Check Cashing Scam
Beware of strangers who ask you to help cash checks or perform transactions on their behalf. These checks are often counterfeit. If you are approached by a stranger who asks you to cash a check or perform any other financial transaction, immediately leave the area and report the incident to the police and to Unitus.
These scammers target individuals in parking lots or near the branches where the scam takes place. They claim that they’re desperate (e.g. stranded, starving) and provide reasons why they can’t use their own financial institution. Sometimes, the scammers will even offer a portion of the proceeds from the deposit as an incentive. They may be persistent and intimidating.
Common results of complying with these scammers are overdrafts and returned check fees, along with loss of the money given to the scammers. If you see suspicious activity of any kind, please contact law enforcement and report it to Unitus staff.
Skimming is the theft of credit, debit, and ATM card (“plastic card”) information. Plastic cards can be skimmed in a variety of ways, such as:
At an ATM, using a false or another electronic device attached to the terminal to capture information when the card is swiped and the PIN is entered.
At a merchant location, often when the card is out of sight, hand-held skimming devices are used to capture the information on the card.
From stored data, including electronic data capture terminals, personal computers and mainframes. Criminals hack into these systems to retrieve and copy valid account data.
A skimmer can hold data from hundreds of different plastic cards. The data can be downloaded into a computer and emailed anywhere in the world. The final step is to create a counterfeit plastic card using the data from the skimmer.
Counterfeit plastic card scams are widespread in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the United States.
You may receive an email that appears to come from Unitus or another trusted source. The email may instruct you to click on a link or go to a website and provide personal information. Some of these emails may even threaten to suspend your account if you don’t provide the information. This type of email is called “phishing” or “spoofing” and is one of the most common types of online fraud. If a victim inadvertently enters their information, the fraudster will use the information to create a fraudulent account, a plastic card, or sell the information on the black market.
Remember that Unitus will never ask for personal information, account information or your PIN (Personal Identification Number) in an email message. If you receive a phishing email from what appears to be Unitus, please report it to our fraud department and delete the email from your mailbox. Do not reply to or click on the link it provides.
To learn more about phishing, visit www.antiphishing.org.
Vishing (Voice phishing)
Vishing is yet another attempt to fraudulently obtain account information. A member may receive an email warning them that their account has been compromised. Instead of asking you to click on a fraudulent website, the message urges the member to call a telephone number to verify account details.
When the number is called, an automated voice message says, “Welcome to account verification. Please enter your 16-digit account number”. The goal is to get the victim to enter their credit card number and other personal information. In these reported scams, no mention of the Credit Union is made.
SMiShing is like phishing, except instead of using Internet e-mails to entice members to give out personal account information the thieves use cell phone text messages. The text message looks like official correspondence from the recipient’s credit union or bank that directs that person to a website that is similar or identical to the credit union or bank website. The website message asks the member to provide account numbers and Personal Identification Numbers. In some cases, crimeware has been downloaded to the mobile device or cell phone allowing the smisher to obtain sensitive information stored on the device.
If you have a mobile device and store sensitive information on it, consider adding password protection as a security measure.
Credit Card Scam
The majority of identity fraud crimes are self-detected. By following these simple steps, you can better protect your card from unauthorized use. Be your own fraud monitor just by paying close attention to your statement, particularly online. According to a recent report by the Better Business Bureau, accessing accounts online provides earlier identity theft detection compared to monitoring monthly paper statements and bills. If you notice a suspicious transaction, promptly contact Unitus Community Credit Union to report it. And, remember to never give information, including the CVV # (3 digit number on the back of your card), to someone on the telephone if you did not initiate the call.
ID Theft and Account Hijacking
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, social security number, date of birth or other identifying information without authority and with the intent to commit fraud.
Gift Cards Scams
Gift cards have become one of the most popular items to give and receive, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, fraudsters have devised ways to dupe even the savviest of consumers when it comes to these cards. Check out these tips from Amazon to help keep you safe.
