MADISON, Wis. (11/16/11)--Several scam campaigns nationwide have prompted credit unions to take proactive steps to combat fraud.
Some examples are:
- Kaiperm Northwest CU, Portland Ore., has instituted a security program that prohibits transactions in "high-risk areas" that include Britain, Spain and Hong Kong. The $55 million asset credit union also said it may restrict debit card transactions with merchants "proven to be high risk", such as Apple's iTunes and Michael's craft stores. It urges members to notify the credit union when they plan a vacation or go shopping at a high-risk area. Kaiperm said it maintains a list of retailers on its website that have been problematic and are likely to have debit transactions blocked. The website also keeps a list of countries known for scams (OregonLive.com Nov. 12).
- Several Wisconsin credit unions have notified members of a new vishing scam in Southeastern Wisconsin, in which bogus automated messages are left on consumers' voice-mail systems, including cell phones. The messages, which appear to originate from Google Voice, pretend to be from the credit union's security department and tell members their debit card has be restricted for shopping. Callers are prompted to press "1" to be transferred to the fake security department and asked to give out their account information (fdelreporter.com Nov. 11).
- Two Great Falls, Mont., credit unions--the $85 million asset Great Falls Teachers CU and the $173 million asset Montana FCU--have warned members about a smishing scam directed to their cell phones that tells them their credit or debit cards have been compromised. Recipients receive a text message on their cell phones. The message reads "WELLS FARGO NOTICE: Your Card 4868* has been DEACTIVAT$ED." Recipients are given a phone number to call and told to press "1," then provide their account information. The credit union advised members to hang up and call the credit union or card company (Great Falls Tribune Oct. 21).
- Members of Georgia United CU, Duluth, Ga., including a half dozen Rockdale County sheriff's deputies, have been hit by debit card fraud in which clones of their cards are used in Los Angeles to make purchases and drain the victims' checking accounts. The common denominator in the scam: the cards are used at Los Angeles 7-Eleven ATMs, according to Sgt. Jodie Shupe at the Rockdale County Sheriff's Department. Georgia United CU has been commended by the sheriff's department for making sure all members' accounts were made whole for their losses (wsbtv.com Nov. 11).