Fraudulent Unemployment Deposits
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has issued an alert about fraud penetrating all state unemployment systems, including steps to take to detect, mitigate, and pursue fraudsters.
The alert states that IDES has uncovered a widespread fraud scheme being conducted nationwide which is impacting each state’s federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs. IDES is aggressively cracking down on the fraud network and working directly with individuals whose identities are being used or have possibly been stolen. It is also working with local and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate, pursue and prosecute those that are committing the fraud.
Although the alert is directed to individuals affected, it contains valuable information for credit unions involved. An individual who has not filed an unemployment claim but has received a debit card or an unemployment (UI) finding letter in the mail has most likely been the target of fraud. The alert includes information for individuals who have not filed an unemployment claim and have erroneously received an unemployment debit card or UI finding letter in the mail:
Immediately call IDES at 800.814.0513 and when prompted:
Select the English or Spanish language option
Selection option 1 for claimant
Selection option 5 to report identity theft
Do not activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
Have your credit report checked for possible suspicious activity and post a fraud alert.
Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.
The increase in fraudulent unemployment claims is believed to be coming out of the PUA program and because of the ambiguity of the federal guidelines, the potential for fraud within the system is abundant.
Smart Shopping During the Holidays
Keep your finances safe while you shop during this holiday season. The NCUA Fraud Prevention Center educates consumers on how to recognize common scams and take action if you think you are a victim of fraud. It also provides useful tips for protecting your finances.
Criminals and scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims. NCUA has put together a list of tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of a holiday scam. Click here
to take a look at a few of the newest and most common scams you should watch for during the holiday season.
A new scam cropping up more and more recently
is related to fake online retailers.
The typical shopping scam starts with a bogus website, mobile app or social media ad. Some faux e-stores are invented from whole cloth, but many mimic trusted retailers, with familiar logos and slogans and a URL that’s easily mistaken for the real thing. They offer popular items at a fraction of the usual cost and promise perks like free shipping and overnight delivery, exploiting the premium online shoppers put on price and speed.
Some of these copycats do deliver merchandise — shoddy knockoffs worth less than even the “discount” price you mistook for a once-in-a-lifetime deal on, say, Tiffany watches or Timberland boots. More often, you’ll wait in vain for your purchase to arrive. Reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of undelivered orders quadrupled from 2015 to 2019, and no-shows reached record highs in the spring of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic fueled a spike in online shopping.
And your losses might not stop there: Scammers may seed phony sites, apps, or links in pop-up ads and email coupons with malware that infects your device and harvests personal information for use in identity theft. You need not forgo the ease and endless selection of online shopping, but these precautions can help you make sure you get what you pay for. Click here
to learn how to spot the warning signs, and some Do's and Don'ts.
If you've ever received an email that seemed "odd", out of place, or too good to be true, it likely was, and was developed by a criminal seeking your personal information in an attempt to steal your money or your identity.
Maybe you've received a phone call from someone identifying themselves as your financial institution, asking for your account number or social security number. Or, from someone claiming to be a computer repair company who "noticed" something on your computer that they need to fix urgently.
These, and so many others, are examples of cyber crime. Learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams here.
Debt Settlement, Debt Elimination & Credit Repair Scams
Some companies offering debt settlement programs may not deliver on their promises, like their “guarantees” to settle all your credit card debts for 30 to 60 percent of the amount you owe. Other companies may try to collect their fees from you before they settle any of your debts. The Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule
prohibits companies that sell debt settlement and other debt relief services on the phone from charging a fee before they settle or reduce your debt. Some companies may not explain the risks associated with their programs, including that many (or most) of their clients drop out without settling their debts, that their clients’ credit reports may suffer, or that debt collectors may continue to call them.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams here
Government Imposter Scams
Scammers sometimes pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. They might promise lottery winnings if you pay “taxes” or other fees, or they might threaten you with arrest or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a supposed debt. Regardless of their tactics, their goal is the same: to get you to send them money.
Don’t do it. Federal government agencies and federal employees don’t ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans. Nor are they permitted to ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for anything.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams here
Phishing is when Internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving them your personal information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.
Don’t select links in e-mails that ask for personal information.
Never open unexpected attachments.
Delete suspicious messages, even if you know the source.
Phishing via SMS, or SMishing, uses cell phone text messages or SMS (Short Message Service) to trick you into providing personal and financial information. Smishers may use URLs or an automated voice response system to try and collect your information.
Tip: In some instances, criminals have used malicious software in their text messages solicitations. To prevent further security issues, completely remove unsolicited text messages from your phone. This may take two steps: deleting the text and then completely removing it from your device.
Phishing by voice, or vishing, exploits a general trust in landline telephone services. The victim is often unaware that voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows for caller ID spoofing, thus providing anonymity for the criminal caller. Rather than providing any information to the caller, the consumer should verify the call by contacting the financial institution or credit card company directly, being sure to use the institution’s accurate contact information (i.e., do not use contact information the caller provides).
Once a cybercriminal has your name and Social Security number, he or she can file a tax return in your name by making up financial information that generates a large refund. Since the IRS doesn’t require W-2 forms when you file electronically, cyber criminals can commit electronic tax-refund fraud easier than paper tax fraud, especially since electronic tax-refund fraud is straightforward and hard to detect.
Tip: Be extremely protective of your personal information, and only share it with trusted sources, especially when using the Internet. Often, tax fraudsters will obtain your information through e-mail phishing, social engineering tactics, the black market, and other sources.
Investment fraud comes in many forms. Whether you are a first-time investor or have been investing for many years, click here
for some basic facts you should know about different types of fraud.
Scams Targeting First Northern members
Fraudsters are targeting members' online banking credentials and Visa Card information via email and/or text. These emails and texts will appear to come from First Northern Credit Union. Please read below for details:
Scenario 1: The text/email asks you to provide a one time passcode for online banking, and/or your login criteria.
Scenario 2: The text/email is asking for you to verify card activity and is asking for your full card number, the 3 digit number on the back of the card, or the card expiration date.
If you have any questions or think you may have been targeted in one of these scams please contact us immediately at 888.328.8677. If you have been a target of a different scam and would like to share the information, please email us by CLICKING HERE.
Secure Your Information
Visa Purchase Alerts
VISA® Purchase alerts send you real-time text or email alerts when you pay with your Visa card. These alerts can keep your account secure by empowering you to catch fraud. Click the button under "Account Protection" on the right.
SecurLock® Credit Card Control Application
Allows members to control the how / where / when their credit cards are used via their mobile device. Turn your card on or off with the touch of a button. Set location based controls. Block international transactions or set spending limits.
Click the button under "Account Protection" for your device.
Set up account alerts within online banking to be notified of specific transactions on your account(s).
If you think you may have been a victim of any type of fraud, contact us immediately at 888.328.8677. We welcome and encourage these types of calls, so we can help protect you and your accounts right away. If there is any question or concern, always reach out!
If you receive a call identifying themselves as First Northern Credit Union and you feel it may be a scam, hang up and contact us at 888.328.8677 to verifiy the legitimacy of the request.