Friday, March 7, 2008

What is a Security Phrase?

The security phrase feature has been part of Web Branch and Web Alerts since 2003. However, we still hear from members from time to time who are confused with how the security phrase works. I'd like to address what the security phrase is and how it protects you and your accounts from fraud.

The security phrase is not a password. You should not include private information in your security phrase like your Social Security Number or mother's maiden name. In fact, it should not be just one word, it should be a phrase. I like to use some of my favorite song lyrics. Other good phrases might be a list of your favorite movies or books, kids' names, or famous quotes. The best security phrase is something you'll immediately recognize as being something you wrote.

We put your security phrase in every automated e-mail we send. E-mail is not secure (it is transmitted as text over the Internet and could be intercepted and read). That's why you should not include anything private in your phrase.

By including your security phrase in e-mails, you can be sure they are from UW Credit Union. With phishing and other types of e-mail fraud, scammers send thousands of e-mails hoping they reach customers who might fall for the scam. However, in their spam, they'd never be able to customize the message to include your security phrase. This means that as long as you recognize your phrase in an e-mail from UW Credit Union, you can be comfortable knowing it is legitimate.

If you're a Web Alerts user with a good security phrase, no action is required. You can continue to use Web Alerts comfortably and confidently. If you use Web Alerts and don't have a security phrase or are using a password or other private information in your phrase, please create or change your phrase immediately. This is easily done by clicking on the Update Security Phrase link in any Web Alert or by logging into Web Branch and going to the My Profile & Services tab.

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