Tax Season Sams
A scare campaign using robocalls claiming that law enforcement is going to suspend or cancel the call recipient’s Social Security number (SSN) in response to taxes owed. Another tax scam involves emails and impersonators claiming to be from the IRS either reminding you to file your taxes or offering you information about your refund. Additionally, Scammers are posing as tax professionals, however, they are really ghost tax preparers that will take money to prepare your taxes but won’t sign the return, making it look like you did the work yourself. Learn more
Millions of people, including credit union members, look to online dating or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of romance, many unknowingly find a scammer. Cyberspace scammers are eager to take advantage of lonely hearts by setting up fake accounts on social media or dating sites to establish fraudulent relationships and get them to send money. Learn more
Scammers are at it again, this time preying on the fears many have of the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information. Learn more
The sooner you detect fraud, the lower the financial impact. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or your identity has been stolen, take the following steps:
You may also visit our Contact Us page and submit an inquiry form, just select ‘Suspicious activity on my account’ from the drop-down. If you are contacting us via personal email, please have you email’s subject line read: ‘Suspicious activity on my account’. This will help our staff assist you.
If you are a victim of identity theft, contact the fraud department of any one of the three credit-reporting agencies to place an alert on your credit file. The alert requires creditors to take additional steps that protect you against identify theft.
- Sign your cards immediately. Sign the signature panel on your credit and debit cards as soon as you receive them.
- Never carry or store your Personal Identification Number (“PIN”) and card together. If you can memorize your PIN, shred any documents containing the PIN.
- Verify your card. Be sure your card is returned following each purchase and verify that it is indeed your card.
- Wait for your card receipt. Never leave your credit card receipts at the checkout counter and always take your charge slips with you.
- Save your receipts. Check receipts against your online account statements or history. Report unauthorized transactions to your financial institution immediately. Once you have compared receipts to account statements, shred or destroy the receipts as soon as feasible.
- Check your statements and watch your charges. Sign in to Online Banking and view your e-statements to verify that they properly reflect the amount(s) you have authorized. Also, watch for multiple charges.
- Always keep your statements private and stored away in a safe place. Sign up for eStatements when possible. This minimizes potential theft or misplacement of hard-copy records, and automatically keep records stored safely in one place.
- Shred printed statements as soon as you’ve verified the information.
- Keep your card out of sight. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended and always keep your cards out of plain sight.
- Never lend your card. Your credit card is your responsibility, so don’t give your card to others. Also, periodically check to make sure you have all your cards.
- Keep a list of all your card account numbers, as well as telephone numbers to call if your cards are ever lost or stolen. Make sure they’re in a separate, secure place.
- Be cautious when giving out your card number over the phone. Never provide account information to anyone who called you.
Card fraud text alerts is an optional service that allows Falcon to notify Unitus cardholders of suspected fraud via a two way text message using an automated dialer. As cardholders increasingly utilize mobile devices as their primary method of contact, Falcon text message alerts provide a way to contact cardholders when suspected fraudulent activity is occurring on their Visa cards. Text messages can be sent after the cardholder opts in to receive text messages.
If you confirm fraud, an outbound voice call will be immediately initiated to the cell phone number that was texted. A Falcon agent will review the transaction(s) in question to confirm the text response and block your card. Please call Unitus CCU at 1-800-452-0900, opt. 1 or visit a Unitus branch to file a fraud report and order a new card.
- Use ATMs with surveillance cameras. Unitus Community Credit Union ATMs are monitored by surveillance cameras.
- Be aware of strangers. If there are individuals in the area that make you uncomfortable, leave and use another ATM.
- Put away your card and cash. After completing your transaction, secure your card and cash immediately, before exiting the ATM area. Count your cash later, in the safety of your locked car or home.
- Treat your ATM card like cash. Always protect your card by keeping it in a safe place. If your card is lost or stolen, contact us immediately.
