St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Pontiac Federal Credit Union

Some of our members have recently been the victim of counterfeit VISA debit card transactions. The fraudulent use is taking place in California and New York. Please read below for further information.

So, how did they use your stolen information to buy things in New York?  Most likely, they used a device to clean magnetic stripes off another debit or credit card and re-encode it with your stolen information.  The fraudsters can even use a hotel room key to make purchases using your debit card information.  That’s right, the person who made the purchases at Wal-Mart in New York (most likely a self-checkout terminal) could have been using a hotel room key with your debit card information to buy those flat screen TVs.  If the fraudsters are not daring enough to go into an actual store, they can always place an order online or over the phone with your debit card information and have the goods shipped to them (most likely a P.O. Box opened with fraudulent identification).

How does this happen?

Although there are many ways that a card can be compromised, here are the most common ways:

Skimming – This happens when the magnetic stripe information is captured, using a small skimming device. The card is either swiped through the device or the device is hidden behind a legitimate card reader (like at a gas pump or an ATM) and the information is captured and stored for later use. The information can then be transferred onto another card for counterfeit use.

Merchant or Processor Breach – This type of breech occurs when a hacker is able to infiltrate the payment system of either a merchant or a card processor. They transmit the information back to themselves and then transfer it onto another card for counterfeit use.

Phishing – With this type of fraud, you are solicited for your personal and/or account information directly by criminals. You can receive emails, pop-up windows while surfing the internet or even phone calls trying to persuade you give out your information. Also, Trojan viruses are installed on your computer without your knowledge, which allow the criminals to gather information directly from your computer or monitor your keystrokes.

What should you do to protect yourself?

Unfortunately, fraud is becoming more and more prevalent. Although card companies like VISA® and card processors continually monitor for breaches, criminals still find ways to breach the payment network. 

Although St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Pontiac Federal Credit Union cannot control breaches that occur at merchants and card processors, you can rest assured that we will do everything possible to protect your account and minimize your inconvenience when a breach occurs.

  • Monitor your account as often as possible, using online banking or e-Alerts.
  • Review your monthly statements and report any unauthorized transactions immediately.
  • Refrain from clicking directly on hyperlinks to avoid being taken to a spoof or fake website. Always type the address into your internet browser to go a specific website.
  • Maintain updated virus software on all of your computers.
  • Never give out your personal or account information by phone, unless you initiated the call. This includes emails, as well.
  • Do not give your PIN number to anyone.
  • If you suspect that you have given any information to someone that may not be legitimate, call immediately to let us know. We can help you with securing your account.
  • Shop with merchants that you know. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Check your credit report at least annually to ensure that it is accurate.
  • If fraud happens, see us to cancel your card and we will re-issue you a new one.