Recent & Common Financial Scams
Protect your financial and personal information by staying aware and informed. Below is information about a number of recent and common financial scams.
Having an ATM or debit card creates a world of convenience— not just on campus, but anywhere you go. With MSUFCU ATMs in local Quality Dairy stores, around town, and access to your account via 30,000+ ATMs on the CO-OP Network, your account is available virtually everywhere you go.
However, with convenience, awareness and safety become necessary. Protect yourself and your money by avoiding scams that involve selling or providing your card information and PIN (Personal Identification Number). While you may think you are helping out another person, you may become involved in a scam that will negatively affect your financial well-being.
Selling your ATM or Visa Debit Card and PIN is a crime. If a PIN is knowingly compromised, the account holder (not the “card buyer”) is responsible for any wrongdoing in the account.
Here are some helpful hints to protect your personal and financial information.
- Guard Your Card. Treat your card like cash or checks— it is a valuable key to your account!
- Protect Your PIN. Memorize your PIN and do not write it on your card, share or sell it to others. Giving someone your PIN is like giving them full access to your account and money. If someone has your card and PIN, they could potentially withdraw funds at any time.
- Be Aware. If you feel suspicious about a situation, trust your gut and do not proceed. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.We also encourage you to contact MSUFCU if you feel you may have stumbled upon a scam.
- Monitor your account activity in ComputerLine, MoneyLine, or the MSUFCU Mobile app, and be sure to immediately notify MSUFCU of any problems.
Always remember that you are responsible for your account. Never, under any circumstances, should you sell/provide your card information or PIN to anyone else. Don’t do someone a favor by giving away your card/PIN, or depositing a check for someone else. In the end, you are responsible for the activity your account.
Make yourself aware of these safety tips to protect yourself and your money!
Below are a few examples of known Payment or Money Transfer Scams and Mail Fraud. If you believe you have been a victim of these types of fraud, please contact MSUFCU immediately so that we can take the appropriate measures to protect your account.
Visit the FTC website for additional informaton on these types of scams and more.
Internet Payment Scams
From time to time, you may encounter payment or money transfer scams. In some instances, a buyer may be interested in purchasing an item you are selling and offers to overpay you with a cashier's check or wire. The buyer then requests that you return the remaining funds to them via wire transfer, MoneyGram, or Western Union. The payment sent to you via check or wire is fraudulent; no funds exist to cover the payment or the money you returned to the payee via your personal check.
In other instances, you may receive a check for a large amount via US mail, FedEx, or UPS that accompanies a survey. Often, the letter with the survey information instructs you to deposit the check to your account, and to later return a portion of the check via MoneyGram, Western Union, or wire transfer. Being asked to return a portion of a check to a third-party is a red-flag that the check you received is fraudulent.
Thieves can steal your mail from your mailbox, including checks you have issued to pay bills. The thief then uses a chemical to wash the ink off your check and make it out to themselves for a much larger dollar amount. If you live in community-based housing, such as an apartment complex, you may be especially vulnerable to this type of fraud.
Avoid this scam by dropping your mail off directly at the post office or in a secure mailbox, or use MSUFCU's Bill Payment service to eliminate paper payments.
There has been a recent increase in fraudulent text messages received by some MSUFCU members. Although these messages have not targeted MSUFCU directly, the institutions mentioned in the messages have included other credit unions based in the Mid-Michigan area. These text messages typically state that the recipient’s account has been closed or locked out and to call a long distance number in order to have it reinstated or unlocked. This message is fraudulent. MSUFCU will never contact you via text message to request account information. If you have given out any account information using the phone number provided with these fraudulent text messages, please contact us immediately.
In this tough economic climate, there have been more and more scammers eager to take advantage of those seeking work.
When applying for jobs online, use reputable websites and remember that the old adage "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" still applies. A recent scam has phony "employers" offering job candidates work but requires these applicants provide money upfront that the "employers" claim will later be refunded, or the "employers" provide a check for the applicants and request that they cash the check, forward a portion of the money to the "employer," and then keep the rest of the money for themselves as a signing bonus.
