RBFCU Encourages Members to Use ‘Financial Distancing’ to Stamp Out the Spread of Fraud

LIVE OAK, Texas (April 20, 2020) — Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union is a safe, sound and secure financial institution. Yet RBFCU members, like all Americans, are facing increased financial risks during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Officials with the U.S. Secret Service and FBI state “the pandemic provides criminal opportunities on a scale likely to dwarf anything seen before. The speed at which criminals are devising and executing their schemes is truly breathtaking.”

RBFCU is warning its members that financial fraud is skyrocketing. Criminal activity such as phishing can lead to severe financial losses from individual banking accounts and payment cards.

Importantly, just as we are using “social distancing” to slow the spread of the virus, we encourage members to employ financial distancing to stamp out the fraudsters and scammers.

Financial distancing means our members should not respond to anyone claiming to be a representative of RBFCU, or other financial concern, unless the member initiated the contact and is receiving a return call or email. Scammers often initiate contact through a phone call, text message or email. They are quite convincing; their phone calls sound legitimate, and their texts and emails can look like the real thing.

They are not in any way associated with RBFCU, because RBFCU never distributes emails or other messages, nor will a representative place phone calls to members asking for sign-in information, including passwords and one-time passcodes.

Members should terminate phone calls in these situations. Do not click links or attachments on emails, and do not respond to text messages, that look suspicious.

If RBFCU members believe their account, username or password has been compromised, they should contact RBFCU at 210-945-3300. Members can also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338), or online through the FTC’s website featuring “How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams.”

We also are encouraging members to use financial distancing by not disclosing secure information, such as:

  • Online Banking username and password
  • An email address and password
  • Security question answers and HAL passwords (HAL is RBFCU’s automated telephone account assistance)
  • Debit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PIN), CVV (the card verification value that typically is a three-digit or four-digit number printed on the back or front of payment cards) and expiration date
  • Mobile wallet tokenization codes or one-time use passcodes used to reset a password sent by RBFCU via text message (the fraudster needs this code for verification)

If a member agrees to provide secure information, they are not financial distancing. They become at-risk for losing money from their accounts and having their financial identity stolen. This can open the door for serious, long-lasting financial problems. Here are the specific pitfalls that follow the failure to use financial distancing:

  • Allowing a total stranger full access to a member’s Online Banking profile or the ability to contact a financial institution and gain access to accounts through successful phone verification
  • Losing money when the following transactions are drawn against members’ accounts: automated clearing house (ACHs), account-to-account (A2A) and wires (Western Union, etc.)
  • Giving a fraudster the ability to
    • Steal money, or purchase items, with a payment card through mobile wallet tokenization
    • Creation of clone cards
    • Adding travel notifications (the fraudster can steal by using the payment card credentials at his home location)
    • Bypassing card fraud rules
    • Applying demographic changes
    • Ordering new cards.

RBFCU is ready to help if members believe their accounts have been compromised. The first step is for members to become aware of the persistent threats. Know how to recognize phishing and read other articles regarding financial safety and security.