What to Watch For


SCAMS….a horrible word that has become a part of our modern vocabulary, and since there are always new ones, PFCU feels it is our duty to keep you aware of the latest ones that we learn about. We don’t hear about all of them, but we will do our best to keep this section current with the latest that we think are important to our members.

We will also post articles of timely consumer interest that we feel you should know about. Might not be a 'scam' but of concern or just something of which to be aware.  PFCU looking out for you!


January 10, 2014, The Targe Saga Continues

Target has announced that the recent breach is believed to have exposed names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of up to 70 million customers.  There has been no indication that additional card data has been exposed. 

Because the additional customer information that was compromised (mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses) is not stored on the card itself, indications are that the hackers may have gained access to more than the POS terminals (other areas of Target’s network).   

See the following articles for more information.






As of September 2013, a new and vicious form of malware has been wreaking havoc. CryptoLocker belongs to a family of malware called "ransomware", which is designed to extort money from victims by denying them access to their personal files. It targets all Windows Operating Systems, from Windows XP to Windows 8, and typically remains unnoticed by victims until it's too late and the damage is irreparable.

To fool consumers, ransomware attacks typically include a message from law enforcement agencies or some other trusted source, such as a banking institution that claims the targeted user owes back taxes or some type of payment to the bank. Unless a fee or penalty is paid, the computer will remain locked. Therefore it is important to perform backups of your critical data, and maintain good anti-virus software on your computer



Last Thursday Adobe Systems Inc. announced that there had been a breach within their security systems.  They announced the potential affect to their Source Code and customer data.  Latest reports are saying approximately 2.9 million accounts compromised.  The security breach, which Adobe called a part of a “sophisticated attack,” also allowed hackers to obtain encrypted passwords and other personal information from customers; however there was no indication that the attackers obtained unencrypted credit card numbers. 

            Adobe products are widespread and they have a variety of products. We have seen no official alerts indicating increased fraud as a result of this specific compromise.  The majority of the threat comes in the loss of personal information.  Identity Theft and increased Social Engineering threats are real.  Heighten education of customer service and front-line personnel should be considered.  While Adobe has said there was no indication that the attackers obtained unencrypted credit card numbers, they are reporting that cards may have been exposed.


There is a new credit card scam that sounds very legitimate because the caller typically has a lot of information already.

"This scam relies on the thief having obtained some of your information," officials said. "The aim is to get your CSC (card security code). This number is never printed on your statement, but is the final piece of information needed by the scammers to fraudulently use your card." They will ask for the CSC, which is the 3 digit number on the back of your card to verify that your card is in your possession after telling you of a possible fraud transaction. Do not give out this number.

If you receive a call from a person identifying himself as an employee of your credit card company stating that your card has been compromised, hang up and call the number on your credit card. Then call your local law enforcement to make a report.



Merchant Surcharging – Understanding Payment Card Changes

What is a Surcharge?

A payment card surcharge is a fee that a retailer adds to the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a payment card.

Changes to Surcharging Fees in the United States

Beginning January 27, 2013, merchants in the United States and U.S. Territories will be permitted to impose a surcharge on consumers when they use a credit card.

Historically Visa has not permitted retailer surcharging, but allowing surcharging was a key provision required by merchants to settle long-standing litigation brought by a class of retailers in 2005.


What This Means for Consumers

    • Consumers will pay an additional fee when they use their credit card at retailers that decide to surcharge.
    • Consumers should be aware there are limits to the amount merchants can surcharge. *
    • Retailers are permitted to apply a surcharge to only credit card purchases and cannot impose a surcharge for purchases made using a debit or prepaid card.
    • If retailers intend to impose a surcharge on credit card purchases, they are required to notify customers before customers make an actual purchase at the store entrance and at the point of sale – or in an online environment, on the first page that references credit card brands.
    • Retailers must disclose surcharge fees on every receipt – both in store and online. Carefully review receipts where checkout fees should appear.

States Where No Surcharge Laws Protect Consumers

Surcharging isn’t allowed everywhere. Currently, there are laws limiting surcharging in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Consumers who are subjected to a surcharge or checkout fees in states where they may be prohibited from surcharging may want to report the retailer to their state attorney general’s office.

Feb. 8, 2013 – The federal Go Direct campaign is encouraging partners and all financial institutions to remind their recipients of federal recurring payments that those payment have to go electronically beginning March 1 – just three weeks from now.

Go Direct notes three ways for recipients to sign up for electronic payments:

  • by calling 800-333-1795, the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center (call volume is high currently);
  • online at GoDirect.org;
  • at a local credit union or bank.

Individuals who don’t have a financial institution account can handle the switch to electronic benefit payments by getting a Direct Express? card (read more).


"Heartbleed" Scare!

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