Fraud Alerts and Scams

For daily breaking news on the latest legislation, criminal activities, identity scams, database breaches and more, visit our exclusive educational Website, and click on “News Alerts”.

VISHING Scam! Don’t give out your card number

August 2, 2014

Several members have called to report that they received a phone call regarding their debit cards. The caller stated their debit cards were blocked because of an online purchase.

The caller then that the member needed must give the caller their card number in order to have the card restored.

THIS IS A SCAM! It’s called vishing. These calls are NOT from Educators Credit Union.

Members should never give their card or account information over the phone.

If you get a call like this, do NOT give your card information. Hang up.

If you got a call and did give out your card information, contact Educators at (262) 886-5900 or (414) 325-2500 to have a new card issued.


Scammers just launched a phishing campaign using the BBB name. Emails are going to business owners and consumers, claiming that the recipient has been the subject of a BBB complaint. The emails carry links to websites which drop malware onto the victim’s computer. Our security team has been alerted, and takedown procedures are underway.

If you have received this, or any other suspicious emails from someone claiming to be from the BBB, please forward them to to help us shut down the scammers as quickly as possible.

Wisconsin alert: Check scams now targeting babysitters

MADISON – You reply to an online posting for a babysitting job. The client is moving to Wisconsin from out of state in a couple of weeks, so you are finalizing the details of the babysitting arrangement by email and text message. Your pay will be $400 per week. The client sends you an initial check for $1,800 and asks you to cash the check, keep the first week’s payment, and wire the remainder back.

Read the rest of the alert here.

Wisconsin warns residents about foreign lottery scams

MADISON (AP) –The state is warning residents to be aware of recent scams involving “secret shoppers” and foreign lotteries.

The Department of Financial Institutions says the scams have been active in Wisconsin over the past several months. The agency says one of the main techniques used by the scammers is mailing unsolicited checks to victims with instructions to cash the checks and wire most of the money to an unknown location.

In the foreign lottery scam, victims are sent a check and told to wire funds to pay taxes and fees before receiving the entire prize. In the “secret shopper” scam, the victim are told to rate the service of certain retailers.

DPI says that in both cases, victims are sent counterfeit checks and are responsible for repaying the bank once the fraud is discovered.

Tax Refund Fraud is Among Latest Scams

Tax-filing season brings out tax-preparation frauds. The latest scheme involves tax refunds transmitted as a direct deposit or automated clearing house (ACH) credit.

Consumers are being drawn into fraud schemes by individuals claiming to be tax preparers. In this type of fraud, the victims unwittingly provide the bogus tax preparers with personal information such as their name, Social Security number, bank account numbers, investment information and more so the preparers can complete the tax forms. The tax preparer inflates the information with fraudulent information to obtain a larger refund. Some victims have found their tax preparers have claimed children they don’t have, day care expenses and so on.

The tax refunds are transmitted as a direct deposit (ACH credit) to a newly created account or to an existing account with an impersonator added as a joint owner. These accounts are established by an impersonator or a recruiter. Once the tax refund is deposited into the account, the impersonator or recruiter withdraws the tax preparation fee. The remainder of the ACH credit goes to the refund recipient.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will attempt to reclaim the ACH credits involving fraudulent tax returns. Credit unions, as the receiving depository financial institutions, are not liable if funds have been removed from the member’s account and no funds are available to return, said the insurer.

Last year the IRS prosecuted more than 200 people as phony tax preparersn said Seattle-based (Public News Service Feb. 17). The IRS is already busy checking up on new tax scams, ranging from filing false returns to convincing clients they don’t need to pay income taxes.

Consumers should be extra careful when a preparer bases the fee on a percentage of promised refund.

Consumers should also avoid preparers who claim to know something special or that they can get more money than anyone else. Plan to sit with the preparers as they fill out the tax forms. Never just sign a blank form and trust them to file it.

Fraudsters Using Text Messaging

After banks and credit unions secured their online banking, fraudsters increased their focus on texting consumers to steal their account information in what are being called SMiShing attacks. “[SMiShing] is like if I walked up to your door, introduced myself as being from a bank and asked you for your personal credentials. If you’re foolish enough to give that information to me, there’s nothing the bank can do about it,” says Joram Borenstein, senior manager of RSA. “The only difference is SMiShing is happening through cells phones and PDAs.” Fraudsters begin a SMiShing attack by sending fraudulent text message alerts to consumers asking the consumers to call a phony phone number. When consumers call they think they are talking to their financial institution, but it is actually a crook who is asking the consumer for their bank account information. Read more…

Lottery Scams

Remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? This is especially true of phone calls or mail solicitations offering instant wealth through lotteries.

Here’s an example of a lottery scam sent out with an enclosed check that appears to be from Educators Credit Union:

“After numerous attempts to reach you by phone have failed, we are pleased to inform you through this letter that our network system shows you as the lucky winner of unclaimed prize money in the amount of 150,000.00 USD. The system indicates you were selected as a winner on the April 2009 Sweepstakes draws. CONGRATULATIONS!”

Of course, there is a check included with the letter which is to pay for your processing and insurance fees or sometimes your taxes. They will ask you to contact them before cashing or depositing the check. Once you contact them they will instruct you to deposit or cash the check and then wire the funds to a person located somewhere else and you will never see your lottery winnings. The check will be returned on your account at your financial institution and then you will be responsible to pay that money back to the financial institution that you presented the check to.

Here are five tips from about these scams:

  • First of all, playing any kind of cross-border lottery system is a violation of Federal law, and law enforcement officials ARE paying attention. It’s illegal. Don’t do it!
  • You can’t win a prize in a lottery if you didn’t buy a lottery ticket!!
  • Real lotteries don’t ask you to pay a fee. If you have to write a check to win a lottery prize, it’s a scam. Never, ever send any money for “processing fees,” or share any other financial information, in order to claim a prize.
  • Never fill out any prize forms or “claims” either through snail mail or online — you may end up on scammers’ “sucker” lists as a result, which means you’ll just get more solicitations.
  • Don’t believe — or pay for — any “secret systems” that will help you win lotteries. If someone really had a foolproof secret system to win lotteries, why would they sell it to you?

Suspicious Text Message Targets Educators Members

We have received a couple of emails in regards to our members receiving suspicious text messages. The text message reads as follows: Your ATM card has been suspended. Call the ‘Credit Union National Association’ immediately at the following number to fix the issue — (866) 838-1258.

This text message is a hoax and the number should not be called!! This is a form of Phishing/Vishing for information.

If you have received this text message and have responded to it, please call Angela at (262) 619-2322 immediately.

Fraudulent E-mail Scams

A fraudulent e-mail is one that has been forged so it looks like a legitimate e-mail from a particular organization (such as Educators). It is a way to trick you into providing sensitive personal information that can be used for identity theft.

It’s often hard to detect a fraudulent e-mail because the e-mail address of the sender often seems genuine, as do the design and graphics. But there are signs to be aware of. Fraudulent e-mails often try to extract personal information from you:

  • By luring you into providing it on the spot (i.e. by replying to the e-mail)
  • By including links to a site that tries to get you to disclose personal data

Don’t reply to any e-mail that requests your personal information. Be very suspicious of any e-mail that asks for your password, Social Security Number, PIN or other highly sensitive information— or one that sends you personal information and asks you to update or confirm it.