Scam Alert

Published 11:52 am Monday, November 22, 2010

The State Employees Credit Union (SECU) is warning its customers concerning a scam.

According to James Eure, SECU Executive Vice-President whose Ahoskie-based office serves as the regional hub for the credit union’s locations throughout the Roanoke-Chowan area, phishing emails are targeting SECU members.

Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

In the SECU scam, Eure said members receive an e-mail, one bearing the official SECU logo, that informs them that their ATM/Debit card has been compromised. The e-mail directs the SECU member to link to what appears to be the SECU website where they are prompted to enter all information pertinent to their account, including customer access and PIN numbers, in order to re-activate their cards.

“Upon entering those numbers, the scammers have what they need to access the accounts of our members,” Eure said. “It all looks so real, but it’s a scam.”

Eure reminded SECU members that the credit union, or any financial institution, does not ask for that type of information, either by phone or e-mail.

“Our members voluntarily enter that information upon entering our website,” Eure stressed. “We encourage our members to always safeguard that information.”

In this particular scam, Eure said once the criminals have the account info, they set-up a Bill Pay account, a service offered to SECU members.

“What they’re doing is basically paying themselves with our members’ money,” Eure noted.

He added that law enforcement agencies are attempting to locate where those payments are going.

“It’s hard to track these scammers because they are always on the move plus they hide under false identities,” Eure said. “They always seem to stay one step ahead of the law.”

Eure added that he had not received any reports of local SECU members falling prey to this scam.

“We’ve had some others in the state to fall victim to this; I don’t know the total dollar amount involved, but it’s a lot of money,” he stated. “We take the hit on the scams; our members do not take the loss.”

Eure reminded local SECU members that if they do receive such an e-mail, do not supply account information; rather, call your nearest SECU branch; or 888-732-8562 or e-mail and report the activity.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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