Scams & Fraud Prevention
Scams have been around for awhile, but we have seen a dramatic uptick in recent months. We will regularly update this page with recent scams and helpful tips.
Let's start with the red flags to watch for when dealing with scammers:
- Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know. Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of a government agency (IRS, Social Security, etc.), business or charity. They will often use technology to change the phone number so it seems legitimate on your caller ID.
- Scammers say there is a PROBLEM or a PRIZE. They might say you're in trouble, owe money or there is a virus on your computer. Some scammers will say there is a problem with your account and you'll need to verify information. Others will lie and say you won money, but have to pay a fee to get it.
- Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately. Scammers want you to act before you have a chance to think about it or ask for advice. They may threaten to arrest you or sue you or say your computer is about to be corrupted.
- Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way. Scammers often insist that you pay by sending money through a transfer company, wire or gift card. Some will send a check that you need to deposit to send them money. Of course, the check comes back fraudulent.
Here are a few tips to help avoid scams:
- Block unwanted calls and text messages. This may help cut down on the frequency.
- Don't give your personal or financial information in response to a request you didn't expect. If you receive an email, text or phone call from a company you do business with, you can contact them directly to verify it is legitimate. And use the contact information from their website, not the one the scammer uses. The Credit Union will never contact you by phone, email or text requesting personal or account information.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision.
- Know how the scammers want you to pay. Never pay anyone who insists on being paid by gift card or wire. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
- Stop and talk to someone you trust. Talk to someone- a friend, family member, or your Credit Union! We are here to help.
Common and Recent Scams:
- Imposter Scams. You typically get a call or email that might say you've won a prize. It might seem to come from a government official. Maybe it seems to be from someone you know- a friend or relative or maybe someone you think you know- maybe someone you met online. The story may vary, but the request is the same- wire money to pay taxes or fees or to help someone you care about.
- Zelle & Utility Bill Scams. Fraudsters will email or text claiming to be from their utility company and state they did not receive a payment and that they will be shutting off service unless they "Zelle" funds to the company immediately.
- Dating & Romance Scams. You meet someone special through an online dating website. Soon they want to correspond through email, text or phone calls. They will create a relationship and ultimately ask for money. It might be for a plane ticket to come visit you, emergency surgery, or some other urgent need.
- IRS Scams. You get a call from someone stating they are from the IRS and they say you owe back taxes. They may threaten to arrest or sue you if you don't pay right away. Sometimes they say to put the money on a prepaid debit
card and give them the numbers over the phone.
- Tech Support Scams. You get a pop-up or urgent message from someone saying your computer is infected. It might seem like the message comes from a legitimate company. It tells you there are viruses and other malware on your computer and to call a phone number or risk losing your personal data. They then attempt to get control of your computer, or access your credit card to pay for useless services.
- Home Repair Scams. Someone knocks on your door or calls you. They say you have a leaky roof, want to install new windows or provide energy-efficient solar panels. This is especially common after a flood, windstorm or natural disaster. They may want cash or offer to get you financing. They then run off with your money after making a few shoddy repairs- or none at all.
- Unwanted Calls. We all get them...a recorded robocall or a live person selling something. Scammers can make it look like the call is coming from a real business. Ignore and block these calls to cut down on frequency.
- Money Mule Scams. Someone may offer you a job, or say you've won a sweepstakes, or they start an online relationship with you. Whatever the story, next they want to send you money and ask you to send it on to someone else. They often request a wire or gift cards.
- Health Care Scams. You see an ad on TV, telling you a new law that requires you to get a new health care card. Or maybe you get a call offering you big discounts on health insurance. Or maybe it is someone who says they are from the government and they need your Medicare number to issue you a new card.
- You've Won! Scams. You get a card, a call or an email telling you that you won! Maybe it is a trip, a prize, a lottery or sweepstakes. But, there's a catch- you need to pay a fee, taxes or customs duties to receive your prize.