A Corry resident was recently swindled out of nearly $1,000 by a scammer posing as a representative from a local credit union on the phone.
A member of Corry Federal Credit Union recently contacted the city of Corry Police Department to report a phone call that led to the defrauding of $989.75 from the victim’s CFCU bank account, according to a Corry City Police news release sent out Wednesday afternoon.
Police said an unknown male pretending to be CFCU from calls to inquire about possible suspicious activity with the credit union member's account and ask other questions to confirm the member's identity.
The phone number and name that show up on the victim's caller ID appear to be CFCU, however, police said this is done to make the caller seem legitimate and professional.
"This type of scam is called spoof calling," said Chelsea Oliver, CFCU marketing specialist. "What happens is the scammer is able to make the call look like and show up on caller ID as the financial institution's actual phone number. We are not the first institution in our area to be hit with spoof calls and we certainly will not be the last."
There is typically a second call to add to the scheme where the victim usually will give out account information, according to police. The criminals behind the scam are then able to make an ATM card, which is then used to withdraw money from the victim's account.
The Corry victim received two fraudulent calls around 6 p.m. on Monday and called police Tuesday after realizing money had been taken out of his account.
The victim's money was withdrawn from an ATM at a Walgreen’s store in Houston, Texas, according to Corry City Police Lt. Gary Hunt.
Police said the FBI advises this is a nationwide problem with the suspects mostly being from foreign countries. There are also third-party suspects who complete the transactions at ATM locations in the United States.
"We advise the community to hang up and call us immediately if they think they are the victim of a spoof call or any scam," Oliver said. "Do not hit redial though because you will be directed back to the scammer, physically dial our phone number so you will reach one of our member service representatives who are trained to help you in these situations."
As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been no other reports of CFCU members being defrauded of funds.
All members of banks and credit unions are urged not to give out any personal or bank account information with these types of calls unless the member calls his or her financial institution.
"CFCU, as well as any financial institution, will never call and request a member's account information," Oliver explained. "To be frank, your financial institution already knows your account number and any debit or credit card numbers, so we will never ask for information like that."
The local resident who recently lost money to the phone scam will be refunded for any fraudulent transactions.
"This type of fraud is so well done and it is extremely important to us that our members know how to stay safe should this happen to them, and we are more than happy to help if they are a victim of any kind of fraud," Oliver said.
An almost identical scam targeting members of Corry Jamestown Credit Union affected residents in the Corry area a couple of months ago.
Ten CJCU members received fraudulent calls and two of them were scammed out of just under $2,000 combined, according to Hunt.
"It was the same exact method used," Hunt said.
A similar phone scam was reported to Corry City Police on Wednesday afternoon. An elderly woman called police after she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS.
"The IRS is still going on," Hunt said. "They told her to take money out of her bank account because other people were withdrawing her money and that they would be by tomorrow at 10 o'clock to pick up the money."
Hunt said the woman withdrew money out of her bank account but later became suspicious and called police, who then advised her it was a scam and to take her money back to the bank.
Hunt added the criminals behind the IRS scam won't come pick up the money but will call back and instruct the victim to use the money to buy gift cards. The scammer will then ask the victim to read the gift card numbers over the phone.