Alert: Unemployment Fraud

The NW Credit Union Association has alerted us to a significant increase in unemployment fraud hitting or footprint. Please be aware if you, your friends, or family are asked for your account information and then see a deposit from a state unemployment division. Scammers are using this new method to conduct fake check scams https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-spot-avoid-and-report-fake-check-scams

Washington state law enforcement has recently reported investigating a widespread fraud campaign in which victims’ identities are being used to file false unemployment claims. While similar reports have not be issued for Idaho and Oregon, other states across the country are reporting the latest in fraud trends. Victims, who have not filed unemployment claims, have received notification from their employer’s Human Resources department, or the State Employment Securities Department, indicating an unemployment claim has been filed on their behalf.

The Seattle Police Department’s cyber-crime investigators have recommended the following steps for anyone who knows, or believes, they are a victim of unemployment fraud. Credit unions may wish to share this information with their members who may be potential victims of this fraud.

Steps to Protect Your Financial Identity & Credit History

  • Step One – Contact Human Resources
    • Contact your organization’s HR staff to coordinate and report the incident to your employer.
  • Step Two – Contact Your State’s ESD
    • Call the State Employment Security Department (ESD) (Idaho: 877-540-8638 or Fraud@labor.idaho.gov; Oregon: 877-668-3204; Washington: 800-246-9763 to report the fraud or contact the ESD via an online form: https://fortress.wa.gov/esd/webform/ContactUS/)
    • You will need the following information for identity verification:
      • Last 4 of your SSN
      • Date of birth, address
      • Current phone number
      • Information on how you learned a claim was filed on your behalf
  • Step Three – Police Report
    • File an online or non-emergency report with the agency whose jurisdiction you live in.
    • Start keeping a file folder or journal with the information from this incident, including any case numbers. Some government services and accommodations are available to victims of identity theft that are not available to the general public, such as getting certain public records sealed.
  • Step Four – The Three Major Credit Bureaus
    • Obtain your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
    • Report to the credit bureaus that the fraudulent claim was made using your identity and provide them with the case number from your police report. You can have a fraud alert put on your identity or freeze your credit. Doing either is free by law.
      • A fraud alert is free and will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus. That company must tell the other two.
      • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
      • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
      • Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
    • Check your credit activity at least once a year. As a victim of identity-theft you have the right to check it monthly if you choose.
    • Credit Freeze – If you do not have upcoming large purchases, such as a home, you may want to freeze your credit for more protection. It is free and you can do it yourself. More information about freezing your credit can be found here.
  • Step Five – FTC & IRS
    • File a short report with the FTC and give them the case number for your local police report. The FTC offers more information here.
    • Consider setting up an IRS account. If you create an account with your social security number, it will prevent criminals from creating an account using your identity.
    • Another option is to lock your social security number, which can be done here. (The next wave of this cyber-attack may be IRS tax fraud.)
    • All of this reporting seems redundant, but we want to make sure you are recognized as a victim by the local, state, and federal government. Also, the more people who report it, the more support law enforcement agents will receive to pursue the perpetrators.
  • Step Six – Keep Your Notes
    • Hang on to any notes, copies of emails, etc regarding the issue. This is the paper trail that you can reference if you face any identity issues or locate inaccuracies on your credit history sometime in the future.

Protecting Your Data and Identity
You are done dealing with the fallout from this unemployment fraud incident, but may choose to further protect yourself from cyber-crime. Below are some steps and resources that the cyber-crime detectives recommend for anyone wanting additional protections for themselves and their families.

  • Control Your Own Information

What to do if you need help

The health and safety impact of the COVID-19 outbreak can not be understated, but neither can the economic impact. Last week Oregon and Washington reported record new unemployment claims, and our footprint has been affected. If you run into trouble paying bills or loans, or paying on time, there may be a number of options to help, especially if you reach out to us, as well as your other creditors. Even though our branch lobbies have temporary restricted lobbies, you can still talk to us face-to-face through our video teller units and WaunaCU Now. More information about how to reach us can be found on our COVID-19 resource page.

Reach out!

This is the most important step at all. We’re always here to help, and right now companies are doing everything they can to lessen the impact of the financial hardships many people are facing. Being behind on your payments can have a lasting impact on your credit but making your lender aware of your situation may not only provide peace of mind, it can also help you create a plan.

