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Fraud Alerts in the Greater Rochester Community

Updated, September 23, 2020

Preventing, detecting, and investigating fraud is an essential action we at ESL consistently take in order to protect our customers’ information and their funds.

In addition to the technologies we have in place to assist with this, the next best way to prevent fraud is for you to be aware of different schemes taking place, know how to identify them if targeted, and understand the steps you can take to protect yourself.

Instances of fraud often increase when major events occur, as we have seen with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, as well as annual occurrences like long holiday weekends. Fraudsters will often take advantage of these events by preying on our vulnerabilities or emotions to extract personal or financial information.

Awareness and education is the best defense against fraudsters. Highlighted below are the major fraud schemes we are seeing throughout Greater Rochester today. Please be aware of these schemes, the tactics fraudsters are using, and the actions you can take to keep your information and funds safe.

If you ever have any concerns about questionable activity on your account, please contact our Fraud Prevention and Investigations team at 585.336.1140 or 888.353.9920, or Fraud_Prevention@esl.org. Normal account servicing questions should continue to be handled by our Contact Center at 585.336.100. It’s also important that all members regularly ensure their contact information is up to date, should we need to reach you in regards to your accounts.

UPDATED, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020:

ALERT: The Federal Trade Commission is warning of fraudulent COVID-19 Contact Tracing calls

Contact tracers may legitimately call those who have tested positive for COVID-19, or those who may have been exposed to the disease. Some scams are posing as contact tracers asking for additional personal or financial information. Here are some tips to help distinguish a real contact tracer from a fake one:

Legitimate contact tracers may:

  • Contact you via call, email, text, or visit your home to discuss results of a test you know you took, or because someone you’ve been in contact with has tested positive
  • Ask you for name and address
  • Ask for health information
  • Ask for names, places, and people you have recently visited

Scammers who pose as contact tracers will go to additional lengths to gain information. Here are some things to avoid:

  • Do not offer money to anyone who claims to be a contact tracer. Fraudulent tracers may ask for money, especially by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency
  • Do not provide any bank account, credit card, citizen status, or social security information
  • Do not click a link or download any files you receive as they may contain malware or additional phishing attempts

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 contact tracing, we encourage you to contact your County Health Department.

UPDATED, APRIL 10, 2020:

ALERT: Fraudulent IRS Stimulus Direct Deposits Communications

We are seeing communications from fraudsters pretending to be the IRS saying stimulus direct deposits from the CARES Act are ready for distribution, and they need your bank account information for direct deposit. The IRS, as well as ESL, would never reach out to you directly to request account information. These fraudsters are contacting individuals via phone, text, and email.

ALERT: Fraudsters Pretending to be ESL Fraud Prevention and Investigations Department

Customers are receiving calls and texts from fraudsters pretending to be the ESL Fraud Prevention and Investigations Department. Fraudsters already have customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) and even card numbers, and they ask for bank account information and driver’s license number to verify fake fraudulent charges. Then they are sending a text message to customers asking for their PIN. These calls appear to be from ESL however the number has been “spoofed.” If you received a call or text message and provided any information, please contact us at 585.336.1000 or via Live Chat Banking. ESL will never ask for your card numbers, bank account information, or PIN via phone, email, or text.

Example of fraudulent text message:
Example Fraudulent Text Message: Fr Esl Federal Credit union Debit Card ending in ___. To continue using your card, please verify these 2 transactions. 04/05 - Jetblue Airlines Merchant $475.62 (Declined); 04/05 cardtronics atm $300.00 (Declined). If you attempted all 2 of these transactions, reply Y. if you do not recognize one or more of them, reply N. To opt out of text alerts reply STOP.

ALERT: Fraudsters Pretending to be from ESL’s Contact Center

Fraudsters call/email ESL customers pretending to be ESL’s Contact Center and ask for members’ credit card numbers. ESL will never ask for your card numbers or bank account information via phone, email, or text.

UPDATED, APRIL 6, 2020:

ALERT: Fraudulent Charitable Requests

Be alert of the following when it comes to donations for charities, crowdfunding, or disaster-relief sites:

  • Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation.
  • Be wary of those asking for donations in cash, by gift card, or through wire transfers.
  • Check the website’s security settings. If the site is secure, its web address should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.

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