Category Archives: Alerts

New Branch Coming Soon!

We are pleased to announce that we will be opening a new branch in the Pittsburg Century Plaza Summer 2018. Please be informed that we will be closing the branch at 160 East 10th Street in Pittsburg effective April 16, 2018.

In the interim, please feel free to visit our branch at 1870 A Street in Antioch, or any of our other branch locations.

These necessary changes will help us in fulfilling our commitment to providing the best member service experience.

We thank you for your understanding.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 925-293-1785.

Tax Identity Theft – Part 2

This month’s scam comes directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The IRS has identified an existing scam in which cybercriminals have stolen client data from tax professionals and have filed fraudulent refunds using real taxpayer information, including bank account and routing information for direct deposit.

What is new is that the fraudster then contacts the taxpayer posing as an employee of a debt collection agency working on behalf of the IRS. They ask the taxpayer to take certain steps to return the refund, which actually goes to the criminals.

The IRS is advising taxpayers to contact their financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS. Taxpayers can contact the agency at their main number (800) 829-1040 for individual returns and (800) 829-4933 for business returns.

The IRS will never contact taxpayers by phone or by e-mail. Any such contact should be considered a scam and immediately purged.

Tax Identity Theft

Tax identity theft is still on the rise. Last year, the IRS identified 14,000 fraudulent tax returns with $900 million claimed in fraudulent refunds, according to an audit report from the U.S. Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration. The IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to make sure your filing is accurate and complete, and that you get any refund you are due. Identity theft can affect how your tax return is processed. An unexpected notice or letter from the IRS could alert you that someone else is using your SSN. The IRS does not start contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to .

If someone uses your SSN to file for a tax refund before you do, the IRS might think you already filed and got your refund. When you file your return later, IRS records will show the first filing and refund, and you will get a notice or letter from the IRS saying more than one return was filed for you.

  1. Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) from the IRS.
    An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that helps prevent the misuse of your Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. You cannot use the IP PIN as your e-file signature PIN.
  2. Check your mail and credit union account statements every month.
    If you discover an account you did not open, balance discrepancy, or a purchase you did not make, contact the financial institution or creditor immediately to report the activity.
  3. Monitor your credit reports on a regular basis.
    The federal government has set up for all Americans to receive a free, no-obligation credit report from the three major credit bureaus every twelve months. Read the reports carefully to see if the information is correct. Contact the credit reporting company if there are any mistakes or signs of fraud.

If you think someone used your SSN for a tax refund or a job — or the IRS sends you a notice or letter indicating a problem — contact the IRS immediately. Specialists will work with you to get your tax return filed, get you any refund you are due, and protect your IRS account from identity thieves in the future.

Warning: Lottery Scam Using a CFPB Employee’s Name

Message from CFPB's Stacy Canan: Beward of lottery scams using my name.

I’m Stacy Canan, I lead the Office for Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I’m never going to call you to confirm that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes.

I just found out that my name is being used in an elaborate imposter scam. An imposter scam happens when a criminal tricks you by claiming to be someone you trust. In this case, the scammers are claiming to be me in order to take advantage of you—and steal your money.

This scam has four basic parts:

  • You receive a call notifying you that you’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes prize. Several other calls will follow.
  • One of these calls may come from an imposter claiming to be Stacy Canan, or another CFPB or U.S. government agency official who confirms that you’ve won the prize.
  • Later, you’re told that in order to collect the prize, you must pay the taxes upfront.
  • You send the money to pay the taxes and never hear from any of the callers again.

Signs of an imposter scam

Scams like the above can happen on the phone, through the mail, e-mail, or over the internet. They can occur in person, at home, or at a business. Here are some common signs:

  • You are told you won a sweepstakes or drawing that you did not enter.
  • You’re asked to pay upfront taxes or fees.
  • You’re being pressured to act now. Scammers don’t want you to take the time to do research or to think too carefully before parting with your money.
  • A person claiming to be a government official contacts you to confirm your winnings—the CFPB does not contact consumers about sweepstakes winnings.

Learn more about protecting yourself from financial scams or check the FTC’s website to stay up-to-date on the most recent types of fraud.

Suspect you are being scammed? Report it!

If you suspect a scam, there are a few important steps you should take right away:

  • Report imposter scams to your law enforcement’s non-emergency number. If you think someone’s safety may be at risk, call 911.
  • If you suspect that someone is a victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation, report it to Adult Protective Services (APS). Find your local APS at .
  • Report imposter scams and financial abuse to your state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Visit the National Association of Attorneys General website for the contact information of your state attorney general. Report scams to the FTC at .

While it’s true that I lead the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans, I do not have access to lists or records of sweepstakes winners, nor do my colleagues. I’m angry that a scammer is using my name and taking advantage of trusting people to con them out of money.

If someone calls you and claims to be a CFPB official confirming a sweepstakes prize for you, this is a scam. CFPB staff do not collect information about lottery or sweepstakes winnings, nor do we call people to confirm winnings. Help prevent this scam and others like it from spreading. Share the tips above with your friends, family, and community.

Originally posted on CFPB site here.

Phone Call Fraud Alert

A member recently received a phone call stating the caller was from Contra Costa FCU and offering to lower their interest rate. The caller asked for our member’s account number and social security number. Please be aware that we are not using the name Contra Costa FCU. We are now 1st Northern California Credit Union (1st Nor Cal). We would also never call and ask for your personal information. There is a possibility that this is a new scam that is going around. Please be aware of incoming phone calls and don’t give out your personal information.

Avoid Depositing Checks from Unknown Parties

Consumers should be on the lookout for fake check scams, the National Credit Union Administration, the federal agency that insures 1st Nor Cal members’ deposits, warned after receiving numerous inquiries from consumers.

