Knowing What Types of Fraud Can Occur Can Help You
At MembersAlliance Credit Union we take every precaution we can to safeguard and protect your personal and confidential information. We also urge our members to educate themselves on the different types of fraudulent activity that could occur. We believe the more you know the better prepared you will be at stopping fraud.
MembersAlliance Credit Union will NEVER ask for confidential information through regular email. Further, MembersAlliance Credit Union will NEVER ask you for your password or PIN through email, text or via the telephone. Anyone who receives an email, text or phone call that claims to be from MembersAlliance Credit Union and asks for confidential information should contact us immediately at 815.226.2260.
- Beware of phishing emails. Phishing is a form of fraud that occurs when someone tries to send an email or pop-up message pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, financial institution, organization or government agency. The sender is trying to get your personal information or asking you to confirm, update or validate your personal information through a web site or phone number. The message usually contains a consequence or threat like if you do not follow the instructions (i.e. your account will be frozen, your account will close) or it may state that you have been a victim of identity theft and ask for your information in order to protect you. Don't take the bait! Do not provide your personal or financial information if you receive one of these messages. Inquire about the message you received and notify the company that you have received it. There is never any harm in questioning a message even if it is a legitimate one. And remember - no one should be asking you for your personal or financial information unless you initiated the contact/request in the first place.
- Do not click on pop-ups or downloads from sites that are not familiar, the same goes for emails. Do not click on links, downloads or other attachments from emails or sites that you do not trust. The links, downloads or attachments could contain malicious software or viruses that could damage your computer or extract personal information from your computer. It is always a good idea to run some type of a virus protect software on your computer.
- Make sure your online shopping sites are secure. All shopping sites should be SSL secure before you make any purchases. All SSL sites will have a "s" in there URL and look like this "https:\\". They will also have a small padlock on the browser screen, usually found at the top or bottom of the screen.
- Always officially log off any secure site and close the browser when you are done, especially if you are on a public computer. Never click the "Remember Me" feature on the websites login page or Remember phishing activity can take place anywhere. Phishing activity can take place by phone or mobile device or even by filling out surveys. The same rules apply so please be careful.
Fake Check Scams
The National Consumers League reports that fake check scam now rank as one of the top most common internet fraud scams. Fake check scams are clever ploys designed to steal your money. You can avoid becoming victim by recognizing how the scam works and understanding your responsibility for the check you deposit in your account. If someone you don't know wants to pay you by check but wants you to wire some of the money back BEWARE! It is a scam.
- How do fake check scams work? There are many variations of these scams, but they usually start with someone offering to 1) buy something you advertised, 2) pay you to work at home, 3) give you an "advance" on a sweep stake you've won, or 4) give you the first payment on the millions you'll receive for agreeing to transfer money in a foreign country to your bank account for safekeeping.
- How do scammers get my money? The amount of the check or money order you receive may be more than you're owed, so you're instructed to deposit it and wire the rest to the scammer or someone else. Or you're told to wire some of the money back to pay a fee to claim your "winnings". Beware – whatever the setup, the result is the same – after you've wired the money, you find out that the check or money order was fraudulent.
- Can MembersAlliance Credit Union tell if the check or money order is good or not when I deposit it? These fakes look so real it is difficult to distinguish them from the real thing. Often times they look like they are from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has altered the checks without their knowledge. Note: Under federal law, we must make the funds you deposit available usually within one to five days. But just because you can withdraw the funds does not mean the check is good. Forgeries can take weeks to be discovered. If you have withdrawn the funds and the check or money order is returned, you are responsible for those funds.
- If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you could be involved in a fraud or about to be scammed!
- Is the check from an item you sold on the internet?
- Is the amount of the check more than the item's selling price?
- Did you receive the check via an overnight delivery service?
- Is the check drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
- Have you been informed that you were the winner of a lottery that you did not enter?
- Have you been instructed to wire, send or ship money, as soon as possible, to a large U.S. city or to another country, such as Canada, England or Nigeria?
- Are you receiving pay or a commission for facilitating money transfers through your account?
- Did you respond to an email requesting you to confirm, update or provide your account information?
If you think someone is trying to pull a fake check scam, don't deposit it – report it! Contact MembersAlliance Credit Union immediately at 815.226.2260 and the National Fraud Information Center at www.fraud.org or 800.876.7060.