Important Member Alert: Tech Support Scams

Recently, we have learned that some of our First Financial members have fallen victim to a new line of scams – where fraudsters claim to be Microsoft or Apple tech support employees. Please read the following important details about this latest scam from the Federal Trade Commission.

How the Scam Works

Scammers may call, place alarming pop-up messages on your computer, offer free “security” scans, or set up fake websites – all to convince you that your computer is infected. The scammers try to get you on the phone, and then work to convince you there’s a problem. Finally, they ask you to pay them to fix that non-existent problem.

To convince you that both the scammers and the problems are real, the scammers may:

  • Pretend to be from a well-known company – like Microsoft or Apple.
  • Use technical terms.
  • Ask you to get on your computer and open some files – and then tell you those files show a problem (when they don’t).

Then, once they’ve convinced you that your computer has a problem, the scammers might:

  • Ask you to give them remote access to your computer – which lets them change your computer settings so your computer is vulnerable to attack.
  • Trick you into installing malware that gives them access to your computer and sensitive data, like user names and passwords.
  • Try to sell you software that’s worthless, or that you could get elsewhere for free.
  • Try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program.
  • Ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services, or services you could get elsewhere for free.
  • Direct you to websites and ask you to enter your credit card number and other personal information.

These scammers want to get your money, access to your computer, or both. But here’s what you can do to stop them.

If You Get a Call or Pop-Up

  • If you get an unexpected or urgent call from someone who claims to be tech support, hang up. It’s not a real call. And don’t rely on caller ID to prove who a caller is. Criminals can make caller ID seem like they’re calling from a legitimate company or a local number.
  • If you get a pop-up message that tells you to call tech support, ignore it. There are legitimate pop-ups from your security software to do things like update your operating system. But do not call a number that pops up on your screen in a warning about a computer problem.
  • If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly – but don’t use the phone number in the pop-up or on caller ID. Instead, look for the company’s contact information online, or on a software package or your receipt.
  • Never share passwords or give control of your computer to anyone who contacts you.

If You Were Scammed

  • Get rid of the malware. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything the software says is a problem.
  • Change any passwords that you shared with someone. Change the passwords on every account that uses passwords you shared.
  • If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card company and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any charges you didn’t make, and ask to reverse those, too. Report it to

Refund Scams

If you paid for tech support services, and you later get a call about a refund, that call is probably also a scam. Don’t give out any personal or financial information.

The refund scam works like this: Several months after a purchase, someone calls to ask if you were happy with the service. If you say no, the scammer offers a refund. Or, the caller says the company is going out of business and giving refunds. The scammer eventually asks for your credit card number, or asks for access to your bank account to make a deposit. But instead of putting money in your account, the scammer takes money from your account.

If you get any calls like this, hang up, and report it immediately:

If at anytime you feel any of your First Financial accounts may have been compromised in this or a similar scam, contact our Member Relationship Center right away at 732.312.1500. If your First Financial credit or debit cards were compromised in a scam, call the 24/7 toll-free number on the back of your card to report the incident and replace your card. All important phone numbers for members can be found on our website:

Article Source:

Important Member Notice: Same Day Electronic Payments

On September 15, 2017 Same Day ACH payments will be coming to merchants and billing companies. This means that if you agree to make an electronic payment, funds might be debited from your account as soon as the very same day. Previously, it may have taken a couple of days for payments to post. Starting on September 15th, this may no longer be the case.

When making a payment or paying a bill through ACH, available funds must be in your account. If the funds are not immediately available, we recommend you wait until funds are available before making the payment. If funds are not available and are debited from your account, we may charge you a fee. If you do not have overdraft protection, you will also incur an additional fee from the merchant or billing company.


1. What is an ACH payment/debit?

These are electronic debits that are commonly known as Direct Payment, Direct Debit, ACH Debit, Electronic Check or e-check, and similar terms.

2. Why is this changing?

As part of an effort to improve and modernize U.S. payments systems, electronic debit payments can now be processed same day. It is a nation wide regulation intended to provide faster access to funds.

3. What are the benefits?

Many merchants and billing companies may offer you the option to make a same day electronic payment, such as to pay a bill or to transfer funds. If you agree, then the funds might be debited from your account that same day. For example, if you have a bill due on the 20th of the month, the billing company might allow you to call or use its website on the morning of the 20th to make an on time payment, and also have the funds debited from your account on the 20th. While these types of payments won’t be reflected on your account balance as quickly as your debit card and ATM transactions, you will have access to more accurate information about your actual available account balance more frequently throughout the business day.

4. Who offers same day payments?

Merchants and billing companies may have an option for same day payment. As soon as that same day, funds may be debited from your account. We recommend that you do not make a payment unless sufficient funds are in your account.

