Fraud in the City

WCU Member consultant Jaleese could tell right away that the member walking into the Astoria branch was under a lot of stress. “Sometimes you can just tell,” she said. “Once he got to the counter, I knew immediately why.”

The member was looking to get a cashier’s check for almost $10,000 in order to post bail for his grandson in California. Something about the story didn’t sound right to Jaleese. As part of her training, she studied the different types of financial scams, and the member’s story had some of the indicators of a classic fraud. There was a ton of urgency placed on the member, after all his grandson was sitting in a jail cell, and bail can only be paid with cash or a cash substitute, that means once it’s handed over, there’s no way to get the money back.

Jaleese was suspicious. She talked with the member and he agreed to let her try to find out a bit more. He told her the name of the county in California he was told the jail was in, and Jaleese went to work. She contacted the county, as well as multiple local bail bonds services. None of the places she called were able to confirm the nephew was lodged in a local jail.

Unable to confirm any of the details the member was told, Jaleese was pretty sure it was fraud. She went over her suspicions with the member, and he agreed to contact his grandson, and the grandson’s parents before getting the cashier’s check. Later in the day, Jaleese got the call she was expecting. The grandson was fine. The member was relieved, and more importantly, he didn’t lose his hard-earned money.

“It really bothers me that people pray on other people by putting them in a stressful situation,” Jaleese said. “I was really happy to hear everything was okay. The great thing about working for a local company is we can take the time to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help people. Usually that means helping them get something they need, but saving somebody that much money really made my day.”

2022 Scholarships

There are milestones, and then there are MILESTONES. This year we awarded $12,500 in scholarships to deserving students. That means we’ve now granted more than $400,000 in scholarships to area students.

The 10 students from seven area high schools and three college recipients come from all walks of life, plan to start a variety of careers, and are unique in many different ways. They do have one thing in common though, they’ve all earned their scholarship. WCU CEO Robert Blumberg said it best “There are so many qualified and intelligent young people out there. It’s always inspiring to read through their journeys.”

WCU’s scholarship recipients are selected based on a variety of factors, including scholastic achievements, community involvement, extracurricular activities, and financial need. WCU services a large population of low-income families and so the need for financial assistance in the community is high.

The 2022 WCU Scholarship recipients are:

Andrew Miller – Astoria

Kegan Rascoe – Astoira

Alex Tapia – Warrenton

Josiah Jones – Clatskanie

Wyatt Macdonald – Astoria

Jessica Butcher – Vernonia

Grace Tallman – Clatskanie

Kaitlin Dahla – Scappoose

Caleb Bostic – Clatskanie

Delfina Acfalle – Astoria

Technology With Heart

I may be dating myself with this, but my first professional job was working at a call center recharging prepaid phone cards. The company worked with Walmart, Costco, and Starbucks. It was a great idea. Instead of getting a new Starbucks card, you simply had to call, wait on hold, give us the number on the back of your card, your credit card number, and some personal information.

Man on mobile phone

Flash forward an undefined number of years, and, after placing my order at the Starbucks drive thru, I noticed I didn’t have enough money on my card. Adding money now simply took me clicking on button to bill my linked credit card, and verifying with my face. Advances in technology cut the reload time from five minutes to 30 seconds. More importantly though, I didn’t lose any in-person time with a Starbucks employee. I still received a cheerful hello as I made my order, and a smile as I was handed my drink and breakfast sandwich.

At WCU, we aim to take the same approach with our technology. Yes, using U-banking app and online banking makes things quicker, but the reason we strive to have the best technology, is it gives us more face-to-face time with our members. When you use your app to remotely deposit a check, it gives the Member Consultants in our branches more time to counsel people who want to know more about getting a loan for a new car, or learn about our investment and insurance options.

Our Video Teller Units allowed us to expand our arrows, while still being able to hire local and give people an actual person to talk to. It’s not about the technology, and all about what the technology enables.

One Simple Step to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

Financial institutions in our footprint have been experiencing increased credit card fraud over the last week. Just like most instances of fraud, the scammer isn’t doing anything unique, but they’re using their knowledge of credit cards, to trick members into divulging just enough information to take over their account.

