Friday, November 7, 2008

CUs continue to report phishing scams

MADISON, Wis. (11/7/08)--More credit unions are reporting their members and nonmembers are being text messaged, phoned, and e-mailed with phishing scams seeking account information.

Gesa CU, Richland, Wash., and police in four area communities reported a number of complaints from people about cell phone text messages sent Nov. 1.

The messages, which went to members and nonmembers, said their credit union accounts had been closed and they needed to call a 509 area code number to provide personal information to reactivate the card.

Because it was a Saturday, Gesa sent extra staff to its call center to handle the volume, Christina Brown, president/CEO, told Tri-City Herald (Nov. 2).

The credit union and others have been periodically targeted by scammers since the beginning of the year. In previous scams, scammers called people randomly and claimed their credit or debit card had been canceled and needed reactivating.

Four credit unions in Ohio were targeted in phone scams and e-mails the past couple of weeks, according to the Ohio Credit Union League (eLumination Newsletter Nov. 5).

Two Heath, Ohio-based credit unions were targeted this week. Harvest FCU was flooded with reports about a phone scam Tuesday afternoon. Members and nonmembers received automated calls telling them their credit card account had been suspended because of third-party usage. The caller asked the recipients to input their card number (Newark Advocate Nov. 5).

On Wednesday, a phone scam purporting to be from Hopewell FCU began circulating. Recipients were told their accounts had been suspended and to call a phone number to reactivate their account.

On Oct. 29, a phishing e-mail purporting to be from Lagrange, Ohio-based Sun Center FCU told recipients their account was suspended temporarily due to a billing failure. They were to go to a bogus website and complete an account update to unlock the account.

An automated phone scam Oct. 23, targeted Kenton, Ohio-based Hardin Community FCU. Consumers called were told to call an 866-area code number to reinstate their accounts.

In Bowling Green, Ky., county residents received recorded calls on Sunday and Monday with a message that their credit card had been compromised and to "press one" to speak to the security department. The calls purported to be from Southeast Financial Credit Card Co. There is no such company, but there is a Southeast Financial CU in the neighboring state of Tennessee, said the Bowling Green Police Department (The Daily News Nov. 4).

All the credit unions told consumers they would not phone or e-mail asking for such information.

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