Fraud Management Tips to Avoid Scams
Education is one of the most powerful ways to protect yourself against fraud. Here are some tips to help guard against scams. As a reminder, if you contact MountainCrest Credit Union, we may ask to verify your identity. However, we will never reach out and request that you enter your credit union account number, debit card number, PIN, Visa card number, log-in credentials, SSN or any sensitive information from you via email or phone. If you get a suspicious call or email, please contact us immediately.
How to Avoid a Scam
Block unwanted calls and text messages.
Take steps to block unwanted calls and to filter unwanted text messages.
Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect.
Honest organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers. If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy. Or look up their phone number. Don’t call the number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.
Resist the pressure to act immediately.
Honest businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
Know how scammers tell you to pay.
Never pay someone who insists you pay with cryptocurrency, a wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram, or a gift card. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
Stop and talk to someone you trust.
Before you do anything else, tell someone – a friend, a family member, a neighbor – what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.
Signs of a Scam
Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know.
Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations. They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.
Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE.
They might say you’re in trouble with the government. Or you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency. Or that there’s a virus on your computer. Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information. Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but must pay a fee to get it.
Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately.
Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.
They often insist that you pay using cryptocurrency, by wiring money through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), then tell you to deposit it and send them money.
Wire Transfer Scams
Wire transfers are a fast and convenient way to send money to individuals and businesses. However, because these types of payments are immediate, and typically irreversible, they are also a target for fraudsters and scammers.
Always be sure you’re sending the money to a legitimate party. Be vigilant when it comes to wire transfers and verify the information is from trusted sources, because once you wire the funds, there usually isn’t any way to get your money back.
What you Can Do:
Confirm the recipient’s identity. Make sure the person or company you’re sending money to is a trusted entity. Ideally, someone you have met in person, or spoken to over the phone at a verified phone number. Never wire money to a stranger.
Verify wiring instructions are correct and are from a reliable source.
Watch out for red flags such as:
• You are sent a check in connection with a payment request. Con artists often win their victims’ confidence by sending a fake check for more than the amount of purchase to cover so-called processing fees, shipping costs or other expenses. It may be a cashier’s check, personal check or money order. They instruct the victim to cash the check and send them a portion of the money by wire.
• You are asked to wire money overseas. Once money leaves the United States, it is likely gone forever.
• Beware of unusual activities. Be wary of wires going to any account that is not in the name of the seller. Also, be suspicious of any account with a geographical location different than the seller. There are possible explanations for different names and odd locations, but these red flags should be considered.
Never send money or personal information to a stranger. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
If you think you have been a victim of a wire transfer scam, please contact us immediately. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov