Current Fraud Information & Alerts
(Posted March 2013)
Great news! You won a $1,000 retail gift card!
Many of us have received a similar text message, and if you haven’t yet, chances are you will. Text message spam is to your cell phone what email spam is to your personal computer. It often uses the promise of free gifts or product offers to get you to reveal personal information. And if you think opening the text and replying back “Stop” will stop the scam, think again. That usually just invites more spam. So what can you do??
Can the Spam
- Delete text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information. Legitimate companies don’t ask for information like your account numbers or passwords by email or text.
- Don’t reply, and don’t click on links provided in the message: Links can install malware on your computer and take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information.
- Treat your personal information like cash: Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or open new accounts in your name. Don’t give them out in response to a text.
- Place your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222.
- If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.
- Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges, and report them to your carrier.
File a Complaint
If you receive unwanted commercial text messages, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) online or call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322). You also may file a complaint with the FTC.
Information from the Federal Trade Commission
(Posted November 2012)
MAIL THEFT ALERT!
Recently the St Cloud and the surrounding communities have experienced higher than normal rates of mail theft from residential mailboxes. Thieves are targeting residents who have placed outgoing mail in their mailboxes. Instead of placing your outgoing mail in your personal mailbox, we recommend bringing outgoing mail directly to the Post Office or a Post Office Drop Box. Please contact the credit union immediately if you notice anything suspicious on your statements.
(Posted August 2011)
There have been reports of fraudulent calls posing as Great River FCU asking members and non-members for their debit or credit card number and PIN. THIS IS A SCAM. Great River FCU will never call or email asking for this information. If you gave out your card number or PIN you must report your card stolen immediately.
For ATM/debit cards call: 1-800-472-3272.
For credit cards call: 1-800-449-7728.
(Posted June 2011)
Counterfeit $20 Bills in the St Cloud Area!
GRFCU wants our members to be aware of counterfeit $20.00 bills that have been passed throughout the area recently. With garage sale season at hand, you can never be too careful. Some of the features to look for on a $20.00 bill and other larger bills, is a security strip that is featured. These strips state the denomination of the bill. There are also watermarks and coloring that can vary on each denomination. Both features appear when the bill is held up to a light source. For more information on security features in different bills, you can visit: http://www.moneyfactory.gov/anticounterfeiting/securityfeatures.html
(Posted June 2011)
TOP TEN SCAMS OF 2010 Listed below, in no particular order, is the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB’s) list of top scams that took advantage of consumers and small business owners across the U.S. in 2010:
1. Job Hunter Scams – Scams targeting job hunters include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or social security numbers and requirements to pay a fee in order to be considered for a job.
2. Debt Relief/Settlement Services –These companies often require upfront fees and potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt. Complaints to BBB about debt relief and settlement services increased by approximately 30 percent in 2010.
3. Work from Home Schemes – For a fee, these schemes claim to give you opportunities to make money from home. Some victims found that a work from home opportunity was actually a job to fence stolen goods. Instead of getting paid, people can end up losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
4. Timeshare Resellers – Complaints to the BBB about the timeshare industry increased by more than 40percent in 2010. Timeshare owners are being targeted by companies that claim to have a buyer. The seller just has to pay to cover fees. Once the fees are paid, the buyer disappears.
5. Not So “Free” Trial Offers –Misleading free trial offers on the Internet result in thousands of complaints ever year. The “free trial” offers seem no-risk but takers state they were repeatedly billed every month and found it very difficult to cancel.
6. Home Repair/Roofers – BBB’s across the country received complaints from consumers who answered a knock on the door from a salesman or itinerant worker who eventually failed to deliver on promises to fix their roof or perform other work to the home, once a down payment had been made.
7. Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams– A letter in the mail or phone call claims that the victim has won millions but must first wire hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to the scammers to cover taxes or some other bogus fee. The victim wires the money, but the prize never arrives.
8. Identity Theft – There are any number of ways a person can become a victim of identity theft. Through low tech theft, phishing emails, vishing phone calls, smishing text messages, or even as the result of a corporate data breach, millions fall victim to identity theft every year.
