College Scholarship Contest Underway
$12,000 Credit Union Scholarship Program
The Maryland/DC CU Foundation is once again offering a college scholarship contest for credit union members. Each of the 12, $1,000-scholarships goes toward college or trade school tuition. Freedom members entering their freshman through senior year of college or trade school are eligible.
The Credit Union College Scholarship Program is underway now! Eligible credit union members may apply for one of 12 scholarships in three categories. Options include 10 essay-based scholarships, a video-based scholarship, and one photo-based scholarship. Eligible members may even apply in all three categories!
The deadline for applications is March 31, 2018. Awards will be announced in May 2018.
This year’s essay topic is “Describe the value found in credit union membership”.
2017’s Video Challenge is to “Create a 60-second credit union ad to attract young members (age 16 – 24)”.
The Photo competition theme is the credit union core value, “Community”.
Freedom is dedicated to giving back to the Harford County Community. Our participation is the MD/DC Credit Union Scholarship Program is just one part of that. We also offer a scholarship to a student at Harford County Community College, as well as scholarships for Harford County educators.
Take a look at our work in Harford County. See why when you join Freedom, you really are joining something special!
Miracle Network Fund Drives Raises over 1K
Freedom recently participated in a Children’s Miracle Network fund drive! The Miracle Jeans Day-Credit Union for Kids benefit raised money for our local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Staff and members donated throughout September to benefit Johns Hopkins Children’s hospital.
Miracle Jeans Day
The Miracle Jeans Day-Credit Union for Kids fundraiser began with employees. Freedom employees were encouraged to donate $5 for the opportunity to go “Casual for Kids” by wearing jeans. The one-day event took place on September 13. Proceeds support John’s Hopkins Children’s Hospital’s greatest needs, including include life-saving research, treatments, equipment and charitable care.
Collection Boxes in all Branches
Fundraising continued through the end of September. So many employees and members gave that we collected a total of $1,081.44!
It’s important to us to give back. To support the Harford County Community, we provide free financial education, support local organizations, and routinely volunteer in the community. It’s all about making Freedom a special place to work and a special place to bank.
A Celebration, with Pumpkins!
International Credit Union Day, October 19, 2017
Credit Unions are not-for-profits that put members’ needs before profit. Our focus is on providing competitive products and services, reasonable loan rates, and low fees. Credit Unions are co-operatives, members literally own them! Each Credit Union “owner” has a say, and profits benefit the membership.
Help us celebrate the Credit Union Difference! Celebrate International Credit Union Day with us as we celebrate our members!
This year members can celebrate International Credit Union Day at each branch with prizes, snacks, and a give-away drawing. To help our employees celebrate, we’re holding our first Pumpkin Contest! Each Freedom branch is creating a unique pumpkin work of art using custom carving and/or painting. You can be part of the Pumpkin Contest too! Stop by a branch to check out the vegetable artwork and vote for your favorite!
A Good Idea
Want to know why Credit Unions are worth celebrating? Read about how Credit Unions got started and why they’re still a good idea!
Scams Follow Equifax Breach
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent out an article about a new scam exploiting the Equifax hack. See the article below. To stay current on the latest scams and what to do to avoid them, review our Fraud Alerts page. This page is continually updated with the latest information and advice from many sources.
Equifax isn’t calling
September 14, 2017, by Lisa Weintraub Schifferle
Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Ring, ring. “This is Equifax calling to verify your account information.” Stop. Don’t tell them anything. They’re not from Equifax. It’s a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue.
That’s just one scam you might see after Equifax’s recent data breach. Other calls might try to trick you into giving your personal information. Here are some tips for recognizing and preventing phone scams and imposter scams:
- Don’t give personal information. Don’t provide any personal or financial information unless you’ve initiated the call and it’s to a phone number you know is correct.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can spoof their numbers so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, even when they’re not.
- If you get a robocall, hang up. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
If you’ve already received a call that you think is fake, report it to the FTC.
If you gave your personal information to an imposter, it’s time to change any compromised passwords, account numbers or security questions. And if you’re concerned about identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov to learn how you can protect yourself.
For more information about the Equifax breach, visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com or contact their call center at 866-447-7559.
Equifax Data Breach: Protecting Your Identity
Equifax is one of the credit bureaus that gather data to produce and update your credit score. Freedom sends Equifax data on members who apply for loans in order to check credit worthiness.
A few months ago hackers breached the Equifax database. As a result, some individuals had their social security number, driver’s license number, or other data compromised.
Equifax is mailing notices to people who were affected by the data breach. In the meantime, there ARE things you can do to lower your risk of identity theft:
- Check to see if you may have been impacted by the data breach.
- If your data has been compromised, sign up for FREE Equifax identity theft monitoring.
- Continue to use best practices to prevent identity theft:
- Use strong passwords. By definition, a strong password consists of at least six characters that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.) if allowed. Passwords are typically case-sensitive, so a strong password contains letters in both uppercase and lowercase. The longer a password, the stronger it is.
- Do NOT respond to requests for personal information received by phone call or email. Freedom will never call or email to ask you for personal information.
- Do not write down personal information such as your credit card number or personal identification number (PIN).
- Do not let debit and credit cards out of your sight.
- Cover your hand when entering your PIN at an ATM or a store.
Collection Drive At All Branches
We are again participating in the “Tools for Schools” collection drive to benefit HCEF, the Harford County Education Foundation. The Foundation was formerly known as The Greater Excellence in Education Foundation, or GEEF). It’s estimated that 11,000 students in Harford County don’t have the basic supplies to get them through the school year. HCEF collects, warehouses and distributes school supplies to the schools and students who need them.
Please help students receive needed school supplies by dropping off your donated items August 6 – September 15. All donations support students in Harford County.
Needed Supplies Include:
- 3-Hole Binders
- Binder Pencil Pouches
- Colored Pencils
- Composition Notebooks
- Dry Erase Markers
- Glue Sticks
- Graphing Calculators
- Index Cards
- Loose Leaf Paper
- Pencil Cases
- Pocket Folder
- USB Drives
- Ziploc bags
iTalk “Telephone Teller” Available Now
Enjoy the convenience of telephone banking. Secure transactions and current account(s) information is only a phone call away! This free service lets you make a variety of inquiries and transactions with a single call. A voice prompt guides you through each and every step. Help is available at any time throughout your call.
Members may enroll in iTalk at a branch or by calling the Contact Center at 800-440-4120. Members will be set up with an initial PIN for security. Your account number and PIN are all you need to get started.
The new service is an option for members who call our main number (800-440-4120 or 410-676-5700). The direct line, 844-454-9982, is also available at all times.
Some of the transactions/activities that members can perform through iTalk include:
- Funds transfers
- Loan payments
- Balance inquiries
- Stop payments
- Request emailed account history
- Check withdrawals
Hope in Handbags Sale is September 9
Once again, we’ve collected gently-used handbags for sale at the Hope in Handbags event! This sale and silent auction benefits Harford Family House. The Hope in Handbags event begins with a preview event on Friday, September 8 and culminates with the main event on Saturday, September 9 at Bel Air’s Reckord Armory.