Phone Phishing Scam for Credit Card Numbers and Expiration Dates

alert-resized-600We have been informed that some members have been receiving phone calls phishing for their credit card information.

Below is an example of what has occurred:

  • The calls begin as an automated call regarding an offer for a lower credit card rate.
  • Once the individual picks up, the scammer offers them a lower rate on their VISA or Mastercard.
  • The scammer asks for the credit card number and expiration date for verification to see if the member is eligible for the offer.
  • Calls are coming from 440-617-5620.

As a reminder, please do not provide your credit or debit card information or expiration date to anyone who may call you. If you have released any information on a First Financial credit or debit card to the above mentioned caller, please report it immediately to 732-312-1500.

We also suggest that you request your free annual credit report to ensure that there are no unauthorized accounts.

Go “e” and switch to E-Statements Today!

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It’s time to make the switch to E-Statements! We are encouraging all First Financial members to discontinue receiving printed paper statements and make the switch to E-Statements this spring. 

E-Statements are encouraged in order to be environmentally conscious and they save the credit union thousands of dollars each year in printing unnecessary paper waste.  E-Statements allow you to view your account balances and transactions from the month at any time and are more secure, resulting in added value to your First Financial membership and the reduction of identity theft exposure.

Fact: If every household utilized Online Banking and E-Statements, the money saved could send more than 17,000 high school graduates to a public university for a year. WireandTwine.com

How can you go “e” and protect our planet just in time for Earth Day?   

Sign up to receive E-Statements by:

  • Logging into your First Financial Online Banking account and under the “Accounts” tab on the left side of the page, selecting “Statements” and then “Enroll in E-Statements.”  Next you will need to review the Electronic Statement Consent and enter your email address in the box. Then click on the statement sample link and obtain a 4 digit PIN. Enter the PIN in the box and click “I agree.”
  • Next, back at the Online Banking main page – under the Preferences tab click Statement Delivery. You must set-up for electronic statements by clicking on the button that pertains to each account number to receive electronic statements.  Click on all related accounts, such as minor accounts if you would like to receive any minor E-Statements with your login. Enter the email address, and review the Statement Delivery Agreement. Check the “I agree to the terms of the agreement” box and click submit.
  • Then back at the Online Banking page one last time – under the Accounts tab click on Statements again, and you can set-up email notification to receive an email when your E-Statement is available for viewing in Online Banking. Click on the email notification link and click the button next to “Yes, send me an email when new statements are available.” Enter your email address and click “save.” All notifications can only go to one email address.

If you don’t have First Financial Online Banking access yet, stop into any branch, give us a call at 866.750.0100, or visit our website at firstffcu.com to enroll.  You can enroll on our homepage by clicking the “enroll in Online Banking” tab underneath the Online Banking login.

If you are the parent or guardian of a minor, you may choose to enroll the minor within Online Banking for their own E-Statements, or you can choose to link the minor’s account to your own and view their E-Statements.  For those members who do not have a computer or Internet access, they can choose to visit their local branch each month and utilize our in-branch computer kiosks – or members can ask for one paper statement copy to be printed out within the branch during the current month’s statement period. 

Fact: If all households paid bills online and received E-Statements – 18.5 million trees, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and 1.7 billion lbs. of solid waste would be saved. WireandTwine.com

There’s so much to love about E-Statements – including the Earth, so make the switch today!

Credit Card Surcharge to Take Effect January 27, 2013

iStock_000017073811XSmall-300x199As a result of a recent court settlement between retailers and the credit card industry, merchants can now pass along their payment processing costs to consumers who pay with a credit cardbeginning January 27, 2013. Please be advised that merchants who choose to exercise this surcharge, sometimes referred to as a “checkout fee,” could subsequently increase your credit card purchase amount by as much as 4% (the maximum allowed).

Under the settlement:

  • The surcharge cannot exceed the amount that the merchant actually pays to accept credit cards – normally between 1.5% and 3% of the transaction amount.
  • Surcharges can be imposed on credit card transactions only, not on purchases made with debit cards or prepaid cards.
  • Merchants must disclose the credit card surcharge clearly – at the store entrance and the point of sale or on the homepage if the merchant does business on the Internet.
  • The disclosure must include the amount of the surcharge, the fact that the fee is being charged by the merchant, and that the fee does not exceed the merchant’s cost to accept credit cards.
  • The dollar amount of the surcharge must appear on the transaction receipt.

Merchants are not allowed to impose a credit card surcharge in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma or Texas, where such fees are prohibited under state law.

Visit the links below for more information on checkout fees:

To see our previous blog post on checkout fees, click here.

 

Warning: Beware of Spam E-Mails Being Sent to Postal Customers

alert-resized-600Some postal customers are receiving bogus e-mails about a package delivery or online postage charges. The e-mails contain a link or attachment that, when opened, installs a malicious virus that can steal personal information from your PC.

The e-mails claim to be from the U.S. Postal Service and contain fraudulent information about an attempted or intercepted package delivery or online postage charges. You are instructed to click on a link, open the attachment, or print the label. But Postal Inspectors warn: DON’T DO IT!

Like most viruses sent by e-mail, clicking on the link or opening the attachment will activate a virus that can steal information—such as your user name, password, and financial account information.

What to do? Simply delete the message without taking any further action. The Postal Inspection Service is working hard to resolve the issue and shut down the malicious program.

If you have questions about a delivery or wish to report spam, please call 1-800-ASK-USPS or e-mail spam@usps.gov.

 

Warning: Hurricane Sandy Scam Tips

iWarningWATCH FOR SCAMS: First Financial, the U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, the FBI, and the National Center for Disaster Fraud urge those wanting to give money to assist with victims of Hurricane Sandy to use caution.

Before making a donation of any kind or providing any personal information, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions or claims to be from your bank and lost your information due to outages. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Be cautious of individuals representing themselves as victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.
  • Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
  • Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the existence and legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by using Internet-based resources.
  • Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because those files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • To ensure that contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make donations directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
  • Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.
  • Avoid cash donations if possible. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift. Also, do not make checks payable to individuals, make sure it is written out to the charity or organization.
  • Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services.
  • Most legitimate charities maintain websites ending in .org rather than .com. Some are using names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. One way to verify they are legitimate is to check the IRS’s online information on exempt organizations and use the Exempt Organizations Select Check search feature or the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud by a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of hurricane victims, or if you discover fraudulent disaster relief claims submitted by a person or organization, contact the NCDF by phone at 866-720-5721, fax at 225-334-4707 or email at disaster@leo.gov. You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

In addition, if there has been any fraudulent activity on any of your First Financial accounts, please contact us immediately at 866.750.0100 or info@firstffcu.com.

Social Security Checks will go Paperless in 2013

Effective March 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration will no longer issue paper checks. You will need to complete these 3 steps before the above date – IT’S THE LAW!

Recipients of benefits will have to choose from the following 2 options:

  1. Direct Deposit: Your money will be sent directly to your First Financial bank account. You will need to have your account information on hand when you sign up.
  2. Direct Express® Debit MasterCard®: Your money will be posted to a prepaid debit card account on payment day.
Have the following information on hand:
  • Social Security number or claim number
  • 12-digit federal benefit check number
  • Amount of most recent federal benefit check
  • First Financial’s routing transit number – 231278339
  • Membership number
Then, visit any First Financial Branch or call us at 866.750.0100, go online to www.GoDirect.org or you can also call 1-800-333-1795 Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm.