Scam Alert sign

Two Recent Scams in Maine

Scams are happening at an alarming rate and the creativity fraudsters are leveraging to trick people out of money shows no signs of diminishing. That’s why it is important for us to alert you about scams that are taking place locally. By raising awareness about the tactics criminals are using, we can help prevent you from becoming a victim.

Scam 1

A credit union member was surfing online when a pop-up window appeared.

The notification in the pop-up stated that it was a communication being sent on behalf of a law enforcement officer who was researching fraud associated with that member’s financial institution. This interaction prompted a digital discussion between the fraudster and the member.

The fraudster began asking questions that were designed to have the member share personal information, including the name of their financial institution. As the dialogue continued, the perpetrator informed the member that a criminal had infiltrated their credit union and that one of the credit union’s own employees was behind the activity. The individual also claimed that there was evidence that some members were involved as well.

The fake officer told the member that they were being investigated to determine if they had any involvement with the scheme. The fraudster instructed the member to place a tracking device on their laptop and cell phone, and stated they would be arrested and charged with a crime if they informed anyone about the investigation.

Out of fear, the member followed their instructions, which enabled the fraudster to gain access to the member’s personal banking information through their devices. This resulted in attempted wire fraud. Because the member was fearful that a credit union employee was involved, they did not reach out to the credit union directly to question the activity or report this situation.

Fear is a good motivator, which is why members should be reminded to take pause, never share their personal information or grant anyone access to their devices, and to always contact their credit union directly whenever an activity is in doubt.

Scam 2

An individual came into a branch to withdraw $17,000 in cash to purchase a car for her grandson. The woman, who was impersonating a member, presented credit union staff with a U.S. passport for ID verification. The photo on the passport represented the woman conducting the scheme, but the name and date of birth listed was the member’s. She claimed she did not know her account number, nor could she verify the phone number associated with the account. She stated it was a joint account with her husband.

Fortunately, credit union staff continued to ask additional verification questions which the individual could not answer. The branch manager then reached to the account owner by phone and confirmed that both individuals on the account were not at the branch. The suspect left the scene, and the police were contacted.

Three hours later, a different member called the credit union to report that their identity had been stolen and that someone was using a fake passport with their information on it to withdraw funds from their banking accounts.

Two different members, with one common thread – the use of a fake passport to verify their identity.

What You Can Do

Make sure your contact information is up-to-date on your account. If you recently moved or changed phone numbers, it is important to update your information. You can do so through the County MoGO app, by calling 1-877-318-3838, or stop by a branch!