WCU, Credit card companies, and other lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like Overdraft, ATM, and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.

When contacting your lenders, be prepared to explain:

  • Your situation
  • How much you can afford to pay
  • When you’re likely to be able to restart regular payments
  • In the case of mortgages, be prepared to discuss your income, expenses and assets


Also, if you have student loans,
you may qualify for a delayed or reduced payment program. Just remember, even though you don’t need to make payments now, interest will continue to accrue, and you will have to make up these amounts eventually. Contact your student loan servicer to find out more about your options.

Help is on the way

The federal government just passed its emergency stimulus package that provides a wealth of resources for almost every American. The $1,200 payment to each tax payer (or at least those who make under $75,000), and $500 credit for each dependent child are getting the headlines, but there are many more benefits to individuals and small businesses.

The Oregon Health Authority and benefitscheckup.org are amazing resources, that not only are a repository of COVID-19 stimulus items, but provide links to regular government programs as well.

Stay Safe Against Financial Fraud

An unfortunate reality of the world is that even though most of us are pulling together and helping each-other in this time of need, there are a few bad actors out there who see the current pandemic as an opportunity to make money.

Scammers have always followed the news. Now more than ever is the time to safeguard your information.

  • Be extra vigilant when clicking on links, or going to websites, about the Cononavirus.
  • Wauna Credit Union will only contact you via email from an address that ends with @waunafcu.org
  • If you get a call, text or email from us and you aren’t sure, simply call back a number you know is the credit union
    • That will usually be our 800-773-3236 number, but we currently have enabled direct branch calling as well
    • All information can be found at https://waunafcu.org/covid-19.shtml
    • Fraudsters can trick you into thinking the number is from our 800 number, so never give out any identifying information about your account including transaction details with anything more than a yes or no answer
  • We will never ask you over the phone for your PIN, CV2 codes or Expiration Dates.

53rd Annual Meeting -Update 3/13

Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are making changes to our annual meeting procedures.

  • In order to prevent unnecessary cross-contamination we will not be serving food/beverages or distributing prizes
  • We will also place a suitable distance between all seats
  • The Annual Meeting will be live streamed on Facebook to ensure members do not need to risk their health.

Erlene Darby Learning Center 49249 Hwy 30, Westport, OR

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, 6:30pm

Doors open at 6pm/Light refreshments served

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.

William “Bill” Delager, Incumbent, Birkenfeld

I am a lifelong resident of Oregon. I attended Clackamas High School, Oregon State University and I earned a PHO in Economics from Portland State University. I am married to Sheila, a high school classmate. We have two daughters and three granddaughters. I am retired from the Air Force and Air National Guard. Sheila is a retired CPA. We are enjoying retirement, tending our farm and active in volunteer activities. In the past I have served on the Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District Board, the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council Board and the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District Board. I appreciate having had the  opportunity  to represent you on the  Wauna  Board these past eight years. I look forward to serving again. Thank you.

Erick Holsey, Incumbent, Clatskanie

I am interested in serving on Wauna  Federal  Credit Union  Board  of  Directors as an  opportunity  to  serve my  community  in the spirit of volunteering. I am a longtime resident  of Clatskanie,  a  graduate  of Clatskanie  High  School,  US  Army  veteran and currently employed at Columbia River  Fire & Rescue/Scappoose  Rural  Fire Protection  District. My  educational background is a Bachelor of Science in Fire Service  Administration  with  a  minor  in  chemistry  from  Western  Oregon University and A.A.S degrees in Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Technology Paramedic, and Oregon Transfer  Degree from Chemeketa Community College. I have been  awarded  approximately  $900,000  dollars in  federal  grants to  include  a new fire engine for our  community. Throughout  my  residence  I  have  had  the  opportunity  to  serve  on  the  Clatskanie School Board as a director and on the budget committee, a member of the  Clatsop  County  Advisory  Board  for  Fire suppression and EMS programs, the Columbia County Fire Investigation Team, and the Lower Columbia Regional Training Association. My local civic memberships include the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. I believe that  my experience and education with public service provides myself a unique skill set that can  have  a  benefit  to  credit  union members and the community  in  which  I live.  As  a  frequent  customer,  I  have  always  been  greeted  by  friendly  staff, helped with all  types  of  financial  transactions  and  have  been  provided  sound  advice. I  would like to  take this  opportunity to provide some of my time into helping those  employees  continue  to  provide  that  service  while  encouraging  other community members to share my same experience.