5. What will happen if I make a payment and it is processed before sufficient funds are available in my account?

If you have overdraft protection the payment will go through, but you will incur an overdraft fee. If you do not have overdraft protection – the payment will be returned and you will incur a return fee, plus you may also incur another fee from the merchant or billing company. If you are interested in overdraft protection please contact our Member Relationship Center during business hours at 732-312-1500.

6. Will this affect me if I use Bill Pay or have a scheduled recurring payment?

If a payment is scheduled to be made on a certain day, the electronic payment will be processed and funds may be debited from your account that day. For example, if a bill/automatic payment is scheduled for the 20th of every month, please make sure those funds are available before the 20th.

7. What can I do to prevent my account from being overdrawn?

We offer account alerts via email and text message so that you can stay up-to-date on your account status. To set up these alerts, please click here and follow the enrollment steps.

We also offer overdraft lines of credit. To apply for an overdraft line of credit, please call our Member Relationship Center at 732-312-1500.

If you have any questions about same day ACH, please do not hesitate to contact us.

-First Financial Federal Credit Union



Important Member Alert: Equifax Data Breach

On September 7, 2017 Equifax disclosed that they discovered a data breach on July 29, 2017 and it may have impacted 143 million consumers in the United States. Equifax is one of the 3 main organizations in the U.S. that calculates credit scores, so it has access to an extraordinary amount of personal and financial data for virtually every American adult.

The company stated that hackers accessed data between mid-May and July through a vulnerability in a web application. They were able to obtain names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver’s license numbers, and about 209,000 credit card numbers.  Additionally 182,000 “dispute documents” containing personal identifying data were compromised in the breach. They have not indicated who is behind the breach and the investigation is ongoing. Equifax is maintaining that its core credit reporting databases were unaffected.

The reason why this data breach is so severe is because nearly half of the U.S. population has been impacted and most likely will feel the impact of the breach for years to come, especially when it comes to information that does not change, i.e. your Social Security Number.

Equifax has established a dedicated website, – to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information.

Equifax recommends that consumers with additional questions visit or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern standard time. In addition to the website, Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.

Additional information on the data breach can be found here. To see if you may have been impacted, get started here.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Be sure to enroll in First Financial’s Identity Theft Protection Program from Sherpa. The best part? You can enroll right online, 24/7. You can trust in First Financial and Sherpa to help keep your personal information protected. Packages begin at just $5.99 per month – so click here to enroll today! Learn more about safeguarding your identity with our consumer identity theft protection guide.

Enroll your First Financial Debit/Credit Cards in Visa Purchase Alerts – you’ll get an email each time your Debit Card is used over an amount you set, when your card is used outside the country, or when your card is used to make a purchase online or over the phone. Credit Cardholders also have the additional option of adding a text alert, this can be set-up in Online Banking under your Credit Card account (select the Communications tab and then Visa Transaction Alerts).

As always, First Financial monitors our member accounts for suspicious activity. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at 732.312.1500 or email us at

*9/11/17 Update – Please be advised that should you elect to sign up for Equifax’s one year of credit monitoring, you may be giving up your right to sue the company for the incident, and you could be prevented from joining a class-action lawsuit.

The language was laid out in the original terms of service by Equifax:


On 9/11/17 Equifax provided an update on their website to state: 

Adjusted the TrustedID Premier and Clarified
“We’ve added an FAQ to our website to confirm that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights to take legal action. We removed that language from the Terms of Use on the website, The Terms of Use on do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident. 
We are listening to issues consumers have experienced and their suggestions. These are helping to further inform our actions, and we are now sharing regular updates on this website. Thank you for your continued patience and feedback as we continue to improve this process.”

Article source: 

Local Alert: Skimming Device Found on Point Pleasant NJ Rite Aid ATM

A skimming device was found on a local ATM in Point Pleasant, New Jersey at Bridge Avenue Rite Aid on July 24th. However, it is suspected that the device was placed around July 17th.  If you used this ATM – you should monitor your bank statements and change your card PIN numbers. Anyone who discovers any unauthorized activity on their account should contact the Point Pleasant Police Department to file a report. If you are a First Financial member and used one of your First Financial cards at this ATM, please call Member Services at 732-312-1500.

To read the full article from Patch, click here.

Please be careful of such devices and be sure to protect yourself and your bank account by using the following steps:

  • Use secure ATM machines under video surveillance or inside of a bank lobby. They’re less likely to be tampered with!
  • Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally looks like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
  • Don’t use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, fits poorly, or is loose.Some thieves place a fake box over the card slot that reads and records account and PIN numbers.
  • Call the customer service number on the ATM immediately if a machine appears suspiciousor if it does not function properly.

Don’t become a fraud victim!

Important Member Alert: Kmart Data Breach

First Financial has been notified that some of our members’ Debit and Credit Cards used at Kmart between September 3, 2016 and April 30, 2017 may be at risk.

