Security Alert

'Tis The Season:

Every year when the holiday season approaches the fraud and scam activity increases. When a spike in fraud trends is detected we take precautions and actions in order to protect our members from becoming victims.

Debit Restrictions Due To Increased Fraudulent Activity In November 2018:

  • Due to numerous fraudulent transactions detected in the state of Georgia, all 1st CCU cardholders who are performing debit card transactions in Georgia will be required to insert the debit card into a Chip Reader rather than swiping the card.
  • All Marathon Petro gas pump users will not be able to use their cards to pay at the pump. You will need to go inside and use the Chip Reader to pay.
These restrictions have been put into place for security purposes to protect our members' accounts from fraud. If additional restrictions need to be placed on debit transactions in the weeks leading up to Christmas we will add those to this list. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
 
images of inserting EMV Chip card insto merchant payment machine and signing for purchase
For chip-enabled terminals, here's what you do:
Step 1
Insert your card "chip first" into the chip-enabled terminal. With chip transactions, your card remains in the terminal throughout your transaction.
Step 2
Follow the prompts on the terminal and wait for the transaction to be processed. You may be required to enter your PIN or sign to complete the transaction.

Step 3
Remove your card after the transaction is completed and you are prompted to do so by the payment terminal.
 

Previous Alerts:

The first five scams listed below were highlighted by the Better Business Bureau for the 2018 Christmas season:

Look-Alike Websites – Many consumers will see an increase in the number of email alerts announcing deals, gifts, and sales. While mailers can look legitimate, the links may lead to look-alike websites meant to trick you into entering private information or give scammers an opportunity to download malware onto your computer. To protect themselves, consumers should:

  • Review the sender’s address, as businesses will often send emails with a proprietary address, like @bbb.org;
  • Look for misspellings throughout the email;
  • Hover over links without clicking to see where they reroute;
  • Only enter sensitive information into a website that begins with "https" as the "s" informs you that it's secure and information entered is encrypted.
Social Media Gift Exchange – Purchasing one gift and receiving several in return may sound like a harmless way to give and receive presents, but this seasonal scam is a pyramid scheme, which is illegal.

Free Gift Cards – Who doesn't love free stuff especially around the holidays? Scammers hope to take advantage of that fondness through phishing emails and pop-up ads offering gift cards. If you come across one of these offers you should not:

  • Open the email as it can be a phishing attempt but, if you do, don't click the links. Instead, mark the email as SPAM or JUNK;
  • Share any personal information to receive the card as the scammers will use the information to steal your identity later;
  • Click the ad but close out of the app or program you are using, clear your history and turn on your ad blocker.

Fake Shipping Notifications – Deliveries notifications can often be expected throughout the holiday season as many consumers go online to purchase gifts, but some of these announcements may be phishing scams. These false notification emails often use a legitimate businesses name and logo to trick you into opening the email and allowing thieves to gain access to personal information and passwords. Targets should know:

  • Most online vendors provide tracking information that can be used to verify where your items are and identify the delivery company;
  • You are not required to pay money to receive your package, that payment was made when you make your purchase;
  • Delivery services do not need personal information to deliver your items.

Phony Charities – Charities often get a boost this season as consumers are in the giving spirit but scammers seeking to take advantage can pose as charities or needy individuals soliciting donations. Here are a few tips for spotting scammers:

  • Look for sound-alike names
  • Verify Your Charity at Give.org
  • Review the charities website to make sure they specify their plans for donations and how they will be used to address the issues they claim to combat.
Additional Scams reported in our area in 2018:
Microsoft Scam: Victim receives an email or a phone call claiming to have an installer attachment that will give PC owners the latest upgrade. If you click on the attachment it may install a ransomware variant, displaying a message that you owner's PC files have been encrypted and will stay that way unless the consumer pays a ransom. If you don't know who has sent an email do not click any links or open attachments.

Free Trials Can Be Expensive: 1st CCU is aware that consumers receive multiple "free" trial offers online. The Federal Trade Commission urges consumers to use caution regarding these offers. Whether it's for teeth whitener, vitamins, or weight loss solutions, what sounds like a harmless opportunity to try before you buy could end up costing you a lot of money. Some of these businesses make it tough to cancel or place conditions on returns and cancellations that are so strict it is difficult to stop the deliveries and the billing. Or the free trial may come with a "small" shipping and handling fee, making you think you'll only be paying a few dollars but you're really being charged a much higher amount than you expected.

The most common complaints we've heard locally is that consumers are being charged for the full-size product PRIOR to receiving the Trial Product, leaving no time to test the free sample and make a decision to cancel if you aren't happy. Although not all trial offers are the same, they all come with specific conditions that are disclosed in the fine print.

  • It is your responsibility to take your time and understand the terms and conditions BEFORE accepting any online offer.
  • It is your responsibility to contact the company to cancel, so if you decide to accept a free trial offer be sure you write down the company's contact information.
  • Look for pre-checked boxes, which if left checked may be giving authorization for sending you additional products other than what is advertised.
  • Research the company BEFORE you commit to a free trial offer. Use a search engine to search for reviews or complaints about the company.
  • Watch out for "free trial" offers that are actually an enrollment in a club or subscription (for exercise clothing, shoes, books, etc) that charge your card and ship more products to you each month unless you follow strict opt-out procedures on a monthly basis.

Report it to the FTC

 

In September 2017 Equifax announced a cyber security incident involving a data breach of confidential information. A website has been established to provide information, including a simple way to check if your information is part of the breach by entering your name and last six digits of your social security number.

Equifax Offering Free Protection And Monitoring

Equifax Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to the guidance provided by Equifax on their website, remember these tips:

  • Review your account statement regularly to look for suspicious transactions
  • Periodically review your credit reports to make sure someone hasn't obtained credit in your name
  • Take action immediately if there is suspicious activity on your account(s)
  • Pay attention to notices from your retailer or your financial institution about a security breach
  • Be wary of phone calls, texts and emails from unknown sources which make claims about the status of your accounts
  • The FTC provides additional resources and information for consumers

Your rights to your free annual credit reports Go There Now
Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. They also make it easy to accomplish many credit-related tasks right from your computer. Order your free credit report online from annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. Annualcreditreport.com is the only official website explicitly directed by Federal law to provide free credit reports to consumers.


DID YOU KNOW... you can get your name removed from lists for unsolicited insurance and pre-approved credit offers by calling 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)

More About Fraud/Scams


Thank you for being a valued member of 1st Community Credit Union