Don't be Scammed

Often, fraudsters will contact you representing companies you know and use. Be suspicious when you are contacted by a company/person and any of the following occur:

  1. You are asked to provide personal identifiable information (PII), including your financial information.
  2. You feel pressured and are told you must send funds NOW.
  3. You are threatened with the possibility of having law enforcement or government action against you if you do not comply with the callers’ demand for cash.
  4. You are asked to purchase gift cards as a form of payment.
  5. You receive unexpected funds and are asked to return them.
  6. You are asked to share usernames or passwords to financial accounts.
  7. You are asked to deposit checks or transfer funds for people you do not know.
  8. You are asked to register to make charitable donations.

If you receive an unsolicited call that appears to be from PTOFCU (including having PTOFCU show up in the caller ID) and you are asked to share account information or to verify a text code being sent to your cell phone, please hang up and contact us directly at 571-272-0350.

Additional tips you can use to protect your accounts:

  1. Do not provide usernames, passwords, or PINs, and do not transfer money when you are contacted by someone you don’t know via call, text, or email.
  2. Never grant remote access to your phone, tablet, or PC. Do not download apps you are unfamiliar with or click unsolicited links in your email or text messages.
  3. Do not include your account number, birth date, or SSN# in your username or password.
  4. Set up account alerts in Online and Mobile Banking to receive real-time notifications when your online or mobile contact information is changed.
  5. Make sure your contact information remains current.
  6. Log in to your accounts daily

Debit Card Phishing Scam

Fraud Alert

Perpetrators are once again attempting to obtain debit card information for fraudulent use. We have been notified that PTOFCU members and non-members are receiving automated phone calls on landlines and cell phones. The message says the call is from the Patent & Trademark Office Federal Credit Union Fraud Department and that the debit card of the person receiving the call has been suspended. The person is then instructed to enter their 16-digit card number and PIN or to contact a number the caller provides to reactivate. PTOFCU does not request any member information via automated calls, emails, or voice calls. If you receive a fraudulent call or email do not provide your personal information.

ATM Skimming Devices

ATM skimming frauds are increasing. The fraud occurs when a perpetrator installs a device that sometimes looks just like part of the ATM over the ATM card slot. Sometimes, a tiny video camera or a key-logging device is installed too. The skimmer records information from the magnetic strip on your ATM card. Then, the video camera or key logger records you punching in your four-digit PIN. The stolen information is transferred onto other cards and used to make withdrawals at various locations, which can go unnoticed by your financial institution and you.

Tips to Protect Yourself

If you think you've been a victim of this scam, call your local police department and your financial institution.

Crypto Investment Scams

Posted from Cuna Compliance Blog

The latest crypto-related investment scam, "pig slaughtering” or “pig butchering,” involves sophisticated yet phony cryptocurrency investment platforms. Initially, investors invariably see fantastic returns on their investments, encouraging them to deposit additional funds to generate increasingly higher “returns.” In some scams, the victim is permitted to withdraw the value increase, with the effect of making them feel comfortable with the phony platform and invest more and more funds.

The trend originated in Southeast Asia, and the name refers to the way in which hogs are “fattened up” before ultimately being led off to the slaughter. In this case, the victims get “slaughtered” after the scammer convinces them to “fatten” their phony investment account over time. The “slaughter” involves the scammer emptying the victim’s “investment account” and disappearing with the funds. According to the Secret Service, “once the victims see how easy it is to invest and how well their investments are doing, they can end up investing their entire life savings in a matter of days.”

A majority of victims who fell for these scams said that it started with an advertisement or solicitation posted on social media, usually Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Dating sites are sometimes used, as well. Curious investors are directed toward elaborate and official-looking online crypto platforms that appear to have thousands of active investors. Many of these platforms include extensive study materials and tutorials on cryptocurrency investing. New users are strongly encouraged to team up with more seasoned investors on the platform and to make only small investments that they can afford to lose.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans have lost over $1 billion to crypto-related scams since January 2021, and a little over half of the money lost—or $575 million—has gone to investment scams like pig butchering.

NCUA Phishing Scam

Another scam email falsely states that the member’s account is suspended due to new security measures all federal credit unions are required to have. It then asks the member to call a given telephone number to reactivate the account.  

A fraudulent e-mail seeking credit card information (known as 'phishing fraud') has been circulating nationwide since 2 p.m. EST today. This fraudulent phishing email appears to be from NCUA and contains a link purportedly to obtain a subscription for the NCUA Express Subscription service. When that link is used, the recipient is directed to a 'clone' of the NCUA Express Service site that seeks credit card information from those to whom the phish was sent. If you receive such an email, please ignore it, as it is fraudulent. The NCUA does NOT charge for the Express Subscription service and does NOT solicit credit card information over the Internet. If you have questions or comments, please contact the NCUA Fraud Hotline at 800-827-9650 or, during off-duty hours, at 703-728-0700.

Vishing Scam

Vishing operates like phishing by persuading consumers to divulge their Personally Identifiable Information (PII), claiming their account was suspended, deactivated, or terminated. Recipients are directed to contact their credit union or bank via the telephone number provided in the text message, e-mail or by an automated recording. Upon calling the telephone number, the recipient is greeted with 'Welcome to the bank of ...' and then requested to enter their card number in order to resolve a pending security issue. These scams can seem very real because they often contain warnings about not divulging your personal information, which may make a potential target feel the company calling is legitimate. A PTOFCU member was recently targeted by a vishing scam on their cell phone. The text message said 'This is an automated message. Your ATM Card has been suspended. To reactivate call ...'.

Phishing Scam

Perpetrators are attempting to obtain credit card and debit card information using an automated telephone service. The system indicates that the cardholder's card has been placed on a hold status and that in order to activate the card, the cardholder must call a toll-free 866-number and enter the cards 16-digit card number.

If you receive an email that is purported to be from the CO-OP Network asking for your personal information, please note that the email was fraudulent as CO-OP Network never contacts credit union members directly and never requests personal account information. The email should be considered a deceitful attempt to obtain cardholder information to commit fraudulent activity against your accounts.

What should you do if you suspect vishing or phishing?

Instead of calling the number listed, call the credit union, bank, or the number on the back of your ATM, check card, or credit card. The status of your account can be safely verified. The main thing to remember is never to call the number listed on any potential vishing or phishing scams.