Connection Credit Union

Fraud Alerts

NEVER, EVER, EVER  give out your PIN number if someone asks you for it.  Did you initiate the transaction?  If not, then it’s a more than likely a scam.  Connection Credit Union will NEVER ask you for your PIN as we have plenty of other ways to verify your identity.  Your PIN is not one of them.

Here are some other scams going on that deserve your attention.  The more educated you are, the less likely you are to fall victim to them.

Fraud Alert – Barnes & Noble PIN Pad Breach

Barnes & Noble Inc released a statement in which the bookstore chain said that in September 2012 it detected a problem with PIN pad devices at some of their stores.

Their investigations found that PIN pad devices in 63 stores in nine states had been compromised. While neither Oregon nor Washington are on the list of states, credit unions’ members may have visited the affected stores in their travels.

The stores with infected PIN pad devices were located in the states of California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

The FBI continues to investigate the crime.

Barnes & Noble suggest that customers who may have used one of the suspected PIN pad devices should change the pin number on their debit card and notify their credit unions of any unauthorized charges. Credit card customers should monitor their statements and report any unauthorized charges.

Security Education Videos

Scam Alert – Bogus Websites

Recent reports from credit unions in the Southeastern US have indicated that fraudsters are attempting to direct members to a bogus website via e-mails, pop-up windows or text messages; and these websites are designed to obtain a member’s personal information. Whether it is in the Southeast or elsewhere, this potential scam continues to plague unsuspecting individuals.

One way to determine if you are accessing a bogus website is to consider how you got to the site. Use caution if you may have followed a link in a suspicious e-mail, text message, online chat, or other pop-up window requesting your personal or account information. It is highly likely these websites did not originate from a legitimate source and most definitely they did not come from your local credit union.

Fraudsters are trying to lure you into providing your confidential information, such as your account number, password and Social Security number so beware.

Credit unions and other financial institutions will never contact you by phone, e-mail or text and ask you to provide confidential information. Be suspicious of all such requests as they are tactics used by scammers to either obtain your confidential information or infect your computer with malware and spyware.

If you receive a request of this nature, stop and call your credit union to report the incident.

Scam Alert – Bogus Gift Cards

The Better Business Bureau, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are company names being used to promote bogus gift cards. Be cautious if you receive an email advising that one of these vendors is promoting a give-away of Visa gift cards (usually for $1000). This email is probably a scam and fraudsters are trying to get your personal information.


How the Scam Works:


People nationwide are receiving emails informing them that one of the above vendors is giving away $1,000 Visa gift cards. Emails come from a variety of email addresses and contain different links, but all use a variation of the message below:

Dear Jim,

On behalf of the (Better Business Bureau, Wal-mart, Target, Best Buy or possibly another vendor), you have been issued a $1,000 Visa Gift Card free of charge.


Card type: Visa Gift
Card Issued to: Jim Jones
Issuing branch: San Antonio, Texas
Valid until: 08/2015


Please use the following website to claim your card and have it shipped to the address of your choosing: Go to: www reward2012 com to claim your prize. Please note that claims must be made within 48 hours from this email being sent, or the above link will become invalid.


Sincerely, Melissa
Customer Service Employee Benefits Center, LLC
If you go to this web site (in the email), you will be asked to input information about your age, address, email and cell phone number. Given that the survey does not request your Social Security Number, banking information or ask you to download a malware file, it is not likely an attempt at ID theft. Rather, it’s probably an unscrupulous way to collect consumer data, such as email addresses and phone numbers.


The best advice to give if this scenario should occur is to avoid taking this offer serious and just delete the email.

Credit Union Members Recruited as Money Mules

A number of credit unions have reported that their members are being recruited as money mules by fraudsters. Money mules unknowingly assist fraudsters in laundering stolen funds. The source of the stolen funds received by the money mules is often from account takeovers at other financial institutions through online banking systems.

Money mules are most often recruited through bogus job offers for payment processors, financial managers, or overseas representatives. Fraudsters typically find their potential money mules by searching websites where job seekers post their resumes. A key consideration in accepting the position is the ability to work from home.

Upon accepting the job, the money mules are notified they will receive deposits to their accounts via ACH and/or wire transfer. In some cases, the money mules are instructed to open an account at a financial institution in order to receive the funds. The mules are instructed to not share details of their new job with anyone. Upon receipt of the funds, the mules are instructed to either wire the funds to an account at another financial institution (foreign and domestic) or send the funds to individuals via Western Union. The money mules keep a portion of the funds deposited to their accounts as wages.
In one case, a credit union member was recruited to assist a foreign company in purchasing heavy construction equipment. The fraudsters deposited the stolen funds to the member’s account via wire transfer. The member even received a bogus purchase invoice for the equipment from the fraudsters. The member was instructed to wire the funds to the equipment manufacturer’s account, which turned out to be a fraudulent account opened by the fraudsters.
The deposits made to the money mule accounts via ACH and/or wire transfer were actually stolen from deposit accounts at other financial institutions and investment accounts held at brokerage firms. Using sophisticated banking Trojans, such as Zeus, fraudsters steal the login credentials of online banking users and investors who access their investment accounts online. The fraudster logs into the account and transfers funds via ACH and/or wire transfer to the money mules’ accounts.
The money mules are recruited through means other than bogus jobs. Fraudsters often find their victims by searching online dating websites. The victim’s new-found love fabricates a story to dupe the victim into laundering stolen funds. In a common scam, a fraudster located overseas claims to have a friend in the United States and wants the friend to fly overseas for a visit; however, the friend cannot transfer money overseas to purchase the ticket. The lovelorn victim agrees to help his/her newfound love and receives a deposit to his/her account with instructions to wire the funds overseas.

