Since early January, 15 members of Penn’s Student Federal Credit Union have fallen victim to credit card fraud, Vice President of Public Safety Maureen Rush said.

On Tuesday, SFCU forwarded members an advisory from the Division of Public Safety, alerting them of an investigation into the fraud. Rush said that accounts were robbed of anywhere from $400 to $1,600, with most cases involving a $400 to $500 loss. Rush deferred comment to SFCU about whether victims were reimbursed. SFCU deferred comment to DPS for all specific questions, citing the active investigation.

“We have no idea how this is happening,” Rush said. The unauthorized transactions were mostly made outside of the area, as far and varied as Las Vegas, Florida and Canada. Most victims still have their physical credit cards, Rush said, but it is unclear whether the information was stolen online and whether the cases are connected.

Rush added that DPS is working with Penn Information Security Officer Josh Beeman and SFCU to better understand the credit union’s security system. DPS is also encouraging SFCU to have its system checked out by their own platform vendors.

“We don’t have a lot of answers,” Rush said. However, she offered tips for students to ensure that their money is secure. She suggested signing the back of new credit cards and putting “ask for ID” on the back. Rush said that in her personal experience, most merchants adhere to this provision.

“Probably the best thing you could ever do for your bank statements is check it regularly,” meaning at least once a week, Rush said. She said students should try to keep their cards in sight at all times after handing them off to cashiers, to make sure they do not swipe the card on a hand skimmer, which could copy information from the card.

Online, students should check that a website is legitimate before entering their credit card numbers, Rush suggested, noting that websites that start with “https://” in the URL are secure.

“Protecting our customer accounts is a top priority for the SFCU,” the credit union said in an emailed statement. “We always encourage our members to monitor their account statements and to report any unauthorized activity to both the SFCU and to Public Safety. Penn Police notified us that their department has recently received such reports and we are working with them accordingly.”

Staff Reporter Alexis Block contributed reporting.

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