The scam goes like this. A member receives a call purporting to be from WCU Fraud. It looks legitimate. The call is coming from our 800 number, but guess what? Spoofing a number is child’s play for an experienced scammer. The scammer then asks the member to verify three (made up) purchases. Now they have you on the hook, they ask for your full card number (never give this), the three digit number on the back of your card (that’s another one to never give out on a call you didn’t initiate), and the last four of your social security number.

Now comes the pièce de résistance, the scammer says they’ll issue you a new card number, and you get a notification on your phone confirming the exchange. It really looks real. Do you know why? It is. The entire time the scammer has been interacting with the member, they’re also on the phone with the credit card company. You’ve just given them everything they need to get a replacement card, but by the time the new card is in the mail, the scammer has loaded the card into a digital wallet and gone on a spending spree.

It’s clever isn’t it. The entire exchange isn’t much different than a normal call you might get if we want to make sure some purchases just made were legitimate. So what’s the one simple trick? If you get a call, and you aren’t sure about it. All you have to do is say you’re going to hang up and call the number on the back of your card. For a legitimate inquiry, that’s no problem, but for a scammer, it’s the end of their plan, because even though they can spoof our phone number, they can’t answer a direct call to it. That still comes to us, and we can verify whether there are real questions about your card or not.

It can be tricky to stay safe, but know we’re always here to help.

March Statement Insert

Let Your Home Pick Up the Bill
Whatever you’re dreaming, a HELOC can make it happen.
+get a $50 gift card*
*Upon loan approval, current and new members who open a new home equity line of credit will receive a $50 gift card to a home improvement store of their choice. Retailers will vary by location and availability. These terms are subject to change without notice. Rates & financing are offered based on applicant’s credit worthiness and term of the loan. This promotional offer ends on June 30, 2022. Membership with Wauna CU required to be eligible for this special offer.

24/7 LENDING
NMLS 421867 | Federally Insured by NCUA
Equal Housing Lender

Chose Your Own Loan Adventure
no payments for 90 days +$100
or
1% cash reward +30 days no payments*

Promotion Special Terms: Upon loan approval, current and new members who refinance a qualifying loan currently financed elsewhere to Wauna Credit Union become eligible to choose one of two Loan Reward Promotion offers: Option #1. An immediate Cash Reward equal to 1% of the approved loan value, plus 30-Days No Payment (interest will continue to accrue during the No Payment period); Or, Option #2. An immediate $100 Cash Reward, plus 90-Days No Payments (interest will continue to accrue during the 90-day period). Qualifying Loans: Auto, Truck, SUV, Van, Motor home, trailer, boat, watercraft, motorcycles, side-by-sides, quads, and unsecured loans such as home furnishings, tuition, personal loans, etc. Minimum loan amount to qualify for special terms: $2,000; Maximum Reward allowed is $500 per qualifying loan. These special Reward terms are subject to change without notice. Rates & financing are offered based on applicant’s credit worthiness and term of the loan. This promotional offer ends on June 30, 2022. Note: the promotional cash reward paid to a member may be forfeit if the loan balance is paid in full within 180-days of the loan funding date.
Membership with Wauna CU required to be eligible for this special offer.


Free Financial Education

One of the things that makes Wauna Credit Union special is our Mission to provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. If you live, work, attend school or worship in Clatsop County, Columbia County, Western Washington County, or Pacific County Washington, we want to help you realize your financial goals.

That’s why providing free, easy to use, financial education is so important to us. Our partner BALANCE is offering absolutely free webinars on a different topic each month. The March webinar topic is one we get a lot, and that’s what makes up your credit report. Learn the ingredients that go into making the cake that is your credit score, and just as importantly, what you can do to get your score higher.

MARCH — SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF CREDIT REPORTS Credit reports and credit scores hold a lot of power—they can help you buy that first home or limit your financial opportunities. This session provides an overview of credit reporting agencies, credit scoring, disputing inaccuracies, improving credit scores, and dealing with identity theft and fraud.  

  Session 1: Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Share link: bit.ly/SolvingMysteryofCreditRprt  

  Session 2: Thursday, March 17, 2022
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Share link: bit.ly/SolvingMysteryofCreditRprt    
 
APRIL — ON THE ROAD TO RICHES: THE BASICS OF SAVING AND INVESTING Investing is one of the smartest things consumers can do to secure a brighter financial future. Every investor has different goals, risk tolerance, and cash flow, which will impact savings and investment choices. Participants will learn about savings strategies and tactics, investment tools, and how to develop an investment portfolio that works with their lifestyle and budget.  