9. Advance Fee Loan Scams –Victims are contacted and told they qualify for large loans but must pay upfront fees. The victim wires money to the scammers, but never receives the loan.
10. Over-Payment Scams – Scams that typically target small business owners, landlords or individuals with rooms to rent and sellers on classifieds. The scammers overpay the amount for the services/products and ask the victim to wire the extra amount back to them or to another fraudulent entity. Ultimately, the original check is no good so the victim is out the original payment plus the overpayment sent back.
(Posted February 2011)
Urgent Phishing Alert from NACHA (click for details)
(Posted November 2010)
Phishing Attempt- Email Solicitation Using NCUA Address
In cases reported to NCUA, the perpetrator(s) sent fruadulent emails, representing to be from the NCUA, to credit union members and the general public. The emails state NCUA will add $50.00 to the members' account for taking part in a survey. NCUA will NEVER ask credit union members or the gneral public for personal account information or personally identifiable information as part of a survey. Any email that alleges to be from the NCUA and asks for account information is fraudulent and should be treated as suspicious.
Great River Federal Credit Union strongly urges members to take the following additional precautions:
- Scan affected computers using updated anti-virus software
- Enable automatic updates for anti-virus software and computer operating systems
- Install security patches for common software applications promptly
- Be aware that phishing emails frequently have links to Web pages that host malicious code and software
- Do not open unsolicited or unexpected email attachments
- Do not follow Web links in unsolicited from apparent federal banking agencies, instead, bookmark or type the agency's Web address
- Call the agency using a known and appropriate telephone number to verify the legitimacy of the message and attached file.
Members affected by this scam, and variants of this scam, should be advised to foward the entire email message to email@example.com. Additionally, formal complaints concerning any suspected fraudulent emails can be filed with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at www.ic3.gov.
(Posted September 2010)
What Do Consumers Need to Know to Mitigate Fraud?
Consumers face a number of threats to their credit card information. However, one of the biggest is “phishing,” according to Joe Carroll, director, risk services at PSCU Financial Services. In phishing scams, fraudsters attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, bank account information, and other information by using emails or fake websites, which often look as if they were created by trusted sources like your financial institution. A customer receives an email that purports to be from the consumer’s bank, including the institution’s familiar format and logo. The email claims that the customer needs to correct a problem with the account, such as a security breach. When the consumer clicks on the link in the email, malware may be downloaded that can capture sensitive information such as account numbers, user names, and passwords, or it may direct users to a fake website which requests similarly sensitive information. Computer users who conduct financial transactions online should, at a minimum, keep their virus and malware protection up-to-date. In addition, customers should never click on suspicious emails—those which have blurry logos or typos, for example—or on websites if they’re not positive the site is legitimate. No reputable financial institution will ask customers for passwords or other sensitive information via email. Any suspicious activity of this nature should be reported to the customer’s financial institution.
(Posted November 2011)
PHONE SCAM ALERT!!
There have been reports of fraudulent calls posing as the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) asking members and non-members for their debit or credit card number and PIN. THIS IS A SCAM. NCUA will never call or email asking for this information. If you gave out your card number or PIN you must report your card stolen immediately.
For ATM/debit cards call: 1-800-472-3272.
For credit cards call: 1-800-449-7728.
(Posted November 2011)
Local Scam Alert!
St. Cloud Police Department is warning residents that it has taken several recent complaints of fraudulent money orders and residents receiving phone calls about their bank information.
Residents have been responding to computer listings for secret shoppers and for work-at-home advertisements, according to a police report. After responding to these ads, residents are sent fraudulent money orders for upward of $800. They are then instructed to cash the money orders and send a large portion of the money back to the originating company and to keep a portion of the money order to purchase items and rate their shopping experiences.
When the money orders are later found to be fraudulent, the citizens were responsible for bank overdrafts on their accounts.
Also, residents have received phone calls to verify their Social Security numbers and bank account information. Police urge residents to report the incidents and not to participate with similar online postings and the distribution of their banking information.
In addition, there are other actions consumers can take to protect themselves:
- Run a credit check periodically.
- Don't leave a paper trail.
- Look for Skimmers.
- Conduct online transactions with trusted merchants.
