Security Update | Security

Financial Protection

SCENARIO/METHOD: Counterfeit Official Checks

Many credit unions report counterfeit official checks are attempting to clear their accounts. The institution name on the checks are First Bank, Austin, Texas. The First Bank, Austin, Texas does not exist.

SCENARIO/METHOD: Shopping spree offerings

There is a phone scam in which the callers solicit checking account and credit card numbers by offering a $500 shopping spree.

Members are contacted by a company and told they have won a $500 shopping spree, but need to provide a checking account number so the company can bill them a $4.95 "shipping fee."

With the account number in the caller's posession they will begin to debit the account for various amounts creating a loss to the member.

SCENARIO/METHOD: Foreign Lottery Counterfeit Checks

Members receive e-mails and letters from legitimate sounding lottery organizations that assure them they are winners in lottery drawings recently held in distant countries. This is an old scam, but every time there is a large multi-state "Power Ball" jackpot, the intensity picks up. The prize money varies from lottery e-mail/letter to e-mail/letter. They may even have an "official check" to deposit. The official check is counterfeit or drawn on a non-existent financial institution.

Each lottery e-mail or letter is rich in detail about when and where the drawing was held, the lucky ticket numbers, how the fortunate person or company name was included in the drawing, who was to pay out the funds, the payer's phone and fax numbers plus his web site information, and how much money is supposed to be coming. Most often, all the "supporting" information is fictitious. However, in other cases, names of real lotteries and banks are involved, and look-alike web sites accessed through URLs similar to those of the real corporations or institutions are used by the con artists as proof that the scheme is legitimate.

The scam artist changes the names of the lottery handing out the winnings, and some of the stories about why the lucky ones are suddenly in line to receive large amounts of money for a lottery they don't remember entering is just part of the scam. Those who try to collect their "winnings" soon find themselves receiving e-mails or letters informing them that they have to pay facilitation fees before the big payouts will come to them. There are no lottery winnings waiting, but rather scam artists ready to trick people into wiring "handling fees" directly into their accounts. The "lucky" winners scramble to pay the fees while the clock is ticking, but they never receive any winnings.

The victim receives repeated cautions to keep matters confidential until final payout is made, "as part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants." The thieves don't want news of false winnings being told, because if the information reaches the real lottery people, who will inform the victims about the scheme.

SCENARIO/METHOD: NCUA's name and logo are being used in phishing spams

Recently, there have been multiple e-mail fraud attempts, known as "Phishing", that were initiated via e-mail sent to both the general public and to some credit union members that appeared to be from the NCUA. This false e-mail asked for the recipient to click on a link to verify their credit union account registration. If the recipient proceeded to do so, the link directed them to a false website and asked for their credit union account number and PIN, along with other personal information.

The NCUA does not ask credit unions members for such personal information. Anyone who receives an e-mail that purports to be from NCUA and asks for account information should consider it to be a fraudulent attempt to obtain their personal account data for an illegal purpose and should not follow the instructions in the e-mail.

If you responded to such an e-mail and provided any confidential account information, please notify the credit union immediately of the scheme. You should also change your account's PIN, and take any additional action recommended by your credit union to protect your account.

SCENARIO/METHOD: New Twist on "how" the Phishers Continue to Phish Credit Union Members

The phishers continue to change their phony e-mails by including false fraud protection techniques as a new twist to convince your members the e-mail is from your credit union with the added educational information. Because of everyone's fraud awareness, the phishers lure your members to 'take action" and provide the information by using an "online banking" log-in which will re-direct this site to the fraudster.

The "take action" the phishers are asking your members to perform is:

  • Deactivate their card(s) temporarily to guard against fraud
  • Activate their card(s) by having them log on to an "online banking system" where the phishers are able to obtain member's card information.
  • The phishers convince members there is no need to contact your credit union to validate the email or telephone request involving the deactivation and activation process.

SCENARIO/METHOD: FDIC targeted in phishing scheme

It has happened to NAFCU, NCUA and maybe even your credit union: the FDIC's logo and name were seen used in a phishing e-mail in a fraudulent attempt to obtain consumers' sensitive personal and financial data.

The alert, reports on an e-mail that takes consumers to a spoofed Web page that asks for a variety of data, including the consumer's name, phone number, Social Security number, mother's maiden name, driver license/issued state, date of birth, credit/debit/ATM card numbers, PINs and other data.

The FDIC warns financial institutions and consumers alike not to click on any of the links in the e-mail.

SCENARIO/METHOD: Phony offers on cars/boats/misc. items for sale 

Recently scams have developed around the sale of an item, typically cars and other motor vehicles. The scam begins with an email purchase offer for considerably more than the asking price. The surplus is supposedly meant to cover any shipping costs the buyer will encur when transporting the item to them. The seller will recieve a check in the mail that looks to be official but is actually counterfeit. The buyer advises the seller to deposit the check and withdraw the surplus amount and immediately send it to the bogus shipping company. By the time the member realizes they've been scammed their account has been hit for several thousands of dollars in addition to the reversal of the counterfeit deposit.

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