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Welcome to the Service 1 FCU Security Center

Safeguarding your personal information is our top priority. We're always on the lookout for fraudulent activity and scams targeting our members. Here are some common and current tactics to be aware of to protect your information and help prevent becoming a victim.

Current Scams — Be On the Lookout

We've identified scams that are currently targeting large groups of people in a public arena. Beware and take steps to safeguard your information at all times! If you suspect suspicious activity or notice unauthorized account activity, please contact us immediately at (800) 879.9697.

 

CAR WRAP SCAMS: JUNE 2021

Beware of a “get paid to drive” scam racing across America: wrapping your vehicle in advertising.

Con artists are targeting drivers of all ages—there are millions of potential victims with over 231,000,000 licensed drivers, or nearly 70% of the U.S. population—and taking advantage of post-pandemic conditions as many underemployed and out-of-work Americans look for quick ways to make ends meet.

The bad guys try to steer a victim wrong by mailing a bogus check with directions to deposit it and keep a small portion of it, then instruct the person to send most of it back under the guise that the funds will pay for a professional to wrap it. If successful, the scammer pockets the returned money and never arranges for the work to be done, leaving the consumer stranded without the cash. A different version of the scam is operating online, too.

Service 1 FCU member service representatives are trained to spot this type of fraud, but members are encouraged to be vigilant about questioning any such offer received out of the blue from an unknown source. For the full article about car wrap scams and ways to protect yourself, visit our blog.

If you’ve been a victim of car-wrap fraud or suspect a scam affecting you or a loved one, report it to the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/. Seniors can utilize the AARP Fraud Helpline. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/helpline/. Reach out to Service 1 FCU with assistance.

 

DEEPFAKES: FEBRUARY 2021

Deepfakes—or intentionally distorted videos, images, and audio recordings—are being created by fraudsters to make fake information that impersonates someone else with the intention of exploiting an individual’s reputation, obtaining information, and even for financial fraud.

If you’ve seen recent satirical spoofs that put new words in a politician’s mouth, insert your favorite stars in unflattering or unnatural situations, or make a baby dance like a pro, then you’ve seen deepfakes. Though not all deepfakes are malicious, including those that bring life to art in galleries and museums or improve dubbing in foreign-language films, scammers are using new artificial intelligence technology to digitally enhance voice and video recordings for unscrupulous purposes. Even amateurs can successfully mimic a person or situation using unsophisticated technology like the mobile phone app Zao (lets users add their faces to a list of TV and movie characters) or recorded WhatsApp voice messages.

How can you spot deepfakes and help protect yourself?

  • Be wary of anyone contacting you—by phone or video—claiming to be a family member or financial institution and making requests for unexpected financial transactions such as transferring money or purchasing gift cards or money orders on their behalf.
  • Watch for poor quality in the fine details of video or audio: Things such as strange lighting effects, badly rendered details, flickering around objects like faces and inconsistent sound are detectable giveaways.
  • Mischief-makers are becoming more brazen and convincing with the help of AI technology. If you suspect you may be dealing with a scam artist, disconnect and contact the party at a number known to be valid.

For more information about deepfakes, check out a related article from The Guardian.

 

PERSON-TO-PERSON PAYMENT SCAM USING ZELLE: JANUARY 2021

Using a person-to-person (P2P) payment service through a mobile app could leave you vulnerable to would-be thieves. Zelle, a mobile payment application, facilitates money transfers without handling cash or visiting a bank or credit union. Money moves directly from one bank account to another and eliminates the need for account numbers to initiate transactions as with other services such as Venmo or PopMoney (a secure service available at Service 1 FCU).

The service is integrated within mobile banking apps of participating institutions (typically major U.S. banks) allowing consumers who already have their bank's mobile app to start using Zelle right away with simple registration. Sending money is easy since a user needs only the email or phone number of the recipient, who then receives a notification—along with a link—from Zelle that there’s a payment waiting. 

