What does a fraudulent email look like?

There’s spam, phishing, skimming, advanced fee, 419 Fraud, redemption fraud, and so much more. It can seem overwhelming to stay on top of. Wauna Credit Union does a lot behind the scenes to help make our financial platforms as secure as possible with technology like VISA 3-D Secure, and two-factor authentication, as well as continual staff education and awareness. We’ve provided tips on how to help keep your information, and your money, safe, but we’re always looking for new opportunities to help.

Recently we were alerted to a series of threatening emails one of our members received claiming to be from WCU. Luckily the member contacted a branch before providing information. We want to provide you a glimpse at what one of these scams actually looks like.

As you can see, the scammer did everything they could to get the member to make a quick decision. The top thing you can do when faced with any request for information, is to contact the credit union, either by calling our Virtual Branch at 1-800-773-3236, contacting us via our online chat or by visiting the nearest branch. If there’s an issue with your account, the person you contact will know about it, and be able to help.

scam email to member
A series of emails a member recently received

What to Look For

  • Non-standard from addresses; Anything that comes from the credit union will come from waunafcu.org. You can see this email actually comes from a Gmail account. Sometimes scammers will get tricky and try to spoof company’s names, for example waumafcu.org or waunafuc.org. Other times the company name is correct, but the actual domain, that’s the part after the @ symbol, is misleading, for example waunafcu.creditunion.org.
  • Threats; The scammer in this example relied heavily on the fear of going to jail. Wauna Credit Union will never threaten you. Our job is to help you, especially if you’ve fallen behind in your payments. In general, most reputable companies will always be respectful of you as a person, and threats of jail time are completely unfounded.
  • Overly long and changing subject lines; Scammers don’t want you thinking about what they say, and that includes doing everything to get you to avoid opening the email.
  • Grammar and punctuation errors; This series of emails is full of them. From not capitalizing the ‘c’ in Wauna Credit Union, to improper verb and noun agreement and simple misspellings, you can tell that our member was one of 100 the scammer was trying to fool.
  • Rushing you into action; Some of these emails came a minute or two after the previous one. The scammer claimed an initial payment must be made within days. All these actions were done to keep the member from evaluating what was actually happening.

Hopefully, seeing one of these scams in action will help you better recognize one if it comes your way.

Fraudsters and skimmers, oh my!

Related imageSkimmers are sneaky little devices, which fraudsters affix to ATMs or other machines that accept credit or debit card transactions. The skimmer then secretly swipes your card information whenever you slip your card into the affected machine. These pesky gadgets have been around for years. But thieves are continually improving them and their usage doesn’t seem to stop!

Recently, a credit union in Washington reported an increase in card fraud because of a skimmer thought to be located at a nearby gas station. Wauna Credit Union can take steps to prevent and detect skimmers placed on our own ATMs and ITMs. But it is impossible for us to protect all of our members from skimmers elsewhere.

However, we won’t let you face the skimmers of the world unarmed. So, here are some tips and tricks on how you can take extra precaution when using your card at an ATM or other machine and avoid these irksome skimming devices:

  • When you can, use ATMs, ITMs, and gas pumps that are familiar. The more routine the visit to the machine is, the more likely someone has been checking regularly to detect potential issues.Image result for skimming device
  • Look for evidence of tampering! For example, some gas pumps will place a security seal over the portion of the gas pump that controls the card reader. A broken seal a strong indication that the card reader has been tampered with.
  • Is the gas station unfamiliar to you? try comparing the card reader at your pump with card readers at other pumps. If there is a discrepancy, pay inside, use a different pump, or find a different gas station. An extra minute or two could save you a huge headache.
  • When possible, run the transaction as a credit transaction instead of a PIN transaction.
  • If using an ATM that is located inside of a convenience or grocery store, look for evidence of tampering. Ways to detect a skimmer include lightly pulling on the card reader and pin pad to ensure neither easily detach from the machine and by paying attention to colors and graphics on the machine that appear to be different than what should be expected.
  • Pay attention to anyone who appears to be loitering or otherwise hanging around a machine with no visible purpose. If this is the case, use a different machine. Report the suspicious person to the business. Always ensure you are covering the PIN pad when typing in your PIN number.
  • Regularly monitor credit card and account statements and look for discrepancies. By keeping an eye on your statements and creating alerts in online banking for unusual activity, you proactively fighting fraud. Contact us right away if something seems out of the ordinary.

Making sure that you are aware of how to detect skimming devices can go a long way towards keeping you and your finances safe.