Fraud Alert: U.S. Secret Service Warning
Massive Fraud Against State Unemployment Insurance Programs
The United States Secret Service has received reporting of a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. The primary state targeted so far is Washington, while there is also evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida. It is extremely likely every state is vulnerable to this scheme and will be targeted if they have not been already.
In the state of Washington, individuals residing out-of-state are receiving multiple ACH deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefit Program, all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder. A substantial amount of the fraudulent benefits submitted have used PII from first responders, government personnel and school employees. It is assumed the fraud ring behind this possess a substantial PII database to submit the volume of applications observed thus far.
This fraud network is believed to consist of hundreds, if not thousands, of mules with potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The banks targeted have been at all levels including local banks, credit unions, and large national banks.
Please communicate the information regarding this fraud to the appropriate office at your local state level and liaison with local financial institutions to identify mules and potential seizures. If you have reports of similar activity or do so in the future, please send to the following email router for coordination: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The COVID-19 Member Resource alerts, are provided exclusively to members of PaymentsFirst as a value-added benefit of membership. To access COVID-19 updated resources, please log onto www.paymentsfirst.org.
Coronavirus Scams on the Rise
We are all in this together! For the most part… Unfortunately, there are people looking to take advantage of the current pandemic and steal from the most vulnerable. We want to educate you on the current scams so you can protect you and your family.
With everyone staying at home, scammers have taken up some old-school tactics, including going door-to-door. If anyone comes to your door claiming to be a government employee, a representative of your local health care organization or other “official” or not, always ask for a valid ID badge. This advice extends beyond government employees to anyone showing up at your door asking for personal information or seeking cash donations. Check it out by looking up the publicly published phone number of the company or agency before you act.
Within days of the federal government announcing that they were developing a stimulus package for individuals and businesses, letters pretending to be “official communications” began showing up in mailboxes. Sadly, scammers began sending phony “checks” to convince consumers to open postal mail where there were promises of speeding money from the government or offers to buy other products. The FTC issued a warning about these scams within days of their arrival in mailboxes. Be mindful of the communications you receive in the mail, especially if it is asking you to give up personal information or take other steps. For most Americans stimulus checks will be direct-deposited to your account directly from the United States Treasury or a check will be mailed to you and you will not need an intermediary to help you access your funds.
Online & Email Scams
Every day, Google blocks more than 100 million COVID-related phishing emails, and that is just a fraction of the phishing emails that make it through, making your email inbox a target. Phishing is the practice of impersonating a trusted organization and sending out emails hoping someone will “take the bait” and open an attachment or respond with personal information. Facebook phishing is also on the rise as more people turn to Facebook and other social media platforms to keep in touch with friends and family. With all the activity related to COVID-19 and the Stimulus, people can be easily confused by official-looking communications. Never give away your personal information via e-mail or in social media. A legitimate organization will never ask you for this information through these channels.
Dialing for dollars is back in fashion. Scammers have started calling with phony information on how to get your stimulus money. As the IRS points out; the government will not call you with this type of request. While much of this information might be obvious to you, it’s important to follow up with members of your family who might not be as informed or capable.
Fake Charity Scams
With the major health event we are experiencing you might be looking for ways to help your community. Scammers use events like these to take advantage of your generosity. Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities you are used to giving to. Use these organizations to help you research charities before giving. When you give, pay safely by credit card and never by gift card or wire transfer.
In a time of great uncertainty, we must remain vigilant in the face of ever-present threats of scammers. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Take a moment to review your financial transactions and keep watch for scams that would compromise your identity. Credit Union of Georgia will never contact you via email, phone or text message requesting sensitive information. As always, if you suspect that your identity has been compromised, please contact us at 678-486-1111.
Watch out for Corona-Criminals
In a time of uncertainty and isolation we are all reaching for more information, especially from respected institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and respected hospitals and research facilities. But unfortunately cybercriminals are using the names of these institutions to lure unsuspecting individuals into fake offers, giving out personal information, and clicking on download links that can infect their computers. This can lead to fraud, identity theft and the loss of account information and passwords. As with all things related to the coronavirus outbreak, it pays to be vigilant.
