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Scams were rampant in December
MADISON, Wis. (1/4/10)--An off-shore e-mail scam targeting members and nonmembers of a Michigan-based credit union made its way to Wisconsin recently--one of several scams credit unions reported during the holiday season. The scam targeted Community Driven CU, Ypsilanti, Mich., and spread to consumers in Wisconsin and in Texas, the Kenosha News reported (Dec. 21). A reporter of that publication received a bogus e-mail purporting to be from the Michigan credit union, asking the reporter to enter in a credit card account number and personal identification number to view a Visa card statement. Mary Cole, Community Driven CU member service loan officer, said the credit union is aware of the scam and has received many phone calls about it. The credit union also was hit by a text-messaging scam in November, she told the newspaper. Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Razzi noted in a Dec. 15 column that she and her daughter received a text message saying that their ATM cards had been suspended from Treasury Department FCU, Washington, D.C. After receiving the message, Razzi visited the credit union’s website and saw that a scam warning had been posted. “What really has me intrigued is how they got my personal cell phone number and my daughter’s, and phished for both of us at the same time,” Razzi said. “The only link between the two numbers that I can think of is from our phone company itself, which would be scary, if true.” She advised readers to beware of such scams, and to educate their children about fraud. R.I.A FCU, Rock Island, Ill., warned its members to watch for scams through e-mails, text messages and phone calls. Consumers recently received phone calls from scammers offering reduced interest on loans. To receive the rates, receipients needed to send $1,000. Other members received messages that their ATM cards were suspended (Quad City Times Dec. 16). Several members of Idaho State University FCU in Pocatello, Idaho, were among consumers duped by a phishing scam that asked for personal account information. The information was then used to create fake debit cards to withdraw funds from ATMs in California and Romania. The largest reported loss was $400 (Associated Press Dec. 18). A local bank also was targeted in the scam. Perfect Circle CU, Hagerstown, Ind., also was targeted by fraudulent phone calls. Scammers asked Perfect Circle CU members and customers of another local bank to enter their card numbers or risk having them cancelled (Pal-Item.com Dec. 31). The scam phone calls are coming from the number 800-245-9655. To guard against holiday season scams, Todd Peeples, manager of Tyndall FCU, Panama City, Fla., advised consumers to look for:
* Web addresses that start with “https.” The “s” means the site is secure; * A key lock icon, which should be pictured with pop-up safety information; and * Billing and shipping questions, which should stick to the basics. “If you have to enter your Social Security number, it’s a red flag,” Peeples told WMBB News (Nov. 30).
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