Your Protection is Our Highest Priority
PA Central is committed to maintaining the security of your personal information, and the protection of your accounts. Please review the following information pertaining to some common scams as well as security measures PA Central continues to enforce.
NCUA operates an online Fraud Prevention Center that offers additional information about avoiding frauds and scams on its MyCreditUnion.gov website.
PA Department of Banking and Securities offers a variety of free downloadable PDF brochures on a variety of financial topics including “SCAMS – Protect Yourself, Protect Your Money”. Visit their website to view the full list of resources available to you.
PA Dept. of Banking and Securties: https//www.dobs.pa.gov
Tips On How To Protect Yourself:
Never provide your password over the phone or in response to any unsolicited requests. PA Central FCU will never call you to ask you for your password.
Do not reply to suspicious emails or respond by clicking on a link within the email message. PA Central FCU will never ask you to provide any kind of confidential or financial details via an email request.
Treat these kinds of emails with suspicion. Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or through the internet. Emails and internet pages created by phishers may look exactly like the real thing. They may even have a fake padlock icon that is used to denote a secure site. Do not provide any personal or financial information. PA Central FCU will not request information in this manner.
IRS warning: Scammers work year-round — stay vigilant
The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to protect their personal and financial information throughout the year and watch out for IRS impersonation scams, along with other schemes, that try to trick people out of their hard-earned money. These schemes can involve text message scams, e-mail schemes and phone scams. This tax season, the IRS also warns people to watch out for signs of potential unemployment fraud. With filing season underway, this is a prime period for identity thieves to hit people with realistic-looking emails and texts about their tax returns and refunds. Be alert for these common scams so you don’t become a victim of identity theft. Protect your sensitive personal information that can be used to file tax returns and steal refunds. Read more about Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on the IRS website. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
Seasonal and Holiday Charity and Travel Scams
- A legitimate charity will welcome your donation whenever you choose to make it; whereas fraudsters will “pressure” you to make it right then.
- Do not send donations in the form of gift cards or wire transfers.
- Remember, if it seems to good to be true it probably is. Watch for travel deals that are too good to be true, and know the company or who you are booking your travel through.
Reducing the Risk of Fraud on the Zelle Network®
When using Zelle or any other other mobile payment service, please remember these important points to reduce the risk of fraudulent activity:
- PA Central FCU will never call you to request information you received via text (SMS) or pressure you to reset your online banking log in password.
- Don’t trust caller ID; Caller ID may be modified to show a financial institution’s name.
- Don’t provide your online banking log in credentials, one-time password, account number or personal information by email or text or phone call. Using our published phone number, reach out to PA Central FCU to confirm that the request is legitimate.
- Don’t give information over the phone if you receive a call stating that a transaction is canceled, even if the caller claims to be from your financial institution. Once again, contact PA Central FCU using a published phone number to inquire about the transaction.
- Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails or texts.
- Don’t give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when your personal identification information is obtained and used by an imposter to access your financial accounts, open new financial accounts under your name, or otherwise acquire similar benefits using your identity. While PA Central’s branch banking, Virtual Branch Online Banking, and and free Mobile App are safe and secure, it’s still important to be cautious with your personal information and to protect it from fraudsters, because in today’s electronic age, criminals have more means to acquire individuals’ personal information than ever before.
Awareness of identity theft and other scams will help you keep your money safe. Read on to learn more about identity theft, scams and the precautions you can take to prevent fraud from occurring.
Recognizing and understanding Synthetic Identity Fraud: While synthetic identity fraud is not a complete takeover of one’s identity, critical pieces of your personal information can be used in creating a synthetic, such as your Social Security number (SSN). The use of your SSN with another identity can alter your credit score, and it may take time for you to discover this activity. Related to synthetic identity fraud is conventional identity theft, in which someone takes over your existing identity, posing as you, and typically either applies for credit or uses your existing accounts. Both scenarios can have devastating effects on your ability to secure additional credit.
