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:
For lost or stolen Unitus credit or debit cards, immediately call 503.423.8315 or 1.800.422.3132 and choose option # 2.
If you suspect other fraud with your Unitus accounts or relationship, call 503.227.5571 or 1.800.452.0900.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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. Always take your charge slips with you, and tear up any carbons.
- 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.
- Keep your statements private. Always keep your statements in a safe 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.
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.
- 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
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.
All Unitus Visa Debit and Credit Cards are eligible. ATM cards are not eligible to enroll in text messages.
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Please note that when you’re sending us an email, do not include personal information such as your account number or social security number.