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!


April 7, 2015

Cyber-criminals are at it again...this time with one of the most devious crimes ever: Synthetic Identity Theft and Fraud. While just now coming into mainstream consciousness, this particular fraud has been growing at an alarming rate over the past several years, much of it fueled by the massive data breaches of 2014. Synthetic Identity Theft and Fraud occurs when criminals use some real individual data obtained from one source (such as a large data breach) and add fictional personal information to forge or cobble together a partially false synthetic identity and open new accounts using this synthetic identity.

Perhaps worst of all, children are being victimized via stolen social security numbers, with the fraudulent damage accumulating over years. The child victims might only learn about the crime when they apply for college or their first job. 


September 15, 2014

Elder Abuse is Serious Business!

Millions of American seniors are targeted each year by scam artists or fall victim to other forms of financial abuse. The National Credit Union Administration has created a new video aimed at helping consumers recognize and prevent fraud.

The agency’s latest videos was posted on NCUA’s YouTube channel.  Scams Targeting Seniors, is a dramatization of how an unwary consumer could become the victim of a typical scam. The video offers advice to credit union members who suspect they may have been targeted.

NCUA also offers valuable information on its consumer financial literacy microsite, Pocket Cents, that can help seniors better understand how fraud or abuse can occur and how to protect themselves.  





September 9, 2014

Home Depot Breach

Home Depot issued a press release on September 8th confirming that a payment card breach occurred at its U.S. and Canadian stores. Home Depot disclosed few details of the breach; however, the home improvement retailer stated there is no evidence that debit card PINs were compromised.

The press release and related FAQs did not disclose the exposure period. However, Home Depot stated in its FAQs that they are offering “free identity theft protection services, including credit monitoring to any customer who used a payment card at a Home Depot store in 2014, from April on.”

Please watch your accounts with PFCU closely, and alert us to any unusual activity immediately. We will notify you once we receive information on specific cards that have been compromised. We will then block the cards and re-issue. If you have any questions, please contact the credit union.


July 1, 2014 

More breeches!   A remote-access attack on a point-of-sale vendor may have resulted in the exposure of payment card transactions conducted at Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings and other restaurants throughout the northwestern U.S.

Vancouver, Wash.-based food-service POS and security systems provider Information Systems & Supplies Inc. on June 12 notified restaurant customers of a remote-access compromise that may have exposed card data linked to POS transactions conducted between Feb. 28 and April 18 of this year.

IS&S's customers include restaurant chains Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings and TacoTime.


June 10, 2014

Fraudulent text messages are being sent to consumers in an effort to steal personally identifiable information. Financial institutions have reported an increased volume in these attacks since May 22, 2014. Mass text broadcasts are commonly used by fraudsters to reach large audiences of potential victims. This scam is quite common and often operates simultaneously in multiple states. 

  • Automated texts are being broadcast that warn consumers to call certain numbers to reactivate their payment cards.
  • A recent text example: "Federal Credit Union ALERT: Your CheckCard has been temporarily LOCKED. Please call Card Services line (407) 574-2992".       
  • Text messages do not reference a particular issuing brand but they may vaguely refer to a credit union or bank.       
  • Additional originating text numbers for this recent scam include: 786-300-2335 and 971-208-9936. All numbers referenced in this Alert Bulletin have been disbanded. New originating numbers will most likely be created and used in the future.  
  • Text messages may also originate from Jamaican area code 876 which is easily confused by consumers with a toll free number.

  If you receive a text message that is questionable, do not open it but contact the credit union at 800-765-4527.


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



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.