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Phishing vishing and and now smishing
EUGENE, Ore. (4/22/08)--A type of fraud that scammers are using called “smishing” is gaining prominence as a way to fraudulently obtain consumers’ personal information. Smishing is text-message fraud that occurs when criminals, posing as financial institutions, attempt to dupe mobile-phone users into sending personal information through text messages. Financial institutions should restrict text-based messages to information such as balance updates or overdraft alerts, and should not send account numbers and transaction details through text messages, said industry expert Lisa Stanton (ATM & Debit News). Oregon Community CU (OCCU), and a $388 million asset, Eugene, Ore.-based institution, is under attack from fraudsters sending cell phone text messages that state “Your Oregon Community CU account is closed due to unusual activity.” The message then requests that recipients call a phone number in Florida. Recipients should not reply by texting, nor respond to the phone number listed, OCCU said in a press release. The credit union’s phone center and branch staff are being overwhelmed with phone calls and walk-ins. OCCU said it has received thousands of phone calls from worried people, not just members. Since the credit union is the largest in the area, scammers probably sent the text message to the entire list of Oregon phone numbers hoping to trick as many members as possible to fall for it, according to Eugene police (KVAL 13 April 19). Paragon FCU, a $374.8 million asset, Montvale, N.J.-based institution, also was beset by fraudulent text messages using its name and telling recipients their accounts are expiring. Recipients were told to call a toll-free number or visit a website (The Allentown Morning Call March 18). An alert on the credit union’s website said, “If you receive any such messages, do NOT click the links or call the numbers provided. Instead, immediately delete the message from your computer.” Universal CU, a $55.4 million asset, Huntington, W.Va.-based credit union, was hit by a bogus text messaging scam earlier this month (WSAZ 3 April 15). Other recent example of credit unions targeted in phishing, vishing or smishing attempts:
* WV University Employees FCU, a $15.4 million asset, Morgantown, W.Va.-based institution, was targeted by a scam in which members receive automated phone calls and fake e-mails, informing them that their counts were frozen due to fraud. Recipients were asked to call a telephone number to regain access to their accounts and then were asked for account, debit card and personal identification numbers (The Charleston Gazette April 19). * Members of the $305 million asset, Lihue, Hawaii-based Kauai Community CU were the target of a phishing e-mail, asking recipients to take a survey regarding its customer service. The message provided a link to another page and promised respondents $90 for filling out online questionnaire, which asked for full names, ATM card numbers, and personal identification number information (Honolulu Advertiser April 17). * The $2.270 billion asset, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Hudson Valley FCU said that members and nonmembers received text messages pretending to be from “Hudson Valley FCU bill service.” The message asked members to call an 806 number to “renew your service.” (Poughkeepsie Journal March 19). * Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill, sent out a fraud alert regarding a recent phishing e-mail that purports to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It warned against identity fraud and told recipients how to sign up for a program that awards $500 worth of insurance to help victims of Internet fraud. The e-mail asked recipients to click on a link to be redirected to “an online signup page for this program.”
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