Unfortunately, fraudsters have targeted credit union members by using a sophisticated scam to defeat two-step authentication (also referred to as out-of-brand authentication) that uses one-time passcodes. In a new twist to this scam, fraudsters are defeating the authentication with transaction details, which Zelle introduced to help curb the fraud. Keep reading for details about how the scam works and ways you can protect yourself against the thieves:

  • Fraudsters send text alerts to members that appear to come from the credit union or bank and warn members of supposed suspicious debit card transactions
  • The bad guys call the people who respond to the text by spoofing the credit union’s phone number, claiming to be from the institution’s fraud department
  • The member is asked for their online banking information under the rouse of identification verification, when in reality the scammer is attempting to initiate a transaction—such as the “forgot password” feature—to ultimately obtain a passcode that will allow them to gain access to the member account
  • Once a fraudster logs into a member account, the online banking password can be changed and Zelle can be used to transfer funds to others
  • Zelle is being used in this type of fraud because funds transfers can be made in minutes rather than hours or days through other P2P services
  • A new twist to the scam is that a member is kept on the phone after providing personal information and is alerted that they’ll receive a text about a Zelle transfer that needs to be authorized to reverse the supposed fraudulent transactions, but in reality the fraudster actually enters a Zelle transfer that triggers a text, such as the one below, to authorize the transaction (and steal money):
    • Send $200 Zelle payment to John Doe? Reply YES to send, NO to cancel. ABC Credit Union . STOP to end all messages.

How can you help protect yourself? Here are some tips:

  • Be wary of unexpected texts or calls regarding P2P funds transfers that appear to come from Service 1 FCU; you can call us at (800) 879.9697 to verify that a Service 1 FCU representative has sent you a message or called you 
  • Never provide personal information in response to a text or phone call that you did not initiate
  • Remember that Service 1 FCU will never ask for your account credentials or personal information like account numbers, usernames, passwords, PINs, etc.
  • Should you need to contact Service 1 FCU to verify a text message or phone call, we may ask out-of-wallet authentication questions that a fraudster wouldn’t know the answer to, such as “Where did you last use your last debit card?” or “What is the model of the vehicle listed on your auto loan?”—this is particularly true when there’s a request to change contact information such as mobile phone numbers and email addresses
  • If you suspect you're a victim of a Zelle or other mobile payment scam affecting your Service 1 FCU account, contact us toll-free at (800) 879.9697 as soon as possible
  • Consider enrolling in an identity theft protection program, such as Kasasa Protect offered by Service 1 FCU, that helps monitor your accounts and offers restoration services

 

MEDICARE CARD SCAM (SENIORS): JANUARY 2021

One of our most vulnerable populations—seniors—continues to be the target of fraud, the preyed upon being Medicare recipients.

A bad actor “spoofs” a Medicare phone number to call potential victims and asks for verification of personal data to make it appear that the call is legitimate. The caller has already obtained the target’s name, address, phone number and date of birth, in most cases. Once identity and some general health information is established to make the senior feel comfortable sharing sensitive information, the caller asks for a Medicare card number or a “red, white and blue card” number. This is information that Medicare would NEVER request since it’s already on file; it’s the hallmark of a scam phone call. DON’T FALL FOR IT.

Tips to help protect yourself or a senior loved one:

  • Remember that Medicare—and other legitimate companies—will never contact anyone and request a Medicare number or other personal information.
  • When in doubt, ask to call the person back at their direct number. A fraudster will usually hang up because they’re unlikely to convince someone who’s skeptical, and call is no longer worth the time.
  • A legitimate entity will always respect a customer's desire for privacy and security. If the caller is persistent and pushy, the senior should hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) to report the fraud.

Another scam to be aware is a twist on the gift card scam. When the imposter scammer calls pretending to be a relative in need of money (like a grandchild in jail) or a "government agency" needing a fee, instead of asking for a gift card purchase the caller asks for cash and says they'll send a "courier" to get the money. If this happens, the potential victim should call 911 to report the scam/attempted theft.

This information is provided by partner organization SafeSeniors. For more information about the Medicare card scam, visit the SafeSeniors website. A list of current scams targeting senior populations can also be found on their scam alerts page.

Reporting Concerns

Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. To report suspected abuse in the community, contact Adult Protective Services (APS). If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation or immediate danger, contact 911 for the local police or sheriff.

