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Another scam wave hits CUs in several states
MADISON, Wis. (12/3/09)--Another wave of texting and phishing scams has swamped credit unions and other financial institutions in several states--this time in the Western half of the nation--prompting them to alert members and the public. Two scams circulating in Northern Colorado involve texting to cell phones of members and nonmembers. The messages invoke the name of a defunct credit union, Norlarco CU, which was acquired by Public Service CU in Denver (Coloradoan.com Dec. 1). The text messages say recipients' accounts have been restricted and they must call a toll free number. To unlock the account, they are instructed to enter their debit or credit card number, personal identification number (PIN) and expiration date. Several members of Public Service CU received the message, according to its website. The credit union told members to not respond in any way to the message and to "Delete it immediately. It is a scam." In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Warren FCU, members received a similar scam, prompting the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming to tell the Coloradoan, "It seems like credit unions are specifically targeted." In California, credit unions in Redwood City and Merced were targeted with the same kinds of messages. San Mateo CU, Redwood City, said on its website it had not sent a text message received by consumers. In Merced, another credit union as well as customers of AT&T cell phone accounts were targeted, reported the sheriff's office (Merced Sun-Star Nov. 26). Bridgeton, Mo.-based Vantage CU, which was been targeted before in previous waves of scams, said fraudsters started sending text-message phishing scams again to members and non-members last weekend in the credit union's name. Eric Acree, vice president, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the credit union is trying to educate members about its security procedures so they don't fall for the fake messages. The credit union never contacts accountholders with an unsolicited text message, he told the newspaper. In Nampa, Idaho, police said scammers sent text messages with an emergency notification about their accounts to consumers. Mountain Gem CU was targeted by the scammers, and Northwest Christian CU and IDADIV CU used their websites to warn consumers about the scam (The Idaho Statesman Nov. 25).
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