In short, if you have accessed an online article, blog, or website that is not familiar, and you don’t feel 100% safe, do not click on offers or download documents, interactive maps or programs. This may be an attempt to introduce a malicious computer virus, ransom-ware or other program into your phone, tablet or PC for the purpose of collecting your personal information. If you click on a link and you are asked for permission to download, or give access to your photos, contacts, etc., think twice. Do you really understand what this program or app is going to do with the information you are providing? Like the coronavirus we need to be very careful about the things that we virtually touch and what we allow to touch us!
See below two recent articles from the Federal Trade Commission about coronavirus scams, or go to www.ftc.gov, or type “FTC coronavirus scams” into your browser’s search bar.
As always, if you feel that you might be a victim of identity theft or you have a question about the safety of your accounts or your login information please contact us. We can help.
Did you know that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month? Cybercrime is constantly evolving and security threats are ever-changing. Here are five tips on how to keep your personal information safe and secure.
Tip #1: Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you.
Tip #2: Keep it locked. Lock your device when you are not using it. Even a few minutes is enough time for someone to steal or misuse your information.
Tip #3: Stop auto connecting to Wi-Fi. This instant connection opens the door for cyber criminals to remotely access your devices. Disable these features and choose to connect to a safe network.
Tip #4: Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals hope to fool you. If the email looks “phishy,” do not respond or click on any links or attachments.
Tip #5: Be unique. Create strong, unique passphrases for each login. It is best to create ones that are at least 14 characters long.
Protect Yourself from Spoofing Phone Numbers
Credit Union of Georgia is always looking out for our members and will notify them if there is ever an issue with their account. However, there seems to be an increase of phone scams and not all calls can be trusted. Members could receive an automated call or a call from a person claiming they are with Credit Union of Georgia. Some callers claim they can save you money by reducing your credit card rate or that there is suspicious activity with your debit/credit card.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when receiving calls:
- Never trust caller ID. If you have a gut feeling that something is not quite right, hang up immediately and call the Credit Union of Georgia at 678-486-1111 to validate a Credit Union of Georgia representative is trying to get in touch with you.
- Remember the Credit Union will never ask for your personal information over the phone (Social Security Number, PIN, Account Number, etc.).
If you feel you have responded to a phone scam and provided any confidential information regarding your account, please notify us as soon as possible.
Questions? We are happy to help! Contact us at 678-486-1111 or ContactUs@CUofGA.org.
Common Fraud Tactics Used on Seniors
Con artists employ a wide variety of tactics to get older people to fall for their schemes. Below are some to be cautious of:
- Being friendly, approachable, and sympathetic so that the victim feels like the solicitor is on his or her side
- Instilling fear or giving a sense of urgency so people don’t have much time to think or act rationally
- Appearing to be helpful to gain someone’s trust and make that person feel inclined to return a favor later on
- Using emotional arousal to skew proper judgment; not long ago, researchers at Stanford found that when elderly individuals are in a state of high emotional arousal, they become more interested in buying things that are falsely advertised
- Pretending to be associated with a credible company, government agency, or charity to fake legitimacy
- Being ambiguous about the subject or changing it throughout a conversation to distract the victim
Learn more at: www.seniorliving.org/research/common-elderly-scams/
Fraud Prevention Service
In our continuing efforts to keep your accounts secure, we’ve improved our alert system against potential fraud. Here’s how it works
- When potential fraud is detected on your Debit or Credit Card, you’ll receive an automatic email notification with the option to reply with “fraud” or “no fraud
- One minute after the email, you will receive a text alert, which also has the option to reply with “fraud” or “no fraud”
- If a response isn’t received from the email or text, you will then begin receiving automatic phone calls to confirm or deny fraud. The call will also give the option of speaking to a Fraud Analyst.
The phone number for our Fraud Center has changed to 1-800-417-4592. If you add this number to your Contacts within your phone, label it as Credit Union of Georgia Fraud Center, then it will display any time you may receive a call from this number to ease your worries.
Remember – any email, text or call from Credit Union of Georgia will NEVER ask for your PIN or account number. For Credit Union of Georgia’s new Fraud Prevention Service to be effective it is important that all of your contact information is up to date in our system, please make sure you update your phone number, email and address if they have changed.
