“Your bank is insured” scam targeting East Bay residents
1st United Credit Union warns residents to use caution
PLEASANTON, CA (June 20, 2017) — 1st United Credit Union has witnessed a new wave of financial fraud in which criminals are paying victims to open accounts, then hand over the account information so they can commit fraud. The twist to this scam is that the victim is told that they won’t get into trouble because the credit union is insured.“The credit union will get their money back, don’t worry,” is the phrase most commonly spoken.
“We’ve seen this fraud in Oakland, Berkeley and, in particular, San Leandro,” explains Greg Pulliam, 1st United Credit Union’s Chief Administrative Officer. “The scammers are primarily targeting 16-24 year olds as well as the elderly.”
At the core of the scam, victims are paid a fee to hand over their credit union debit card and PIN number or online banking credentials. In one case, a 16 year old was paid $500 to send a copy of his Social Security Card to a criminal who proceeded to impersonate the victim with the credit union.
When the account activity comes back fraudulent, the victim is left owing the credit union money and is held responsible for the fraud, regardless of whether or not the bank or credit union is insured. “We want our community to understand that if they give their personal and/or banking information accidentally or purposefully to someone who uses that information to commit a fraudulent act, they could be held responsible – not the financial institution,” says Greg.
As a part of their ongoing effort to help members protect their accounts, 1st United publishes regular scam alerts on their website at www.1stunitedcu.org/moneywise. They advise that consumers follow three simple practices:
- Never give out personal or banking information. This includes your debit card number, PIN, account number, and any online or mobile banking login information. If you do, and it’s used fraudulently, you could be held responsible.
- If you are offered money in exchange for your personal information, it’s likely a scam. Don’t proceed. Scammers could leave you owing thousands and these unpaid balances will be sent to a collections agency.
- It’s safer to accept cash, a cashier’s check, or PayPal from someone you don’t know well. If you must accept a check, remember it takes several days for a check to fully clear, even if the funds are not on hold. Until the check clears, you are responsible for any funds withdrawn against it.
If consumers believe they are a victim of fraud, they are requested to contact their local police department immediately and notify their financial institution so additional safeguards can be placed on their account.
About 1st United Credit Union
It doesn’t get simpler, faster and friendlier than 1st United Credit Union. As one of the first credit unions in California, 1st United Credit Union was founded in 1932 and has been thriving in the San Francisco East Bay Area ever since. Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, or Kings Counties in California. We believe in local, neighborly banking and hope you will too. For more information, visit 1stunitedcu.org.