Robin Clarke, Rainier

As a long-time member of WFCU, individually and for business, it would be my great pleasure to have the opportunity to not only continue learning about the credit union industry, but to also help the credit union’s continued growth  and  success in our local communities. I have been on the Supervisory Committee for three years and have seen WFCU grow into a strong financial institution. It supports and encourages individuals and businesses in our  area and this is such a  vital benefit to all of us in the region. I have developed a strong background in business and administration over many years and I believe I can add value as a member of the Board by having a broad general understanding of business practices and principles. Confidentiality, and having to make informed and sometimes  difficult decisions, are part of my  job to serve the best interests of our family businesses. This comes naturally to me, along with the energy and commitment to help in any way that will be a benefit to the Board and WFCU. I wish to continue my service beyond my current role as a member of WFCU’s Supervisory Committee and also serve on the Board of Directors.

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.

Completed applications must be received by end of business on February 6, 2020.

 

It’s For the Kids – Helping DHS Spread Cheer

Michael recently talked about the Power of Giving. It’s our third year giving each employee $50 to give back as they see fit. Some of our employees donated to local charities, others donated to families in need, and others still simply chose to buy groceries for a stranger at the grocery store, or give an extra tip to their favorite server.

Amy Grubb, Member Services Manager of the Scappoose Branch, saw an opportunity. Every year, the Columbia County Department of Human Services organized a giving tree for local children in need. “We always had the donation tags in our branch, and members and employees had always looked forward to helping those in need. This year I realized the tags never came.”

Amy learned that the department was severely understaffed. The caseload usually managed by five people was instead being done by just two people. The team simply hadn’t had the ability to manage the giving program.

There were other groups within DHS that had their own giving trees, but Amy knew there were families that counted on the donations from WCU.

“Even though we didn’t know their names, their are families that counted on Wauna Credit Union,” said Amy. “I had to do something.”

Amy reached out to the rest of the credit union with a plea. She asked that those who had not yet earmarked their donation for another cause pool their money to buy gifts for the families.

“It was so great to see the credit union come together. Especially in Columbia County, we saw so many donations. Because we got so much in donations, we were able to buy gifts for kids aged 6-months to 17-years-old.”

Amy and St. Helens MSM Melissa get ready for a big night of wrapping

Amy’s perseverance showed what can happen when credit unions live up to the mantra of people helping people.

The Power of Giving

The Power of GivingWhat better way to recognize the holiday season than to give back?

We’ve decided that a history and love of our communities coupled with our passion for helping others deserves something a bit more. For the third year in a row all credit union employees are participating in our Power of Giving program.

This December, each and every staff member of Wauna Credit Union has been allotted $50 to give back as they see fit. At over 100 strong, we are a force – a force for good.

Perhaps you’ll find one of us buying groceries for a person at the supermarket or maybe you’ll see us donating to a local charity. But no matter where or how we give, it won’t always be about random acts of kindness. Because while we are giving back to these communities, we also belong to these communities.

One Wauna CU employee,  Kailynn, used her power of giving last year to help a family at a local grocery store:

I purchased a $50.00 Safeway gift card and was carrying it in my wallet for a few days until I got the chance to give it away. While picking up some groceries after work I saw a man and his two small children doing the same. We crossed paths a few times in the store and each time all three of them were smiling, chatting, and just seemed to be enjoying their time even though they were only at the grocery store. I approached him and let him know I work for Wauna and we would like to help him with his grocery bill. He was confused at first thinking there was a catch, but after I explained to him what we were doing and why we are giving back to the members of our community he opened up to me. He let me know that he only gets to see his children every other weekend and with the limited time he has with them he always tries to make it memorable and fun for them, on his tight budget. He was so thankful and let me know that he would be taking his little ones on a movie date with the money that he would have spent on groceries.

Giving back generates purpose, and meaning, and positive reinforcement. Our communities have given us so much over the years, and we make a living off of what we get. But as Winston Churchill said, “We make a life by what we give.”

This month, keep an eye out for The Power of Giving, as Wauna CU’s force of do-gooders covers our communities, making people’s days brighter, and returning some of the love that all of you have brought to us.

