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Ft. Atkinson credit union victimized in scam

Published On: Mar 09 2014 11:37:23 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 09 2014 02:51:54 PM CDT


More than 1,000 people in Wisconsin and out of state received phone calls from an automated system claiming to be a local credit union helping its members, but it was all a scam.

Fort Community Credit Union has been fielding calls from members and nonmembers about robocalls that claim their MasterCard debit or credit card was compromised.

The calls started Thursday night and reached members at branches in Jefferson and Whitewater. They also reached nonmembers in other parts of Wisconsin, and some members located as far away as Arizona. Even Fort Community Credit Union received a phone call.

Friday and Saturday the credit union was busier than usual as customers came in or called the branch to retrieve new card numbers.

Logan Schwandt, a member at Fort Community Credit Union, said he received three automated calls.

"It was just a computer voice saying for security reasons there was a block on my card and they wanted to reopen it," Schwandt said. "If you followed it then they'd ask you for your card number and (personal identification) number."

Schwandt said he knew something was strange and did not give his card information, but some other members did not catch the warning signs.

"From there fraudsters are able to produce fake, counterfeit MasterCards and withdraw money from ATMs because they also had a PIN," said Sue Johnson, senior vice president of operations at Fort Community Credit Union.

Schwandt said his friends also received the same automated call, but their caller stated it was calling from UW Credit Union not Fort Community Credit Union.

Since Fort Community Credit Union began receiving several calls on Friday, it has been working to resolve the problem, issuing new cards to actual members.

Johnson said the credit union has blocked international activity on member accounts since fraudulent activity was observed from Mexico, Italy and Romania. She said members impacted by the scam have been contacted and may be inconvenienced for a day or two.

Johnson advised consumers to never give out their personal financial information. If you receive a call and you don't know if it's legitimate or not, hang up and call your financial institution. The bank or credit union will verify if it is a legitimate request and would never request your PIN.

Fort Community Credit Union estimated its losses could be a couple thousand dollars.

If you did not give out your card information your account is fine, credit union officials said. But if you did and need to contact fraud services during its off hours, call the 24-hour phone lines. Call 800-264-5578 for debit cards and 866-820-6779 for credit cards.

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