Helping keep you and your money safe.
As with all banking transactions, whether in a branch, at an ATM or online, you should always be cautious to protect your identity. WestStar Credit Union has implemented extra security measures to protect your information. It is important that you do what you can to keep your information safe too.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe online:
- Never respond to an email asking for personal or login information.
- Always make sure that the site address listed in the address bar of your web browser is correct (i.e. www.weststar.org) when logging in.
- Let us know if you receive a suspected fraudulent email: call us at (702) 791-4777 or (800) 729-9328 or email us at [email protected].
- Review your credit report at least once per year for accuracy. You can receive one copy of your report free per year, using Annualcreditreport.com.
- To learn more about how to protect yourself from all kinds of scams:
Weststar will never send you an email or text message asking for your online ID, passcode, or any other private or personal information.
ATM & Mastercard Debit Card Fraud Policy
To protect our members from fraud, WestStar Credit Union may block the purchase ability of the Mastercard Debit Card in foreign countries. If you plan on traveling outside of the United States, please contact us at 800-729-9328, so we can verify Mastercard Debit and ATM availability for your destination.
Warning! Don't become the victim of a check scam.
If someone sends you a check or money order then asks you to deposit the item into your account and wire transfer money out of your account, watch out! You may become the victim of a popular scam.
How does the scam work?
The scam usually occurs when you are selling merchandise via the internet or conversing in various "friendship" Internet Relay Chat "rooms". However, other variations of the scam include:
- Receive overpayment for an item you placed for sale over the internet.
- Receive notice you have won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes.
- Promise of receiving a percent of money for the transferring of money for the transferring of funds to your bank account for safekeeping, usually from outside the United States.
- Inheritance from a recently deceased distant relative you had no previous knowledge of.
- Unsolicited emails, faxes, or letters requesting an immediate response.
Regardless of the pitch, all scams involve you being contacted by individuals who agree to forward you a check or money order. After the item is deposited, you may be contacted and told an elaborate story and then asked to wire transfer back all or some of the money.
After you withdraw or wire the money from your account, it is then determined the check or money order you were given is a counterfeit. At this time, the check or money order will be returned to the credit union/bank unpaid and the full amount will be deducted from your account.
There are variations to this scam, but you need to stop and ask yourself a question: why would you wire money to a stranger you met through the internet or correspondence only?
Money Mule scams are more common than you think.
A money mule scam is when someone sends money to you and asks you to send a portion of it to someone else. This is typically through gift cards or wire transfers. The money they are sending you is most likely stolen. They are using you to launder money and the relationship, job, prize or other situtation they tell you they need it for is not real.
How do you avoid it?
- Never send money to collect a prize. If you truly won a prize, they would not be requesting you to pay for it.
- Don't send or accept money from an online love interest. Never send money to someone you have never met in person. It is a red flag when they ask for money.
- Do not be a middleman and let someone use your account in order to send or receive funds.
- Avoid jobs that ask you to transfer money. A legit business would never ask you to send money to a 'client' or 'supplier' on behalf of the company.
What if it happened to you?
Depending on how much information you gave them, you may need to shut down your account as they could have your account information. You will also want to shut down your debit and/or credit cards, and cancel all checks. Always notify your financial institution.
Stop transerring money or being in contact with the person. Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
You might be in a Romance scam if your new "special someone"...
- After initial contact on a legitimate dating site, requests that you communicate by e-mail or messaging service;
- Avoids communicating “face-to-face”, including Face Time calls or any other type of video chat;
- Calls you their “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”, although you have never met;
- Claims to be from the U.S., but is living, working or traveling abroad;
- Claims that your relationship is “destiny” or “fate”;
- Shares a picture of themselves that could be a model from a magazine;
- Asks for gift cards, reloadable cards, a wire transfer, for any reason, before you have met in person;
- Asks for financial support to pay for a plane ticket or other travel expenses, for any type of medical expenses, to pay custom fees to retrieve something, pay off a debt, or pay for traveling documents;
- Has made plans to meet you, but something has always come up;
- Tells you they are in the military stationed in another country;
- Uses odd grammar or spelling;
- Asks to send a large sum of money to your credit union account;
- Asks for personal information, such as your birthday, credit union account information, Social Security Number, home address and Zip code, names of your pets and children, or password;
- Told you that someone close to them has been in an accident, or other type of crisis, and needs money;
- Suddenly adds you on social media and begins conversations that quickly lead to romance;
- Is drastically younger than you are.
What if it happened to you?
If you believe you, or someone close to you, is a victim of an online scam, it should be reported it to the FBI by calling: 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or online at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov).
Who is responsible for the loss to my account?
You are responsible for the check(s) and money order(s) you deposit into your account. Only you can determine the risk of the business transaction you entered in. You were the one who made arrangements for the check to be sent to you. If the check or money order is counterfeit or is returned unpaid for any reason, you are fully responsible for any loss related to the bogus item. In most cases, the credit union/bank can immediately debit your account(s) or file litigation to recover the money.
Why did the credit union/bank allow me to withdraw the money?
Federal law required credit unions/banks to make deposited funds available to you usually within 1 to 5 business days. The fact that you can withdraw cash from your account shortly after depositing a check or money order does not necessarily mean the item you deposited is good. Counterfeit and bogus checks and money orders can sometimes take weeks to be discovered and returned to your credit union/bank unpaid.
Why didn't the credit union/bank know the check was bad?
At WestStar, our employees are trained to look for counterfeit items to prevent our members incurring a loss. Credit union/bank employees merely process check and money orders and in some cases cannot determine if the item is real or not. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the items you submit to the credit union/bank.
If you believe you have been the victim of or are currently being solicited by a fraudster, contact your local police department immediately.
If you need more information or are the victim of one of these scams, please visit the websites below:
We have enhanced card security to help prevent fraud.
In our continuous effort to provide you with premium services and account protection, WestStar Credit Union has implemented a new fraud prevention process that analyzes your individual purchase habits. This free service is designed to identify and prevent fraudulaent charges on your account from unauthorized used of your ATM and Debit Mastercard.
Here's how it works:
- This system is automatically alerted when a charge is presented for approval that is unusual or outside of your normal spending habits.
- These alerts may result in a Fraud Analyst contacting you by phone to validate recent transactions. However, we will never ask you for your PIN or card verfication value (CVV) code.
- If you cannot be reached by phone, and transactions are being questioned, your Debit Mastercard may be temporarily blocked.
- Fraud Analysts are avaialble 7-days a week/24 hours a-day.
If you are planning to travel outside your city, let us know when and where you'll be traveling to. This will help us monitor your card transactions for potential fraud. That way you, and only you, are able to spend your money. Use our secure online messaging within online or mobile banking, or give us a call to let us know your travel plans.
Your Contact Info
We recommend that you keep us updated on the telephone and address information we keep on record to ensure maximum protection. Online and mobile banking users can update their contact information while logged into online or mobile banking.
If you are not an online or mobile banking user, you can call us with your updated contact information Monday through Friday (:00am to 6:00pm and Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm at (701)791-4777 or (800)729-9328.
Email us if you have any questions or comments at [email protected].
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft affects over 11 million people every year - typically taking 165 hours to restore (ITRC), with $54 billion in losses (Javelin Strategy & Research). Identity theft is when someone, without your permission, uses any of your personal information (credit card, SSN, address, etc.) to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft is against the law and costs millions of Americans like you time and money every year.
We've partnered with Deluxe Provent to offer you identity Theft Protection services that fit your needs without breaking the bank. If you have a Perks Checking account, you can also sign up for identity theft monitoring.
Start your protection today.
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