Wauna Credit Union Raises Big Bucks for Food for Kids Program

Communities are brought together by many hands, many hardships, and lots of love. For the Food for Kids Program at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Astoria, Oregon, it’s no different.

“Last year we put together 2,246 food bags, which puts us just under 13,000 lbs of food provided to our community,” says Pantry volunteer, Janet Wilker.

In just six years, the little pantry located at the Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea Church, has given away over 10,000 food bags. The bags, filled with groceries and provisions, are then given to area individuals and families alike, but more specifically, the children.

“Every now and then we run into a parent who thanks us for being there for their family,” said Lorrie Radu, also a Pantry volunteer. “We like to think of it as delivering a little bag of hope every Friday.”

From left: Kristen DeForrest of WCU, and Lorrie Radu and Janet Wilker of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Panty.

Employees of area financial cooperative, Wauna Credit Union (WCU), choose one charity or non-profit organization within to raise funds toward. This round, they selected the Food for Kids Program. The Credit Union managed to raise over $6,500 for the Pantry. WCU Compliance Specialist, Kristen DeForrest helped coordinate the fundraising efforts.

“Our employees care about giving back to our communities and that’s why we chose the Food for Kids program,” said DeForrest. “I know this food makes a tremendous impact on the students’ ability to learn and grow, and we hope others will join us in supporting this very worthy cause,” she said

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is located at 1465 Grand Ave., Astoria, OR 97103 and is open Tuesdays from 1 to 3 pm and Friday through Saturday from 10 am to noon. They may be reached by phone at (503) 325-2007.

WCU Joins Forest Grove High School Career Expo

WCU’s booth at the Forest Grove Career Expo

On Tuesday, March 6th, Hundreds of sophomores, juniors, and seniors filed into Forest Grove High School’s gymnasium, perusing the nearly 50 organizations there during Willamette Education Service District’s “Career Expo at Forest Grove HS”.

“I just got accepted to BYU,” said one senior girl, who was planning on becoming an engineer.

“I’m not sure where I want to go to school, but I know I want a job in finance,” said another.

Fittingly enough, among those present in Forest Grove was Wauna Credit Union (WCU). Credit unions are not only excellent examples of cooperative, people-based institutions, they’re also great places to start a career.

WCU’s Member Relationship Officer, Stephanie Pesio, alongside Communications Specialist, Michael Murdoch were on hand to talk about the benefits of joining and working for a credit union.

“We have so many opportunities for young people at Wauna,” said Pesio. “WCU has an internship program for current high school kids, too. We have full-time employees who have risen in the ranks here long after starting as interns,” she added.

All told, about 100 students stopped by WCU’s booth. There was, of course, a bowl of candy present and a chance to win $50 for filling out a short survey. With questions like “What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?” and “Can you name three credit unions?”, the survey helps WCU gauge young peoples’ understanding of the industry.

“I think a credit union is local and does loans, right?” said one Forest Grove High School junior.

“There’s still a lot of confusion over what exactly a credit union is,” said Murdoch. “But we did a lot of teaching.”

Though their credit union education might need some work, WCU is looking forward to a larger presence in Forest Grove. Later in 2018, construction begins on WCU’s newest branch. WCU’s presence will account for only one of two credit unions in the area.

“We look forward to the future and are excited to be involved in the schools, the city, and in the community,” said Murdoch.

Wauna Credit Union is now serving cannabis-related businesses

We are now offering compliant, transparent banking services to cannabis-related businesses within our field of membership.

So, what does this mean?

It means that we have a responsibility to ensure that our services and practices are in-line with the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” We looked at the 25,000 members in multiple communities across a swath of cities and counties that we now serve, and knew that cannabis-related businesses are now established in all. By allowing cannabis-related businesses to have legitimate financial services, we are helping improve the safety and security of our members and the areas in which they live are.

Cannabis-related businesses often deal in cash-only transactions and so generally have large amounts of cash on-hand. Such circumstances can lead to an increase in crime or other dangerous activities. That being said, offering legal and compliant banking solutions to these businesses just makes sense to us – we are getting that cash off the streets and into a safe place.

“Serving the CRB industry, we become part of the solution and not part of the problem. The CRBs have difficulty forming banking relationships due to the limited number of credit unions and banks serving this industry. Providing banking services to this industry legitimizes these businesses. It also adds an element of safety and security to all of us that live and/or work in the community, which is in all of our best interests.”
— Robert Blumberg, CEO and President of Wauna Credit Union.

