'Bad actors preying on weak passwords' leads to security breach at WFCU credit union

WFCU president Eddie Francis said he believes the steps the credit unit took to lock down some accounts prevented criminals from accessing additional funds. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC - image credit)
WFCU president Eddie Francis said he believes the steps the credit unit took to lock down some accounts prevented criminals from accessing additional funds. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC - image credit)

WFCU credit union is apologizing after a security breach, promising to reimburse any clients who lost money as a result.

In a video posted on the WFCU website Tuesday, president and CEO Eddie Francis explained that unauthorized activity was recognized on some members' accounts.

"Further investigation led us to believe that this unauthorized activity was being caused by bad actors preying on weak passwords," Francis said.

The breach happened October 28 and led the WFCU to close all access to online banking accounts with weak password-protected accounts to prevent more breaches.

"We decided to err on the side of caution, and we've inconvenienced a lot of members by doing so, but it was the right thing to do," Francis said in an interview.

He said that of 62,000 customers, about 100 accounts were breached.

Francis said that the amount of money lost by those affected was "very, very limited."

Police are not involved in the case, Francis said, noting that its difficult to determine who the perpetrators may be.

Frustrated clients

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Shutterstock

Clients on social media platforms are frustrated.

Melanie Pozzobon, a WFCU client for 24 years, says she was locked out of her account for 42 hours and claims that it took 15 e-mails with staff, a few phone calls and two account resets to get back online.

She described the situation as "terrible customer service." Now she's actively looking for another bank.

"I've also expressed my concern to a bank manager about how unhappy we were and that we were considering switching banks and that we didn't feel like they valued our business," Pozzobon said in a Facebook message to CBC.

"[The manager] replied saying, 'Sorry you feel that way. Good luck.'"

Victims of fraud to be reimbursed

Other clients commented on a WFCU Facebook post to say they were "frustrated," that the situation wasn't handled well, and they are also looking for another place to bank.

Francis stressed that the bank apologizes for the inconvenience, but hopes that members know the institution takes security seriously.

Any clients who became victims of fraud as a result of this security breach will be reimbursed, the bank says.

WFCU staff are continuing to work with clients over the next couple days to help with password resets.