Tips to Keep You Safe From Tax Identity Theft
It’s tax time! Have you ever considered that you could be at risk for tax identity theft? Tax identity theft transpires when a thief files a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security number and collects your refund. It also occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to earn wages and sticks you with the tax bill. Often, people do not realize they are the victim of tax identity theft until after the crime, when they try to file their taxes. Follow these tips to help you be one step ahead of this hidden crime:
- Watch out for suspicious emails and phone calls
The IRS will never contact you by email or social media to request personal information.
- File early
The earlier you file, the less chance you have of being a victim.
- Upgrade and protect yourself
Your antivirus software should always be up-to-date and make sure your firewall is turned on.
- Be protective of your Social Security number
Ask if it is absolutely necessary before you give your number.
- Protect your tax return with a strong password
Use a series of numbers, letters, and special characters.
If you suspect Tax Identity Theft, please contact us at 678-486-1111 or ContactUs@CUofGA.org for assistance. We will put you in touch with an Identity Theft Recovery Advocate who will work with you one-on-one to analyze your unique situation and remediate any identity fraud.
Protect Yourself from Holiday Scams
Don’t get fooled by all of the scammers this holiday season! Protect your account with these tips.
- Sign up for eAlerts through eBranch to keep an eye on all of your transactions.
- Monitor your account regularly and report any suspicious activity immediately.
- Add the number for the Credit Union of Georgia’s Fraud Department in your phone for peace of mind to know we are truly contacting you about your account. 1-800-417-4592.
- Update your passwords regularly.
- Add and update antivirus software on all laptops, computers and tablets.
- Think before you click on links in emails and online. Look for slightly altered URLs created by cybercriminals.
- Be cautious of the charities you donate to. Avoid donating over the phone and find them online to make the donation.
- Don’t trust a site or name you do not know and don’t fall for deals on items that are too good to be true.
- Look for skimmers, shimmers or tampering on ATMs and gas pumps. Do not use if you suspect any tampering.
- Enroll in text alerts for your Visa Debit and Credit Card with Credit Union of Georgia.
Remember- any email, text or call from Credit Union of Georgia will NEVER ask for your PIN or account number. For Credit Union of Georgia’s Fraud Prevention Service to be effective it is important all of your contact information is up to date in our system, please make sure you update your phone number, email and address if they have changed.
Questions? We are happy to help! Contact us at 678-486-1111 or ContactUs@CUofGA.org.
We’ve received notice from other Credit Unions in the Atlanta area that their members have been receiving phishing text messages like the one below:
“The credit union center alert: your card has been deactivated. Please contact us at 706-844-1705.”
The text messages are coming from 1-762-241-4836 and 1-762-241-4993 . The other CU’s have had several members respond and they are now seeing ATM fraud out of California and Arizona.
Please note that Credit Union of Georgia will not request information in this way. If you receive this text message, please contact the Credit Union immediately at 678-486-1111.
Possible Scam Email Alert
If you receive an email from the Electronic Payments Association with the subject line: Direct Deposit rejected, please do NOT open this email or click on any links that are embedded within the email. This email does NOT pertain to the Credit Union and therefore should be ignored.
We have been made aware that Credit Union of Georgia members are receiving calls from 770-916-9220 or other local area code numbers requesting information.
If you should receive a call similar to the call described above, do not give out any information, including your Credit and Debit Card information. Instead, take action by immediately ending the call.
If you feel that you may have already fallen victim to this scam, please contact your Credit Union at 678-486-1111 and we will be happy to assist you.
ATMs and even vestibule access doors are being rigged to skim cards across the U.S. Recent skimming cases have been reported in Rye, NY; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; Sacramento, CA; and Boulder, CO.
ATMs and even vestibule doors are being rigged to skim cards across the U.S. Recent skimming cases have been reported in Rye, NY; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; Sacramento, CA; and Boulder, CO. Credit unions should be vigilant in inspecting ATMs for foreign devices.
Fraudsters are rigging branch and remote ATMs with skimming devices and micro cameras to capture card data and PINs. Authorities reported some of the Seattle skimming cases involved rigging vestibule access doors to skim cards.
