Caller ID Spoofing Can Also Include Equifax Data Breach Fraudsters

You recently saw our blog post about Caller ID Spoofing, a new scam where fraudsters fake a company phone number and pretend they are a representative from that organization. This scam can also include fraudsters posing to be Equifax representatives who are calling to confirm stolen information or gain your personal financial information in the wake of the scam.

Ring, ring. “This is Equifax calling to verify your account information.” Stop. Don’t tell them anything. They’re not from Equifax. It’s a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue.

That’s just one scam you might see after Equifax’s recent data breach. Other calls might try to trick you into giving your personal information. Here are some tips for recognizing and preventing phone scams and imposter scams:

  • Don’t give personal information. Don’t provide any personal or financial information unless you’ve initiated the call and it’s to a phone number you know is correct.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can spoof their numbers so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, even when they’re not.
  • If you get a robocall, hang up. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

If you’ve already received a call that you think is fake, report it to the FTC.

If you gave your personal information to an imposter, it’s time to change any compromised passwords, account numbers or security questions.

Still wondering what to do if you think your personal financial information may have been compromised in the Equifax Data Breach?

Review your credit report. Once a year, you can get a credit report for free by visiting annualcreditreport.com. This will include information from all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Consider a Credit Freeze. If you aren’t applying for any new loans, consider freezing your credit. This prevents fraudsters from applying for new accounts in your name – while preserving access for lenders you already use. To place a freeze on your credit, you must submit to all three bureaus:

Create a fraud alert. If you opt against a credit freeze, consider putting a fraud alert on file. This will warn creditors that your information was compromised, and require them to verify your identity before establishing any new accounts. Instructions are available here.

Consider a Credit Monitoring Service. If you’re concerned about identity theft, enroll in Sherpa identity theft protection from First Financial. 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!

More information is available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here.

Article Sources: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-isnt-calling?utm_source=govdelivery and https://www.menendez.senate.gov/

 

New Scam Alert: Caller ID Spoofing

Scammers are now using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they’re someone who can be trusted. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers can basically fake anyone’s phone number and allow you to think they are a representative from a company.

There are even reports that scammers are spoofing the FTC’s Consumer Response Center phone number (877-382-4357). But don’t let that stop you from reporting scammers — it’s still safe to call the FTC Consumer Response Center, and it’s also safe to report scammers online.

If you’ve submitted a report or request to the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, the FTC might call you for additional information. But they won’t call you from 877-382-4357. And the FTC will never ask for money or for sensitive information such as your Social Security Number, date of birth, or bank account information.

Scammers are constantly picking new phone numbers to spoof. Here are a few tips for staying ahead of scammers and their unexpected calls:

  • If you get a strange call from a government phone number, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information.
  • Don’t give out or confirm your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
  • Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.
  • Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sure sign of a scam.

If you’ve gotten a call from a scammer, with or without fake caller ID information, report it to the FTC.

If at anytime you feel any of your First Financial accounts may have been compromised in 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. Remember that First Financial will never call and ask you for any sensitive information over the phone. All important phone numbers for members can be found on our website: https://www.firstffcu.com/contact-us.htm

Article Source: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/10/call-877-382-4357-hang?utm_source=govdelivery

 

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 kmart.com 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 info@firstffcu.com.

 

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 info@firstffcu.com

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.

Important Member Alert: AARP Phone Scam

alert-resized-600Did AARP show up on the Caller ID of that scam call you just received?

Don’t believe it. Fraudsters are putting AARP on Caller IDs, along with a number with a 202 area code, to try to convince seniors that their calls are real.

The calls appear to be from someone by the name of Dennis Grey – who leaves a 973 number on a voice message, said Jeff Abramo, a spokesman for AARP New Jersey. AARP’s Fraud Watch received 10 to 12 reports of the calls from New Jersey residents in a two-hour span on Thursday, 1/28.

The caller claims to be from the IRS or U.S. Treasury. “She needed to make a payment or she would be prosecuted,” one victim was told, according to Abramo.

“Please be advised, these calls are NOT legitimate,” AARP New Jersey said on its Facebook page. “They are in no way connected to AARP or to the IRS.”

Of course, this is the latest twist on a scam that has been going around for months and months.

Hang up on IRS telephone scammers. The IRS won’t:

  • Demand payment of tax debt over the telephone.
  • Threaten to have you arrested by the police for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay without giving you the ability to question or appeal how much you owe.
  • Require that you pay using a specific method, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit card or debit card numbers over the phone.

To avoid additional potential fraud and scams this time of year, it is encouraged to also use direct deposit for tax refunds in order to protect yourself and your finances. Here are some key messages and statistics that are important to consider:

  • Eight out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by direct deposit.
  • Direct deposit is simple, safe and secure.
  • 98% of all federal benefits are made by direct deposit.
  • Direct deposit also saves you money. It costs the nation’s taxpayers $1 for every paper refund check issued, but only about a dime for each direct deposit made.

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 info@firstffcu.com

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!

Article Source: David P. Willis of the Asbury Park Press, 1.29.16