Posts Tagged 'scam'

Scam Visa calls going around

We’re getting reports of members receiving calls soliciting their Visa information from someone saying their account is going to be closed. The caller comes from an unavailable number and won’t leave a name or identify themselves.

If you receive such a call, don’t give the caller any information. If American 1 has to call you, we already have your account information and don’t have to ask. That, and we’re not afraid to identify ourselves over the phone and leave our phone number. In fact, your caller ID may list us on the display.

When you receive calls like this, simply hang up and call the credit union yourself and ask about the situation. If there is one, you know you’re calling the right people. Plus, we like to stay on top of fraud situations like this.

Scamwatch: Salary is too good to be true

Here’s a fun e-mail someone received at another credit union. It’s an attempt to get account information based on an “employment opportunity” with a fake company.

Check it out:

You are welcome by the company W.U.G.
Our company is dealt with the widening its sphere of action and starts to join new employees to its department in the USA. If you have a great desire to earn well-deserved money, to take the opportunity to get good knowledge and to raise yourself,we will be happy to help you with this.

Our company provides its clients with financial services. It is not obligatory to have higher education to start working with us; after several trial tests you will get the chance to study on the house.

To begin cooperation with us you should provide us with the following information:
the number of your personal ID and account details (it would be better to open new account, special for work).

This information will be checked by the business security department W.U.G.

You will get the opportunity to work as a financial manager of one of our clients (at the same time one of our more experienced worker will be able to help you by email or by phone)

Stable salary – 2400 USD and more, duration of working day – 3-4 hours.
If this offer is suitable for you, please do not hesitate to send us an email.

Our contact: mendoza@westjobposition.com

We are glad to hire successful people in our company! Sincerely,
Marco Veliz Mendoza
Chief of staff department
W.U.G. Finance

Isn’t the grammar fantastic? And look at that salary: $2,400 for three or four hours of work. That’s $600 an hour!

That’s also the definition of “too good to be true.” Especially during these times of hardship, beware these kinds of employment offers.

Credit card phishing alert

Alarming news from the NCUA:

The purpose of this fraud alert is to inform all federally-insured credit unions about a recent phishing attempt to obtain member credit card account numbers, expiration dates and electronic signatures. In cases reported to NCUA, the perpetrator(s) sent fraudulent e-mails, representing to be from the NCUA, to credit union members and the general public. The emails state the NCUA will add $50.00 to the member’s account for taking part in a survey. The link embedded in the message directs members to a counterfeit version of NCUA’s website with an illicit survey that solicits credit card account numbers and confidential personal information.

We are highly concerned about the risk of imitating the NCUA website and the use of the NCUA official logo to potentially make the scam appear more authentic to unsuspecting members. NCUA will never ask credit union members or the general public for personal account or personally identifiable information as part of a survey. Any e-mail that alleges to be from NCUA and asks for account information is fraudulent and should be treated as suspicious.

The NCUA recommends keeping up to date on virus protection software and security updates. Also, if you receive a scam e-mail, send it to Phishing@ncua.gov.

And by all means, do not give our your account information to just anyone that asks.

UPDATE: We just got another report of credit card phishing activity. This time, the caller claims to be with Visa or MasterCard, already has your credit card number, and asks for the three-digit number on the back of the card.

Whatever you do, don’t give them any more information than they already have.

“The member should be advised to note the telephone number of the caller and follow up with Visa or MasterCard by calling the 800 number on the back of the card to report the incident,” Jay A. Slagel, VP or Risk Management for Allied Solutions, advises. “The member should also contact their credit union to advise of the call and what specific requests were made.”

Text scam: keep these things in mind

We have your account information: American 1 wouldn’t call you up and ask you your account information out of the blue. Besides, we have your information already. Usually we ask you to verify your account when you call us – just to make sure you’re who you say you are. That’s to keep your money safe, and to keep thieves from calling up and pretending to be you.

We don’t have a texting program: Some credit unions and banks are notifying their members and customers of transactions or low fund warnings via text. These programs are great, but we don’t have one set up right now. So if you see a text coming from us, it’s not us.

When fraud happens, we use a different method: American 1 does monitor our Visa and debit cards for fraud activity automatically, but the system is a simple phone call that verifies your transactions (“Did you buy such-and-such at this place yesterday?”) and never asks for your card number. Like we mentioned above, we have that info already.

