Protect Yourself from Scams!

At Dort Federal, we want to make sure that your identity and your money are protected! As long as you have something of value, there will be thieves who want to take it from you. The solution? Stay one step ahead of them by learning about their methods. We hear, all too often, reports of identity theft and financial fraud on the rise. Unfortunately, we are all susceptible to scams and thieves through the mail, e-mail, Internet, ATMs, or even at a trusted store or restaurant.

Remember, Dort Federal will NEVER ask members for their PIN.

Below are some of the common scams and frauds that you should be familiar with in order to keep your information safe.

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks/Checks/Money Orders

Counterfeit cashier’s checks supposedly issued by Dort Federal Credit Union are in circulation across the United States. There are several variations of the bogus checks, but the most common has the Dort Federal Credit Union name and logo.

Many, but not all, are being mailed by scammers to people selling items over the internet. The cashier’s check is usually made out for several thousand dollars more than the purchase price. The “buyer” requests that the seller immediately wire, via Western Union, the excess funds to a third party “shipping agent” to cover shipping charges for the item purchased. If the seller wires the money as requested, he or she will lose that money when the counterfeit check bounces. Nobody will arrive to claim the purchased item; these scammers are only interested in the cash.

Other versions of the scam involve phony inheritances, sweepstakes, loans, investments, apartment rentals, and even marriage proposals. If an Internet acquaintance from a foreign country asks you to cash a check and wire the funds as a favor, you are being scammed.

If you have received a Dort Federal Credit Union cashier’s check that closely resembles the images found below, we recommend that you NOT DEPOSIT OR ATTEMPT TO CASH THE CHECK UNTIL YOU HAVE VERIFIED ITS AUTHENTICITY. And certainly DO NOT WIRE TRANSFER ANY MONEY TO ANYBODY.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Don’t cash suspicious cashier’s checks, checks or money orders. Notify Dort Federal and we’ll attempt to confirm the legitimacy of the cashier’s check, check, or money order.
  • Be cautious of overseas buyers. If possible, sell locally, especially for high dollar items such as cars or jewelry. Consider having payment wired to your bank account or sent through a service like PayPal.


 Telephone Scams

This is a scam in which a thief, claiming to be from the Security and Fraud Department of a credit card company, calls you to verify the 3-digit security code on the back of your credit card.

Often, the thief will know your address and which financial institution issued the card, and will ask for the code in order to verify that you are in possession of your card. In reality, they want the code so that they can use it to purchase goods and services online.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Never release any card information to anyone who calls you. The card issuer already knows this information and will never call you to verify it.


 Mail Fraud

Anytime the U.S. Mail is used to further a crime, no matter how the crime originated, the crime is considered mail fraud. This often takes the form of illegal sweepstakes or foreign lottery notifications, phony credit card offers, and advance-fee loan schemes. In most cases, you are asked to either purchase something or pay fees up front before you can receive your prize or whatever service the scam advertises.

How to Protect Yourself


 Scams Use Text Messages Instead of E-mails

Add another form of "phishing" scam to the ever-growing list. Identity thieves are now sending out mass text messages to mobile phone users in certain areas, attempting to get the user to share account information by way of a phone call or return text message.

Several credit unions from all over the country have been affected or named in these scams. It seems the thieves not only target the members of a credit union, but non-members as well, relying on confusion and scare tactics to steal personal information.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Never call a number you receive from an unknown text message, and certainly don’t enter in any private information if you make a mistake and do call. If you want to call your bank, use the normal phone number you regularly use, not the phone number you get in a text message—and do not text message in reply.
  • Never click on a hyperlink provided in a text message you believe may be fraudulent (applies only to mobile phone users with internet capability).
  • Do not be intimidated by a text message that suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify information.
  • If you have any reason to believe the contact is legitimate, contact Dort Federal to verify.
  • Use the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) website, Consumers can take interactive quizzes designed to enlighten them about identity theft, phishing, smishing, spam, and online-shopping scams. Elsewhere on the site, consumers can find detailed guidance on how to monitor their credit histories, use effective passwords and recover from identity theft.  



 Email Phishing Scams

Criminals use fraudulent emails (known as phishing emails) that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information. The phishing emails often include logos of legitimate companies, content from their websites, and sometimes the names of real employees.

Many scammers randomly generate email addresses—that’s why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They may also obtain email addresses online from web pages, chat rooms, online auctions, directories or other sources.

Dort Federal will never send unsolicited emails asking members to provide, update, or verify personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, PINs, credit or debit card numbers, or other confidential information.

If you receive an email asking you to click on the link to update/verify information do not click on the link. You can hover over a link to determine the destination. If it is web address that you do not recognize do not click the link.  



ATM Tampering

This crime involves tampering with an ATM in order to capture your ATM card and PIN.

Typically, thieves attach devices like skimmers and false fronts to obtain the information stored on the magnetic strip or to trap a card. To obtain your PIN, thieves hide miniature cameras near the keypad, install a fake keypad over the real one, or simply stand close to the ATM (“shoulder surfing”) where they can view your PIN entry.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Inspect ATMs carefully. Look for traces of adhesive, tape residue, exposed wires, unusual attachments, or signs that say the instructions have changed.
  • Watch out for “shoulder surfers” and people who offer assistance.
  • Contact the ATM owner immediately if your card is not returned or if cash is not disbursed.
  • Ask a friend to accompany you to the ATM, especially at night.



In general, you should try to do the following in order to prevent fraud:

  • Always shred or thoroughly destroy any unwanted mail, plastic cards, or documents that contain personal information.
  • If you receive mail or e-mails that ask you to wire money, mail cashier checks, or the like, don’t do it. These are scams that can cost you thousands of dollars.
  • When making online purchases, read the seller’s information about security. If the site does not offer secure online transactions, don’t make the purchase.
  • Teach your kids about Internet safety. Here's a great resource for doing that.
  • When using an ATM, or doing business in a financial institution, always be alert and aware. If you notice something unusual about the machine or facility, tell an employee.
  • Review your statements every few weeks or at least once per month to monitor your account activity. If you notice unusual transactions, contact your financial institution immediately.
  • Never share your PIN with anyone. If you write your PIN on paper, store the PIN and your card separately. Never carry your PIN in your wallet.

If you have additional questions on how to keep your account safe or suspect you may have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, contact Dort Federal at 810.767.8390 or 800.521.3796 or come in to any of our offices and we will assist you.