The situation is becoming all too common: you receive a call while out shopping or perhaps during dinner. You don’t recognize the number, but the person on the line identifies themselves as an employee of your financial institution. They speak urgently—there’s a problem with your account. How can that be? You’ve always been so careful with your finances! A wave of panic sets in. They assure you that everything will be okay, but first they need you to provide your social security number for verification. You start reciting the number, but then the warning bells in your head start ringing. Is this person legitimate? Should you trust them with that information? It’s uncomfortable to say the least.
Sadly, scams like this happen frequently. They often involve someone posing as your financial institution in order to trick you into providing them with your sensitive information, which they can use to commit fraud. We’re noticing a rise in the number of reported scams amongst our membership, particularly over the phone. To help protect our members, we put together a list of 5 things we won’t ask you:
1. Your social security number
Let’s start with the big one: we will never ask for your social security number for verification purposes. This information is highly sensitive and can be used in identity theft scams, so we don’t use it as a way of verifying our members' identities.
2. Your credit card or debit card number
We don’t ask for your credit or debit card numbers or for the security code on the back of your card. These numbers can easily be stolen and used to make fraudulent purchases or to drain your accounts. For these reasons, we will not use either of these methods for verification purposes.
Side note: For this reason, use extra caution when inputting these numbers while making purchases online.
3. Your PIN number
We don’t ask for the PIN number associated with your debit or credit cards. Your PIN is kept private and cannot be accessed by our employees. We do not use it to verify members over the phone.
4. To share account information via text message
We don’t text you regarding account issues or ask you to share sensitive account information via text message. We do have some text services, but you should only receive these if you have opted into the service. If you are unsure about a text you received from us, please call our contact center to verify its legitimacy. Do not call the number provided on the text message as it could be fraudulent.
5. You to send/wire money for verification purposes
Lastly, we will never ask for money to be sent/wired to a third party for verification purposes. TwinStar Credit Union and its employees will never initiate a wire transfer of funds. Wire Transfers are a service we provide; however, our employees will never initiate this process, especially as a way to verify your identity.
We are happy to engage with our members on social media; however, we do NOT ask for sensitive account information to be shared with us over those channels.
Although we sometimes reach out to members over social media regarding other topics, if you encounter someone on your social channels claiming to be a TwinStar representative, we ask you to contact us immediately via our phone center to verify their legitimacy.
What should you do to keep yourself safe from this type of scam?
- Be vigilant in protecting your sensitive information. Knowing that these scams happen is the first step.
- Use caller ID to verify any number who calls you, and if it does not match any number you know, it’s possible that it is a scam.
- We also recommend that you only give out sensitive information if you initiated the call to a number you know you can trust.
Bottom line, if you aren’t sure, hang up and call us at: 800.258.3115.
Although this list is specific to TwinStar Credit Union, we think it can be useful for others, so please share it with friends and family.
For updates on what TwinStar is doing in your community as well as helpful articles like this, follow our social media channels: @TwinStarCU.