Beware of Coronavirus Scams – UPDATED 4/24/2020

The global pandemic has not only caused health and economic issues, but also opened uncertain American’s up to a host of fraud. Everything from fake COVID home-tests and cures to emails claiming to be from the IRS, American’s are under attack by criminals looking to steal identities and make a quick buck at your expense.

The Federal Trade Commission recently reported that already nearly $13 million has been stolen from victims, with a median loss of $570 per person who reported the fraud (FTC, April 12, 2020). It’s likely some victims didn’t report their losses so that figure could actually be much higher.

Here are a few things to watch out for:
Communication claiming to be from the IRS: Whether by phone, text or email, fraudsters are impersonating the IRS claiming they need you to verify your identity, requiring you to provide account information, or even claiming you owe taxes on your stimulus payment. They threaten that if you do not give them the information, you will be arrested or will not receive future payments. In another twist of this scam, people are told to go to a certain website, download an app from the site to pay taxes immediately.

Cures and home testing kits: Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. In recent cases, scammers reportedly contacted people by phone or email claiming to be from the CDC. The caller claimed to have approved products to reduce infection risks or that home testing kits were now available.
In other cases, people were told that the caller was from Medicaid and if the victim didn’t agree to pay for cures or tests that their policy would be cancelled. The catch – you have to provide your account details or credit card number immediately as “supplies are very limited.” Each victim had their account debited as a result, and of course nothing was delivered.

Phishing: Emails or text messages aimed at getting you to 1. Divulge personal information, like your social security number, 2. Provide account or credit card information, and/or 3. Click links or download attachments that can infect your computer. Phishing runs the gambit, but there are a few indicators you’re being phished:

• It is an unsolicited email or text, and from a group you do not do business with
• It claims to be from a federal agency like the FBI, IRS, or CDC
• It demands quick action (they don’t want you to talk to anyone about it and learn it’s a scam!) – this demand is complete with a threat. For ex: If you don’t click the link within 24 hours and provide your account details, you will not receive a stimulus payment!

What you can do:
• Stay sharp! With so many of us turning to the internet to work, provide homeschooling for kiddos or even just occupy our time, fraudsters are looking to take advantage of you.
• Remember that the IRS will not contact you via email, text or thru social media asking for personal or account information.
• Just hang up! If you are uncertain, you can contact the agency directly to determine if someone from there was really trying to contact you. For example, you can contact Medicaid or the IRS directly.
• Don’t supply personal information or account details unless you initiate the conversation.
• Do your research. Soon after people started receiving text messages claiming Costco was giving away $5,000 gift cards, it was in the news and available for all to see that it was a scam.
• If in doubt, contact someone like your financial advisor, local police department, or Credit Union. They will help you uncover if it sounds like a scam.
• If you provided your identity or account details to anyone and now think it was a scam, contact your Credit Union immediately!
• Delete the email or text and do not click the links contained in it. This is how fraudsters often infect your devices and steal information.
• Report actual or attempted fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. The link is on their website.

Learn more:
• TIGTA: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml
• FBI: www.fbi.gov
• Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus
• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/media/phishing.html
• IRS: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts

Finally, always check the facts with a reliable source. Never rely on information on a social media site.

Coronavirus Statement.

READINESS INFORMATION

Updated April 12, 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe, & Stay Healthy

Your credit union is doing its part to keep you, our staff, and our community healthy while continuing to provide the financial services you need. Many of our employees are working from home but they have full access to our systems and calls are being forwarded to them. We are ready to help with your financial needs. Contact us by phone at 307-432-7400, email us at ms@firstedfcu.com, or text us at 307-432-7400. Lending questions can be emailed directly to loans@firstedfcu.com or by text to 307-432-7422.

We anticipate no interruption of our core services. We have partnered with leaders in the financial services industry for our core products. They include the Federal Reserve Bank, Jack Henry & Associates, and COOP Financial Services. They all have robust and well tested business continuity plans. There is no indication the US utilities infrastructure will be impacted by COVID-19.

Your funds are safe, too. Your deposits at the Credit Union are insured to at least $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Go to ncua.gov for more information about your coverage.

Use Remote Services When Possible

To comply with the health order issued by Gov. Gordon, we encourage you to stay at home and use our remote services. Our home banking system, NetTeller, and mobile banking app, AirTeller, give you access to your account without the need to come to the credit union. If you are not yet set up for our remote services, contact us.

Our drive-up is open regular hours but expect longer wait times. Due to social distancing guidelines, only one person at a time will be working the drive-up. To avoid the wait, put deposits in the night-depository. It is built in to the south-east corner of the building next to the drive-up window. You can also mail them to us or use any deposit taking ATM. Deposits at ATMs will automatically be placed on hold. Contact us to have the hold released.

Non-employees will be allowed in the credit union only when absolutely necessary. Before coming to the credit union, contact us for an appointment and carefully consider your need to enter our building. Again, most transactions can be completed without the need for close personal contact. You must give us the reason you need access when you make the appointment. You may also be ask about your current health status and that of all individuals in your household. This is to protect your health and that of our staff.

Limit Your Use of Cash

Social distancing guidelines strongly recommend against the use of cash. Many businesses including some restaurants and the City of Cheyenne have stopped accepting cash. If you decide you must have cash, please use an ATM. If would need a higher daily withdrawal limit, contact us. Find an ATM near you with this link.

Let Us Help

Whether it is with normal business or concern about what the pandemic will do to your income, we are here for you. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act have been approved by the US Congress. This will protect the income of most families but we are prepared to work with any member whose income is reduced by current events. This includes not only payments on your loans with us but ensuring you have money for living expenses, too. We understand the anxiety surrounding this uncertainty, but please talk with your employer and understand their plans before contacting the credit union. We can best help you when we know the facts.

Get Information from Reliable Sources

For the latest information on how to keep you and your family safe, use only the most reliable source. The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is the best place to get the information you need to stay healthy. Do not rely on information from social networking sites.

Be Confident Things Will Get Better

We live in a strong, caring community. Just like your credit union will be with you for financial services, your family, friends, and neighbors will be there to help with everything else.

Stay Home, Keep Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands

Any additional actions will be posted to our website and our social media pages.

Contact Information

Phone – 307-432-7400
General Email – ms@firstedfcu.com
Lending Email – loans@firstedfcu.com
General Text Messages – 307-432-7400
Lending Text Messages – 307-432-7422

2020 Board of Directors Election

Bruce Curl and Mary Quast have each been elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors.

Information on Directors

Bruce Curl has been on the First Education Federal Credit Union Board of Directors since 1997 and is a past board chair. Bruce spent more than 37 years in college and university human resource, including 23 years at LCCC, 5 years at the University of Wyoming and 9 years in Illinois. He holds master’s degrees in business and administration. Bruce and his wife Martie live in Cheyenne.

Mary Quast has been a member of the Credit Union since high school and is seeking her first term on the Board of Directors. She received a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Wyoming and is a graduate of Leadership Cheyenne. Mary has served as the Community Relations Director at Laramie County School District 1 since 2003 and serves on the Board of the Cheyenne Schools Foundation. She and her husband Mike live in Cheyenne and have a blended family of five children and one grandchild.