CCUL Headlines: Consumer

Phishing Alert: Fake card cancellation notices arrive by phone

Tuesday, May 27, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Phishing has reared its ugly head once more in the form of automated telephone calls notifying consumers that their credit or debit card has been canceled or deactivated, according to a recent alert from the NC Department of Justice. This telephone version of phishing is occasionally referred to as “vishing”. Vishing scams are designed to trick financial institution customers into revealing personally identifiable information (i.e., account numbers, SSN numbers, etc.) by falsely claiming the recipient’s account has been suspended, deactivated, terminated, or altered in some way.

In this latest report, the automated message—which can come from a variety of phone numbers—offers recipients a way to get their card back into service. Sometimes Caller ID displays only a partial number, or a number with no area code. The company or financial institution that issued the card is not named in the message.

Some recipients are instructed to “Press 1” (or 2), while others are given a telephone number to call. Regardless of the approach, eventually the consumer will be asked to enter his or her credit or debit card number, or other confidential information.

Although consumers are getting better about recognizing these scams, it never hurts to review these tips when faced with a “vishing” attempt:

  • If you receive an email or phone call asking you to call and you suspect it might be a fraudulent request, contact your financial institution’s or organization’s customer service number already provided on your debit or credit card rather than the number provided in the phishing email or phone call.
  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at The FTC places the reported information into a secure consumer fraud database and shares it with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
  • Remember: Text or voicemail messages warning of problems with your account and offering a “fix” if you enter your account information are always phony. A legitimate company might use a message to notify you of a problem, but only if you have previously provided your number and specifically asked to be notified in that manner. But they will never ask you to supply information.

Additional Resources:

FTC Consumer Information: Phishing
FBI Press Release: Vishing Attacks Reported (2012)
MyCreditUnion.Gov: Frauds and Scams

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