The Pulse (04-11-2017)

Volume 6, Issue 15

The Pulse Archive


Join Senator Al Franken for the Advancing Career Pathways Summit

Next week, Senator Al Franken will be holding a Career Pathways Summit. The event will take place on Monday, April 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Minnesota Department of Education in Roseville.


Senator Franken, who helps head up the Senate Employment Subcommittee, has heard from businesses throughout Minnesota that the current “skills gap” has left employers with jobs they cannot fill because they cannot find people with the right training. To address this, many communities across the state have started school-business partnerships to help students get the education and training they need for good-paying jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree. Senator Franken and his staff have spent the last four months visiting 17 different programs throughout the state to learn about effective models of collaboration between schools and industry partners to help address the skills gap and train students for in-demand 21st century jobs.


Sen. Franken's Advancing Career Pathways Summit will bring together educators, business owners, labor representatives and community partners to discuss best practices, models for collaboration, and opportunities. The Summit is an opportunity to highlight successful programs as well as share ideas on how to create and expand these models across Minnesota.


More information and registration is available online.






Advocate for Your Members – Run Project Zip Code Today





View all Regulatory Compliance news stories


Spam, Shams, and Other Scams

By Ken Otsuka, CUNA Mutual Group senior consultant for Risk & Compliance Solutions


Scams, scams…go away! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Spam, shams, and other scams are on the rise. Fraudsters use clever schemes to defraud millions of people for billions of dollars every year.  In fact, 27 million Americans lost a total of $7.4 billion dollars to telephone scams alone in 2015, according to a survey by TrueCaller.1


Fraudsters are crafty. They pressure people to make important decisions on the spot by using innovative schemes and new twists on existing age-old scams. Their multi-channel approach can involve phone calls, emails, online banking, and mobile technology. Fraudsters look for victims who find their stories convincing and will willingly share sensitive information, which can be used to authorize and transact wires, ACH, plastic card, and other types of transactions. Unfortunately, the fraudulent transaction is often a legit exchange based upon a fairy tale.


Prevalent scams include:


  • Wire transfer fraud scams involving business email compromises or fraudulent emails providing “updated” wire instructions for real estate closings.
  • Check scams swindling members through secret shoppers, prizes, or romance offers. These “too good to be true scams” have long shelf lives due to their continued success. Credit unions also report an uptick in counterfeited credit union cashier’s checks.
  • Counterfeiting members’ HELOC checks by fraudsters impersonating credit union members and contacting credit unions to obtain information on members’ home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or to request canceled HELOC checks. Fraudsters also create counterfeit checks against members’ checking accounts and fund the checks with advances against members’ HELOCs.  A loss from a single counterfeit item could easily reach six-figures.
  • Account takeovers happen when fraudsters take advantage of weak authentication methods for online banking self-enrollment and enroll member accounts. Once an account is set-up for online banking, fraudsters transfer funds to accounts at other institutions.
  • Malware used in phishing, smishing (text), or website spoofing campaigns are used to steal online banking login or other authentication credentials.

Combatting fraud in a dynamic environment is not easy. You must continuously identify, measure, control and monitor scams to keep up. And, protecting members from themselves is an even trickier proposition.


So, what can you do?


  •  Know the scams that are happening nationwide and impacting your geographic area. Use resources like CUNA Mutual Group’s RISK Alerts and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
  • Spread the word by educating members through your website, newsletters, and seminars. In addition, conduct periodic staff training covering how scams are perpetrated along with the controls used to protect the credit union and members.
  • Review member authentication procedures. Make sure strong out-of-wallet security questions are used or deploy an identity verification solution within your call centers.  Also, consider deploying an identity verification solution for your online banking self-enrollment feature.
  • Evaluate large member checks presented for payment. Always verify member signatures, check characteristics, and contact the member to confirm check issuance. This review must be timely to allow the credit union to return unauthorized checks by its midnight deadline.
  • Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, follow-up inquisitively to learn more. In some cases, refusing member service due to a potential scam is the only way out. 

Recognizing scams and adopting controls to slow their spread is critical for your success. Do your credit union and members a favor by knowing which scams are hot, remaining vigilant and providing scam awareness. You can make a difference.


To learn more about fraud scams impacting credit unions and your members, join our Credit Union Protection webinar, titled “Spam, Shams and Other Scams,” on Wednesday, April 19 at 1 p.m. We’ll discuss recent fraud trends, how you can detect a scam, what to do if you encounter one, and how you can reduce the impact.


CUNA Mutual Group is a MnCUN Strategic Partner. For more information about CUNA Mutual Group, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or at (651) 288-5505.



1. TrueCaller, “27M Americans Lost Approximately $7.4B in Phone Scams Last Year,” Jan. 22, 2016.

Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034