YOUR FINANCIAL SECURITY IS IMPORTANT TO US.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER WHEN IT COMES TO DEFENDING AGAINST FRAUD. READ BELOW TO STAY ONE STEP AHEAD AND TO STAY VIGILANT AGAINST SOME OF THE MOST COMMON LOCAL SCAMS.
Phishing scams typically appear as an email from a legitimate source or company with a familiar or trusted reputation. Often, these emails carry web links, imposter logos and signatures, and professional verbiage, so they are easy to fall for. If you ever receive an email that requests sensitive personal or account information, double check with your administrators to verify the legitimacy of such emails. Keep in mind that most institutions with established security guidelines will not request sensitive information via email.
Credit and Debit Scams
There’s nothing novel about credit and debit scams, as they’re very common and have been around for a while. Typically, this takes places when unauthorized sources have made unauthorized purchases by use of your credit or debit cards. These days, criminals can achieve this without even having your physical cards in their possession. Criminals can use your card number, PIN, or CSC code to successfully make purchase without your knowledge. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your accounts so you can spot any suspicious activity in your transaction history.
Wire/Money Transfer Fraud
Similar to credit and debit fraud, wire/money transfer fraud takes place when criminals are able to obtain the necessary account information to transfer money from your account to others. In some cases, criminals are able to fool or trick consumers into providing this information to them under the guise of a legitimate entity. This can be avoided by making sure you never give out your account information to unverified sources.
Lottery and prize scams
This popular scam method involves contacting consumers informing them that they’ve won some kind of prize, be it a sum of money or an expensive piece of technology. Subsequently, they might be asked to provide account information for the purpose of depositing funds, or to charge something for a physical prize. After this, they take their money. Always be on guard if you’ve received a sudden/unexpected message that you’ve won a prize, as most prize venues will not request private sensitive information to claim a prize.
Romance/Love Interest Scams
Romance scams are rife throughout social media. These often start when a potential romantic partner follows, requests, messages, or reaches out in some fashion and uses contrived flirtatious banter to trick people into a love interest. If and when they are successful, they use a variety of tactics to take your funds, be it the promise to use that money for a plane ticket to visit, to help them with a personal emergency, or any other made-up reason. Best practice would be to never share account information with strangers you’ve interacted with anywhere on the internet.
All too common in the growing world of asset investing, investment scams are one of the most common, and appear all over the digital gamut, including social media, email, phone calls, and many more. Typically, an investment scam will express the promise of “getting rich quick” and the tactics for how to do it---but not before you send them the funds necessary to do so—which might be explained as investment capital or even a fee for insider knowledge. This could be in real estate, stocks, cryptocurrency, or any other assets with high-yield potential. It is best to be in the habit of ignoring any such offers that come to you suddenly and seem fishy or too good to be true.
Time of Year Scams (tax season, open enrollment periods)
There are various times of year that hold finance-related significance, which means scammers are out taking advantage of individuals during those times. These types of scams usually involve impersonators of official organizations such as the IRS or insurance/benefit firms. They may call consumers and insist that they owe a sum of money for tax purposes and demand account information on the spot over the phone. Similarly, during open enrollment periods, scammers may demand account information for any recent changes or additions to employee benefits packages. These circumstances often lead to people thinking these are genuine requests and will provide account information—especially if they know they will owe taxes or have made changes to their benefits. Remember that the IRS and insurance firms will never call and demand money/account information on the spot.
Tech support, warranty, or distressed/in need calls
These types of scams are almost always done via phone call. The basis of these scams starts with the scammers calling your phone and informing you that they’ve discovered a problem with your computer hardware, that you have an extended warranty option, or that you have a family member who needs immediate financial assistance. In each case, almost invariably, you will be asked to provide account/bank information on the spot. Always remember to question calls like these and, if it seems fishy, hang up and check with your providers or family members to know for sure if there are any real issues.
How to Protect Yourself
-Never provide your personal or financial information to anyone online or over the phone unless you have verified their credibility. Most establishments will not call and demand an on-the-spot payment over the phone.
-If you are encounter someone via phone or online and something seems fishy, hang up or exit the conversation. In cases involving charities, ask detailed questions about the individual, what establishment they are affiliated with, as well as addresses, phone numbers, website info, etc. to verify whether or not it adds up.
-When in doubt, or if you feel you may have fallen victim to a unique scam or fraudulent operation, call your financial institution immediately and report the incident, along with any concerning activity you may have seen.
If you suspect that you are a victim of a scam, fraud, or attempted fraud, call us and report it as soon as possible at 208.467.6583