We are once again receiving reports from members that they are receiving strange text messages about fraud on their account followed by a phone call from a person pretending to be from the credit union.
The person has been asking for sensitive information that our employees would never request our member provide to us, such as:
- Sending money through payment apps, like Zelle, to stop fees from being charged or to stop their account from being closed, or to “test” that their payment app is configured correctly. THE CREDIT UNION WILL NEVER ASK YOU TO DO THIS!
- Sending a verification code to members and asking them to provide online banking credentials to “confirm their identity”. THE CREDIT UNION WILL NEVER ASK YOU TO DO THIS!
This person will try to make the matter seem urgent and time sensitive, while also seeming pleasant and helpful. However, this is part all of the trick to make you feel pressured in to giving up your personal information, without hesitation. Don’t fall for it, that’s part of the scam. Hang up immediately.
THIS IS A CLASSIC PHISING ATTEMPT! HANG UP IMMEDIATELY AND DO NOT GIVE THIS PERSON ANY INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT OR ABOUT YOURSELF!
If you have received a phone call like this, hang up immediately and call our main line 507-288-0330 and tell us exactly what occurred and what information (if any) you shared with the scammer. We will be able to confirm the call was a scam and can help you take immediate action to preserve your personal information.
How Payment App Scams Work
Step 1: You will receive a account alert via a text message appearing to come from the credit union, such as an alert about a suspicious debit card transaction.
Step 2: The fraudsters call you if you respond to the text message through a spoofed number and will claim to be from the credit union. This is a RED FLAG: This is not how the First Alliance fraud program operates, if you receive a suspicious purchase notification text message from our system you must be the one to initiate a call to our fraud team.
Step 3: Fraudsters con you into providing your online banking usernames to "verify" your identity. This is a RED FLAG: This is not information First Alliance would ever ask you to provide to us for any reason. If someone asks you for this information do not provide it and hang up immediately.
Step 4: The fraudsters uses the "forgot password" feature for online banking to trigger the two factor authentication passcode to be sent to your phone via another text message, which they will claim is part of the verification process. The text message coming from First Alliance explicitly states that we will not ask you for this information, if someone asks you for the code this is another RED FLAG. Do not give it to them, hang up immediately.
Step 5: The fraudsters reset your online banking passwords and login to your account to send money to themselves from your account through Zelle.
How Do the Scammers Get My Phone Number?
Unfortunately, cell phone numbers are very easy to get. Commonly, scammers will purchases lists of cell phone numbers and pick their targets in a geographic area. In the case of this scam, South East Minnesota is the targeted area.
Has My Data Been Compromised?
We can confirm that no member data has been compromised as part of this scam. The scammers are contacting both members and non-members, which indicates they have a list of cell phone numbers. The credit union's data systems are under 24/7/365 protection with sophisticated and highly secure encryption and other security measures to protect member data.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself From This Scam?
The best thing you can do is hang up the phone immediately and do not share any information or answer any of their questions about yourself. Keep these important points in mind as well:
- Remember that First Alliance Credit Union will NEVER contact you to send any type of payments to us via Zelle or any other type of payment system.
- We will NEVER call our members and ask for personal information.
- We will NEVER ask our members to provide us with their online banking credentials.
- We will NEVER send you or ask you for a verification code for online banking or for any service.
- If you receive a phone call and you have any doubt whatsoever in regard to who you are speaking to, hang up and contact us right away.
- NEVER provide personal information in response to a text mess or phone call that may seem to come from the credit union.
- NEVER share your username or password for your online banking with anyone.
- If you haven't already added a verbal password to your First Alliance account when calling our Member Contact Center, do so as soon as possible. Once your password has been created, never share it with anyone.
Please be very vigilant about this scam and the potential for other scams. It is important that you do not share any information about yourself or your account with someone you don't know. If you have received a call like this recently, please contact us right away at (507) 288-0330 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Information to About Scams and Fraud:
Keeping yourself safe from fraud and scams is possible. Keep reading these additional resources to become more educated on the signs of a scam to keep yourself safe.
- What You Need to Know About Payment App Fraud
- Steps to Take to Protect Yourself from Internet Fraud
- What You Need to Know About Identity Theft
- Avoiding Common Phone Scams
- COVID-19 Isn't Stopping Scammers
- What is Caller ID Spoofing?
You can also listen to our Good Money Moves podcast episodes on the topic of identify theft, scams, and fraud to be more informed and further protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.