Protect Yourself From Fraud

In today’s digital age, where online interactions have become an integral part of our lives, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks posed by fraudsters. They employ various deceptive techniques to deceive unsuspecting individuals and gain unauthorized access to personal information, financial details, or sensitive data. At Sentinel FCU, we have implemented stringent measures to safeguard against fraud and protect our members.

How do I protect myself from scams?

Often, scammers rush their victims and push lots of emotional hot buttons to get you to stop thinking rationally. Never let strangers force you into fast decisions. Pause, calm yourself and think clearly and critically. Chances are you will quickly see the situation for what it is. Do not be afraid to hang up and validate with your financial institution and/or law enforcement.

Stop. Breathe. Ask Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Report Fraud on My Credit Card?

During Normal Business Hours:

Give us a call at 605-923-1405 or 888-923-1400, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (MT).

After Business Hours:

If it is after our normal Business Hours, call 800-547-3556.

Lock Your Card:

Use our Mobile App to lock your card. Log into the SFCU mobile app and select “Manage My Cards” under the More Menu.

How Do I Lock My Cards?

You can manage your cards from our Mobile App. This feature allows you to lock and unlock your Sentinel Federal Debit Card and Credit Card at any time, for any reason.

Simply login to our app and select “Manage My Cards” in the More Menu. You can see your recent activity and temporarily lock and unlock your cards at any time.

To report lost or stolen cards, give us a call at 605-923-1405 or 888-923-1400 during normal business hours and at 888-297-3416 after business hours.

Download our Mobile Banking App from the App Store and on Google Play.


How Do I Get Card Notifications?

Simply login to our app and select “Manage My Cards” in the More Menu. You can enable Activity Alerts for your card in Card Controls.

With these enabled, you will receive a push notification when any transaction is made using that card.

You can also set to be notified only for transactions over a certain amount, as well as additional notifications for Foreign Transactions and Card Not Present Transactions.

How Can I Tell if a Text is Really From Sentinel FCU?

A text from Sentinel FCU will never ask for any personal information or card number. It will verify a transaction with amount and merchant name and ask you to reply with the letter V, if valid and F, if fraud.

Why is Important to Close Browser After Online Banking Session?

Browser software often stores (or “caches”) web pages in your computer’s temporary memory. By signing out and exiting your browser at the end of an online session, you reduce the possibility of someone else seeing your confidential information.

How Do I Submit a Debit/Credit Card Dispute?

During Normal Business Hours:

Give us a call at 605-923-1405 or 888-923-1400, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (MT) and speak to one of our friendly call center representatives and they will walk you through the complete process.

Scam Alert

Sept. 8, 2023

WARNING: Beware of Bail Money Scam Calls!
Scammers are making phone calls pretending to be lawyer, claiming that a loved one is in jail and needs bail money urgently. Here’s how to protect yourself and your loved ones:
1. Verify the caller: Ask for their name, phone number, and the firm they claim to represent. Hang up and independently verify this information through official channels.
2. Stay calm: Scammers use fear and urgency to manipulate you. Take a deep breath, think logically, and don’t rush into any decisions.
3. Don’t share personal information: Avoid giving out personal or financial information over the phone. Legitimate authorities won’t ask for this information over the phone.
4. Contact your loved one: If you receive such a call, reach out to your loved one directly or contact their known attorney to verify their status.
5. Educate your family and friends: Share this warning with your loved ones to ensure they’re also aware of this scam.
Stay vigilant and protect yourself.

Protect Your Plastic: Tips to Keep Your Cards Safe

Whether you swipe, tap, or click, paying by credit card or debit card makes life a whole lot simpler. But while these cards are an easier, safer alternative to carrying cash, criminals can still target them.

Today’s cards come with several safeguards, including microchips to stop unauthorized charges, but how you use your card is even more important.

There are two essential ways to avoid falling victim to theft, debit card fraud, and credit card fraud: Staying informed and taking steps to protect yourself.


For more Q&A visit our
Protecting your Credit Cards from fraud page. 

Monitor & Protect Your Card
Whether you prefer to pay by debit or credit, adopt these habits to make sure that your cards only pay for your purchases – not someone else’s.

  • Keep an eye on your account.
    Review recent transactions to spot suspicious activity. Our mobile app makes it easy to check your account on the go.
  • Safeguard your card.
    Do not leave it lying around the house or keep it visible when you are out in public.
  • Be careful on the phone.
    To avoid credit card scams or other fraud, do not give card information over the phone unless you initiated the call yourself. Sentinel FCU will never call you to request sensitive financial information.
  • Be prepared when you travel.
    Traveling can be fun, but it also brings an increased risk of theft and fraud. Keep your money secure and make the most of your adventure. Also, Call Sentinel FCUat 605923-1405 to advise us of your travel plans so that any out of norm transactions are not blocked unless they are deemed to be true fraud.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately.
    The sooner you act, the easier it is to prevent unauthorized transactions. Here at Sentinel FCU we have made it easy for you to report your card lost or stolen, simply call 800-682-6075 or go to your mobile app and lock your card until you are able to call.

Step Up Your Online Security

Two-thirds of Americans shop online. With millions of cards being entered and stored in online accounts, protecting this information has never been more crucial.

  • Make sure the site is trustworthyThe URL should start with “HTTPS,” not simply “HTTP.” This indicates that the info you submit is encrypted.
  • Use strong passwordsChoose a long, complex password that is hard to guess. We know it is hard to keep track of so many different logins without writing them on sticky notes (which you should never do), so we suggest storing them in a digital password manager (which is itself password-protected).
  • Beware of email phishing scamsPhishing attacks happen when a criminal impersonates a business you trust (such as your cellphone carrier or financial institution) and tries to trick you into providing sensitive financial information.
  • Be careful with shared computersInformation you enter online may be stored on the computer after you are done. Avoid logging into accounts or entering card info on public computers. You can also use the “incognito” setting on your web browser to make sure sensitive information is erased once you close the browser.

Use Caution at ATMs

We live in an increasingly cashless society, but it is nice to have easy access to cash when you need it. Here is how you can keep your card and account safe at the ATM:

  • Protect your PIN: Do not share your debit card PIN (or your card) with anyone, and do not use a number that is easy to guess (like your birthday). Also, periodically update your PIN.
  • Use ATMs: Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night, and make sure no one sees the PIN you enter. Also, do not count your money at the ATM; quickly put it away and take your receipt with you.
  • Make sure the ATM is not compromised: Thieves may attempt to steal card information using a “skimmer,” a small device they attach to the ATM or the card reader on a gas pump. If the card reader is loose or sticks out unusually far, it could be a sign that the machine has been tampered with. ATMs at financial institution branches are closely monitored, so they are a safer choice.

Tips to Prevent Mail Theft

The Postal Service has several suggestions to help prevent mail theft and harm to mail carriers:

  • Don’t let mail sit in your mailbox. Retrieve it daily.
  • Don’t drop mail into a collection box at night. Take it into a post office.
  • You can sign up for Informed Delivery and the Postal Service will send you a preview of what mail and packages are coming.
  • If you are going out of town, sign up to have your mail held at the post office.
  • Be involved in your neighborhood and tell others about mail theft and potential threats to mail carriers.
  • Watch for your mail carrier and if you see something that looks suspicious, or someone following your carrier, call 911.