It doesn’t hurt to call us: If you’re ever unsure about someone asking about your financial info, hang up and give us a call to make sure everything’s okay. You never know who’s who, or if a different branch is showing up on your caller ID. So to be safe, just call our toll-free number at (888) 213-2848 and double check everything.

Don’t give out your account info over e-mail, the phone, or anywhere else: That’s the bottom line. Thieves aren’t just using text messages; they could be using e-mail, the phone, even Facebook or Twitter. American 1 doesn’t handle account information, especially account and card numbers, over social networks or e-mail, and we recommend you not share that info with just anyone who asks.

Beware new text scam

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported on a text messaging scam affecting some of our members and non-members:

People are receiving text messages asking them for banking information, a news release from the sheriff’s office stated.

The messages are sent to mobile phones saying PIN numbers or debit card information have been lost from bank records. The message asks people for banking or debit card information, according to the release.

The text messages started appearing Sunday night, says the report.

Beware of text messaging scams like these, and know that American 1 would never ask you for your account information via text, or for your PIN. That’s personal account information that, chances are, we already have.

In fact, American 1 doesn’t engage in any text messaging program right now. If we ever did (for account updates, say, but not phishing for information), we’d be sure to let you know.

If you did respond to this text message, please let us and the Jackson County Sheriff’s office know.

UPDATE: We had an employee receive the text. Here’s what it read:

American 1 FCU Alert: Your CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at 877-733-7240 to RECATIVATE your CARD

She also said it appeared to have come from her own phone, which makes this thing extra tricky.

Read our list of things to keep in mind when it comes to these kinds of fraud schemes.

12 fraud prevention tips

Our friends at Allied Solutions passed along 12 helpful tips to protect your personal account information, especially your checking account.

“Allied Solutions has seen an increase in losses involving stolen member checks and misused personal information that has allowed criminals to cause those individuals a loss in their accounts at credit unions,” Marie Burgoyne wrote us. “Common-sense and a logical approach with the way an individual uses and stores checks can help reduce the risk of this type of loss.”

Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Keep your account information confidential and never provide your account number or personal information to unknown persons. Be particularly cautious of unsolicited phone sales.
  2. Reconcile your bank statement as soon as possible after receipt (within 20 days) to detect any irregularities. Delays may subject you to liability for any losses due to check fraud.
  3. Protect your checks – Store your checkbook, blank checks, deposit slips and bank statements in a secure location.
  4. Don’t leave blank spaces on the payee or payment amount lines on your checks.
  5. Monitor check orders to ensure they are received timely and immediately verify that all checks were received with the order.
  6. Mail bill payments through the Post Office and not from your mail box at home. Seeing the upright red flag on your home mail box is a favorite signal for criminals to look in the box and steal whatever is there.
  7. Do not add personal information on your check (Social Security #, Driver’s License # or DOB).
  8. Destroy (shred) cancelled checks (if received), account statements and deposit tickets unless needed for tax purposes.
  9. Use your own pre-printed deposit slips and make sure the account number on your slip is correct. Thieves have made attempts to alter deposit slips at drive-up windows in the hope that bank representatives will not notice with the result that the funds are deposited into the thief’s account.
  10. Don’t ever make a check payable to cash and also, never endorse a check until you are ready to cash the item or make the deposit. If lost or stolen, a check made payable to cash may be legally and rightfully cashed by anyone.
  11. If someone pays you with a cashier’s check, be cautious and if possible, have them accompany you to the bank to cash the item. If you need to accept a check for payment, do so during normal business hours so you can verify with the financial institution that it is legitimate. Make sure you obtain identification information from the individual.
  12. If your home is burglarized, determine if any checks have been stolen. Look closely because thieves will take checks from the back or middle of your check book to avoid immediate detection.

Read more identity theft tips in our ScamWatch category.

Worst credit card ever: First Premier Bank

In all the Visa card research we’ve done, we finally found a credit card that takes the cake: First Premier Bank‘s credit card.

Why is it the worst? The South Dakota-based bank’s interest rate took our breath away:

First Premier annual fee

And here we thought 29.99% was the most we’d ever seen. Hope you enjoy that $10 purchase, because it could cost you $16 on your next bill.

