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Financial Education

Fraud Alerts On The Rise

This past week saw several government warnings and alerts about financial frauds as well as several credit unions reporting other scams that could spook some accountholders. But these are no Halloween pranksters.

Keesler FCU reported that at its base in RAF Mildenhall, England, about 100 members saw fraudulent charges on their accounts this month (Stars and StripesOct. 28). All affected accountholders had visited Spain sometime this year, Michelle Foster, a loss prevention manager for Keesler told Stars and Stripes.

The losses were from Visa debit cards. Visa said it is aware of a possible security issue in Spain but said the investigation was ongoing and it couldn’t comment. Visa Europe contacted several affected banks and credit unions when the fraud was discovered.

One Keesler member reported charges of $539.16 from boutiques in Chicago suburbs. She said the only time she used her debit card while in Spain was at a mom-and-pop store near the beach.

Another credit union , Service CU, which has 15 locations in Germany and 17 in the U.S., saw less than one-half of 1% of members’ cards compromised by the breach, the newspaper said.

In another situation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Thursday issued an alert warning financial institutions of an increase in schemes to recruit individuals to receive and transmit unauthorized electronic funds transfers (EFTs) from deposit accounts to individuals overseas.

The recruitees or “money mules” are solicited on the Internet by criminals who have gained unauthorized access to the online deposit account of a business or consumer. The criminal will originate an EFT from a victim’s account to a money mule’s deposit account. The money mule is told to quickly withdraw the funds and wire them overseas after deducting a “commission” of 8% to 10%.

The schemes often occur in the context of online job posting websites, advance fee scams, mystery shopping jobs, and social networking sites. Some hesitant money mules have been threatened by their criminal “employers” if they don’t make the transactions quickly and secretly, said the FDIC. The personal identifiable information provided by the money mule may be used later to commit identity theft or account takeover.

SIU Credit Union has systems in place to monitor for fraudulent activity. But if you suspect you account has been compromised, contact us immediately. For more information on how to protect your accounts, visit our fraud prevention page.

–CUNA News Now

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