Health Care Scams Targeting Elderly

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office is joining the Federal Trade Commission in warning consumers about a new scam targeting seniors.

Do not give personal details to callers posing as government officials attempting to collect your health information as part of the new Affordable Care Act,” said Shannon Smith, Division Chief for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Federal and state authorities believe scammers will increasingly exploit news about the recent health care ruling to target seniors, confuse and rip them off.  One consumer tipped off the Attorney General’s Office that her mother was contacted by someone who said they were from the government calling to update her health information for the new Affordable Care Act.  The caller first asked for a checking account number.  Then, in an attempt to seem legitimate, the caller referenced the woman’s daughter, who probably showed up in public records searches.

Earlier in July, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned consumers to be watchful for scams related to the U. S. Supreme Court’s ruling.  Scams related to the federal health insurance law were reported immediately after the act was passed.  Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of the BBB in St. Louis commented that “These types of scams often crop up when there is news of a big change in government policy, whether it’s health insurance or tax credits.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America with consumers losing billions of dollars each year.  People over age 50 are especially vulnerable and make up a significant percentage of those who fall victim to identity thieves. Older people are targeted because thieves know they are wealthier than younger people and generally have better credit. Retirement communities are easy targets. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft targeting people over the age of 60 jumped from 1,800 cases in 2000 to almost 6,000 the following year.

“You can help educate your friends, parents, and others by becoming familiar with some of the more common scams and how they operate and share that information with others, said Smith.

Be aware of common red flags and know how to avoid them:

  • Fraudulent sales callers might use high-pressure tactics, but do not be pressured, intimidated or coerced; scammers trying to sell phony policies might urge consumers to buy quickly claiming there is a limited enrollment period.
  • Be skeptical of offers about health insurance and callers asking for your personal information. Neither the government nor legitimate companies will contact you and ask for personal details, so avoid providing that information over the phone. Never give out personal details such as your social security number or account numbers.
  • Refuse to send money via wire transfers. Assume that any time someone asks you to send money by Western Union or Moneygram, it’s a scam.  Once you send funds this way, the money is gone and can’t be retrieved.


Recent reports have indicated that check fraud scams are resurfacing across the country and these scams provide an easy and non-confrontational way for fraudsters to steal money. These check scams usually occur in one of two ways and members should be on watch for the tell-tale signs of fraud.

Check Fraud Scams:

These scams target people selling items over the internet, craigslist or through the newspaper – cars, furniture, rooms for rent or other valuable items. These unsuspecting sellers can sustain big losses when fraudsters pay for the goods with a bogus or counterfeit cashier’s check, postal money order or personal check. The scam begins when the fraudster responds to a classified ad and offers to purchase the item for sale with a check. The fraudster then comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price of the item and asks the seller to wire the difference after the check is deposited. Because it can take up to seven days or longer before the Credit Union knows the check is fraudulent and the check bounces, the scammer is long gone, leaving the member liable for the entire amount. The scam works because the check or money order, even though counterfeit, looks legitimate and tellers often have a hard time determining that the check is bogus.

Foreign Lottery or Contest Prize Scams:

In another version of this same type scam, a member receives a letter or telephone call that they have won a large cash prize from a foreign lottery. These members are sent a check, also bogus, for their winnings and are asked to immediately pay lottery taxes or fees due to a foreign country being involved. As in the above case the check bounces and the member is left liable for the entire amount. The FTC suggests you seriously question winning a lottery when you don’t remember purchasing a ticket or entering a contest. Be wary of any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or pay fees in connection with receiving a “free” gift; and do not enter foreign lotteries as most solicitations for them are fraudulent.

Tips to Avoid Check Overpayment Scams:

When selling an item on-line or through the newspaper, attempt to independently confirm the buyer’s name, street address, and telephone number.

  • Do not accept a check for more than the amount of your sales item.
  • If possible, try to meet face to face to transact the sale.
  • Refrain from wiring funds to a buyer unless you are absolutely sure of the buyer’s identity.
  • Do not be pressured to make an immediate decision. If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good when the check clears.
  • If possible, request a check drawn on a local financial institution with a local branch where you can visit to determine if the check is legitimate.

Members who have been victims of check overpayment scams should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. For more information on buying or selling goods on Internet auction sites or to file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the Federal Trade Commission website – ( or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).