Additional senior resources:

  • 24/7 Adult Protective Services Hotline: (855) 444-3911 toll-free
  • State elder locator: (800) 677-1116 toll-free
  • In West Michigan
    • Muskegon County APS Office: (231) 733-3612
    • Ottawa County APS Office: (616) 394-7220
    • Oceana County APS Office: (231) 873-2106
    • Nursing home or long-term care facility suspected abuse: (800) 882-6006 toll-free

 

GOVERNMENT STIMULUS PAYMENT SCAM

Scammers are using the news that the federal government will send one-time payments to millions of people across the country as part of the federal economic relief response to COVID-19 to steal personal information. There are reports of emails being sent from websites appearing to be official, demanding PayPal, bank account or other financial information to receive federal stimulus payment immediately. THIS IS A SCAM. If you receive a text, email or phone call from someone claiming to be from the government with a check for you—DO NOT FALL FOR IT

Stay alert: Do not, under any circumstances, give away your personal information via text, e-mail, or phone.  

How can you be sure it’s a scam? Pay attention to these signs:   

  • Demands for payment.  There is no up-front payment, fee, or charge of any kind to receive stimulus payments. You will not be asked to pay any money, including a "processing fee." Anyone claiming to be from the federal, state, or local government asking for any payment is an imposter. Do not respond to any type of contact asking for a payment of any kind. Remember: only scammers will ask you to pay to receive stimulus money. Do not fall for it!  
  • Requests for personal or financial information.  Government agencies, including the IRS, will not initiate conversations with you via telephone, email or text to verify or ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or debit/credit card number in order to release the funds and receive stimulus funding. Do not enter your personal or financial information in response to an email, text, or webpage appearing to look like the federal government. Only scammers will demand that you provide your personal information.  
  • Offers to help you apply for the stimulus payment. There is absolutely no application process to receive stimulus money. Payments are made automatically by direct bank deposit (with information on file from your previous tax filing) or check mailed to your home. Anyone who tells you they can help you apply for this money is a scammer.  
  • Grant offers related to the stimulus payment. Bad actors may leave messages requesting personal or financial information in exchange for so-called immediate stimulus money through a grant or for confirmation of identity to receive the funding. In different variations, scammers may promise additional financing beyond the designated stimulus amount in exchange for a small payment or personal information. There is no grant money.  

Also be sure to never open attachments or links sent from anyone claiming to be from the government. Do not reply and delete the message right away.   

For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding federal stimulus payments and specific disbursement details, only visit the IRS website. And for more details about government stimulus payment scams currently circulating—including images of text scams and phishing emails—visit our partner site, Stickley On Security

 

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SCAMS

Fraudsters have capitalized on the fear surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and are targeting victims by telephone and email. The most vulnerable segment of our population, the elderly, is the most targeted. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

  • Telephone fraud: criminals call victims pretending to be clinic or hospital officials, who claim that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus and request payments for medical treatment
  • Email phishing: emails seemingly from national or global health authorities, with the aim of tricking victims to provide personal credentials or payment details, or to open an attachment containing malware
  • Pop-up ads: these can look very professional and legitimate, but authorities urge that you do not click on pop-ups or links from sources that you do not recognize that contain information about the COVID-19 virus
  • Charity scams: criminals may claim to help COVID-19 victims and their families, but law enforcement urges you to beware of these supposed organizations
  • Cleaning/home sanitation scams: if someone contacts you or someone you know with the offer to clean and sanitize your home, requiring a pre-payment over the phone, do not take the bait—hang up instead; it's always a good idea to avoid answering calls from numbers you don't recognize
  • Investment schemes: individuals may be targeted using the ruse funds are needed for vaccine research or distribution; do not provide your financial information to anyone promising to supply a vaccination OR someone insisting they're from a medical organization distributing COVID-19 vaccinations and require over-the-phone payments to reserve a dose. Vaccines that are now available and in development are distributed free of charge only through federal, state and local government agencies, and generally require an appointment depending on where you live.
  • Suspicious websites: if you're searching online for information about COVID-19, conduct your searches carefully and double-check before clicking; there are many fake coronavirus sites set up to catch website traffic when users conduct searches—you can find a list of suspicous URLs here

In many cases, the fraudsters impersonate legitimate companies, using similar names, websites and email addresses in their attempt to trick unsuspecting members of the public, even reaching out proactively via emails and messages on social media platforms. Being vigilant can help you stay safe online!

