Increase in Financial Scams: What to Watch For
As the spring season begins to appear, we wanted to send a reminder about protecting your secured information and account credentials with us. To continue our ongoing effort to educate our members, please take the time to review the article below addressing Financial Scams. The article highlights:
- If someone sends you money and asks you to send just part of it back to them – it’s likely a scam.
- Never give out your Home Banking username and password.
- If you are asked to send gift cards as payment – it’s likely a scam.
- DO NOT give someone your account information because they want to send you money, they can use that information to withdraw funds.
WARNING: Don’t Be A Victim – Increased Scam and Fraud Threats
It’s disheartening to report, but the number of Scams and Frauds affecting local residents has increased substantially. In all of the following examples, the scammer convinced the victim to either give them personal information or money/goods on the basis of a threat or con.
Please review the follow scenarios and precautions below to ensure you too don’t fall victim to one of these scams.
IRS/FBI Scam – The IRS or another government agency contacts the member and says they owe money to the IRS/government. They demand payment immediately, usually through a wire transfer or pre-paid card. They may even threaten to harm a family member or to have them arrested.
Romance Scam – Online person begins a relationship with the member. This person is a professional scammer, not a true love. After building trust, the scammer then tells a story that ends in needing to send the member money and have it sent back to themselves or a third party.
Job Search – Advertisement for jobs that do not exist but serve as a means to get access to the member’s information. These jobs usually involve a deposit to the account, and the member is instructed to send a portion of the funds elsewhere.
Loan Fraud/Scam – Advertisement for loans or quick money that are not legitimate that lead to the member providing personal and account information which gives scammer access to account.
Easy Money Scheme (Facebook) – This typically involves a friend of a friend and an opportunity to make quick easy cash by simply allowing funds to be deposited then withdrawn from the member’s account.
Grandparent Scam – Supposed family member contacts a relative and says they are in trouble/jail and need money ASAP. They plead with them not to tell their parents and they will pay them back when they are back on their feet.
In the above scenarios, the member sends pre-paid cards (or card serial numbers), money orders, wire transfers or funds to the scammer after:
- Fraudulent funds are deposited into the member’s account (most likely through Mobile Deposit). The check that was deposited then is returned as a fictitious check and the member is responsible for whatever loss has occurred. OR
- False information is used to convince the member they must send the funds immediately or consequences will occur.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
- NEVER give out Debit/ATM PIN numbers, passwords of any type, online banking usernames, or personal information that can be used to open accounts or download mobile banking.
- Only give account and routing numbers to places you have an existing business relationship with where you want to establish automatic payments.
- DO NOT give someone your account information because they want to send you money electronically or deposit a check through Mobile Deposit. There is no reason for any individual or business to have your online banking username or password.
- If you are ever in doubt of a check you can take it to the institution it is drawn on and cash it there.
Thousands fall victim to fraud each month, and Priority First Federal Credit Union wants you to be aware of the many fraudulent scams.
We hope that as you become more aware of these scams, you can better protect yourself and your well-earned money.