Risk Mitigation Tips
- Be alert for card readers that do not match the color and style of the ATM
- Ensure the ATM card reader has not been tampered with and is securely in place
- Look for sticky residue and tape around the card reader and PIN keypad
- Inspect overhead light fixtures and envelope/brochure holders on the ATM for very small holes where a micro camera could be installed
- Inspect card readers installed on vestibule access doors (the readers should be securely in place)
It is very important to be alert for anything unusual about ATMs and to also shield the PIN keypad as you enter your PIN.
Credit Union of Georgia has been alerted of recent attempts to obtain credit union member and nonmember information through phishing. Phishing is the act of contacting a user, falsely claiming to be a legitimate enterprise, in an attempt to obtain personal information to be used for identity theft purposes.It is of the utmost importance that you do not respond to outside requests for personal information via email or phone unless you yourself have initiated the request and are certain that the request is legitimate. If you believe you have received a suspicious email, please do not respond and for your protection, please delete the message immediately. If you believe you have received a suspicious phone call, do not give the caller any information and end the call immediately.
Here is a recent phishing scam:
Phishing emails and phone calls can have many variations. The details of the most recent scams we have become aware of are as follows:
Below is an example email of a phishing scam being executed by individuals posing as Visa Services:
Please note that this email is not legitimate and do not click on the e-mail’s provided link, which directs users to a page requesting confirmation of members’ full 16 digit credit card numbers and PIN numbers.
Dear VISA Cardholder,
A recent review of your transaction history determined that your card was used at an ATM located in France, but for security reasons the requested transaction was refused. Please carefully review an electronic report for your VISA card at:
VISA Cards Support
If you receive a message similar to the one below, please do not click the attached link as it may cause substantial damage to your operating system or may result in the loss of your personal financial information.
From: Electronic Payments Association [mailto:email@example.com]
Subject: Rejected ACH Transaction
Dear Bank Account Holder,
The ACH transaction, recently initiated from your bank account (by you = or any other person), was rejected by the Electronic Payments Association. Please review the transaction report by clicking the link below…
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has become aware of e-mails appearing to be sent from the FDIC that are asking recipients to download and open a “personal FDIC insurance file” to check their deposit insurance coverage. These e-mails are fraudulent and were not sent by the FDIC. The FDIC is attempting to identify the source of the e-mails and disrupt the transmission.
Currently, the subject line of the fraudulent e-mails includes the wording “check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage.” The e-mails state: “You have received this message because you are a holder of a FDIC-insured bank account. Recently FDIC has officially named the bank you have opened your account with as a failed bank, thus, taking control of its assets.”
The e-mails ask recipients to “visit the official FDIC website” by clicking on a hyperlink provided, which appears to be related to the FDIC and directs recipients to a fraudulent Web site. The Web site includes hyperlinks that appear to open forms. However, it is believed that clicking on the hyperlinks will cause an unknown executable file to be downloaded. While the FDIC is working with the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) to determine the exact effects of the executable file, recipients should consider the intent of the software as a malicious attempt to collect personal or confidential information, some of which may be used to gain unauthorized access to online banking services or to conduct identity theft. Consumers should NOT access the Web site or download the executable files provided on the Web site.
Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC’s Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-3054, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp
For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC’s website at www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2009/index.html. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.
Consumers are receiving emails that falsely claim to be from the Credit Union National Association. These emails warn the consumer that their ATM Card has been deactivated and give instructions for reactivation. The subject of the email reads:You Have  New Alert Message!
The body of the email reads as follows:
“This communication was sent to safeguard your account against any
Credit Union National Association is aware of new phishing e-mails that are circulating. The e-mails request consumers to click on a link within the e-mail.
We have reason to believe that you recently received a phishing email. For your security, we have deactivated your ATM Card.
How to reactivate your ATM Card :
Please call us [ASAP] at: +1 (419)-465-8427
Our automated system allows you to quickly reactivate your ATM Card!
What you need to reactivate your card online?
- ATM Card Number
- ATM Card Expiration Date (MM/YY)
- ATM Personal Identification Number (ATM PIN Code)
ATM Card activation will take approximately one minute to complete.
