As part of our ongoing commitment to informing and protecting members, we post details about current scams and provide tips on how to protect your personal information and accounts.


Lottery and sweepstakes scams continue to affect consumers worldwide. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) listed this type of fraud as the fourth largest complaint category in 2012, with nearly 100,000 filed complaints.


Last month, the FTC and a federal court stopped a massive sweepstakes scam that amounts to an estimated $11 million in fraud.


Here’s how the scams work:


Intended victims receive letters in the mail telling them they’ve won large amounts of money. All they have to do to receive the money is mail in a small fee, typically $20-$50, right away. The letters appear very official, including stamps, seals, bar codes and financial routing numbers. Targeted victims are often older individuals who are very trusting.


To protect yourself from these types of scams, remember that legitimate sweepstakes do not require you to pay any money to receive a prize. You should never disclose your personal information, including checking account numbers, debit card numbers or credit card numbers to unknown people over the phone, online or by mail.


If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, or that your account has been compromised, immediately call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878. The sooner we know about fraud attempts, the sooner we can act to protect you. We can cancel compromised cards, change your account number, or add a password to your account for future transactions.