- Protect your privacy. Shield the ATM keypad with your hand or body while entering your PIN. Do not leave your transaction record at the ATM. Keep your transaction record in a safe place, so you can compare it to your statements later.
- Be cautious at drive-up ATMs. If you use a drive-up ATM, be sure your passenger windows are rolled up and your doors are locked.
- Be careful at night. Be aware of your surroundings, especially after dark. If you must use an ATM at night, consider taking a trusted person with you.
- Stay alert. If you notice anything suspicious or unsafe, such as non-working lights around the ATM, consider using another ATM or return when the situation is safe.
- Report suspicious behavior. Report all crimes immediately to law enforcement officials.
- Request emergency assistance and security. If you need emergency assistance, call 911 from the nearest telephone.
To begin receiving Card Fraud Text alerts, you must first opt in to the service. You can opt in by contacting Unitus CCU at 1-800-452-0900, opt. 1 or visiting a Unitus branch. We will need your current cell phone number. Text alerts are only sent between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the card issuer’s (Unitus) time zone.
Cardholders will receive a text message that includes the transaction that caused a fraud case to be created. You will need to respond to the text message with a Yes if the transaction was authorized by you or a NO if the transaction was not authorized by you (the transaction is fraud). If you respond with a NO you will receive a text message letting you know that a fraud specialist will call you.
- You find new accounts on your credit report that are not yours
- You do not receive an expected bill/statement by mail or email notification
- You find unexpected charges on your account or charges from unrecognized vendors
- Checks posting to your account that are significantly out of numeric order
- You receive credit cards that you did not apply for
- You are denied credit or are offered less than favorable credit terms for no reason
- You receive calls from creditors or debt collectors regarding purchases or services that you did not authorize
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act) gives you special rights when you are, or believe that you are, a victim of identity theft.
- You have the right to ask that nationwide consumer reporting agencies place “fraud alerts” on your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft.
- You have the right to free copies of the information in your file.
- You have the right to obtain documents relating to fraudulent transactions made or accounts opened using your personal information.
- You have the right to obtain information about the debt that you believe was incurred in your name by an identity thief.
- If you believe information in your file results from identity theft, you have the right to request a consumer-reporting agency block that from your file.
- You may also prevent businesses from reporting information about you to consumer reporting agencies if you believe the information is a result of identity theft.
Once opted in to text messages you will not receive a phone call from Falcon, unless you do not respond to the text message you receive in reference to suspected fraud.
If a response is not received within 5 minutes, a second text will be sent, followed by voice calls to all phone numbers on the Falcon case in an attempt to reach you.
All Unitus Visa Debit and Credit Cards are eligible. ATM cards are not eligible to enroll in text messages.
Unitus Community Credit Union adheres to a strict information security policy designed to protect the security and confidentiality of your financial and personal information. The Board of Directors has established policies that provide explicit direction for securing your information and the assets of the organization. The Board has also issued a “Standards of Business Conduct” policy requiring a high level of integrity, honesty, and fairness by its employees, third-party vendors, and other persons and entities associated with Credit Union operations.
The security of your personal information is of the utmost importance to the Credit Union. We have state-of-the-art systems to secure our computer servers and networks, and several additional layers of security to ensure your personal and account information remains safe and secure. Listed below you’ll find information about some of the measures we have in place. Of course, there are details that we can’t provide in order to maintain the integrity of our security systems.
- Firewalls protect our network from outside intrusion by state-of-the-art redundant and load-balanced firewalls preventing non-authorized access to our internal systems.
- Secure transmissions ensure that information remains confidential. Encryption technology protects data in the following ways:
- Authentication ensures that you are communicating with us and prevents a computer from impersonating Unitus.
- Confidentiality is maintained by using encryption to scramble your data so it cannot be read by an unauthorized party.
- Data Integrity verifies that the information you send to us is not altered during the transmission.
- Computer anti-virus protection detects and prevents viruses from entering our network systems.
