Fraud Education

Seattle Credit Union is dedicated to protecting your private information and making sure that you know the best ways to keep your money and your data as safe as possible. Being aware of potential risks can be a powerful first step in reducing your exposure. 

For more information about these and other current scams, please visit www.onguardonline.gov

Important Tips

Always remember:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Never provide your online banking credentials to anyone.
  • Trust your gut feelings – especially when you have a bad feeling about an offer or a company.
  • If you are ever asked to deposit a check or money order, then wire funds – this is a scam!

  • Fraud and Security Education: What are some tips for ATM Security?

    ATMs can be subject to fraud, vandalism, and burglary. They can also be the scene of robberies. Consider the following tips when using an ATM:

    • Use a familiar ATM when possible. If you are not near one, choose a well-lit, well-placed ATM where you feel comfortable. If possible, use a drive up ATM especially if you're alone at night. Keep your car doors locked and your windows up, except for the driver's window when using the machine.
    • Scan the entire ATM area before using the machine. Avoid using the ATM if anyone is loitering or if it looks too isolated or unsafe. Trust your instincts.
    • When using a walk-up ATM, avoid opening your purse, bag or wallet. Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the machine.
    • Observe if anything looks unusual or suspicious about the ATM indicating it might have been altered. If the ATM appears to have its card slot or keypad altered, do not use it. Check for unusual instructions on the display screen or for suspicious blank screens. If you suspect that the ATM has been tampered with, proceed to another ATM and inform Seattle Credit Union or the ATM owner.
    • Avoid an ATM which has a message or a sign attached to it indicating that the screen directions have been changed, especially if the message is posted over the card reader. Seattle Credit Union and other financial institutions will never post messages directing you to use an ATM that has been altered.

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  • Fraud and Security Education: What is Card Skimming?

    Skimming is a method of obtaining personal data from ATM, debit, or credit cards while they are used at an ATM machine or a merchant location. 

    People can alter equipment on legitimate ATMs in an effort to steal both the magnetic stripe data from the cards being used and the PINs that are assigned to those cards.

    More recent technology allows the culprit to remain nearby receiving the information wirelessly from equipment they installed on the ATM. The thieves can then copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw money from many accounts in a very short time directly from an ATM.

    Please note: The following examples refer to ATMs, but similar devices may also be placed on card readers at gas station pumps.

    Equipment is installed on the front of the original ATM card slot. The false slot holds an additional card reader called a "skimmer." The skimmer captures and copies the card information.

    Then a camera that reads the card PIN is housed in an innocent looking pamphlet holder. The camera inside pamphlet holder is angled to view monitor and keypad.

    What can you do to protect yourself?
    Be vigilant and inspect the ATM before using it. Skimming devices that are placed on or near the ATM's actual card reader are often difficult to detect, but if anything about the card reader or PIN pad looks different, unusual or seems loose to the touch, don't use it. If possible, report this to Seattle Credit Union or the owner of the ATM as soon as possible.

    What if a skimming device is found on a Seattle Credit Union ATM?
    If you suspect a skimming device has been place on a Seattle Credit Union ATM, do not use it or try to remove the device. Speak to branch personnel as quickly as possible or call our Contact Center at (206) 398-5500.

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  • Fraud and Security Education: What is Phishing?

    Phishing is a technique that uses fake emails or fraudulent websites to gain personal information for purposes of identity theft. The fraudulent email messages and/or websites are designed to trick recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, online banking login credentials, social security numbers, etc.

    Sometimes, phishers will create a fake website that looks legitimate and attach a link to the fake website in an email. Unsuspecting recipients that click on this link will find that the website that opens up that resembles the correct website. However, the computer user does not know that they have been redirected to a fake website which can be designed to collect personal information (such as account numbers and social security numbers.)

    • Be suspicious of any email that requires an urgent response from you and that seems alarming or exciting. Phishers will send emails that require your immediate attention or to "verify their records." They usually ask for information such as usernames, passwords, account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Emails from phishers are generally not personalized and may appear to be sent in mass distribution.

    • Do not click on links sent in an email that is asking for information. Emails suggesting to "click here" in order to enter personal information may end up redirecting you to a fake site that could be collecting your data for malicious use. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a Seattle Credit Union email, contact us at 206-398-5500.

    • Avoid filling out forms asking for confidential or financial information unless you are dealing with a reputable site that you can verify as authentic. If you enter any information, make sure that it is done over a secure link (SSL). This can be verified by checking the "lock" icon in your browser window or displaying HTTPS:// in the address bar. (HTTPS:// - the "S" represents secure)

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Fraud Scams

The following are common scams that continue to make headlines:

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam"?

