Scam and Fraud Alerts

Equifax Data Breach September 2017

A data breach at Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, recently exposed the personal, nonpublic information of over 143 Million U.S. consumers.

 

The breach took place from mid-May through July 2017. Hackers accessed consumers’ names, social security numbers, birth dates, driver licenses, addresses and more.

 

Pinellas Federal Credit Union encourages you to learn about the Equifax breach and take all steps necessary to protect your personal information.

 

  • Visit the Equifax website to see if the breach may have compromised your information
  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – for free – at annualcreditreport.com
  • Consider placing a freeze or fraud alert on your credit file
  • Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity
  • File your taxes early

If you notice unusual activity on your Pinellas Federal Credit Union accounts and suspect you may have become a victim of identity theft or fraud, please immediately call Member Services at 727.586.4422 or stop by any branch location.

 

Pinellas Federal Credit Union offers Member Security Center, a service that monitors, detects and alerts you to suspicious activities regarding your identity. This service also offers restoration services in the event that you become a victim of identity theft 
 


FTC Warns of Hurricane Scams September 12, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission has information for people affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and for those who want to contribute to relief efforts.

 

If you’d like to donate money to a charity, the FTC blog post, Make your hurricane donations count, describes how to make sure your dollars go to the causes you support. An infographic, How to Verify a Hurricane Relief Charity, summarizes this information.

 

After natural disasters, unlicensed contractors and scammers often promise clean-up and debris removal, but some of them want payment up-front for work they never do, and others lack the skills, licenses, and insurance to legally do the work. The blog post, Avoid hurricane clean-up scams, has tips to protect yourself, your property and your money. An infographic, The Scam: What to Do, summarizes this information.

 

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow the FTC on Twitter, read FTC blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

 

Click this link to read this article and accompanying links on the FTC Site

 

 


 

Ransomware

Ransomware stops you from using your PC. It holds your PC or files for "ransom". This information from Microsoft's Malware Protection Center describes what ransomware is, what it does and provides advice on how to prevent and recover from ransomware infections.

What does ransomware do?

There are different types of ransomware. However, all of them will prevent you from using your PC normally and they will all ask you to do something before you can use your PC. They can target any PC user, whether it’s a home computer, endpoints in an enterprise network or servers used by a government agency or healthcare provider.

 

Ransomware can:

  • Prevent you from accessing Windows.
  • Encrypt files so you can't use them.
  • Stop certain apps from running (like your web browser).

Ransomware will demand that you pay money (a “ransom”) to get access to your PC or files. They may also make you complete surveys. There is no guarantee that paying the fine or doing what the ransomware tells you will give access to your PC or files again.

Details for home users

There are two types of ransomware – lockscreen ransomware and encryption ransomware.

  • Lockscreen ransomware shows a full-screen message that prevents you from accessing your PC or files. It says you have to pay money (a “ransom”) to get access to your PC again.
  • Encryption ransomware changes your files so you can’t open them. It does this by encrypting the files.

Older versions usually claim you have done something illegal with your PC and that you are being fined by a police force or government agency. These claims are false: a scare tactic designed to make you pay the money without telling anyone who might be able to restore your PC. Newer versions encrypt the files on your PC so you can’t access them, and then simply demand money to restore your files.

 

Ransomware can get on your PC from nearly any source that any other malware (including viruses) can come from. This includes:

  • Visiting unsafe, suspicious or fake websites.
  • Opening emails and email attachments from people you don’t know or that you weren’t expecting.
  • Clicking on malicious or bad links in emails, Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts and instant messenger chats like Skype.

It can be very difficult to restore your PC after a ransomware attack – especially if it’s infected by encryption ransomware. That’s why the best solution to ransomware is to be safe on the Internet and with emails and online chat:

  • Don’t click on a link on a webpage, in an email or in a chat message unless you absolutely trust the page or sender.
  • If you’re ever unsure – don’t click it!
  • Often fake emails and webpages have bad spelling or just look unusual. Look out for strange spellings of company names (like “PayePal” instead of “PayPal”) or unusual spaces, symbols or punctuation (like “iTunesCustomer Service” instead of “iTunes Customer Service”).

Check Microsoft's Support Center and frequently asked questions for more information about ransomware, including troubleshooting tips in case you’re infected and how you can backup your files to help protect yourself from ransomware.
 

 


 

Robocall "Can You Hear Me?" Scam - February 16, 2017

Consumers are being advised of a new robocall scam. If you receive a phone call asking, "Can you hear me?" hang up; do NOT say yes.

 

The objective of the scam is to get the victim to respond with "yes." The affirmative response is recorded and used to authorized unwanted charges on a phone bill, utility bill or stolen credit card. To make the transaction appear legitimate, the scammer may even have collected some personal information about the victim. Later, when the victim disputes the unwanted fraudulent charge(s), the scammer will play a recording of the victim saying "yes" to validate and say the victim approved of the charge(s).

 

The best way to prevent becoming a victim of a telephone scam? Do NOT answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. If you do happen to answer one of these calls, simply hang up WITHOUT responding.

 

Take these steps if you suspect you might be a victim of this scam:

  • Check your credit card, phone or utility statements for unauthorized charges.
  • Dispute the unauthorized charge(s) immediately with your billing company.
  • If you are told you have been reported as approving the charge(s), request proof.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or National Do Not Call Registry
 


Heartbleed Vulnerability April 15, 2014

Information about the Heartbleed vulnerability (commonly-referred to as the "Heartbleed Bug") went public recently. Heartbleed is a vulnerability discovered in Open SSL encryption software, widely used to secure internet websites. The weakness enables unauthorized individuals to steal internet users' protected names and passwords.

