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CUs in several states warn of automated phone scams
MADISON, Wis. (7/25/08)--Credit unions in at least six states across the U.S. have issued warnings in the past week about ongoing automated telephone phishing scams that attempt to collect personal information for possible identity theft. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) reported that the Philadelphia area was targeted with an automated telephone message that states it was sent by a credit union's Fraud and Security Department and that the recipient's credit card account has been suspended. The message continues leaving instructions to dial variations of the exchange beginning as 515-414-xxx with the last four numbers constantly changing, PCUA said. Once the number is reached, an automated voice asks for the recipient's card number and PIN (Life is a Highway July 24). The calls have been received by members and nonmembers. Recipients who disclosed their information reported immediate fraudulent transaction activity in Spain and Romania, with significant monetary losses. Hudson Valley FCU, based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., alerted consumers of a similar phone scam using its name to get people to provide their account numbers and other information. The caller ID is forged and in some cases recipients are asked to call 515-414-1344 where they are asked to provide information (Poughkeepsie Journal July 21). Charter Oak FCU, Groton, Conn., said it was deluged with calls related to a call trying to collect information in its name from people in southeastern Connecticut. It issued an online alert and a phone message at its main number warns callers about the scheme (The Day July 24). Several credit unions in Wisconsin reported similar incidents, where a credit union would be targeted one day and another credit union or bank the next. Bull's Eye CU, Wisconsin Rapids, said residents in Wood and Portage counties began receiving calls this week claiming their credit union accounts are closed. Wisconsin Rapids Police and Stevens Point Police reported similar calls from a "credit union." And a credit union member received two calls pre-recorded messages at her office. A return call to the number on the message resulted in a brief advertisement for an Internet-based phone service, she said (Stevens Point Journal July 16.) Blackhawk Community CU, Janesville, Wis., became aware of a scam targeting Rock County area residents in its name on Tuesday. The credit union received a number of calls from members reporting the message from "Blackhawk Community CU Security Department." The target then shifted to a Michigan-based credit union (The Janesville Gazette July 23). Fox Communities CU, Appleton, Wis., placed a fraud alert on its website after calls began Tuesday night. Again, within hours, the target shifted to another financial institution. Both nonmembers and members received the calls. The credit union reported the phisher's phone number, which has been shut down, was hijacked from a legitimate business. A credit union in Indiana also reported its name was used in a phone spam scam (South Bend Tribune July 23). Earlier, credit unions in Texas and Illinois reported similar scams. All of the credit unions whose names were used emphasized they would not call members to ask for their personal financial information. Many credit unions posted steps on their websites for members and nonmembers to take if they provided information to the phishers.


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