Credit Unions

Happy 2nd of July

Welcome to the Radiant Credit Union Fraud Blog. In this blog I am going to provide information on various types of fraud that you, or someone you know, may come to, or have already experienced. My primary goal is to provide you with information that can help you understand the vast and complex fraud landscape. With this information you can better protect yourself, help protect your friends and family, and understand some of the processes we, as an institution, have in place to prevent and detect fraud.

Did you know?

As a true history buff, I love sharing and correlating history with today’s world. For example, at the beginning of July 1776, John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, to tell her of the excitement he felt and his vision of a new future for the thirteen colonies. He wrote “But the day is past. The second day of July 1776 will be a memorable epoch in the history of America.”

                Did you catch the date? The Continental Congress voted on July 2, 1776, to declare our independence not July 4th. Now the Declaration of Independence was not initially signed and agreed upon until July 4th. Even then there were only two people that signed it on July 4th, John Hancock as President of Congress and Charles Thompson the Secretary of Congress.  There were 86 changes made to the Declaration of Independence from the original document Thomas Jefferson provided.

                I have learned that like history, the story on how fraud works is not common knowledge to everyone. Most of us believe that skimmers on gas pumps are the largest source of debit and credit card fraud. That is no longer the case. EMV (chip) cards have helped to lower exposure to skimmers. Lockdowns due to COVID-19 forced fraudsters to make changes in how they commit their crimes. Data breaches of card payment processors and e-skimmers (skimming card payment info online) are now two of the most popular ways of obtaining card information.

Today, a BIN attack is the most common way card fraud can be committed even though the physical card may have never been used. This type of fraud is rarely talked about; however, it is one of the fastest growing types of card fraud. A BIN (Bank Identification Number) is the leading set of numbers on all credit and debit cards. This number is assigned to financial institutions and used to identify the institution, like routing numbers. These numbers are not private information and can be found through a simple search online.

Fraudsters use computer programing that uses the BIN sequence and then randomly adds numbers to make a full card number, create an expiration date, and sometimes create a CVV number (the three-digit number on the back of the card). The fraudsters use programing to run these card numbers on websites for merchants, such as Amazon, to see what cards they get a positive response. These “test” transactions are usually for small amounts of one dollar or less. Fraud detection programing does not always catch and stop these low dollar transactions. Once the fraudsters receive a positive response, they then attempt to run additional larger charges on the card. The fraudsters run these purchases online so they can negate the security of EMV and PIN (Personal Identifiable Number) since the card is not present for the chip to be read or a PIN entered.

How do you protect yourself from these attacks?

First, make sure that if you have an activated debit or credit card that you are not using or going to use, close it. Leaving cards activated and open is like leaving the window to your home open while you are away. It may or may not be used to steal from you.

Next, take care of the card you use occasionally or even daily. Radiant offers a feature called “Lock My Card” that allows you to block and unblock your debit and credit cards at any time through our online or mobile banking. You simply login to your account to unblock the card while waiting in line to make a purchase, and as soon as you have finished your purchase you can lock your card again. When you have this feature turned on, any transaction that attempts to charge to your card will be declined.

If a fraudulent charge does charge to your card, do not worry, we can help. Just give us a call at 877-786-7828 and select option 4 or 866-209-7190 after hours. We will get your card blocked, order a new card, and assist you with disputing any fraudulent transactions.

Well, this is the end of the inaugural blog. I hoped you enjoyed it and stay tuned for future blogs. I hope you have a great Fourth of July celebration. Thank you for reading and have a great day.


Author: Tommy Smith, Fraud Prevention Specialist at Radiant Credit Union. Tommy has been with Radiant since 2007 and has led the organization’s fraud prevention efforts since 2013.