Consumers are warned of a newly-discovered phishing scam that is currently circulating in Northern Colorado by groups claiming to be representatives of a defunct credit union.
Phishing is a term used for activities designed to illegally obtain classified information. It can be manifested in different forms such as text messages, spam, email messages, and pop-up messages.
Initially, people would get text messages allegedly from Norlarco Credit Union informing them that their accounts with the said agency have been frozen and that they need to immediately call a toll-free number.
Norlarco Credit Union, which was once considered a leader in its industry, fell from its lofty position two years ago when it began to accumulate millions of dollars in debt, mostly due to speculative real estate investments in Florida. It was eventually seized by the government and is now under the stewardship of the Denver Public Service Credit Union.
People who called up the toll-free number would be ordered to provide credit or debit card account numbers, expiration date and pin codes.
The Public Service Credit Union has recently been receiving a considerable number of calls from people complaining about suspicious text messages and phone numbers. The agency suspects the messages to be fraudulent and advised people to ignore them.
When the agency attempted to call the designated toll free number, they got a recorded message saying that the destination was unavailable.
On other news, last week Better Business Bureau found itself being used as a lure by scam artists. It has been established that criminal syndicates prefer using legitimate credit unions as fronts, since consumers view these agencies and institutions favourably. Consumers next would get messages saying that they would receive a $1,000 gift card in exchange of a $149.95 payment to an otherwise fake Better Business Bureau website.
The messages also claim that gift cards are accepted in all Wal-Mart, Safeway, and King Soopers stores.
However, there were several slips in the scam that made it look unbelievable and illegitimate:
1) The Better Business Bureau seal was a fake. If it were authentic, once someone clicks on it, a BBB Business Reliability Report would appear.
2) The 100% percent guarantee seal on the website was copied from Schwan's, a grocery delivery company.
3) The address listed on the website, 2710 Thomes Ave. in Cheyenne, Wyo. is a fictitious online office site and has been identified before in similar scams.
The people behind this scam cleverly timed the launch of their website on Cyber Monday, where retailers are known to slash down prices.
Consumers shopping online are advised to check the Better Business Bureau's website to confirm if companies they are dealing with are accredited and recognized by the bureau.