Don't fall for this updated version of what's commonly called the "Nigerian Payment Scam." The check provided to you by this scammer will wind up being fraudulent, and you will be out the money you forwarded along to the phony "employer" or the money you sent as an upfront payment for reasons such as credit report processing or equipment fees for a work-at-home opportunity.
Fraudulent emails known as phishing scams pose as your financial institution or other trusted business to try to obtain your personal and financial information online or by telephone. Learn more about phishing.
Nigerian Payment Scam
There are several variations of what is commonly called the "Nigerian Payment Scam." Scammers usually contact potential victims by email, explaining that they know of an international bank account containing millions of unclaimed dollars. If you claim to be the next of kin to the deceased owner of the account, the emailer promises to split the money with you. Variations of this story include a trust fund that the individual cannot claim from his militant government or an account held in a murdered family member's name.
Before the money can be obtained, the scammer will tell you that you must first provide thousands of dollars up front to pay for various fees. This email and its variations are scams. The email may even provide the address of an international bank where you can set up an account. The scammer then supposedly fills the account with millions of dollars to prove that it is not a scam. The bank and the money are not real and are used instead to gather your personal information for illegal use or to convince you to transfer funds to them yourself.
Although this type of fraud is not new, scammers have been increasingly using legitimate dating and social networking websites for "romance scams." Scammers will set up phony profiles on these sites, often with fake photographs and identities, and develop online friendships with other users. Once the scammers have gained the trust of their new online friend, they will request money for a variety of seemingly urgent situations. The scammer may claim that they need money to pay for a passport or airfare so they can travel to visit their online friend in person, or they may state that they need the money for an emergency and will pay it back. Any money sent to these scammers will not be returned or used for the purposes they claimed, and the scammers will often come up with different excuses for needing more and more money.
These types of situations occur on otherwise trustworthy and legitimate social networking and dating sites, so always use common sense when meeting new people online. Do not share personal information such as credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passport information, or passwords with others. Be extremely suspicious of anyone you meet online who asks you for money, no matter what reasons they provide for needing the funds.
Equipment like hidden cameras and card scanners can be illegally added to ATMs worldwide. These devices allow a thief to video record your PIN and scan your card number. The false scanner may also be set up to "eat" your card so that it is not returned. Once you have left the ATM, the thief returns and collects your card.
A device is added that receives your card
and stores its information.
A hidden camera is added to everyday
items to record your PIN.
MSUFCU ATMs are monitored daily to prevent this fraud. When using non-MSUFCU ATMs, please be sure to examine them carefully prior to use. If your card is taken, be sure to report this to MSUFCU immediately so that we may block the card and issue a new one.
Thieves may attempt to trick you into releasing sensitive information via telephone. The scammer will often speak quickly or attempt to confuse you. It is important to remember that businesses will never request information that they already have and that sensitive information should never be provided by phone or email if you did not originate contact.
Automated phone calls posing as trusted businesses or organizations state that the call recipient's card has been deactivated. To reactivate the card they need to press 1 and enter a full debit or credit card number and other card information
It's important to know that MSUFCU will NEVER contact you via telephone asking for credit card or account information. If you did not initiate the phone call, do NOT give out your credit card or account information. If you are unsure of whether the caller is a legitimate MSUFCU employee, end the call and call MSUFCU.
If you have received a call like this, please note the caller's number and report it to MSUFCU by using our Live Chat system, send us a secure email, or by call 517-333-2424 or 800-678-4968.
Visa Phone Scams
Phone scammers may pose as Visa security representatives, calling to verify unusual charges. The scammers will request you provide card information, including your Visa card number, expiration date, and security code for verification.
Scammers may also pose as Visa representatives soliciting cardholders because they have won a reward or prize. The caller will request card information for verification. Visa and MSUFCU do not solicit cardholders and will never request your credit card number.
Please know that MSUFCU does work with Visa Fraud Alert Management to monitor card activity and help prevent fraudulent Visa transactions on your account. Fraud Alert Management may contact you by telephone, or MSUFCU's Visa department may contact you via phone or email to confirm transactions should your Visa activity appear irregular. If you receive a call or email regarding your MSUFCU Visa and are uncertain as to its legitimacy, please feel free to contact us directly at 517-333-2424, 800-678-4968, or by secure email to review your Visa activity.