Cell Phone Bills |
Fake Political Survey |
Free Credit Service Website Scam |
Nationwide Scam Warning
Phone Scam |
Internet Pop-Ups |
Debit Cards |
Phone Scams |
E-Mails Regarding Cell Phone Bills
If you receive an e-mail claiming to come from Sprint, or some other phone provider, attempting to collect on a bill for cell phone service, it is likely fraudulent.
The phony e-mails notify the customer of an unusually high balance due. Anyone who receives an e-mail of this nature should not click on any links in the e-mail and delete the e-mail immediately.
The Federal Trade Commission offers additional tips on how consumers can protect themselves from these types of schemes. Please read “How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Phishing’ Scam” at
If you or someone you know has given out personal information about a phone account (such as an account number, password, PIN), or typed it into a website that may not be legitimate, immediately contact your phone provider so they can secure your account.
Fake Political Survey
Be wary of telephone calls conducting a multiple-choice “political survey.” Following the survey, the recipients are told they won a free cruise
to the Bahamas. After providing a website address for legitimacy, the caller requests the “winner’s” email address for notification purposes and credit card information to cover port fees. The website has very limited information, but does contain a few photos, testimonials, and “Caribbean Line” banner, in an attempt to convince visitors it is legitimate.
Free Credit Service Website Scam
The Internet Crime Complaint Center has received over 2,000 complaints regarding a particular website that is claiming to offer “free” credit services such as credit scores and credit monitoring. Customers reported being charged a monthly service fee. However, the terms of the agreement advised that the “free” report only lasts for a limited time. At the end of the free term, the website used the customer’s supplied financial information to charge a monthly membership service ranging from $19.95 to $29.95.
Better Business Bureau Issues Nationwide Scam Warning
The Better Business Bureau has issued a nationwide warning about a new scam. Consumers are being contacted through telephone calls, fliers, social media and text messages, and other means with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills through a new government program.
To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumer’s Social Security Number and bank routing number and/or account number. In return, customers are given a fraudulent bank routing number to use in order to pay their utility bills through an automated (telephone) service.
Read the entire scam warning here
Latest Phone Scam Information
The latest in phone card fraud is pretty slick because the fraudsters provide YOU with all the information except the one piece they want. The callers don’t ask for your card number. They already have it from where you’ve used your card online or at a restaurant or other merchant. The scam works like this:
Person calling says – “This is (name) and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at (VISA or your bank or credit union name). My badge number is (number). Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern and I’m calling to verify. This would be your VISA card issued by (name of bank or credit union). Did you purchase (item and price from company you’ve probably never heard of)?” When you say “No,” the caller continues with, “Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we’ve 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 (provides 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 and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number.” The caller then gives you a 6-digit number.
Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works – The caller then says, “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 and give to him.” These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. 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 your card number so you think you’re okay. Within minutes fraudulent charges start hitting your card!
What the scammers want is the 3-digit number on the back of the card. Instead hang up. The VISA Security Department or the Credit Union will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information.
Internet Pop-Ups Regarding Credit Reports
Be careful of pop-up screens regarding credit reports when you’re on the internet. If it pops up on any Kingsport Press Credit Union web site, it is no message coming from us. We will never ask for your personal information in this way. When in doubt, call and ask us.
The pop-ups suggest that you check your report or verify credit information and ask you to provide a social security or card number whereby you’re then exposed to possible identity theft or charged for credit reports that you didn’t mean to order. These pop-ups are most often caused by a virus or other Trojan horse program on your computer.
Debit Cards: Use Caution
Your debit card looks like a credit card and feels like a credit card, so it must work exactly like a credit card, right?
The truth is that your debit card and credit card differ in a big way when it comes to fraud. If a thief obtains your credit card or credit card number, you’ll most likely notice the unauthorized charges on your bill. You then can report and decline those charges.
However, if a thief obtains your debit card or debit card number, transactions pull funds straight from your checking account. In the case of a fraudulent transaction, you’ll need to receive reimbursement for the stolen funds. And depending on the extent of the damage, the time needed to process your reimbursement could leave you in a financial bind.
To avoid debit-card drama, be careful when swiping your debit card for some transactions. Use extra caution at these locations:
- Outdoor ATMs. Thieves often have an easier time affixing skimming devices, which steal your card’s information, to isolated, easily accessible outdoor machines. Skimming devices are usually hidden over an ATM’s card slot, and can be difficult to spot. If possible, use an ATM inside a financial institution or retail store. If you must use an outdoor ATM, aim for one in a busy, well-lit area, and check the card reader for any components that don’t look quite right.
- Gas station pumps. Like outdoor ATMs, gas station card readers also provide ideal opportunities for skimming. Pumps that aren’t monitored closely make it easy for thieves to attach skimming devices or small cameras to a card reader without detection. Before you swipe, examine card readers for anything that looks suspicious.
- On the Web. Making online purchases with a debit card is risky—your information can be compromised at multiple points in a transaction. Data breaches, unsecured wireless Internet connections, or malicious software on your own computer all could put your data at risk. Opt for your credit card when shopping online—and even then, only buy items from businesses you trust.
- Restaurants. Handing your debit card over to a restaurant server at the end of a meal also can be risky. A server who disappears to run your card could be privately nabbing your card information as well. You simply don’t know
Credit Union members in North Carolina have been receiving calls from fraudsters posing as the Credit Union stating that there are issues with their credit or debit card. They are asked to press “1” to activate a voice recording and then requested to input personal information on their account.
If you receive any such call requesting personal information, hang up. Kingsport Press Credit Union monitors your cards for suspicious activity but if we, or our network security people, contact you, the caller will not ask you for personal numbers. They will ask maybe where you’ve last used your card or inquire if you’ve used it a particular place so they can determine if suspicious transactions are truly yours or not.
If in doubt about phone calls, e-mails, etc. just ignore them and call us as soon as you can.
Careful of Text Messages
Although we’ve not had any instances that we’ve been made aware of, credit unions around the country have reported of members receiving bogus text message (smishing) alerts. The text message indicates it is from their credit union and advises the member to call the number provided in the text message to have their card reactivated. This is a scam as no credit union would ever ask a member for this type of information using text messaging.
Never respond to any type of request for personal or financial information being requested by text, phone or email.