  Session 1: Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Share link: bit.ly/OnTheRoadToRiches

  Session 2: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Share link: bit.ly/OnTheRoadToRiches    

December Statement Insert

ANNUAL MEETING & BOARD NOMINEE NOTICE

OUR 55TH ANNUAL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON MARCH 8TH AT 6:30pm
ERLENE DARBY LEARNING CENTER | 49249 HWY 30 | WESTPORT, OR
The Board of Directors has approved three nominees for three positions on the Board of Directors from applications submitted by members. Their names and biographical information are included below.

JILL HULT • MEMBER SINCE 2018 • ASTORIA, OR – Jill Hult has been serving on the Board of Directors since 2019. She currently owns I Communicate You—a job development business—and additionally provides résumé and cover letter writing services. Jill recently received a provisional certification as a benefit planning counselor for people who are on SSI/SSDI. Jill will be returning to school to complete her Master’s Degree in Communications at PSU. In her spare time, Jill enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, writing and participating in Vernonia Writer’s Group, hiking, riding bicycles or four wheelers, playing some pickle ball, puzzles, dancing, and yes, admittedly, karaoke!

BETH VAN ELSWYK • MEMBER SINCE 2007 • VERNONIA, OR – Beth van Elswyk is a co-founder/partner of Wiesow Management, an Industrial Hemp Services and Supply company. Beth thrives in the chaos of growth and change with a focus on customer service and training campaigns to create ROI. She credits her ongoing success in challenging business climates to a combination of Matshushita and Drucker Management principles. After a long-term commitment with SMMR Sergeant McDowell’s Military Relief as VP, she now serves on the Hemp Task Force for ASTA American Seed Trade Association and speaks on hemp and regenerative agriculture at various non-profits. When she isn’t hempin’, you’ll find Beth flying her drones at various North Coast scenic venues, creating video content, or with her wife in Long Beach, WA at Funland earning arcade points to win small kitchen appliances.

GEORGE DUNKEL • MEMBER SINCE 2009 • SCAPPOOSE, OR – George Dunkel was born in Astoria and resided in the community of Wauna before moving to Scappoose. He graduated from Linfield College, spending three years in management training with Western Bank in St. Helens. George served as Fire Chief of Columbia River Fire & Rescue for seven years and currently serves as Chair of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Foundation. He also serves on the board of the International Fire Service Training Association and as a member of the Kiwanis Club of St. Helens. George works with local governments as the Administrator of the Consulting Services Program for Special Districts Association of Oregon and believes that his experience, good natured personality, and proactive approach to challenges will assist WCU in meeting its vision. He and his wife of 36 years, Vicki, enjoy their three married daughters/sons-in-law and six grandchildren.

An election will not be conducted by ballot, and there will be no nominations from the floor at the annual meeting when the number of nominees equals the number of positions to be filled, which is currently the situation. Any member who desires to run for the Board may do so now only by a nomination by petition signed by 270 credit union members in good standing 18 years of age or older. An application may be requested by calling 1-800-773-3236, Ext 3124. Completed applications may be mailed to ATTN: Governance Committee P.O. Box 67 Clatskanie, OR 97016 or delivered in person to any branch. Petition applications must be received by close of business on February 1, 2022.

CHOOSE YOUR OWN LOAN ADVENTURE
waunafcu.org 800.773.3236

  • No payments for 90 days and $100
    OR
  • 1% cash reward and no payments for 30 days

    Promotion Special Terms: Upon loan approval, current and new members who refinance a qualifying loan currently financed elsewhere to Wauna Credit Union become eligible to choose one of two Loan Reward Promotion offers: Option #1. An immediate Cash Reward equal to 1% of the approved loan value, plus 30-Days No Payment (interest will continue to accrue during the No Payment period); Or, Option #2. An immediate $100 Cash Reward, plus 90-Days No Payments (interest will continue to accrue during the 90-day period). Qualifying Loans: Auto, Truck, SUV, Van, Motor home, trailer, boat, watercraft, motorcycles, side-by-sides, quads, and unsecured loans such as home furnishings, tuition, personal loans, etc. Minimum loan amount to qualify for special terms: $2,000; Maximum Reward allowed is $500 per qualifying loan. These special Reward terms are subject to change without notice. Rates & financing are offered based on applicant’s credit worthiness and term of the loan. This promotional offer ends on June 30, 2022. Note: the promotional cash reward paid to a member may be forfeit if the loan balance is paid in full within 180-days of the loan funding date. Membership with Wauna CU required to be eligible for this special offer.