For more information on identity theft, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/
Protect Your Social Security Card in a Safe Place
Did you know that you rarely need to have your Social Security card with you? In most cases, knowing your Social Security number is enough. To prevent identity theft, keep your card in a safe place and share only when it’s required.
Be careful about sharing your Social Security number when someone asks for it. You should always ask why they need your number, how they will use it and what will happen if you refuse. And don’t carry documents that display your number. Learn more by visiting blog.ssa.gov
Two-Factor Authentication Scams
As fraud controls get smarter, fraudsters are shifting their attack patterns to bypass controls. Fraudsters have been using automated phone calls to try to steal consumers two-factor authentication codes and hack into banking, merchant, and third-party payment accounts. These include Apple, Amazon, PayPal, and bank accounts.
An example of these fraud calls state: “In order to secure your account, please enter the code we have sent your mobile device now.” Financial institutions and valid merchants will ask cardholders to enter this code on their website or app, NOT via text or automated phone call. A communication like this indicates the fraudster has tried to access an account and has run into a two-factor challenge from the merchant or institution. Scams like this require a hacker to already know some details about a cardholder, like email address, phone number or passwords. They may have collected this information on the dark web from previous breaches and hacks that occurred to merchants.
If you are concerned about an automated message, do not respond to the call, text, or email and contact the company in question on their official customer service number listed on their card or the contact information on their website, NEVER respond or click on any number/link given by the suspicious call or message.
Phishing, Vishing and Smishing Scams
Phishing scams are email scams that attempt to acquire your personal information for fraudulent purposes through email communications. These emails, which appear to be from known and trusted entities (such as your credit union, online payment processors, auction sites or social websites) ask you to confirm or provide personal information by clicking on a provided link. This link then directs you to a fake website that also appears to be from the same trusted entity. Once this information is acquired, criminals can use the provided information to access your financial accounts or open new financial accounts under your name.
Vishing and Smishing are scams very similar to phishing, however these scams are carried out using telephone or text message communications, respectively.
Fake Check Scams
There are many versions of a fake check scam. However, the result is the same. Scammers lure consumers into depositing a cashier’s check, money order or other checking instrument from someone that they don’t know and wiring or sending money to the scammers.
When the check is discovered to be fraudulent, the damage may already have been done. Once a victim wires or sends funds from such a check, he or she may be responsible for reimbursing the financial institution for that amount. Typically, the financial institution will not cover the financial loss and expects the victim to pay the difference.
The Federal Trade Commission issued a fake check scam alert (January 2021). These checks can be hard to recognize. They may be printed with the names, addresses and logos of legitimate financial institutions. Consumers are reminded to be on the alert and to not be pressured into wiring funds or sending money after depositing a check.
If you think you or someone you know was the victim of a fake check scam, consider taking the following steps:
Contact your local law enforcement agency to report the scam.
Contact your state’s attorney general. Contact information for each state’s attorney general can be found on the National Association of Attorneys General website.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Your complaint will be filed into a secure online database, which is used by many local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies. Complaints from consumers help detect patterns of fraud and abuse.
If you or the victim is an older adult or a person with a disability, contact your local adult protective services agency. You can find local support resources using the online Eldercare Locator or by calling 800-677-1116.
Tips to Avoid Identity Theft and Scams
- Never provide your account numbers, PINs or other confidential information by phone or e-mail unless you initiated the contact and you’re sure know who are speaking with. Remember, PA Central will never contact you and ask for your account number or PIN by phone, e-mail or fax.
- Sign up for PA Central’s free E-Statements and cancel paper statements. This reduces the amount of your personal information that’s documented in print, therefore limiting your exposure to identity theft. If you absolutely must receive paper statements, shred them before discarding.
- Sign up for PA Central’s free Online Bill Pay to limit your exposure to identity theft.
- Shred any documents containing personal and financial information, including pre-screened credit card offers sent in the mail.
- Do not carry your social security card in your wallet and do not have your social security number printed on your checks.