Debit & Credit Card Fraud


Data Breaches - What You Need To Know

With so many merchant data breaches in the news, we want you to know that PFCU is ready to help if your personal or financial data is ever compromised. We take service to our members seriously and will do everything we can to ensure that action is taken – quickly – to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity or account theft.

Your credit union is subject to strong data security standards established by Congress and federal regulators. While data breaches can happen anywhere, we are ready with a plan designed to ensure the safety and confidentiality of your sensitive data.

Unfortunately, merchants and retailers aren’t subject to these federal requirements. Many of them follow their own data security standards, but the recent rash of data breaches shows that much more needs to be done. When it comes to protecting your personal information, every measure counts.

When your debit or credit card data is breached at a retailer, the cost of card replacement or account reimbursement to you is typically paid not by the merchant where the breach occurred, but by your credit union.

We want you to know that in the event of any breach affecting your accounts, this credit union will always do what we can to make you whole. In the meantime, credit unions around the country are leading the effort to get Congress to pass legislation ensuring merchants and retailers meet a national standard for protecting any of your financial data they collect when you make a purchase. We hope you will support us in this effort.

While we can’t control what happens at merchants and retailers, we want you to know that PFCU will do everything we can to assist you and your family if a breach does occur when you use your debit or credit card. You can always feel free to reach our member service department at 517-647-7571.


Gas Station Skimming Fraud

Recently in Grand Rapids, Ionia and Portland, a rash of gas station skimming frauds have been uncovered. Here are a few simple steps you can take to lessen the chances you will be a victim.

  • Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals. 
  • Try to use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they aren't noticed as quickly. 

Scam - Cracking Cards

There is a multimillion-dollar ATM scam being celebrated in rap songs and it is REAL. The scam targets high school and college students and their bank/credit union accounts. The crime is simple: the scammers put stolen or counterfeit checks in accounts belonging to other people. They “borrow” the cardholder’s debit card and PIN number to withdraw money from the account before the bank/credit union learns the checks are fake. They “promise” to put money into your account and then give you a cut. They actually will take off with the cash…including your money! The cardholders are recruited through ads placed on Facebook, YouTube and other social media networks. The schemers give the account holders nothing and the account holders are the ones left dealing with the police and bank/credit union when the checks are revealed as fakes.

**When these checks are revealed as fraud YOU, the account holder, are responsible for paying back the money - not the financial institution.  These scammers try to talk you into the fact that the financial institution won't care - they'll just write it up as a loss. This is NOT correct!**

The rule of thumb is simple…never give your debit card or PIN number to anyone.


Credit Card Scam

This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card that was issued by (name of financial institution). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.

You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6-digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says,"I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers." "There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say "No", the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.

This person questioned the call and DID call the 800 # on the back of the credit card. The REAL VISA Security Department told them it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to the card.

What the scammers want is the 3 digit CVV number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Mastercard directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they would never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information since they issued the card!