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More states CUs inundated with phone scams
MADISON, Wis. (8/29/08)--Credit unions in more states are reporting they've been targeted in this month's waves of voice phishing or vishing attacks, which are occurring at credit unions and other institutions throughout the U.S. The robo-attacks involve automated telephone calls to members and nonmembers claiming to be from the credit union. The message, which goes to thousands of people, warns that the member's credit or debit card has been suspended. To reactivate it, the member must call a phone number. At the number, the member is asked for the credit number and personal identification number or other personal financial information. In all cases, credit unions are warning members and the public that they would never contact members in such a way and ask for information they already had. Two Pennsylvania credit unions--Members 1st FCU and New Cumberland FCU--posted scam alerts on their websites after members reported calls, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Aug. 28). In Oneida, N.Y.,GPO FCU was targeted. "Fraudsters are blanketing the area with automated phone calls, as well as sending out e-mails requesting personal account information," John Prumo, president/CEO of GPO FCU told the Oneida Dispatch (Aug. 26). He advised consumers not to respond. "These criminals can't touch your account if you don't give out information." Sarasota Coastal CU, Sarasota, Fla., e-mailed warnings to 10,000 members on its e-alert system after it received several dozen calls from people who were contacted by phone and told to call a number in Quebec. Some received calls on their unlisted cell phones (Sarasota Herald-Tribune Aug. 25). In Great Falls, Mont., several credit unions were targeted, according to one of the credit unions, lst Liberty CU (Great Falls Tribune Aug. 27). Montana Credit Union Network President Tracie Kenyon noted that the incidents aren't data breaches. "This is a coordinated attempt to contact people directly and entice them to give out their personal information," Kenyon told the Tribune. The network advised people receiving the calls to hang up. According to Gartner Inc., a technology research firm, $3.2 billion was lost by Americans 3.6 millions, up from 2.3 million victims in 2006. Of those who received phishing e-mails last year, 3.3% lost money, up from 2.3% in 2006 and 2.9% in 2005. The average loss per incident in 2007 was $866, which is less than the $1,244 in average losses in 2006. However, 2007 had more victims. Roughly 1.6 million victims recovered about 64% of their losses last year, compared with 1.5 million recovering 54% in 2006, said Gartner.
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