(Posted September 2010)
A man went to the local gym and placed his belongings in the locker. After the workout and a shower, he came out, saw the locker open, and thought to himself, 'Funny, I thought I locked the locker’. He dressed and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order. Everything looked okay - all cards were in place...A few weeks later his credit card bill came - a whopping bill of $14,000!
He called the credit card company saying that he did not do any of the transactions. Customer care personnel verified that these charges belonged on his card and asked if his card had been stolen. He said it was not stolen, but then took out his wallet, pulled out the credit card, and realized that a switch had been made. An expired similar credit card from the same bank was in his wallet and his card was gone. The thief broke into his locker at the gym and switched cards.
The credit card issuer said since he did not report the card missing in a timely manner, he would have to pay the amount owed to them.
A man at a restaurant paid for his meal with his credit card. The waitress took his card and returned with the receipt and credit card. He took a look at the card and noticed it was the expired card of another person.
He called the waitress and she looked perplexed. She took it back, apologized, and hurried back to the counter under the watchful eye of the man. All the waitress did while walking to the counter was wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier, and the counter cashier immediately looked down and took out the real card. No exchange of words --- nothing! She took it and came back to the man with an apology.
Make sure the credit cards in your wallet are yours. Check the name on the card every time you sign for something and/or the card is taken away for even a short period of time. Many people just take back the credit card without even looking at it, 'assuming' that it has to be theirs.
FOR YOUR PROTECTION, DEVELOP THE HABIT OF CHECKING YOUR CREDIT CARD EACH TIME IT IS RETURNED TO YOU AFTER A TRANSACTION!
A customer went into a pizza restaurant to pick up an order that he had called in. He paid using a Visa Check Card.
The employee behind the counter took the card, swiped it, and then laid it on the counter as he waited for the approval.
While the employee waited, the employee picked up his own cell phone and started dialing. The customer then heard a click from the employee’s cell phone (the sound that a phone makes when a picture is taken…unless you shut that option off).
The employee gave back the card but kept the phone in his hand still pressing buttons. The customer wondered what the employee was taking a picture of, oblivious to what was really going on. About five seconds later, he heard the chime that tells you that the picture has been saved. Then it dawned on him: the only thing there was to take a picture of was the customers credit card!
Luckily this customer realized what was going on and was able to cancel his card immediately.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. This same scam has happened while people are in stores. The criminal stands behind you while you pay for your items and snaps a picture of your card…and if they get really lucky watches you enter your PIN!
(Posted September 2010)
NACHA Phishing Alert Email Claiming to be from the "Electronic Payments Association"
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association has received reports that individuals and/or companies have received a fraudulent email that has the appearance of having been sent from NACHA and signed by a non-existent NACHA employee. Specifically, this email claims to be from the "Electronic Payments Association." See a sample of the email below.
Be aware that phishing emails frequently have attachments and/or links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not open attachments or follow Web links in unsolicited emails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.
NACHA itself does not process nor touch the ACH transactions that flow to and from organizations and financial institutions. NACHA does not send communications to individuals or organizations about individual ACH transactions that they originate or receive.
If malicious code is detected or suspected on a computer, consult with a computer security or anti-virus specialist to remove malicious code or re-install a clean image of the computer system.
Always use anti-virus software and ensure that the virus signatures are automatically updated. Ensure that the computer operating systems and common software applications security patches are installed and current. Be alert for different variations of fraudulent emails.
(Posted May 2010)
St Cloud area residents have reported that they have been receiving phone calls stating that their debit or credit cards have been deactivated and are instructed to provide their card number and expiration date in order to reactivate their card. THIS IS A SCAM! We will never ask you to provide your card number and expiration date. Contact Great River FCU's Card Services at 320-252-5393 if you receive a phone call. If possible, please provide the phone number the fraudsters were calling from.
Great River FCU's Fraud Department phone numbers are listed on our website,
on the back on your cards and on our after-hours recording.
Links to more Fraud Information:
- Fake Checks Scams
- Foreign Scams
- FBI Fraud Alert Poster
- Postal Money Orders
- Fraud Definitions
- OnGuard Online
- BBB (Better Business Bureau) Scam Alerts