Phishing emails are being received by consumers, the majority of which are residents within retirement communities. The emails being sent have a subject of “Confirm” and once opened are labeled “ATTENTION: WINNER“. In the closing of the email, consumers are asked to enter personal information in a reply email to claim their prize. The following is an example of how the body of the emails in question may read: “This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of $XXX,XXX,XX (British Pounds) of our monthly promo and this promotion was held in London UK on the 10th of April 2009 and released today the 29th of April 2009. The selection was carried out through a Computer Random Selection System and your email address came out as one of the Three Lucky Winners.“*Please note that the dates and other information may differ slightly from those listed above.
Credit Union of Georgia would like to ensure the safety of all our members. To help prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud, Credit Union of Georgia would like to remind you of the following information:The IRS will never contact you via email asking for your personal information to correct tax return errors or offer Economic Stimulus Packages. In addition, the IRS will also never ask you to provide a Credit or Debit Card Number for tax refund purposes. It is important to know that links to websites and documents provided in these types of emails often look authentic, but are actually ruses used to collect information for identity theft purposes. Links of this nature also often contain viruses that may be detrimental to your computer’s operations.
Potential identity thieves are allegedly posing as Internal Revenue Service Representatives and sending spam emails promising Government Economic Stimulus Packages. The email asks consumers to download an attachment masked as a form required by the IRS to receive check payment. However, the document is actually an identity theft tool used to steal the personal information of the recipient.Potential identity thieves are also allegedly posing as Internal Revenue Service Representatives and sending spam emails requesting that the recipient verify their personal information so that their taxes can be filed properly and a refund can be issued. The link provided in the email is routed to a website that records and stores the user’s personal information for identity theft purposes.In addition, Credit Union of Georgia has also been alerted that emails are being sent promising information on how to obtain Economic Stimulus Grants. These emails often contain fake testimonials such as “I found the grant I needed, filled out the forms, and sent them in. In two weeks, I received a check for $100,000!” The link within these emails route to a site asking for the users personal information including date of birth, mailing address, and salary range. In addition, users are then asked to submit credit card information to cover mailing costs of a CD with instructions on how to claim the grant they qualify for. All of the information obtained, including credit card information, is then used for identity theft purposes.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is warning consumers, businesses and financial institutions to be aware of fraudulent e-mails allegedly from the Federal Reserve Bank. The fraudulent e-mails claim that a phishing attack has affected the Fedwire system and that restrictions are in place. The e-mails further instruct recipients to click on links within the e-mail for additional information.
The message contains links to two Web pages that attempt to load malicious Trojan horse programs onto end users’ computers.
Consumers, businesses and financial institutions should be aware that Fedwire operations are not restricted and are operating as normal, and should take the following precautions:
- If an end user received the e-mail and clicked on any of the links, fully scan the computer using updated anti-virus software. If malicious code is detected on the computer, consult with a computer security or anti-virus specialist to remove the malicious code or re-install a clean image of the computer system.
- Be aware that phishing e-mails frequently have links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not follow Web links in unsolicited e-mails from apparent federal banking agencies. Instead, bookmark or type the agency’s Web address.
- Always use anti-virus software and ensure that the virus signatures are automatically updated. Ensure that the computer operating systems and common software applications security patches are installed.
- Do not open unsolicited or unexpected e-mail attachments because of the risk of malicious code or software in the attachments. Instead, call the agency using a known and appropriate telephone number to verify the legitimacy of the message and attached file.
- Be alert to different variations of the fraudulent e-mails.
The following phishing email is being received by consumers:
“We detected irregular activity on check card on Oct. 25/2007. For your protection, you must reactivate your card. Call us immediately at 1.866.840.2863. We will review the activity on your account with you and upon verification, we will remove any restrictions placed on your account.
“You have (1) new message from National Credit Union Association”
“CUNA is constantly working to ensure security by regularly screening the accounts in our system. We recently reviewed your account, and we need more information to help you with secure service…November 1, 2006: We have reason to believe that you account was accessed by a third party.”
A link is then provided to access a checklist along with a case ID. This link is to a fake website mimicking CUNA Mutual.
The following phishing email claiming to be Exxon Mobile is being received by consumers:AWARD.
