Do you have investment accounts set up through the Investment Services Team at Consumers Credit Union? Did you know you can view those accounts when logged into Online Banking? Download this easy to follow guide to learn how!
Over the past couple of days, several members have received calls stating their MasterCard has been closed or blocked. The phone number is showing as restricted, and the call is entirely automated. The member is being asked to enter their card number and other information. These calls are not coming from Consumers or our fraud team, and they should not be acknowledged by the member in any way.
Consumers will never ask you to to provide your full card number, and we do NOT have automated calls for fraud. If you have any questions please contact us at 1-800-991-2221.
Today’s Friday Focus was written by guest blogger Lynne J. Johnson, CMO, Consumers Credit Union. Thank you, Lynne!
It’s Friday, and for many of us that means pay day. Time to jump up and down with joy, right? For some, pay day is another day to worry about our finances and think to ourselves, “I barely made it. What if I face even a minor emergency?” It’s scary stuff.
Working in the financial industry, we listen to our members (and colleagues) talk about their everyday life. In everyday life, events can happen that take us off course and make us stumble with our finances. In these moments, when asking for help is what we need the most, we often hide our problems instead. Sometimes we even hide it from ourselves, which is the biggest stumble of all.
Let’s make this clear: Money is NOT Scary. Money is manageable, and at Consumers, we teach people from all walks of life how to be financially healthy. Helping our members in this way is what we do best.
As we enter the week of Halloween, we’d like you to take a minute and ask yourself if you are scared of money. If you are, come in and talk with any one of us. We aren’t vampires… we won’t bite. We aren’t clowns… we won’t laugh at your situation. We aren’t ghosts… we won’t disappear without offering assistance. Our member service team is made up of people who have the same questions about money that you do. You can come into our office on the spur of the moment, call us to set up an appointment, or send us a Facebook or Twitter message. Connect the way you want to connect and we will get the right people in the room to listen and help you succeed.
Maybe you want to purchase your own haunted house. We can help with that. Perhaps you’d like to be able to buy the most expensive treats for the trick or treaters. We can help with that. It could be that your grey-haired “wig” is now your REAL hair, and you need retirement advice. We can help with that. Or maybe you just want some “witches brew” from our office (aka Coffee) and need a pointy listening ear. We can help with that too.
Christmas carols, stockings hung by the fire, time to celebrate with friends and family—we love the holidays! Unfortunately, so do fraudsters, and as budgets get tight this time of year, scammers often ramp up their efforts.
Don’t get scrooged by holiday fraud attempts, which come in many guises. Beware of situations such as these:
Phone, Text, and Email Scams
Fraudsters often pose as legitimate service providers asking for your account information. Such attempts are known as “phishing” (by email) or “smishing” (by text). They may route you to a fraudulent website where you are to fill in your personal details.
Don’t be fooled! Consumers will NEVER contact you over the phone, by text, or by email asking you to provide personal information such as account numbers and Social Security numbers. If you receive a request over the phone or online from someone asking you to provide such information, do not give it to them. Instead, contact us at 800.991.2221 to report the issue.
Craigslist and Secret Shopper Scams
These scam attempts tend to target victims who are out of work, looking for more work, or otherwise in a tight financial situation—in other words, those who can’t afford to be a victim of fraud. Mystery shopper or secret shopper schemes may be advertised online or the scammer may target individuals by mail or email.
In one version of these scams, a member will receive a check with a letter asking her to use the funds to make purchases at a certain store in order to participate in the secret shopper program, keep some of the money as reimbursement for the time involved, and wire the excess back to the sender.
In another, a member receives a check with a letter asking him to cash it, keep a certain amount of the money, and send the rest back via Western Union or another wire transfer service in order to secretly evaluate the service provided by the wire transfer company.
Or a member responding to a job posting on Craigslist may receive notification that she got the position and that her “future employer” is sending her a check to cover moving expenses. The check will be larger than that amount, so the “employer” will ask to have the extra wired back.
In all of these cases, the checks will turn out to be fraudulent. If they are not identified as such before the victim sends money to the scammer, he or she will have lost whatever amount was sent.
The best way to protect yourself from these sorts of fraud attempts is to ask questions. We urge members to consider the following before replying to an online ad or transferring funds to someone you do not know personally:
Does the reward or payment make sense for the task involved?
Am I sending money to someone (or a business) that I was previously unfamiliar with?
Am I being asked to return money via wire transfer, Western Union, or other methods?
Does the offer sound too good to be true?
As with any suspected scam attempt, please alert us to the issue so that we can assist you in preventing a loss. Call us at 800.991.2221 or stop by any of our offices to speak with a member service representative.
As budgets get tight around the holidays, fraudsters often ramp up their scam attempts. Mystery shopper or secret shopper schemes are particularly common this time of year. These schemes may be advertised online or the scammer may target individuals by mail or email.
This kind of fraud tends to target victims who are out of work, looking for more work, or otherwise in a tight financial situation—in other words, those who can’t afford to be a victim of fraud. This makes identifying scam attempts all the more important to potential victims.
The following red flags indicate that a mystery shopper or secret shopper offer is a scam:
You are unfamiliar with the company or individual contacting you to participate in their mystery shopper program.
You receive a communication asking you to keep your participation confidential or not reveal the source of funds received for the activities.
You receive a check up front—especially if the check is for more than what you expected to be paid for your activities, and the company asks you to return the excess funds via wire transfer, Western Union, or other means.
Letters, emails, and checks received from fraudulent sources may look legitimate. Scam artists continue to develop more sophisticated ways of connecting with potential victims. If you ever need help determining whether an offer is legitimate or fraudulent, we’re here to help protect your money and your personal information. Call us at 800.991.2221 or stop by any of our convenient locations to speak with an experienced Member Service Representative.
When you’re searching online for a great deal or evaluating an offer you’ve received in the mail or electronically, here are eight questions to ask yourself when you’re unsure of its legitimacy.
1. Does the reward (or payment) make sense for the task involved?
2. Is this offer out of the ordinary?
3. Does this offer require sending money to someone (or a business) that I was previously unfamiliar with?
4. Is the ad soliciting for a “secret shopper” (a frequent scam tactic)?
5. Do the funds originate from an offer on Craigslist?
6. Am I being asked to return money via wire transfer, Western Union, or other methods?
7. Does the offer specify that I’m not to tell my credit union or bank about the origins of the money?
8. Does the offer sound too good to be true? (If so, it probably is.)
Common sense is your first line of defense when identifying a scam. If you ever need help determining whether an offer is legitimate or fraudulent, we’re here to help protect your money and your personal information. Call us at 800.991.2221 or stop by any of our convenient locations to speak with an experienced Member Service Representative.