Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Part of the problem with gas pumps is that most of them have a universal key lock making them extremely vulnerable to tampering by data thieves. Once the tampering is done with a skimming device inside the gas pump, it is often well disguised and not easily noticeable to patrons.
After the data is captured, fraudsters return to harvest the stolen card information from the skimming device or, is some cases, access and retrieve the data remotely. The harvested data is then used to manufacture counterfeit cards or the data is sold to other criminals.
Scary stuff here! While the credit unions have some internal tools to monitor card activity, what steps can consumers take to protect themselves?
Look for security tape over gas pump cabinets to reduce the chances that it hasn't been tampered with by unauthorized parties. (Picture above in left corner). If the tape is removed, cut, or the gas pump appears tampered with, do not use it and report it to the gas station manager.
Try to utilize gas pumps that are located closer to the front of the gas station as fraudsters will typically place skimming devices at gas pumps away from the store to go unnoticed.
Consider using a credit card rather than a debit card at the gas pumps. While there is consumer liability protection for both, most find dealing with a credit card compromise less intrusive.
If using a debit card at the gas pump, run the debit card as a credit authorization where you don't have to enter your card PIN number. This would prevent counterfeit ATM transactions since they would not have the stolen PIN number.
Consider going inside the gas station to prepay for your gas purchase. They may have the EMV card reader inside to protect your data from being stolen.
Finally, check your card accounts closely to watch for any unauthorized transactions. Home banking and mobile banking are great ways to closely monitor your accounts during the month plus they can show pre-authorizations that have not been debited yet on the account.
Posted by Greg Olmsted at 8/30/2016 03:10:00 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2016
It seems as if more telephone scams by calls or text are on the rise. The fake jury duty call scam has been making the rounds where a call is made stating that a warrant has been issued for your arrest because of failing to appear for jury duty. Providing a credit card number can pay the fine and make it all go away they say. Fake calls for a loved one supposedly in a jail or hospital late at night are fairly common. Again, fear is the prime motivator here as they strike fear into the victim's heart in hopes of rendering them oblivious to the normally obvious red flags associated with an unknown caller.
Fake collection calls where they state that your arrest is imminent if you don't pay over the phone are another common scam taking place.
Fake Microsoft or Internet support calls from "tech support" callers are numerous and they want access to your computer to steal your personal information. I had one of these calls myself some time ago and quizzed them on multiple points which of course caused them to promptly hang up.
Calls and text messages claiming to be from your financial institution attempt to utilize trust and fear as a tool to steal. Members typically trust their credit unions so if their credit union says that something is wrong with their account, they must act quickly to avoid any loss of their hard earned savings. Unfortunately the opposite occurs when criminals are able to obtain personal account information. Our Fraud Department will call and text members on suspicious transactions but we will not be asking for any personal information.
How do you keep from becoming a financial victim?
First and foremost, recognize that people wake every day thinking up ways to steal your money.
Adopt a general distrust of any calls or texts that you receive that are asking you to provide any personal information. NEVER give out personal information or account numbers to strangers, including callers who claim to be from your financial institution. Remember not to trust Caller ID as a verification of the actual caller since Caller ID can be spoofed to display any number.
If fear is a component of the urgency of a requested transaction, that is a huge red flag. Step away from the situation and ask yourself "does this make sense?". If a loved one is supposedly in harm's way and needs assistance, contact other relatives to confirm or ask for the name of the facility/location involved and call yourself using a telephone number that you have verified yourself.
If urgency is required, caution is required.
Call the credit union with any suspicious requests that you may receive. I'm happy to speak with members on these scams as it also helps us to know what types of fraud is being attempted in the community. Be careful out there!
Posted by Greg Olmsted at 8/11/2016 03:16:00 PM