    The Scam: You receive an official-looking notification that you’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes. You are provided with a check that represents a portion of your winnings. The check may appear to be a cashier’s check, an official check, or a check drawn on a business account. Then you are instructed to wire funds to cover taxes, insurance, and/or other fees.

    How it Works: The scammers may instruct you to not disclose yours winnings for security purposes and to wire the funds as soon as possible. Once you have deposited the check and wired the money, the check may take several days to be returned as a counterfeit. Unfortunately, if you have already wired the funds, you will suffer the loss.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Craigslist/Overpayment Offer Scam"?

    The Scam: You advertise an item for sale on Craigslist or other similar classified advertisement system. You are contacted by a potential buyer who sends you a check or money order(s) totaling more than what you were asking.

    How it Works: The checks or money orders that the scammer sends you are counterfeit. They will instruct you to deposit the item(s) and wire a portion of the over-payment to another individual. They will give you a story or reason for this. It may be that the overpayment is to go to the shipper, some other third party, or perhaps they indicate this was a mistake. They may even tell you they will give you a little extra for your efforts. If you do deposit the check and wire the funds, the check may take at least (3) business days to be returned as counterfeit. Unfortunately, if you have already wired the funds, you will suffer the loss.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Mystery Shopper Scam"?

    The Scam: You respond to an advertisement, or you are solicited to participate in Mystery Shopping. You receive a check and are given instructions as to what locations to make your purchases. You are given forms to fill out to rate the particular company or location visited. One of the services you are to rate is a wire service – perhaps Western Union or MoneyGram.

    How it Works: The checks or money orders that the scammer sends you are counterfeit. They will instruct you to deposit the item(s) and wire a portion of the over-payment to another individual. They will give you a story or reason for this. It may be that the overpayment is to go to the shipper, some other third party, or perhaps they indicate this was a mistake. They may even tell you they will give you a little extra for your efforts. If you do deposit the check and wire the funds, the check may take at least (3) business days to be returned as counterfeit. Unfortunately, if you have already wired the funds, you will suffer the loss.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Car Wrap Scam"?

    The Scam: You respond to an advertisement, or you are solicited to earn extra cash having your car “wrapped” as an advertisement for a business or product. You receive a check to cover your payment as well as the cost of wrapping the car with the brand’s logo. You will be instructed where to wire the funds for payment to the company who will supposedly wrap your vehicle.

    How it Works: The scammer sends you a counterfeit check as payment for you and the company wrapping your car. Once you have deposited the check and wired the money (to the scammer) the check may take several days to be returned as a counterfeit. Unfortunately, if you have already wired the funds, you will suffer the loss.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Romance Scam"?

    The Scam: You meet someone online and start a relationship by emailing and/or texting. This may continue for weeks if not months. You may able unable to meet this individual in person because he/she is in the military, overseas, or he/she indicates some other reason. However, this person has won your trust and you may have provided some personal information about yourself. Maybe you have provided him/her with your login credentials so they can remotely deposit a check into your account. Or, they may have a check sent to you to deposit. Either way, they will ask you to help them and wire funds to him/her.

    How it Works: The check is a counterfeit. The person you are conversing with is a scammer. They want you to deposit the check into your account so that they can receive cash on the other end of that wire. Once you have deposited the check and wired the money (to the scammer) the check may take several days to be returned as a counterfeit. Unfortunately, if you have already wired the funds, you will suffer the loss.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Unexpected Inheritance Scam"?

    The Scam: You are contacted and advised you are the beneficiary to an inheritance of a foreign individual. After some correspondence and official-looking documents, you are sent a check along with instructions to wire the funds to a third party so they can open account for the rest of the inheritance. The reason for this, they claim, is to circumvent the Patriot Act, which prevents them from transferring funds from a foreign country. (This is not true.)

    How it Works: Once you have deposited the check and wired the money (to the scammer) the check may take several days to be returned as a counterfeit. Unfortunately, if you have already wired the funds, you will suffer the loss.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the "Credit Card Telephone Scam"?

    Please be aware of the following and note that the callers do not ask for your card number as they already have it. They are looking for you to provide the three-digit security code on the back of your card located next to the signature block.

    How this scam works:

    Person calling says: "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of financial institution). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?"

    When you say "No" the caller continues: "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct? You say "yes."

    The caller continues: "I will be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number." The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

    Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works

    The caller continues with, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to turn your card over and look for some numbers. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?"