 

Pinellas Federal Credit Union has verified that all of our member systems, such as home banking and online bill pay, are NOT utilizing vulnerable versions of Open SSL software and remain unaffected by the Heartbleed "bug." We will continue to vigilantly monitor the situation and work with our software vendors to ensure that our systems remain secure and members' information remains safe and sound.

 

As always, we recommend that you regularly monitor your accounts - online or otherwise - to guard against possible intrusion. Use "Strong Passwords" and change them frequently. If you suspect your passwords have become compromised, change them immediately.

 

For information about the Heartbleed vulnerability visit: www.heartbleed.com

For a list of affected sites visit: The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now

For security tips visit: How to Protect Yourself from the Heartbleed Bug

 


Target Credit and Debit Card Account Data Breach December 19, 2013

Target has confirmed approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred between November 27 and December 15, 2013. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, three-digit security codes and card expiration dates. The breach occurred at points of sale and did not affect online purchases. For details regarding the breach, visit the Target website.

 

Pinellas Federal Credit Union's systems remain safe and secure. Although Pinellas Federal Credit Union bears no responsibility concerning the Target security breach, we will monitor the situation and be proactive in communications, should it be determined that our membership is affected.

 

If you suspect fraudulent activity has occurred on your account, please visit your nearest Pinellas Federal Credit Union branch or contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union immediately.

 

Mon-Fri - 8am-5pm: (727) 586-4422
After business hours: (866) 853-0151

 

 
 


Protect Yourself from Suspected Fraudulent Calls - July 11, 2013

Be cautious of potential telephone scams, where consumers receive what appear to be suspicious phone calls saying their debit card has been compromised and deactivated. Some messages direct consumers to call a phone number to reactivate the card and then a message instructs them to enter their account number and other personal information.

 

To protect yourself: if you receive what you think is a suspicious call (or text), asking for personal account information, contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union to verify if it is legitimate.

 

For your security, here are a few tips to help protect yourself from scams of this nature:

 

  • NEVER respond to an unsolicited phone call, email or text message that asks you to provide your account number, credit or debit card number, credit card validation code (CVC), Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Social Security Number.
     
  • NEVER open an email and/or accompanying attachment that seems suspicious. It may contain a virus that may harm your computer, spyware for stealing passwords and account information, or links that may direct you to a fraudulent website.

Official Check Fraud Alert - February 4, 2013

Pinellas Federal Credit Union has become aware that counterfeit official checks are being used as part of a scam in an attempt to defraud consumers. These purported "official checks" are FRAUDULENT ITEMS, are NOT drawn on Pinellas Federal Credit Union, and will NOT be honored.

 

If you receive an unsolicited "official check" and are concerned about its validity, please contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union to verify the validity of the item before attempting to cash or deposit it into your account. If you attempt to negotiate a fraudulent item, you will be responsible for any losses that may result.

 

If you suspect fraudulent activity has occurred on your account, please visit your nearest Pinellas Federal Credit Union branch or contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union immediately at (727) 586-4422.

 

Mon-Fri - 8am-5pm: (727) 586-4422
After business hours: (866) 853-0151


 

 


Members Receive Fraudulent Calls and/or Text Messages - November 28, 2012

Several members have reported receiving suspicious phone calls and text messages telling them their debit card has been deactivated. The message directs them to press a key to continue the conversation and/or to enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN).

 

Please be advised that this is a SCAM designed as an attempt to obtain your personal, nonpublic information and compromise your account. Pinellas Federal Credit Union has NOT originated any of these phone calls or text messages, and would not contact you by phone, text message or email to ask for your PIN or Social Security Number.

 

For your security, here are a few tips to help protect yourself from scams of this nature:

 

  • NEVER respond to an unsolicited phone call, email or text message that asks you to provide your account number, credit or debit card number, credit card validation code (CVC), Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Social Security Number.
     
  • NEVER open an email and/or accompanying attachment that seems suspicious. It may contain a virus that may harm your computer, spyware for stealing passwords and account information, or links that may direct you to a fraudulent website.

Debit Card Fraud - Various Dates

Some Pinellas Federal Credit Union members have experienced fraudulent debit card activity on their accounts. To protect our membership, Pinellas Federal Credit Union is temporarily blocking certain debit transactions processed at merchant locations in these affected area(s):

  

  • State of California
  • State of North Carolina
  • State of South Carolina
  • Selected Zip Code Areas of Florida
  • Quebec, Canada
  • Thailand

Please be assured that Pinellas Federal Credit Union's member information has not been breached, compromised or hacked. Pinellas Federal Credit Union and our members' information remain safe and secure.

 

If you suspect fraudulent activity has occurred on your account, please visit your nearest Pinellas Federal Credit Union branch or contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union immediately.

 

Mon-Fri - 8am-5pm: (727) 586-4422
After business hours: (866) 853-0151

 


 


Fictitious Official Check Scam Alert / Marketing Survey - March 27, 2012

Pinellas Federal Credit Union has become aware that counterfeit cashier's checks, supposedly drawn on Pinellas Federal Credit Union, are being used as part of a scam to defraud consumers. These purported "cashier's checks" are FRAUDULENT ITEMS and are NOT drawn on Pinellas Federal Credit Union.

 

The most common scam of which we are aware involves receiving a cashier's check in return for participating in a marketing survey.

 

If you receive an unsolicited "cashier's check" and are concerned about its validity, please contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union to verify funds availability and validity of the item before attempting to cash or deposit it into your account. If you attempt to negotiate a fraudulent item, you will be responsible for any losses that may result.

 

You may contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union Monday through Friday
from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST at (727) 586-4422.

 

If you suspect fraudulent activity has occurred on your account, please visit your nearest Pinellas Federal Credit Union branch or contact Pinellas Federal Credit Union immediately.

 

Mon-Fri - 8am-5pm: (727) 586-4422
After business hours: (866) 853-0151