Thanks from Robert Blumberg

Every year, our CEO Robert Blumberg composes his thoughts on where we as a credit union our heading, and what he thinks about when working to ensure Wauna Credit Union will be the local choice offering top-notch services to the people who call Columbia River communities home.

Dear Friends,

Every December, I take the time to personally thank you, our member-owner. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Wauna Credit Union is grateful that you have joined the credit union movement, and helped us keep your money local.

We started 2021 with promise. By-and-large, 2021 indeed delivered promise, although not necessarily in the way we expected. As we work our way back to normal, we realize that ‘normal’ looks different. People are re-examining their priorities, identifying what is important to them, which is how your Credit Union has always worked

Our priority is figuring out how to make that loan, donate that money, or help the community. From funding public housing, to donating to local charities that actually do the work, I couldn’t be prouder at how Wauna Credit Union has shown its merits over the last two years.

Next year marks 55 years of serving you. And once again, the new year has promise. Our new, state-of-the-art branch is opening in Astoria, reaffirming not only our commitment to a physical presence within our footprint, but also the promise of creating living-wage professional jobs throughout the communities of the Columbia River Valley – this is only the beginning of that promise.

Again, thank you for being a member-owner of Wauna Credit Union, Remember, we are here to serve our members, our friends, our communities, and our family.

Happy holidays!

Robert Blumberg, President and CEO
Wauna Credit Union

Career of Caring

If you know anybody who’s worked at WCU for more than a year, they’ve likely had a few different roles here. Whether that’s moving from a Member Consultant I to a Member Consultant II, or moving from the frontline to the back-office. That’s a core component of who we are. Our corporate vision is to be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives. We want our employees to do that too. Go to our careers page to see our current openings, and find out if we have the career that’s right for you.

One of our great representatives is Paige Tischer is a key member of the mortgage team, but in her (almost) 10 years at the credit union, she’s been many things to many people.

Support Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Month

What motivates you? For WCU employee Brianna it’s helping those who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes. Those sufferers include her 8-year-old daughter. “Like most people I didn’t know anything about diabetes until I was directly impacted,” said Brianna. “When we found out my daughter was impacted, we had so many emotions going through us at once. We felt bad that she had been having all these symptoms and didn’t know what was happening, worried about the future, and guilty thinking it was something we had done.”

That’s a common misconception. Type One Diabetes has nothing to do with diet, or lifestyle, or anything else a parent or kid has done, including eating a lot of candy or juice, and unfortunately there’s no current cure. Insulin doesn’t prevent Type 1 Diabetes. An insulin pump is needed to manage blood-sugar level to keep people with diabetes alive.

Just some of the insulin pumps needed

For Brianna one of the most frustrating things is how hard it can be to manage. “It’s not a one plus one equals two situation. There are so many different factors that go into blood sugar, that my daughter can do the same thing she did the day before, and still suffer from low blood sugar,” she said.

Diabetes is a worldwide problem. There are over 422 million people with diabetes according to the World Health Organization, and it contributes directly to 1.5 million deaths a year, and that number is growing. The CDC estimates that over 21 percent of adults with diabetes don’t even realize it.

With children it can be equally as difficult. Teachers are often the first to recognize the symptoms, since they see so many children every day.

So what are the indicators? There’s many, but the common signs are:

  • Sudden strange behavior (acting “drunk”)
  • Breath that smells fruity, sweet, or like wine
  • Extreme drowsiness or lack of energy
  • Ongoing, intense thirst
  • Grunting while breathing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Huge appetite
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Urinating more often (infants and toddlers may have more wet diapers than usual)
  • Difficulty breathing

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month. Visit the American Diabetes Foundation to learn more, including how you can help.