For the latest information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

TELEPHONE ID SPOOFING

Most of us are aware that we shouldn’t answer calls from unknown numbers. But what about those that appear on caller ID from familiar numbers, such as local organizations or financial institutions? Criminals are becoming more sophisticated in implementing the latest technology to impersonate—or “spoof”—phone numbers of legitimate businesses to disguise their identity and ultimately gain access to personal information for fraudulent purposes.

You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed, but caution is always recommended. Here are some guidelines to help keep the scammers from getting your information:

  • If you get a call from someone who claims to represent Service 1 FCU, another company you do business with, or a government agency, you can hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. Businesses with which you hold accounts don’t need to call and “verify” your information since they already have it on file. Service 1 FCU will never contact you via an unsolicited call or email asking for your personal information such as account number, Social Security Number or other identifying information.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured or threatened for information. Legitimate businesses will not resort to scare tactics.
  • If you answer a call and the caller—or a recording known as a robocall—asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls or respond with a “yes” or “no” answer, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify potential targets and to record your voice agreeing to something that can potentially be used as permission for unauthorized activity (usually something that bilks you out of money).
  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. An individual or legitimate business that needs to reach you will leave a voicemail message.

Visit the FCC website for more information about spoofing. If you think you've been the victim of a spoofing scam, you can file a complaint with the FCC. If you have questions, call your local Service 1 FCU branch or our toll-free line at (800) 879.9697.

 

CREDIT CARD TELEPHONE PHONE SCAM

We've received several reports of members/consumers being contacted by someone posing as Mastercard falsely notifying them that their card has been locked. The caller will request the cardholder's 16-digit credit card number to "verify" the account to be unlocked. Please be aware that THIS IS A SCAM. Mastercard and Service 1 FCU will NEVER contact you and ask for your card number (this is information Mastercard will already have on file). The call may be automated (robocall), directing the recipient to enter their card number or select a number to reach a "fraud or security department."

Please DO NOT give out any personal information to a caller for an inquiry that you did not initiate, no matter how legitimate or professional the caller seems. If you receive such a call, ask to have a callback number from the caller, then hang up and report the incident. You can also contact your credit card company by calling the number on the back of the card. If you suspect fraudulent activity, you can lock your card(s) immediately within the Service 1 FCU mobile app under "More," then "Manage My Cards."

iPhone   Android

Click here for more information about how to recognize and avoid a credit card telephone scam.

 

CARD SKIMMERS

Thieves place a small, nearly undectable, electronic device on card readers at public ATMs, gas pumps, and even self-checkout registers at retail stores, that secretly records-or "skims"-the data stored on the magnetic stripe. Tiny hidden cameras then record users entering PIN codes, which gives thieves everything they need to make counterfeit cards using the stolen information (or use it to go on an online shopping spree).

Read a recent news story explaining how to spot a credit card skimmer on a gas pump and avoid theft. Another recent case of skimming at a grocery store self-checkout is also in the news. 

 

How to Identify Fraud, Scams and Cyber Crime

Fraudulent activity can strike in the form of identity theft, credit card fraud, phishing, pharming, skimming, check fraud, sweetheart and lottery scams and more. Thieves may acquire records containing your personal information and/or account information from intercepted or discarded financial statements, payroll stubs, or other records sent to you or from third parties with whom you interact in your normal course of business where such information is disclosed. Be aware that savvy criminals can steal your information online, too. To combat cyber fraud, you should choose secure passwords and change them regularly, always sign out of your on line accounts when finished with a site, check for the word "Secure" and a small padlock icon before the URL, as well as an "s" in the web address {https://).

