An Olympia credit union ensnared in a "phishing" scam is urging residents not to divulge any financial information.
EvergreenDIRECT Credit Union continues to receive phone calls from members and nonmembers inquiring about the automated messages that started two weeks ago, said Stacy Bush, its marketing director.
The message claims to be affiliated with EvergreenDIRECT and says their debit card has been deactivated for various reasons, including a billing error or questionable activity. It says the card will be activated if they punch in their card number and personal identification number. Most people are being contacted on their cell phones, Bush said.
To protect customers, the credit union has lowered the combined daily limit on automated teller machine withdrawals and PIN-based point of sale transactions to $500 until further notice. To avoid this limit, customers can swipe their card and “sign” for transactions at point-of-sale terminals.
“I don’t know why they’re picking on us,” Bush said. “We’re the little guy.”
Lt. Chris Mealy, spokesman for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, said his office is getting two or three reports a week from residents who received the automated calls, provided the financial information and had money taken from their account. Mealy said he received two such calls on his work cell phone.
He said the scam originates in Spain.
The automated message ends by referring questions to a 1-800 number. Bush said a “poor old lady” has been receiving those calls. A reporter for The Olympian who called the number Tuesday afternoon ended up talking to a customer service representative for United Solutions, a credit union services organization. The representative said someone else is using the telephone line and their carrier is working on the problem.
Bush said the credit union does on occasion call to verify purchases but will never ask for a card number or PIN when doing so.
She advised residents who receive the automated calls to hang up immediately, If they do provide financial information, she advised they immediately call and alert their financial institution.
EvergreenDIRECT started in 1950 as Social and Health Services Credit Union and served employees of the state agency. It opened up its membership in 2006 and changed its name the following year.
It has 4,500 members. It’s headquartered in Olympia and has a branch office in Tumwater.
Christian Hill: 360-754-5427