Gareth Glynne, Senior Vice President of Kmart – released the following statement about the data breach: “We recently became aware Kmart was a victim of a security incident involving unauthorized credit card activity after certain customer purchases at some of our stores. We immediately launched a thorough investigation and engaged leading IT security experts to review our systems and secure the affected part of our network. Our investigation to date indicates our Kmart store payment data systems were infected with a form of malicious code (similar to a computer virus) that was undetectable by current anti-virus systems. Once aware of the new malicious code, we quickly removed it and contained the event. We are confident that our customers can safely use their credit and debit cards in our retail stores. Based on the forensic investigation, NO PERSONAL identifying information – including names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates and email addresses – was obtained by those criminally responsible. However, we believe certain credit card numbers have been compromised. All Kmart stores were EMV “Chip and Pin” technology enabled during the time that the breach occurred, and we believe the exposure to cardholder data that can be used to create counterfeit cards is limited. There is no evidence that or Sears customers were impacted nor that debit PIN numbers were compromised.

  • View the entire alert message from Kmart here.

If you visited Kmart during this time period and used a First Financial card, we urge you to monitor your First Financial account.  If you would like, please visit a branch location to replace your debit card, or contact our Member Relationship Center at 732.312.1500 to have a new Debit Card ordered.  If you used a First Financial credit card, please call 866.820.3808 to receive a replacement card.

Enroll your First Financial Debit/Credit Cards in Visa Purchase Alerts – you’ll get an email each time your Debit Card is used over an amount you set, when your card is used outside the country, or when your card is used to make a purchase online or over the phone. Credit Cardholders also have the additional option of adding a text alert, this can be set-up in Online Banking under your Credit Card account (select the Communications tab and then Visa Transaction Alerts).

As always, First Financial continues to monitor our member accounts for suspicious activity. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at 732.312.1500 or email us at


Important Member Alert: Letters Arriving in Ocean County are Ripoffs

alert-resized-600Forget it, scammer.

We don’t have an unknown relative who died 10 years ago and left $9.2 million unclaimed. And we’re not going to email you back to get more information, either. The letter you sent is going right in the trash. Thanks!

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is warning residents of a new bunch of scam letters that are hitting mailboxes. It uses the name of TD Canada along with the TD bank logo to entice people to keep reading.

It’s a version of a classic Nigerian scam in which the fraudsters seeks help moving a vast sum of money. All you need to do is pay some fees or taxes and you’ll get a cut or reward. Don’t do it.

‘Easy money’

“It’s again, the lure of easy money. That’s it,” said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office has received several reports about the letter in the last week.

Former Toms River Mayor Paul C. Brush got a copy and sent it to authorities. “It is an epidemic in this country,” Brush said of scams. “When I saw this letter and how authentic it looked, I decided to send it” to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

The scammer claimed to be from TD Canada and the letter had TD Bank’s green logo, Brush said. But the return address on the envelope was Costco Wholesale.

Fraudsters use symbols of legitimate companies, downloaded off the Internet, to create fake papers. Afterward, they are emailed or mailed as part of a scam to steal personal information or money, the prosecutor’s office said.

The letter told Brush that he had a previously unknown relative by the name of Joe Brush who lived in England. (The letter did strike a chord as Brush’s family background included relatives in England hundreds of years ago.)

“Nevertheless I have contacted you with genuine intentions and I hope I can trust you with this inheritance opportunity which I will explain below,” states the letter from a “Mr. Peter Andrew Timo.”

Next of kin

It turns out a relative died and he found Brush’s address and name in a search for a next of kin. He couldn’t locate other relatives. “Since he is from your country and you both share the same last name, it easy (sic) for you to become his official next of kin,” the letter states. Joe Brush left an account worth $9.2 million, the letter added.

Brush didn’t take it seriously. “It was such an outrageous amount of money that I knew it wasn’t right,” he said.

This guy offered to help Brush list himself as an “extended relative” while he propped up his claim “from the inside.”

“I assure you that this transaction would be handled under due inheritance procedures and every necessary legitimate arrangement will be put in place to make you the real beneficiary of the inheritance funds,” the letter states. It asked that the matter remain confidential until the money is received. (That’s a “huge red flag,” the prosecutor’s office said.)

“Once the funds are released to you, it will be shared between the two of us,” the letter said.

The letter encouraged Brush to send an email to a Gmail address for more information. But he sent it to authorities instead.

“It’s a total ridiculous scam,” Della Fave said.

As always, First Financial continues to monitor our member accounts for suspicious activity. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at 866.750.0100 or email us at

Be sure to enroll in our newest, upgraded Identity Theft Protection Program from Sherpa – don’t wait until it’s too late! The best part? You can enroll right online, 24/7. You can trust in First Financial and Sherpa to help keep your personal information protected. Packages begin at just $5.99 per month – click here to enroll today!

*Original article source courtesy of David P. Willis of the Asbury Park Press.