Your personal e—mail address was attached to Winning Number Ticket number:
2-4-16-37-89-40-85 with Serial number 2268/02, which consequently won you $500,000.00 USD.
For immediate claims, Please contact Our claims Agent
It gives a fake name and email address for claims. It then asks for personal information:
YOUR CLAIM REQUIREMENTS:
- Full Name
- Mobile Phone Number
It is then emblazoned with a false name for Exxon Mobile Award Director. (Malaysia) Head Office.
No link is attached but it asks the recipient to reply to a viral email address.
Phone Call Scams
The automated message on these calls does not mention a specific credit union in its request, but simply states that the call has been made to verify certain transactions and asks members to “Press 1” to speak with a service representative. Once transferred, members are then asked to provide their Credit and/or Debit Card information.
If you should receive a call similar to the call described above, do not give out any information, including your Credit and Debit Card information. Instead, take action by immediately ending the call.
If you feel that you may have already fallen victim to this scam, please contact your Credit Union at 678-486-1111 and we will be happy to assist you.
The unknown suspects have claimed that they are a collection company for “Pay Day Loans” and “CashNetUSA.” They have represented themselves as “Lancier (or Lanphier) and Associates” and “National Advanced Payday Services.”
They are using a third party billing company known as DTech Evolution in Hicksville, NY. According to one victim, DTech stated that Lancier (Lanphier) is not an authorized collector. DTech states that they have received numerous calls regarding collection scams from this company.
Lancier claims to be located at 1432 Hoffman Lane, Campbell CA. The Campbell Police Department has made contact at this address. It is a legitimate address, but the residents are moving and have no knowledge of this scam.
Some of the names used have been: David Ping, Max Morris, William Conners, Ryan Jones, Robert Richards and David Clark.
Phone numbers they have called from include: 415-223-4101, 201-234-4071, 818-338-5053, 941-961-8515, 810-673-6353, 714-598-4251 and 951-616-6883. The local area code for Campbell is 408.
In some cases the callers have been described as having heavy Indian accents. They have knowledge of the victims, including bank account and personal information. They have also called victims at work and on their cell phones.
The calls are very intimidating, threatening to send court officers to the victims’ homes or places of business to arrest them. They have been able to obtain money from some victims. The loans they are “collecting” on are non-existent.
Elderly consumers in the North Metro Atlanta area have been receiving fraudulent phone calls informing them that their last payment to GA Power Company has not been received and that their power will be shut off immediately unless a credit card payment is posted. The caller then asks the consumer to provide:
- Credit/Debit Card Number
- Security Code
- Expiration Date
- Mother’s Maiden Name
In some cases, individuals have visited the home of the consumer to collect the Credit or Debit Card used for payment.
A number of Georgia credit unions in the Augusta area have reported today that their members have been hit by the latest fraud scam, an auto dialer in Georgia. Actual credit union names have been used in some of these calls. Sometimes they say they want credit or debit card data and sometimes they say to “keep your card from deactivating or to reactivate it” give your card info. Some members have fallen for this scam in the past and given out card numbers, PIN numbers, and CVV info. According to the Anti Phishing Work Group, 10%+ of people will give out the info requested by a phishing scam.
The call back numbers being reported today by Augusta area Credit Unions are 786-871-2500 and 202-726-7700. Do not attempt to call these numbers or provide any of your personal or account information.
Text Message Alert Scams
The most recent text message alert scams we have become aware of are as follows:
Though these texts appear to be being sent from the Credit Union’s website, www.CUofGA.org, they are actually being sent by a malicious third party that is in no way associated with Credit Union of Georgia. It is of the utmost importance that should you receive one of these text messages, you do not supply any of your personal or account information. Instead, take action by deleting the text message immediately.
If you feel you may have already fallen victim to this or another scam, please contact us immediately at 678-486-1111 so that we can assist you in protecting your good name.
Significant Increase in Text Messaging ScamsIt has been reported that internet criminals are increasingly operating like successful businesses, borrowing the best strategies from legitimate companies and collaborating in partnerships with each other to make a profit from illegal activities.Cisco’s 2009 Midyear Security Report sites a significant increase in text messaging scams, which is now being called “the new frontier for fraud, irresistible to criminals”. Cisco also sites that this increase is related to the criminals’ hopes that consumers who are savvy enough not to fall for email scams, will still be susceptible to falling for newer text messaging scams.
