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Miscellaneous Security Tips

Mar 29, 2012

Card Skimmers

Crooks install hard-to-spot card readers, called skimmers, on top of card readers built into gas station pumps. The skimmers grab the account information from the card without interfering with the legitimate payment transaction. Then this data is used to create or clone fake debit or credit cards that are used at ATMs.

Card thieves are becoming more and more sophisticated with the use of technology. Tiny cameras that record PIN numbers; others use fake keypads that slip over the real keypad and transmit the PIN code as it is entered. Also, wireless transmitters are installed inside the pump at gas stations. Thieves sit in the parking lot with a laptop and receive real-time information as victims uses their credit cards at the pump. These devices when placed on the outside of the card reader often can be very difficult to see.

Employers should make certain that all employees that use company credit cards are aware of these scams. The safest way to avoid card skimming is to take the card inside to the cashier to run the charge.

Shoppers Sweepstakes Notification

A letter is received informing you as one of the declared winners and the company has been unsuccessful contacting you regarding this winning sum of money. To expedite the processing, a check is enclosed which has been supposedly deducted from the winnings. The purpose of the check is the payment of applicable Government Taxes. The check is more than is needed for taxes so the letter instructs the tax money to be paid by Western Union or Money Gram and the remainder kept. The check is deposited and the taxes are sent to a third party. The check is fraudulent or counterfeit and you are left "holding the bag".

Secret Shopper Mystery Shopper Program

You are selected to participate in a paid position evaluating selected retail stores, restaurants and various establishments, making predetermined purchases and evaluating the Customer Service of stores and service providers. A check is sent to cover the first week of assignments. Explicit instructions are given to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the payment system called Money Gram/Western Union. You pose as a potential customer by sending a Money Gram/Western Union to a training agent after the check is deposited into a bank or credit union account. The check is returned after the hold period as "Account Closed" or "Account Unable to Find."

Signals for these types of Scams- Individuals who immediately request or demand for a check to be deposited with no holds or a comment that a portion of the check is going to be sent to a third party by money order or Western Union.

Telephone Scam

The telephone call is either an automated call or from a live person claiming to be from a financial institution (bank or credit union), advising the recipient's card has been suspended and needs to be re-activated. The automated call or live person asks you to press #1 to be transferred to the security department and enter your account information.

Safeguards- These are scams. Personal information, account numbers, PIN numbers or social security numbers are not solicited via telephone, email or text message. If a suspicious request is received; do not respond and contact your financial institution immediately.