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'Phishing' expedition targets Clearview credit union customers

An example of a phishing text purportedly from Clearview Federal Credit Union that was sent on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014

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What the scam looks like:

Those who receive texts claiming to be from Clearview and click on the provided link receive this message:

“We are very sorry, but your ATM/Check Card has been suspended due to an error of our internal processors. Please confirm your information in order to unlock your card. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

“Please Note: Once you have submitted your information, the limitations on your card will be removed immediately.”

Recipients are then asked to provide their full name, billing address, date of birth, Social Security number and card number with its expiration date and personal identification number.

By Braden Ashe
Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 5:33 p.m.

The FBI is investigating a regional scam to steal people's identities by posing as the Clearview Federal Credit Union.

Clearview spokeswoman Christianne Gribben said members and non-members have reported fielding a call, text or email asking them to contact the Moon Township-based credit union about their account.

Clearview has local offices available to the public in Harrison and Lower Burrell.

Most of the messages, Gribben said, are fraudulent notices of debit card suspensions “due to an error of (Clearview's) internal processors.”

Those who follow the steps to reactivate their cards are asked to give their Social Security numbers, billing addresses, personal identification and card numbers.

Gribben said Clearview, like any legitimate financial institution, doesn't request such sensitive information via phone or text.

“It's important to be cognizant of ways to protect your individual identity,” she said. “People should always keep an eye on their accounts and monitor their statements.

“If anyone has submitted their personal information through these avenues, member or not, they should contact their financial institutions immediately.”

FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba could not be reached on Monday.

The numbers delivering messages have area codes of 412, 724 or 423. The first two cover areas of Western Pennsylvania; 423 is an area code representing two separate areas of Eastern Tennessee.

It was unknown how many people have received messages. Gribben could not provide information on the geographic scope of the scam.

Cathie Hunter-Cielicki of Lower Burrell said she received a text Monday morning that her debit card with Clearview had been suspended.

“Being that I'm not a Clearview member, it was pretty obvious it was a scam,” she said. “I called the local bank to inform them of the scam and they were already aware of it. They had already received some calls about it.”

Gribben said the scam artists first started sending messages on Saturday.

So far, according to Gribben, no Clearview members have reported losses.

All of the calls and messages are being made from outside numbers and IP addresses and not from Clearview's system, Gribben said.

“There has been no breach or hacking of any kind,” she said. “People just need to use their good judgement and common sense to realize what is and isn't a scam.”

Clearview is Southwestern Pennsylvania's largest credit union. It serves more than 85,000 members through 17 full-service branches throughout the region.

Clearview officials are asking members who have replied to texts or emails to report it immediately at 1-800-926-0003.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or

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