There are many versions of a fake check scam. However, the result is the same. Scammers lure consumers into depositing a cashier’s check, money order, or other checking instrument from someone that they don’t know and wiring or sending money to the scammers. A check may take considerably longer to clear the financial institution that issued it before the funds can be collected. It could take days or even weeks to discover that the deposited check was fraudulent.

When the check is discovered to be fraudulent, the damage may already have been done. Once a victim wires or sends funds from such a check, he or she may be responsible for reimbursing the financial institution for that amount. Typically, the financial institution will not cover the financial loss and expects the victim to pay the difference.

The Federal Trade Commission also recently issued a fake check scam alert. These checks can be hard to recognize. They may be printed with the names, addresses, and logos of legitimate financial institutions. Consumers are reminded to be on the alert and to not be pressured into wiring funds or sending money after depositing a check.

If you think you or someone you know was the victim of a fake check scam, consider taking the following steps:

  • Contact your local law enforcement agency to report the scam.
  • Contact your state’s attorney general. Contact information for each state’s attorney general can be found on the National Association of Attorneys General website.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Your complaint will be filed into a secure online database, which is used by many local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies. Complaints from consumers help detect patterns of fraud and abuse.
  • If you or the victim is an older adult or a person with a disability, contact your local adult protective services agency. You can find local support resources using the online Eldercare Locator or by calling 1-800-677-1116.

NCUA operates an online Fraud Prevention Center that offers information about avoiding frauds and scams on its website. NCUA also released a two-part video series for consumers on fraud prevention techniques.

Source: National Credit Union Administration

Attention Visa Credit Card Holders

Regarding your 1st Nor Cal Visa account:

In May 2017, we will transition our Visa accounts to our core system here at the Credit Union. You will be able to see your Visa account and transactions on our Online Banking and Mobile App. You will also be able to make payments directly which will update your balance immediately.

Other important issues:

eStatements will be disabled beginning May 19, 2017. Users should download and save copies of any previous statements before this date. Cardholders will receive paper statements to their mailing address on file for the month of April. If your account was set up for automatic payments, you will need to reset that function.

If you have any questions or issues after the May 19th conversion, please call us at (925) 335-3850.

Alert – Letter Did Not Come from Us

You may have received this letter in the mail that appears to have been sent by us. 1st Nor Cal did not send this letter. The letter was sent by an insurance company soliciting your business. They received the home loan amount through county records since all real estate transactions are recorded and maintained with your local county. Please disregard and shred this notice. If you have any questions regarding your mortgage loan, please contact our mortgage department at (925) 335-3870.

Image of letter that did not come from 1st Nor Cal

Tricks & Scams In Debit Cards To Watch Out For

Members are being cautioned to watch for numerous debit card-related scams and tricks in 2017. Fraudsters see chip cards flooding the market and are finding new ways to separate members from their money.

    • Robocalls telling victims their debit cards have been locked, which leads nervous cardholders to follow instructions in the calls, one of which is to key in their card numbers, expiration dates and PINs.
    • Card-cracking artists using social media to lure victims. Millennials are the targets of these scams, which ask debit cardholders to share their cards and PINs as a way of earning extra cash. Scammers deposit fake checks into the associated accounts, make immediate withdrawals and then share some of the cash with the victims. When victims’ financial institutions eventually find fraudulent checks, the debit cardholders are left holding the bag.
  • Seniors being tricked into handing over cards in their homes. Con artists posing as banks or credit union fraud investigators have begun to talk their way into the homes of people as old as 96. Once inside, they convince victims to swap cards, saying their original card was compromised.

Holiday Scams

Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should also be aware of increasingly aggressive and creative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), shoppers should be extra vigilant of the following schemes and red flags.

Online Shopping Scams: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of unfamiliar sites offering unrealistic discounts on brand name merchandise or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product, as you may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information, and receive nothing in return except a compromised identity. In addition, do not open any unsolicited e-mails or click on the links provided. Before shopping online, secure all bank and credit accounts with strong and different passwords. The same should be done for airline and rewards accounts, because the emergence of these offerings has led to an increase in the demand for and resale value of stolen information.

Social Media Scams: Beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, even if it appears the offer was shared by an online friend. Some may pose as holiday promotions or contests that lead to participation in an online survey designed to steal personal information. In addition, do not post photos of event tickets on social media sites as fraudsters can use the barcode to recreate tickets for resale.

Smartphone App Scams: Some apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, may be designed to steal personal information from your device. Before downloading an app from an unknown source, look for third-party reviews and be mindful that alternative app marketplaces can potentially include stolen content and compromised versions of otherwise trustworthy applications.

Work-From-Home Scams: Beware of postings offering work that can be done from the comfort of home, as these opportunities may have unscrupulous motivations behind them. Take caution when money is required up front for instructions or products, or when a job post claims “no experience necessary.” Carefully research individuals or companies before providing them with personal information and never provide personal information when first interacting with a potential employer.

Additional steps to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

  • Check bank and credit card statements routinely, including immediately after making an online purchase and weeks following the holiday season.
  • Only purchase merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Don’t trust a website to be secure just because it claims to be.
  • Do not respond to spam e-mails or click on links contained within them.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mails that ask for personal information.
  • Be cautious of all e-mail attachments and scan them for viruses before opening.
  • Verify requests for personal information from businesses or financial institutions by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.

How to report fraud: Consumers who suspect they’ve been victimized should immediately contact their financial institution and then law enforcement. They are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center regardless of dollar amount lost, and provide all relevant information regarding the complaint.