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No doubt, you're aware of scams and scamming, that the creation and activation of them are major growth industries practiced by those with brains, computer skills and of criminal intent, appearing to be always light years ahead of honest folk in their thinking. 

This explosive growth has been inspired by the ever greater use of “e-connectivity” and the technical proficiency of scammers taking advantage of the growth of “customer not present” transactions.

Recently a very well-known and much respected credit union in the UK was unwittingly used as a conduit to defraud a vulnerable “at risk” owner-member user of the credit union, taking some £14,000.  Honourably this sum was refunded by the credit union as it already knew that the owner-member user was at risk and had questioned previous requests for “odd transactions”.


Here are some ideas to counter this problem - this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Create categories for special alerts on the credit union database for those owner-member users who are known to  …

  1. Not be “tech” savvy and, by temperament, to be totally trusting.
  2. Be physically or mentally impaired
  3. Have very high unencumbered savings deposits that in particular are not subject to a regular pattern of “outward” transactions.
  4. Be the recipients of legitimate cash windfalls, such as inheritances, “with profits” maturing life insurance policies, redemptions of other investments, etc.
  5. Suddenly “out of the blue” request unusual cash withdrawal activity on their account

If any unusual behaviour or untoward request, such as an electronic paper or personal visit (see below)  is made for a share withdrawal or payment made particularly to the third party account, the credit union should intervene immediately by telephone or meeting personally with the owner-member user to get the full story and then ask “is this really what you want to do?” and if the response received, particularly a face to face one, does not seem “right” (this can be intuition and hard to verify) an immediate report should be made to the police and “Action Fraud” in the UK.

As referred to above, extortion exercised against vulnerable people, particularly by avaricious relatives and carers is sadly becoming increasingly widespread.

The exercising of these cautions being a “duty of care” to our owner-member users at all times is something for which credit unions are renowned!


Send out regular scam alerts by e-connectivity and hard copy mail for those that don’t use “tech”, suggesting to them that ...

  1. all unusual telephone calls and emails, particularly to do with their money, are cut off immediately or not responded to.  Of course the scammers are genius at making their calls/emails incredibly plausible.
  2. those who use only a single telephone line or mobile should wait 2-3 minutes for the line to clear and report the contact immediately to the credit union. 
  3. if the owner-member user has more than one telephone line, the one on which the call wasn’t made can be used immediately.​

More and more credit unions are adopting voice recognition software to verify the identity of both incoming and outgoing callers.  Also, more and more “ face to face” credit unions particularly those with thousands of owner-member users and networked branches are adopting photo recognition software as part of their member recognition processes.

Recently another well-known and respected credit union in the UK was visited by an imposter who stated “I am Mr X, here is my membership card and can I have a cash withdrawal of £2,000 from my account please”.  It was paid out of course – however, the membership card was forged and the person receiving the money was not the owner-member!

REMEMBER THISwhere there’s money there’s corruption and where there’s a lot of money, there’s a lot of corruption!


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