How about fees? First Premier has them in spades:

First Premier fees

How about $75 in annual fees? Or $36 per year even after you close your account? They won’t even consider your application unless you pay that $45 processing fee.

Here’s our favorite:

First Premier internet fee?

An “internet fee”? To manage your account online, you have to pay $4?

It gets better: First Premier’s online application only asks for $95 to get the whole thing processed. Even if you wanted to apply, good luck visiting their site without getting hit with a swarm of pop-up ads:

First Premier Bank has a record of misleading potential customers and engaging in shady credit card practices. Read the fine print on their credit card statements, and it’s not hard to figure out why.

First Premier claims to “lift others up,” but really – with all those fees – they’re tearing your financial life down.

ScamWatch: Beware of fake Charter One verification sites

Fake Charter One e-mail

Head’s up: an American 1 employee received the above phishing e-mail (click for a larger view) that sent her to the this web site:

Fraud phishing site

Take note that the web site asks for all the information on a debit card, including:

  • debit card number
  • card expiration date
  • card verification number (the three numbers on the back)
  • AND THE PIN!

This should send up a big red flag for anyone who receives a similar e-mail. Your financial institution will never (NEVER!) ask for your PIN via e-mail, and will never ask for all the information on your card.

Why? They have it already.

Luckily, our staff member was wise enough to recognize this as a phishing attempt. Let this be a lesson: just because something looks and sounds legit doesn’t mean it’s so.

If you ever receive an e-mail like the one above, let us know!

American 1’s response to the Heartland data breach

[Update: After careful consideration and account monitoring, we have decided that, for now, a mass reissue of the compromised cards is not necessary. We compare any claims of fraud against the compromised card list on a daily basis and will continue to do so. There has been no increased fraud claims since this compromise came to light. If you would like to know if your card number is on the compromised list, please give us a call or e-mail and we will be happy to check for you. If your card is on the list, and you would like to have your card replaced, we will do so for you.]

The Jackson Citizen Patriot posted an article about two local credit unions that were affected by the data breach, and we’ve had many members ask us if American 1 has been affected.

First, some background: Heartland Payment Systems, a company that helps businesses process debit and credit card transactions, was hit by malicious hackers. The hack put millions of credit card customers at risk in what may be the biggest data breach ever.

Heartland handles data from credit card merchants. So say you pay for a fill-up at a gas station with your American 1 Visa. That data gets sent to Heartland, who parses the info for Visa, and sends the payment back to the gas station. In effect, this data breach isn’t the fault of you, the gas station, or even Visa. It goes back to Heartland. And because it stems from a processor, and Heartland deals with upwards of 200,000 merchants (like gas stations), the breach may affect lots of people.

Heartland has taken responsibility for the breach, and offers tips to consumers who may be affected. Robert Carr, Heatland’s chairman/CEO, puts it this way:

As a cardholder, you will not be held financially responsible for any unauthorized transactions that are timely reported to your card issuer. You should regularly monitor your card and bank statements and report all suspicious activity to your card issuer (in the case of Visa and MasterCard cardholders, that would be the bank that issued the card, not the card brand).

Heartland says they’ve closed the security hole, but they still haven’t reported how many people may be affected.

Here at American 1, we are monitoring our members’ accounts closely to safeguard against any fraudulent activity. We won’t block anyone’s cards, meaning you can continue to use your American 1 Visa and debit cards as normal, and – if something does happen – you are not liable for any fradulent charges.

If we do find something suspicious, we will contact you directly. American 1 has dedicated employees that handle all our card transactions. If you have a problem with your American 1 Visa or MasterCard debit card, you will talk to a real, live person at our branch.

We’ll offer a tip: sign up for home banking to keep a close eye on your accounts. If you do spot something suspicious, please let us know. You can direct your questions to a Member Services Specialist at any branch location.

Receive a text message? It’s a scam

We’ve had several members tell us that they have received text messages, supposedly from a local bank, asking for personal information.

As always, ignore these text messages – or report them to the police. Our security officers says “the text messages are a scam and [members] should not call the number that the text is prompting them to call.”

Keep in mind: never give personal information to someone that calls you and asks for it. When you call our branch, we’ll ask you confirmation questions just to make sure it’s you. That’s for your security. But when someone calls or texts and asks for your information, don’t give it to them. When we call, we already have your information.



American 1 Federal Credit Union