Cisco’s research indicates that smaller financial institutions have most recently been the focus of many text messaging scams “likely because consumers tend to have higher levels of trust and familiarity with local banks and credit unions”.
Members of many different credit unions, including Credit Union of Georgia, and several banks have been receiving a text message asking them to call a phone number to reactivate their Visa debit card. The text message comes in from CDC FCU with various 800 and 866 phone numbers. This is a phishing scam.This is the alert that is posted on CDC FCU’s website regarding this attempt to collect member information:
Recently, there have been fraudulent phone scams directed to CDC Federal Credit Union members and nonmembers. This message falsely asks members to verify account information due to a debit card cancellation. When responding by phone, the computer operated system will ask for your personal 16 digit debit card number. The purpose appears to be an attempt to withdraw funds from members’ accounts.
Consumers in Georgia and surrounding states are receiving fraudulent text messages from email@example.com alerting them that their Visa® Card has been blocked and urging the consumer to contact 877-269-9842 for more information. Upon calling in, consumers are then asked to provide their Visa® Card Number and PIN.
In addition, it has been reported that members may be receiving text messages that read:
When called, the number given is being said to prompt an automated system that asks the caller to enter their Debit Card information.
Your NuMark CU account is closed due to unusual activity. To reactivate call us at 847-246-7640.
Other Scam Alerts
The following are samples of Craigslist ads targeting credit union members as a part of this recruitment scam:
If you are an ABC Credit Union Member…MAKE SOME EXTRA $$
Need to find an XYZ Credit Union Member!
I was just approved for a Visa Credit Card with XYZ Federal Credit Union and they called me and said that they can not process the application if I do not know any existing member or if I am not employed at one of the list companies they have. To become a member you have to know a member. So now my app is on hold until I can find someone who is already a member. If you know someone, please tell them to contact me. I am willing to pay $500. And all they ask for is the member’s name and member number. Thanks.
ABC and XYZ Members Needed!!!
If you are an ABC or XYZ Federal Credit Union member, we will pay you $75.00 per member to sponsor others that would like to join the credit union but do not meet the membership requirements. Please email for details.
With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.
How do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a possible fraudster?
The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:
- If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering any questions. Also, beware that you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
- Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security Number or credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, the Census Bureau will not ask for your Social Security Number or credit card and bank account numbers, nor will employees solicit donations.
- Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachment in an Email supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Some members of the community are being contacted by telephone from a blocked number by males asking “guess who this is?” Victims, often thinking that they may recognize the caller’s voice, usually guess with a friend or relative’s name. The caller then pretends to be that person and claims that they have been arrested and need money to be released. Once the victim agrees to pay the funds requested, the caller then suggests that the victim call his friend who will collect the money. The friend of the caller then arrives at the victim’s home and collects payment.The victim soon realizes that their friend or relative was never arrested and that they have fallen victim to a scam.
Theft and Fraud Credit Union of Georgia has been alerted of the following theft and fraud scam targeting residents in the States of Georgia and South Carolina.Criminals are breaking into consumers’ vehicles while the vehicle has been left unattended during baseball games at local parks or while the consumer is shopping. During the break-in, the thief is stealing items like wallets, Driver’s Licenses, check books, and ATM/Debit Cards. These criminals are then forging the stolen checks by making them payable to another recent theft victim and then using that victim’s ID to cash the instrument. With proper ID, which the criminal has, this type of crime is easy to pull off.
It is of the utmost importance that you protect your personal and financial information. We strongly advise that you do not leave information of this nature unattended in your vehicle or elsewhere at any time.
Work At Home Scam
Credit Union of Georgia has been alerted of the following scam targeting people who are seeking part-time work positions.
Job vacancies are being listed on Craig’s List from a potentially fraudulent company going by the name of ABS Consulting. The positions listed are for “Mail Assistants” and are labeled as part-time, work from home positions. The company in question, ABS Consulting, claims to be a leading global provider of risk management services based out of Luxembourg and to have facilities throughout Europe operating under the name of “Forward Luxembourg”.
