to protect your information, so you can feel safe paying bills, checking balances, depositing checks and making transfers.

Before you input your username and password, make sure you’re on the authentic MichiganFirst.com. Do this by checking your browser address to see if it has a lock icon and the proper URL, which is https://michiganfirst.com. It should appear similar to below, depending on which internet browser is in use. The example below is using Google Chrome.

If you use our mobile app, you have features at your fingertips to help manage your credit and debit cards and alert you of suspicious activity. Within the mobile app you can:

  • Turn credit and debits cards on/off when not in use
  • Change PIN numbers
  • Be alerted anytime an international or online purchase is made
  • Set spending limits
  • Be alerted anytime a purchase is made above an amount you choose

You can also quickly and easily sign up for paperless statements, which adds added security over having paper statements mailed to your home.

Michigan First partners with NXG Strategies – one of the nation’s most trusted names in identity theft recovery – to provide members with comprehensive identity theft monitoring and recovery services. These services start at just $1.95/month. It is a great way to add extra protection to your identity, including accounts and money at other financial institutions.

Tips on How to Protect Yourself

You can protect yourself and your accounts by recognizing and preparing for online banking threats. Here are a few ways to keep yourself and your information safe:

Giving anyone access to your accounts can put your financial information and your money at risk. This includes financial websites and apps that offer tools to help you manage your accounts, invest or prepare your taxes. Michigan First will never call, text or email you and ask for this information if you did not initiate the call first.

It’s important to use a highly secure password for all your financial accounts. The most secure passwords combine letters, numbers and special characters. Never use your pet’s name, your child’s name, your address, phone number, birth date or anything else that a fraudster could easily find out. For added security, remember to change your password regularly, and avoid using the same password for multiple sites or financial institutions.

We also recommend using an email provider that asks you to verify your identity in multiple steps.

Be cautious about the information you share on social media. Don’t use information from your social media account for your password.

Phishing is when an impostor attempts to deceive their target into sharing personal information. They may try to impersonate a Michigan First team member through email, phone call or text, asking you to confirm your information or saying you've won something. It might seem legitimate, but it isn't.

A few examples:

  • You receive an email that appears to be from a reputable company you know or do business with. The email asks you to reply or go to a website that looks like MichiganFirst.com, where you’ll be asked to give your username, password, account number, personal identification number (PIN), Social Security number or other personal information.
  • You receive a voicemail or text message telling you your bank account will be closed, frozen or terminated unless you call or go to a website, where you’ll be asked to give your personal information.

Scammers often try to create a feeling of urgency or alarm by threatening to close off an account or offering a security update—as soon as you provide your personal information. A few more common culprits are emails, phone calls or text messages that:

  • Require you to give personal or account information directly on the email or on a website; some fraudsters use pop-up windows to ask for confidential information.
  • Threaten to close or suspend your account if you don’t take immediate action.
  • Invite you to answer a survey that asks for personal or account information.
  • Say your account has been hacked, then asks for personal or account information.
  • Tell you there are unauthorized charges on your account, then asks for personal or account information.
  • Ask you to confirm, verify or update your account or billing information.
  • Ask you to provide account information because someone wants to send you money.
  • Claim you’re getting a refund.
  • Say you’ve won a contest.

Don’t open any email attachment (even if it appears to be from a friend or co-worker) unless you’re expecting it or you’re absolutely sure you know what it contains.

Be cautious of subject lines or emails with a generic message like “check this out” or “thought you’d be interested in this”. Make sure you know who sent the email before you open an attachment or click any links.

Often times, these scams include “spoofing” financial institutions’ phone numbers to look legitimate. Scammers will then text or call from these numbers in order to retrieve personal and financial information.

If you were not expecting a call or text message from us, please do not respond. Michigan First will never unexpectedly call or text you asking for login credentials, credit card numbers or any other personal information. Do not share this information. Instead, hang up the phone or ignore the text message and call us directly at 800.664.3828.

At least once a year, read through your credit reports carefully. You can request a free annual credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies, even if you don’t suspect any unauthorized activity on your account.

For your free annual report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-FACTACT (1-877-322-8228). You may also request the reports directly from each agency:

Equifax: 800.525.6285
Experian: 888.397.3742
TransUnion: 800.680.7289

Look out for credit inquiries from unfamiliar companies, accounts you've never opened and unexplained debts. These can be warning signs of fraud or identity theft.

Install and update the latest browser, anti-virus and firewall software on your computer.

Be cautious of offers for free anti-virus software. Be sure to purchase your software from a reputable company. Look for anti-virus software that scans incoming communications and files for viruses, removes or quarantines viruses and updates automatically.

A firewall is software or hardware designed to block unauthorized access to your computer. It’s especially important to have a firewall if you have a cable modem, DSL line or other broadband connection, because they are targeted often. Many current operating systems come with a built-in firewall, which must be turned on.

While it is our mission to make our products and services secure, there are things you can do to keep your accounts safe, too:

  • Don’t give your account numbers or any personal or financial information over the phone unless you initiate the conversation and know the person or organization.
  • Don’t give personal information to any stranger, even someone claiming to be from Michigan First.
  • Don’t print your driver’s license, phone or Social Security number on your checks.
  • Report lost or stolen checks immediately, and we’ll stop payment on the check numbers you report. When you get new checks, look through them to make sure none of them were stolen in the mail.
  • Store your new and canceled checks in a safe place.
  • Tell us right away if you receive any suspicious phone inquiries asking for your personal or account information. Also, tell us if you see anything suspicious in your account activity or on your statement.
  • To help keep thieves from stealing your identity, destroy or store financial information securely (including bank statements, invoices, ATM receipts and credit card receipts).
  • Guard your PINs and passwords. Don’t store them on your phone or write them on your card.
  • Create secure PINs and passwords. Don’t use birth dates, your Social Security number, driver’s license number, address or any family names. Someone trying to steal your identity may have this information.
  • If you use MichiganFirst.com or one of our apps in public or on a shared or public computer, be sure to sign out when you’re finished and delete all cookies.
  • Be careful when you use your device in public areas. Look out for anyone who may be watching what you’re doing.

Here are a few common fraud schemes recently reported in the news. Please be on the lookout for these and other scams. 

COVID-19 vaccine surveys: fraudelent surveys are being sent to people via email or text message after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine. These surveys promise cash or a prize upon completion. 

Family emergency scams: someone claims a family member is in an emergency situation and needs money. Ex: they have been in an auto accident or have been arrested.

Romance scams: someone you have never met in person asks you to send them money via wire transfer so they can travel to meet you or get home to a loved one.

There are unfortunately many more fraud schemes that occur every day. To stay up-to-date on current scams so you're not taken advantage of, the Federal Trade Commission is an excellent fraud prevention resource.

Michigan First is a full-service credit union with branches that are easily accessible around Metro Detroit, Grand Rapids and mid-Michigan.