    After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do," and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. The scammers want the 3-digit number on the back of the card located next to the signature block.

    As a reminder, we will not ask you for any numbers associated with your account since we already have that information on file. If you give the scammers the three digit number on the back of your credit card, you open yourself up to fraud. Do not provide your credit card number or any security code numbers to anyone unless you initiated the call.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

US laws to protect you

  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the USA Patriot Act?

    The USA Patriot Act was enacted in 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist acts. The intent is for banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to verify the identity of all people who do business with them. It has become clear that terrorist groups have used our financial institutions to funnel money to commit crimes.

    What information does Seattle Credit Union obtain and why?

    • To comply with the USA Patriot Act, we are required to verify the identity of individuals applying for and opening new accounts or services with our Credit Union.
    • Information we are required to obtain includes your name, mailing and residence address, tax identification number, date of birth and a copy of a government issued photo ID. Additional information may also be gathered depending on the type of account applied for or opened.
    • Identification and information on existing members will be gathered as they open or use additional services offered by our Credit Union. The Act requires us to maintain records of the identification verification and to periodically update this information. Confidentiality of the information gathered and used by our Credit Union will be maintained as required under the Privacy Act.

    How does this affect me?

    • The USA Patriot Act was passed as an effort to improve public safety and should not directly affect most people. We will, of course, ask to verify your identification occasionally. Additionally, this is a good safety precaution because of the increase in identify theft over the past several years.

    What will Seattle Credit Union do with my identification?

    • We are required to keep proof that we have verified who you are. We will keep a record to show we are complying with the USA Patriot Act. Our member base is periodically checked against a list of known or suspected terrorists. The USA Patriot Act should have little to no affect on law-abiding citizens.
    • The need for us to comply with the USA Patriot Act helps create a more secure country, making certain our financial institutions are not inadvertently aiding people or groups who wish us harm. Your cooperation and understanding is appreciated. 

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  • Fraud and Security Education: What is the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT)?

    The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (often referred to as the FACT Act, or FACTA) was signed into law in December 2003. The FACT Act, a revision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months through a central source.

    In addition to free credit reports, the following are also in effect:

    • Uniform credit standards - These set clear rules on what credit agencies can include in consumer credit reports.
    • Safeguarding receipts - Retailers must hide credit and debit card information on customer receipts. Only the last five digits of a card number appear on receipts. All cash registers and point-of-sale terminals must print safeguarded receipts.
    • Opt-out rules - Consumers have the right to "opt-out" and block solicitations from affiliates of companies that they do business with.
    • Disclosing bad credit news - Financial institutions now have to tell you if they report any negative information about you to the credit bureaus. By law, we may report information about your account to the credit bureaus including late or missed payments or other defaults that affect any of your savings, checking or loan accounts. This information could appear on your credit reports. A financial institution must tell you if it grants you credit at less favorable terms than those received by most other consumers.
    • Reporting of false credit news - Any debt collector that learns that information on a consumer's credit report is fraudulent must inform the creditor that the information is false. No retailer or creditor may report false credit information to credit bureaus.
    • More power for identity theft victims - Identity theft victims that file police reports may block fraudulent information from appearing on their credit reports. Identity theft victims are able to obtain copies of business records that list fraudulent transactions carried out by an identity thief.
    • Enhanced fraud alerts - Once a credit bureau receives a fraud alert, it must take steps to ensure that the consumer, not the thief, will be granted credit in the future.
    • Special alerts for the military - American military personnel may place special alerts in their credit files while they are serving overseas to help minimize their chances of becoming victims of identity theft.

    Read More on Fraud and Security

Security

Keep Your Visa® Account Secure

Visa® card number security is of the highest importance to Seattle Credit Union. When security breaches occur within companies that process credit and debit transactions for merchants, Seattle Credit Union will reissue affected cards as soon as possible. Seattle Credit Union is notified by VISA® USA as to the time of the security breach and the specific card numbers that were compromised. Those cards that we have been notified about will be replaced and Seattle Credit Union members will receive their new Visa® Credit or Debit cards in the mail. Per Visa® policy, members are not responsible for any fraudulent charges.

Should your debit or credit card ever become lost or stolen, use the following numbers to report it as soon as possible:

ATM/Debit Lost/Stolen Card: 206-398-5500 or 800-992-3808

ATM/Debit Lost/Stolen Card (after hours): 800-992-3808

Credit Card Inquiries/Disputes/Lost/Stolen Card: 855-609-3580

Other Great Resources:

nacha.org


onguardonline.gov

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