In addition, cannabis-related businesses are now legal businesses in Oregon and Washington. Those who choose to work in this field deserve to be treated fairly, and not required to hide the source of their money.

But it doesn’t mean we are taking this decision lightly. The cannabis industry possesses unique banking challenges. Cannabis is still illegal on a federal level and so Wauna Credit Union must adhere to many strict state and federal laws and policies.

We are covering our bases. We’ve assembled a specialized department to handle all due diligence and account opening for these accounts. An Oregon attorney is working with us to guarantee this program and the businesses with CRB accounts are fully complying with state law. Wauna Credit Union has zero tolerance for any type of deception or illegal activity. Accounts not complying with state and federal regulations will be closed immediately.

A safe community is a sound community, and Wauna Credit Union will continue to do what we can to see that we are contributing to bettering the places where we live and work. This sometimes requires making difficult decisions, sacrifices, and other changes. But if that means making things safer for the people we serve, then we are making the right decision.

Inquiries regarding Wauna Credit Union’s Cannabis Business Solutions account applications and opening procedures can be made at 800-773-3236.

Media inquiries may be directed to our Chief Marketing Officer Debi Smiley at 503-728-6116.

Serving Our Communities: Funds Raised For Clatsop Community Action

During the last quarter of 2016, Wauna Credit Union staff raised more than $2500 for Clatsop Community Action.  Depending on the year, we have changed charities quarterly or annually. Staff nominates and vote on each organization we support. It is part of the Credit Union culture to support our communities through volunteering and donations, and it carries down from the very top to our front line staff. One of the reasons many of us have chosen to work for a financial cooperative is the philosophy of “people helping people” and our desire to make a positive difference in the communities around us and the world.

For part of 2016, Wauna Credit Union raised money for Clatsop Community

Robert Blumberg, Amy Stocky and Debi Smiley presents a check for $2,543.20 to Elaine Bruce and Viviana Matthews of CCA
Wauna CU presents the check to CCA

Action (CCA). Clatsop Community Action is an incredible organization in Clatsop County that helps fund the food bank, they offer energy assistance for people when money is tight, whether it be a seasonal layoff, sudden unemployment, or just not earning enough. They help low income workers get needed items, offer training programs, and even find housing for those without any. They do so much in the community, it is impossible to imagine Clatsop County without them!

It was with great pride and deep gratitude, that we presented Clatsop Community Action’s tireless director Elaine Bruce with a check for $2,543.20, and more than 50 pounds of personal care items for those who need them. It is great knowing all of these funds will be used to help people in Clatsop County.

The tourism economy, which is a major part of Clatsop County’s business, can be Wauna CU CEO Robert Blumberg and CCA Executive Director Elaine Brucea volatile way to live for those who work within it, much like fishing, it is seasonal. Tourism industry work consists of many low paying jobs – food service, retail, and hotel housekeeping, these jobs typically pay minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. It can be hard to make ends meet. Luckily, CCA is here to help people when ends don’t meet, when the off season lasts just too long, or when bad luck has knocked good people off their feet. CCA is also mostly volunteer run.

The money goes towards CCA clients who have no money for critical items such as diapers, toothbrushes, bus passes, replacing lost identifications needed for job searches and other emergency services that are not served due to limits placed on grant funds do not allow.  Many families have children and are living in their cars or a shelter with little or no money to live on.

Our fundraising is done through a variety of methods, some employees allow for an automatic deduction from each paycheck to go to the charity fund year-round. We also do “Jeans Days” on paydays, in which every employee wearing jeans puts $5 into the fund. Another fundraiser is “Spirit Days”, when on non-payday Fridays staff is encouraged to wear various themed attire, in December every Friday had a special theme, including wearing elf or Santa hats, wearing Silver and Gold, or jerseys of a favorite team. When members see staff dressed down in this clothing or in jeans, they can rest assured, our staff is being philanthropic!

Other ways we raise money for our charities are staff raffles, silent auctions, and with the candy we sell at the teller windows. All of the money raised from the candy sales go right to our charity fund. Occasionally, we enter members and staff into raffles for sporting event tickets or weekends at the beach if they donate a certain amount into our charity fund.

Thank you CCA for all that you do in our community, and for all the people you work so hard to help!