Ongoing investments in fraud detection systems are paying off for members

Woman feeling secure about her online shopping

Fraud Fighters Extraordinaire

By now, you’ve heard about massive data breaches to hit several major retailers in just the last few years. Target and Home Depot are a couple of high profile companies that have been in the news, but it’s a safe bet that a hacker has made off with some of your personal information, even if you’ve never set foot in a Target or Home Depot store. The number of data breaches reached an all time high in 2014 according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. An estimated 86 million records, including debit and credit card numbers were compromised, and the list of affected retailers includes everything from large national brands to local convenience stores.

The risk for you in these events is that the thief (or someone they sell the information to) attempts to process transactions as if they were you or tries to open accounts in your name. In many cases there is a time lapse involved – so the fraud may occur weeks or months later.

Keep in mind our zero liability policy – it’s a guarantee that you will not be held liable for unauthorized charges on your TwinStar Visa® debit or credit card account. Just make sure to report any unauthorized transactions to TwinStar immediately so that a review can start quickly. While our zero liability policy is comprehensive and provides security for cardholders, the disruption that identity theft and transaction fraud can create is still a real hassle.

When there are a large number of TwinStar Credit Union Visa credit and debit cards involved, and the risk of identity theft is high, TwinStar has re-issued cards to affected members. This can cause some inconvenience for you because payments tied to these cards need to be re-established with the payees (insurance premiums, gym memberships, etc.). We also hear from members who are confused about the new card and the activation process. Card re-issues present a challenge for TwinStar Credit Union due to both the cost and time associated with mailing new cards to thousands of TwinStar members.

The re-issue cycle became very frustrating and TwinStar decided to do something about it. We’re pleased to report that investments we’ve made in limiting fraud on member accounts are working! There are also a few new initiatives in the works that will potentially put the card thieves out of business for good. Here are a few examples:

Yellow Hammer

Yellow Hammer automates the detection and reporting to TwinStar of suspicious account openings and ongoing transactions. When someone is trying to use your information to steal your money, speed is a crucial element for prevention, and Yellow Hammer is very fast. Yellow Hammer continuously scans member touch points including ATM, point of sale purchases, internet transactions and new accounts for identity theft. This system has been quite successful in limiting many instances where identity theft was about to occur. Although it’s difficult to measure, the impact that our members have not felt is something we’re pleased to help them avoid!

TwinStar Fraud Prevention Services

TwinStar Fraud Prevention Services takes credit and debit card analytics one step further by focusing on debit and credit purchases only. TwinStar Fraud Prevention Services can detect bogus debit and credit card transactions in just a few milliseconds – that’s less time than the blink of an eye. Each time a merchant swipes or processes your card, TwinStar analyzes the amount, location, time of day, frequency and account history to determine if the chance of unauthorized use is present. In many cases, when a card has been stolen, thieves leave the general area and conduct many transactions quickly on the stolen card.

You may receive a call from TwinStar Fraud Prevention Services to verify that it is indeed you conducting the transactions. TwinStar Fraud Prevention Services may verify your identity by asking for the last four digits of your social security number. Please don’t be alarmed and remember that TwinStar Fraud Prevention Services will never ask for you to verify your entire social security number. This security measure provides peace of mind for our members and helps lessen the impact if your card is stolen.

New Member Service – TwinStar recently launched TwinStar VIP Travel Monitoring Service. If you are traveling internationally, please call us at (800) 258-3115. Let your service agent know the dates you will be gone and a contact number like your cell number or an e-mail address you will be checking. Your debit and credit card accounts will receive special handling for the dates you indicate. VIP Travel Monitoring will contact you immediately if there is any suspicious behavior while you are overseas.

EMV Chip Cards

Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) is new technology that the payments industry is rolling out to take another step against high profile data breaches. You will start to notice that newly-issued TwinStar Credit Union Visa® debit and credit cards have a small computer chip embedded in the upper left corner of the card. When the card is presented to the merchant (and the merchant is outfitted with the correct payment device), the chip card creates a request cryptogram and passes it along with normal authorization criteria. The cryptogram creates a unique data element that travels with each transaction and renders stolen data useless to thieves. Brilliant!

EMV-enabled TwinStar Visa® Platinum credit cards are being sent to members now. All other TwinStar credit cards and debit cards will be EMV enabled by the end of 2016. Please note that there is one significant difference you’ll notice when using your new EMV enabled card. The card will be inserted into the payment terminal for the duration of the transaction, much like an ATM, rather than swiped through a device that reads the magnetic strip. Don’t be alarmed by this new process. To view a short informative video about the EMV introduction, go to

TwinStar Card Manager

TwinStar Credit Union is pleased to announce one more player to our fraud fighting line-up. Card Manager empowers mobile phone users to control when, where and how their debit and credit cards are used. TwinStar members will be able to set preferences for their own and dependent’s debit and credit cards. You can choose categories of merchants depending on expected card usage. For example, groceries and fuel for everyday purchases, but disable entertainment and travel until needed. Another great use of Card Manager will be to set purchase limits for your kids when they are using your debit and credit cards. Finally, users can tether their mobile phone to the card so that if your card is stolen, Card Manager will automatically disable your card.

All of this functionality will be at your fingertips via your mobile phone in the next 12 months. Please watch the newsletter, electronic newsletters and TwinStar’s website for more specific release details as they become available.

TwinStar Credit Union will be relentless in our quest to provide members the most convenient and secure access to your money that new technology permits. We’re pleased that our investments in fraud fighting technology are paying off while still allowing TwinStar members seamless and instant worldwide access to their money. For more information on any of the topics in this article, visit and scroll down to the Credit and Debit section.