- Advances in security technology are constantly evaluated to ensure that we provide the right protection for you.
- We suggest our members review their Unitus passwords to assure they are strong and are different from passwords used on other sites.
- It’s a good idea to change passwords on a regular basis. This may also be applied to any email accounts or other online accounts you have from other 3rd party service providers or companies. It’s suggested to check the 3rd party site’s security recommendations when setting up/changing your password.
- A helpful rule of thumb to use in creating strong passwords is to have at least 8 characters and use all 4 character groups: lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers and special characters.
There will be no charge from Unitus for this service. You will need to check with your cell phone provider about charges from them.
There are 3 ways you can opt out.
- You can opt out any time by texting STOP to 32874 or by replying STOP to a fraud text message.
- Notify Unitus by calling 1-800-452-0900, opt. 1 or by visiting a Unitus branch and speaking with a Member Advocate.
- Inform the Falcon agent you are speaking with that you want to opt out of the service.
Alerts may not be delivered to you if your phone is not in the range of a transmission site, or if sufficient network capacity is not available at a particular time. Even within coverage, factors beyond your cell phone carrier’s control may interfere with message delivery for which the carrier is not responsible. Your cell phone carrier does not guarantee that alerts will be delivered.
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware on your home computer. There are many products available that will help prevent criminals from accessing your computer and stealing your personal information.
- Add a firewall to your computer system to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to your system.
- Install all software fixes (sometimes called “service packs”) that are made available for your computer programs as soon as possible if the fix addresses a security weakness.
- Use a current web browser. Updated versions of web browsers are being deployed with your security in mind.
- Activate a pop-up blocking tool. Pop-ups are advertisements that “pop-up” in a separate browser window. If you open some of these “pop-ups”, you may be downloading “spyware” or “adware”.
- Keep personal or account information in a safe place
- Provide information only to trusted sources and never to individuals where you did not initiate the contact, or have confirmed the business or person’s identity.
- Reduce the amount of mail sent to you that could be stolen from your mailbox or trash. Choose electronic statement options (Unitus offers this service through uOnline banking or by contacting a member service representative).
- Opt-out of pre-approved credit offers by calling 888.567.8688
- Frequently monitor your account statements and history online for unauthorized transactions
- Check your credit report for discrepancies on a regular basis. You can obtain a free credit report annually by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Today, many consumers own mobile devices and use them every day for calling and texting as well as shopping, online banking, accessing social media sites and browsing the internet. Some of these activities may put your device at risk. The following steps will help keep your device secure:
- Keep mobile device software up to date. This will ensure that your mobile device has the latest security protection.
- Create a password for your device. Create a strong password that is different from other passwords you may have for other sites, such as email, online banking, etc. Some devices provide the option to set up biometric access using your thumbprint in addition to a password.
- When considering whether to download an app, make sure it’s from a reputable source such as the App Store for Apple devices or Google Play for Android devices.
- Treat email and social media requests from strangers suspiciously. Social media sites are a favorite target for cyber thieves.
- Be a safe shopper. Always look for “https” in the URL when browsing or shopping online. This indicates an added level of security and should always appear before you provide any personal information.
- Be cautious about opening text messages if you’re uncertain of the source. The message may contain malicious software that could compromise your device. When in doubt, delete the text.
The online financial services offered through Unitus Community Credit Union’s website are not designed for or directed toward children under the age of 13. We do not knowingly solicit or collect data from children, and we do not knowingly market to children online without express parental consent or notification. If we receive online information from any child we will only use the information to respond directly to a child’s request. We recognize that protecting children’s identities and online privacy is important and that responsibility rests with us and with parents. If you believe your child has provided personally identifiable information to us, please contact us so we can allow you the opportunity to review and delete such information.
Contact us by phone
Main Phone Number
Monday–Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Contact us by email
Please note that when you’re sending us an email, do not include personal information such as your account number or social security number.