Job seekers applying for these positions are asked to perform the following tasks as a part of their job description:
- Receive Mail at Home
- Scan the Front of Each Envelope Received
- Email Scanned Images to the Company
- Ship Accumulated Mail Bi-Weekly Using a Pre-Paid UPS/FedEx Postage Label Provided Via Email
In addition, after two weeks of employment, “Mail Assistants” will receive an email guaranteeing an $800.00 paycheck and additional $200.00 bonus for services rendered. However, to “test the integrity” of its workers, the company claims that it will be mailing a $2,800.00 check and asks that the “Mail Assistant” send the overpayment of $1,800.00 back to the company.
The check sent by the company in the amount of $2,800.00 is not legitimate. Once the check bounces at the “Mail Assistant’s” financial institution, the scammer then also has the “Mail Assistant’s” Checking Account information as well as other personal information that was obtained during the employment process, thereby making the “Mail Assistant” a fraud victim as well.
If you should receive an email offering an employment opportunity of this nature, please do not respond to the email. Instead, take action immediately by deleting the email. In addition, if you feel that a check or other negotiable instrument that you have received is suspicious in any way, please do not cash this item until you have spoken to an employee of the Credit Union.
“Pepsi Play For A Billion Contest” Counterfeit Check ScamIt has been reported that members are receiving checks made payable to the member accompanied by letters stating they are the Grand Prize Winner in the “Pepsi Play For A Billion Contest”. The checks being received are printed with the routing number 091906650, which is an outdated routing number for Rural American Bank. Rural American Bank has confirmed that in addition to the outdated routing number being used on these checks, the account number being used is invalid as well.
The Department of Banking and Finance (DBF) has become aware of an entity named FIRSTSTAR Credit Union advertising itself in Georgia as a lender and provider of financial services. The DBF has no record of this entity as a legitimate credit union and upon further inquiry, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has also indicated that there is no credit union federally chartered or authorized to conduct business under the name “FIRSTSTAR Credit Union”.In addition, on April 9, 2009, a Consumer Alert was issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking warning about an apparent advance loan fee scam under the name “First Star Lending Services” and “First Star Credit Union”. Also, on April 9, 2009, the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation ordered an entity claiming to be a Pennsylvania based credit union by the name of “Firststar Credit Union” to cease and desist from doing business in the State of Michigan.The public is strongly cautioned against doing business with this unauthorized and possibly fraudulent entity.
If a credit union’s legitimacy is in question, a list of Georgia federally insured and state chartered credit unions can be found on the Department of Banking and Finance’s website https://dbfweb.dbf.state.ga.us/WebCUData.html.
Georgia’s Credit Freeze Law Takes Effect August 1, 2008
On May 13, 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law a credit freeze bill that will provide Georgia consumers with the ability to place a freeze on their credit file for only $3 per credit-reporting agency, a total of $9 to report to all three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The freeze will be free for senior citizens 65 and older and for victims of identity theft. Each temporary lift, commonly called a “thaw”, to allow access to the consumer’s credit file would also cost $3 and access would be available electronically within 15 minutes of request submission, keeping on-the-spot credit an option for shoppers. The legislation will become effective August 1, 2008.
With the signing of this bill, Georgians have gained a new weapon in the fight against identity theft. When a freeze is in place, credit reporting agencies may not release the consumer’s credit file unless the consumer first removes the freeze by providing their password.* Most lenders and creditors rely on access to a consumer’s credit file to determine their credit worthiness. By denying such access, a credit freeze makes it very difficult for a would be identity thief to open an account in a victim’s name.
To place a credit freeze on your file, consumers must contact the credit reporting agencies at the addresses below:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Requests should include the following identifying information:
- Full Name (and former name if applicable)
- Current Address and former address if it changed in the last 5 years
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Photocopy of a Driver’s License, State ID card, or other Government-Issued Identification
- Proof of current residence, such as a copy of a phone or utility bill
- If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of either the police report; investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft
- If you are not a victim of identity theft, include payment by check, money order or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover cards only.) Do not send cash in the mail.
*The law does give some companies access to reports despite a freeze such as insurance companies, existing creditors, and law enforcement agencies.