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Animas Credit Union is always concerned about the protection of its members' information. We are committed to giving you information to help protect yourself against fraud and identity theft by utilizing many resources. One of these resources is the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency. The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection works for the consumer to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace. To learn more about who they are and what they do for consumers, click here.

Additionally, we receive scam alerts from the Office of the Attorney General. Read on for the most recent update.




State of New Mexico
Office of Attorney General
Gary K. King


SCAM ALERT
Contact: Phil Sisneros (505) 827-6792 or Lynn Southard (505) 222-9048

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Please find below the latest Scams & Frauds reported to the New Mexico Attorney General's Office via the communications@nmag.gov email address.

Skype Scam
Scams circulate all communication outlets including home phone, US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, cell phones and now...Skype. One New Mexico consumer emailed the AGO at communications@nmag.gov stating, "I just received a Skype telephone call telling me I qualified for a $7,000 government grant because I was a good tax payer and non-criminal." Skype allows users to block unknown/unwanted numbers that attempt to connect with the "user." Privacy settings let the user control who can contact him/her on Skype.


Phone Scam
An attempt similar to the fraudulent Skype call that came through a phone land line has also been reported to communications@nmag.gov.

The consumer writes, "An individual has called me several times from the same number. Today happened to be a day that I decided to answer. The phone number that called me was (414) 677-7137. The male proceeded to explain that I had a free $7,000 from the government due to a recent random survey that had been done this December. It indicated that since I have never committed a crime that I was able to receive this money. They provided a confirmation number and had me call a different phone number: (202) 559-7659. The individual who answered was a female. Both individuals who I spoke to spoke very poor English. They had really thick accents, almost Spanish sounding, but were not Spanish. It could have been similar to a Middle Eastern accent, not really sure. Anyway, the person proceeded to ask how I would like to receive the money. She included the following options: cash, direct transfer, or Visa. I asked them that if I chose Visa that they would send me a Visa card. LOL. They said no that I had to give them my account information. Therefore, I said that I would rather have cash. So they indicated that I would have to go down to a western union and pay $190 to verify my person and would get refunded the money after doing so."

In both cases, any sharing of personal and private information can lead to financial disaster. It is important for consumers to always remember there is no such thing as free money. Today, protecting your identity is more important than ever before. New Mexico ranks #6 in the United States for Identity Theft. Click here to access The Identity Theft Prevention & Repair Kit online.


Tax Refund Scam
A typical tax refund scam can happen at any time of the year. With tax season upon us, consumers have begun alerting the NMAG's office via the communications@nmag.gov email address that they are receiving fraudulent emails purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service. Remember, the IRS will never contact consumers by email. Three examples of scam emails are below:

#1
Dear Business Owner,
Hereby you are informed that your Income Tax Refund Appeal id#6116208 has been DECLINED. If you consider that the IRS did not properly estimate your case due to a misunderstanding of the facts, be prepared to provide additional information. You can access the rejection file and re-submit your appeal by using the following link Online Tax Appeal.

#2
After the last annual computations of your financial activity we have determined that you have a right to obtain a tax refund of $366. You need to file the tax refund request and allow us 3-9 days in order to process it. A refund can be delayed for many various reasons. E.g., providing invalid records or not complying with a deadline. To get information about your tax refund please open this link.

Best regards, Tax Refund Department, Internal Revenue Service

#3
Another type of tax scam circulating in the New Mexico informs consumers of the penalty they owe the IRS. Failure to remit payment is said to result in a fine of $10,000. Consumers who receive emails similar these should not click on any links embedded into the message. Doing so could cause a virus to infect their computer.

Recipients can visit http://www.irs.gov/compliance for IRS scam information.


Phishing, Nigerian, and Lottery Scam Tally
State consumers continue to report receiving solicitations asking for detailed personal information to claim various prizes such as sweepstakes and lottery winnings. Requests can include some combination of the following: full name; address; gender; marital status; occupation; email address; home, cell/fax number; nationality; credit card or social security number. These scams have come to consumers via email, U.S. mail and by phone (cell, home or business).


Who Can Help?
Consumers can report potential scams to communications@nmag.gov. However, consumers are urged NOT to use the word "scam" in the subject line of their email. The AGO's spam filter blocks all suspicious email messages. Reporting a possible scam in this fashion is not equivalent to filing a complaint with the AG's Consumer Protection Division.

To file an official complaint, access a complaint form online or visit any one of our three offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces.




Simple Ways to Protect Yourself from Scammers

  1. Do not wire money to anyone unless you are absolutely sure it is someone you know and trust. Once wired funds are picked up, there is very little law enforcement can do to retrieve the money.

  2. Unless you made the contact, do not give out your personal information.

  3. Do not send a check, cash, or money order to anyone insisting upfront immediate payment before a service is rendered and never give out your account information.

  4. When selling anything online, beware of anyone who wants to overpay and asks you to reimburse the difference.

For more helpful consumers tips, all of the AGO's Consumer Protection Division booklets and pamphlets can be viewed at www.nmag.gov/publications or picked up at any of the three offices across the state.

To subscribe to the Attorney General's SCAM ALERTS, log on to http://www.nmag.gov/Articles/scamalerts.aspx




Scammers Contacting Credit Union Members
At Animas Credit Union, the security of your financial information is of paramount importance to us. We want you to be aware of any potential scams that have been brought to our attention so that you can be better informed. Several Animas Credit Union members have notified us that they have been contacted by scammers requesting information on their accounts. In the event you are called, please do not divulge any information. Instead, call us at (505) 326-7701 or 1-800-545-4033 to report the incident.

There has been a significant increase in complaints involving unsolicited e-mails directing consumers to phony "member service" or "customer service" websites or directly asking for member information. Animas Credit Union will never request confidential information through e-mail. Please report any such request to Animas Credit Union at questions@animascu.com or call (505) 326-7701 and ask for the Electronic Services Director.

Credit unions have reported that a telephone scam has occurred in the Los Alamos and Santa Fe areas. Local credit unions report their members were contacted by an automated caller claiming their plastic cards were compromised. Members were then referred to a "security department" and asked for their card number and PIN. Unfortunately members have provided that personal information despite best efforts to inform them to never do that.

The attorney general's office was made aware of this situation and contacted the local media. Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) president and CEO Sylvia Lyon taped an interview with KOB-TV recently stressing the importance of never divulging personal financial information to any unsolicited phone caller.

Animas Credit Union wanted to make you aware of these recent events and encourages you to contact us at (505) 326-7701 and ask for the Electronic Services Director or email us at questions@animascu.com if you have a similar experience.




Secure Internet Shopping Tips
Learn more by clicking here.




Learn More About Identity Theft
The Federal Trade Commission's website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft. Click here to find out more about identity theft and what you can do to prevent identity theft.




Counterfeit Checks and Fake Check Scams
Consumers are being taken advantage of by scam artists who prey on their vulnerabilities and lack of knowledge about checks. You may get a letter stating something like "It's your lucky day! You just won a foreign lottery!" There's also a cashier's check to cover the taxes and fees. All you have to do to get your winnings is deposit the check and wire the money to the sender to pay the taxes and fees. You're guaranteed that when they get your payment, you'll get your prize. Unfortunately, that's a scam.

Counterfeit or fake checks are being used in a growing number of fraudulent schemes, including foreign lottery scams, check overpayment scams, Internet auction scams, and secret shopper scams.

Check overpayment scams target consumers selling cars or other valuable items through classified ads or online auction sites. Unsuspecting sellers get stuck when scammers pass off bogus cashier's checks, corporate checks, or personal checks. Click here to read about how it happens.



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