Fraud Alerts & Protection
If It's Too Good to Be True, It's Probably a SCAM!
At Meijer CU, we realize that fraud and scams are getting more and more prevalent and more and more damaging. In addition, technology has made it possible to scam us from all sorts of angles; from emails to text messages.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? According to research provided by the National Federation of Credit Counseling:
- Nearly 10 million Americans a year are victims of identity theft fraud as of 2010, according to the Federal Trade Commission
- Financial institutions lose an estimated $4,800 per victim
- It takes a victim an average of $500 and 30 hours to recover from identity theft
NCUA Warns of "Spoofing" Scam
The perpetrators are able to mimic a telephone number to generate text messages. The texts may warn of a debit card reaching its limit or use some other trick to persuade individuals to provide personal information or go to a malicious website. If you receive one of these text messages, do not click on links in the message, provide information to any websites referenced in the message, or attempt to conduct any financial transactions through those websites.
Those who receive a text message are encouraged to contact the NCUA's consumer assistance center at 800-755-1030.
If you suspect you may have become a victim of identity theft, immediately contact us at (616) 784-4822. When identity theft occurs, NCUA urges contacting the three major credit bureaus--Equifax (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742) and TransUnion (800-680-7289)--to request a fraud alert be placed on credit reports. As a member of Meijer CU you also have access to FREE identity theft recovery and internet monitoring services through PrivacyMaxx. Click here to activate this important benefit.
Tax Return Scams
Tax season is prime time for identity theft and the best defense is knowledge.
The IRS estimates that for 2013, $24 Billion in losses were prevented because the IRS was able to detect fraud. However, $5 billion was paid out in fraudulent tax returns.
How does it happen?
- A person can use your social security number to file a fraudulent tax return before you file your own. Instead of sending you your refund, the IRS will send you a letter saying you have filed more than once. The first filer got the refund.
- A person uses your social security number to get a job. When you file your taxes the IRS will think you failed to report all of your income because you have no knowledge of that other job that you supposedly have.
Be wary of ANY emails or phone calls you receive from someone claiming to be an employee of the IRS or State, especially those that demand you pay immediately. The IRS and your state's tax authority will NEVER:
- Initiate contact with you by phone, email, text, or through social media outlets to ask for your personal or financial information.
- Require that you pay your taxes with a certain payment type, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS or State will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
If you receive an email about your federal or state taxes:
- Don't reply to the message.
- Don't give out your personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to email@example.com and then delete the email.
- Don't open any attachments or click on any links, as they may contain a malicious code or virus that will infect your computer.
- Check the website of your state's tax return office to see how they recommend you report an attempted scam involving your state tax filing.
If you receive a call about your federal or state taxes:
- Ask for a contact number and an employee badge number and then call back to verify its legitimacy.
- Call the IRS or the office of your state's tax authority to inquire further.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA's IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page to report the incident.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission through the FTC Complaint Assistant on their website (add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report)
For more information on Tax Identity Theft visit the FTC at consumer.ftc.gov.
Mystery Shopping Scams: Don't become a victim.
Consumers are being warned about a scam involving phony employment as a secret shopper, mystery shopper, or investigative shopper. There are several varieties of mystery shopper (secret shopper) scams to be aware of.
- Being charged for certification
- Being charged a fee to access mystery shopping jobs
- Being charged a fee to guarantee a job as a mystery shopper
- Being asked to cash a check and/or wire funds to a third party
- Becoming a legitimate mystery shopper for a legitimate company doesn't cost anything.
- It's never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don't know and then wire money out of your account.
- If a check comes back as fraudulent, you are responsible for the funds.
If you think you've seen a mystery shopping scam, file a complaint with:
- The Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-FTC-HELP or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
- Your state Attorney General
Beware of Email Phishing
We have recently been notified of an email phishing scam to obtain cardholder information with the intent of committing fraudulent activity against accounts that credit unions may be experiencing.
This fraudulent attempt to capture cardholder information is done with an email from possible various credit union email addresses. One recent email reported is firstname.lastname@example.org; however there could be various emails used.
The message indicates confirmation of activation to the MasterCard SecureCode Service, with instructions to personalize a MasterCard SecureCode account as soon as possible. A link has been provided to log into the account. MasterCard has confirmed that this is not an email address used by MasterCard.
There are many ways for perpetrators to attempt to get personal information, including the use of auto-dialers and text messages. It is important to limit the release of personal information in order to protect yourself from fraud.
NCUA Warns about Telephone Fraud
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is warning consumers to beware of a new telephone fraud, known as a "vishing" scheme that is using the agency's name in an attempt to obtain personal financial information. "Vishing" is when a criminal uses the phone to solicit your personal information.
Several credit union members have been contacted by an automated phone call claiming to be from NCUA and notifying consumers their debit cards have been compromised. The call then asks the receiver to follow prompts, which request personal information, including sensitive financial data and personal identification information.
Anyone contacted by this so-called "vishing" scheme should immediately contact NCUA's Consumer Assistance Center Hotline at 800-755-1030 or by email at email@example.com to report the scam. Operators answer calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern.
NCUA neither seeks personal information from consumers over the telephone nor handles day-to-day maintenance of member account information. NCUA works with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to protect consumers from frauds of this nature.
Some other ways to avoid being fooled by a vishing attempt include:
- If you receive an email or phone call asking you to call and you suspect it might be a fraudulent request, look up the organization's customer service number and call that number rather than the number provided in the solicitation email or phone call.
- Forward the solicitation email to the customer service or security email address of the organization, asking whether the email is legitimate.
- Never verify or release personal financial information to unknown callers.
Fraud Attempt Reminder
- Meijer Credit Union would never ask for any card related information over the phone, via email, or via text (neither would MasterCard, Visa, CUNA, the NCUA, or a U.S. Census Worker).
- If you should experience such a call/email/text, contact the organization (i.e. MCU, MasterCard, etc.) with as many details as possible.
- BE AWARE, BE ALERT and pay CLOSE ATTENTION to anyone asking for your card account details over the phone or email/text and refuse to comply with said request.
For the latest in fraud and security, visit CU Secure. We'll keep you up-to-date on what to watch for and how to protect yourself. CU Secure is a website devoted to education about online identity theft & phishing.
In an effort to better protect and educate our members, we have provided a list of recent scams below.
- 900 Scams
- Advanced Fee Loans
- False Charities
- FDIC Fraudulent Email & Phone Call
- Identity Theft
- IRS E-mail Scam
- Lottery Emails
- Mystery Shopper
- NACHA Email Phishing
- NCUA Email Phishing
- Prize Pitch
- Sweepstakes Scam
- Vehicle Sales
- Zeus Trojan
REPORTING INTERNET FRAUD:
The following website is for filing a complaint of Internet crime, such as phishing and other fraudulent activity experienced: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Help for victims is a phone call or a click away. Call the Federal Trade Commission toll-free, 877-438-4338, or go to visit their identity theft website for step-by-step advice about what to do if you're a victim of ID theft.