Some types of fraud to watch out for:

  • Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your name and personal information to assume your identity to either open new credit card accounts, mobile phone contracts, bank or credit union accounts and more. While identity theft may begin with the loss or theft of a wallet or purse, there are a number of other ways that identity thieves can obtain your personal information.
  • Credit Card Fraud has risen sharply in recent years. When a credit card is lost or stolen, owners are more likely to be victims of unauthorized use. But beware: card fraud is driven primarily by compromise of credit card account data during their normal course of usage, either in large-scale data breaches at larger retailers or simply "skimming" the data when the card is used in an establishment.
  • Phishing occurs when someone tricks you into divulging personal, financial or account information. Posing as well-known companies, thieves will send out e-mails asking you to reply, or direct you to a fraudulent web page that asks you to provide personal information, such as your credit card number, Social Security number or account password.
  • Phone Phishing (also called "Vishing") is another way thieves try to collect sensitive information from you. In this type of fraud, they will either contact you by telephone or send you a fake e-mail and ask you to respond by telephone.
  • Skimming allows criminals to obtain your information at a public ATM, gas pump, grocery store or other self-service payment terminals located in places such as grocery stores by collecting your account information from the magnetic strip on the back of the card and recording users entering their PINs.
  • Sweetheart, Lottery and Hardship Scams take advantage of vulnerable individuals by developing a "trusted" relationship with the victim over a period of time. Eventually the fraudster asks for personal information or money, typically convincing the victim to send him or her significant sums in return for a relationship, a visit, a higher payback, etc. Lottery scams dupe victims into wiring funds to cover supposed taxes and processing fees after they've been told they're a contest winner.

Be on the lookout for these types of situations that compromise your personal information and financial security. Remember that Service 1 FCU will NEVER ask for personal or account information-or ask you to CONFIRM it-via email or text message.

How to Protect Yourself

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself. Though each type of fraud or scam is unique, there are things you can do that will help keep you safe that are commonly useful to in preventing most types of fraud. These are just a few suggestions:

  • Monitor your account activity on a regular basis. You're much more likely to identify suspicious activity quickly and stop thieves from stealing from you.
  • When paying electronically at the gas pump or store-or using an ATM-make sure to shield the keypad with your free hand when you enter your PIN, even if no one is around. Scammers capture your keystrokes using tiny cameras, so covering the keypad can interfere with a thief trying to obtain this information.
  • Check public machines and terminals for removable parts in the card slot and above the keypad. If any piece of the machine wiggles or moves, there could be a skimmer attached.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. While this is sound advice all of the time, it can be particularly useful to identify a compromised machine in a public place. Look for anything loose, hanging wires, broken or extra pieces, etc.
  • Beware of online scams that appeal to your emotions. Criminals can and will represent themselves as something they're not in order to gain your trust. Once you feel something for them-sympathy, romance, guilt, danger/concern and more-they'll convince you to "help" them by providing access to your money. These thieves are very difficult to catch and you'll likely lose your money, and potentially your identity.
  • Avoid clicking on links in an email or text message that ask you to enter your personal information. The messages often appear very authentic and look nearly exactly like messages received from reputable companies. Remember that Service 1 FCU will NEVER ask for personal or account infomation--or ask you to confirm it-via email. If you have concerns about an account, you're encouraged to open a new browser window to visit the company's verified website and access your account.
  • If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Receiving a substantial check in the mail from an unknown sender, finding the deal of a lifetime on a public classifieds site (such as Craigslist), finding the "love of your life" online without ever having met-these are all situations that are tempting, but don't happen often in real life. Using caution and discernment to determine if it's "too good to be true" could be the difference between becoming a victim and keeping your information intact and safe (and your money in your Service 1 FCU account!).

You can also protect yourself by signing up for Kasasa Protect®. Find out more about this identity protection and restoration solution.

Contact Us  

If you suspect fraudulent activity or feel you've been the victim of a scam, you should contact your local law enforcement office and the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. government regulatory agency. You'll also need to contact you financial institution by calling the number on the back of your debit or credit card. Questionable activity concerning your Service 1 FCU account should be reported by calling (800) 879.9697.

To learn how Service 1 FCU protects your privacy, download our Privacy Policy.

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