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CUs warn of rash of automated phishing calls
MADISON, Wis. (3/19/09)--Several credit unions nationwide are reporting an uptick in the number of automated phishing calls seeking to obtain personal information from members. Some recent incidents:
* Several Wisconsin credit unions report scam artists are using automated phone calls with recordings that ask members to divulge personal financial information, according to the Wisconsin Credit Union League. Phishing calls reported Tuesday claimed the member’s credit and/or debit card had been locked and asked for the card number to unlock it. The Credit Union National Association also noted variations on scam tactics and said unsolicited requests for personal information have circulated under the subjects: “Account Deactivation,” “Account Status Alert,” “Changes to Terms and Conditions,” and “Irregular Activity.” * Brazos Valley Schools CU, Katy, Texas, reports its members are being inundated with phishing e-mails saying the recipient’s debit card or ATM card has a problem. Other messages say illegal access to the cards was attempted (SPAMfighter March 18). * Several people in Tennessee said they received calls after normal business hours supposedly representing a credit union. The calls included instructions to use the keypad of a telephone to enter the customer’s debit card number. The caller told the recipient that this would help clear up problems with the customer’s account ( March 17). * A phish that looks like an official notice from a Virginia credit union tells members that their primary e-mail address registered at the local credit union was changed on March 16. They are told to sign on to an Online Account Access and to correct it. * GPO FCU, New Hartford, N.Y., posted an alert for members that said: “There’s a telephone scam going on, and the callers want to rip you off. We’ve heard from people who received a call around 8 p.m. Monday. It was from an automated message that claims their card has been compromised and then asks [recipients] to enter their card number and personal identification number.” The credit union tells members that the call is bogus and to hang up (The Real Deal-News Channel 9 WSYR March 11). * Scam artists are promoting a fake credit union on the Internet, dubbed Communal CU in Dearborn, Mich. The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) ordered a cease-and-desist order for the bogus credit union. OFIR officials found an empty storefront when they visited the Dearborn address for the credit union (Detroit Free Press March 12). * Several Utah credit unions said their members have been targets of a new “phishing” or “smishing” scam after several Utah-based accounts were accessed in February for fraudulent transactions in California. Identity thieves, posing as credit unions, sent out fake alerts to members through automated phone calls and e-mail and text messages. The message asserts the member’s account has been suspended and tells the member to verify account information to reactivate the account (StandardNET March 1). * Using automated phone calls, scammers attempted to elicit personal information from members of Consumer CU, Greeneville, Tenn. “No one is making authorized calls from Consumer CC or would ever do so,” Consumer President Sam Miller told media. “Please give no one your account number. We already have it.” The credit union received about 100 calls from members contacted by the automated calls ( March 17). * Several Vermont financial institutions, including Central Vermont Medical Center Inc. CU, Barre, Vt., have been referenced in a spate of fraudulent calls, according to Vermont State Police. An automated messaging system claims the call recipient’s credit card information has been accessed. The message then asks for credit card information to fix the problem, police said ( March 16). * Dozens of members of Greylock FCU, Pittsfield, Mass., were the target of a phone scam last weekend, but few fell for it, according to Greylock Senior Vice President John Bissell. A pre-recorded message claiming to be the credit union sought credit card account and personal identification numbers to verify an alleged claim of fraudulent purchases against the member’s card. Greylock issued an alert to its weekend answering service and called in staff to deal with members who had concerns or who had given out their credit card numbers (The Berkshire Eagle March 16).
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