...and crooks are constantly evolving their methods and trickery. That being said, you can usually detect the most common types easily by keeping a critical eye. Let’s look at a couple ways on how to implement fraud prevention to give you the advantage rather than being taken advantage of.
This is one of the oldest scams in the fraudster book, and for good reason. This is what we would call a romance scam, and this same energy applies to any dating scam. These online scams are effective because humans crave connection. Criminals can easily gain access to personal information through avenues like social media and unsecure email. The message typically asks you to send certified funds like money orders or wire transfers in order to help this Prince Charming come visit you and sweep you off to his kingdom for your mutual “happily-ever-after”. Reality check: You will never see that money again and the happily ever after will not be mutual.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2020, $304 million was stolen as a result of false romantic entanglements. These scam artists will pose as anything that they think will create a vulnerable chink in your empathetic armor: Prince, Marine, Doctor, or any loveable, relatable person that seems to have an awful lot in common with you. These scammers make their living off of skimming any personal information you put out into the world so they can use it as the key to your heart. You will never be wrong for wanting to connect with people and make their lives better, but make sure to protect yourself too. If it seems too good to be true… Well, you know the rest.
We’ve all had bad customer service experiences, but if the message or call you’re receiving is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, is rude or aggressive, or feels intrusive, it’s probably a good idea to hang up and report as phishing. This is true of just about any company out there, but it goes double for financial institutions, brokerages, alarm companies, credit companies, and any other business where your finances or personal security are involved. These are delicate topics, and the professionals communicating with you on these topics understand this and take the situation seriously, from the language they use to their attitude. If it seems too illiterate to be true, it probably is.
Don’t let yourself become part of this statistic. When trying to figure out what you can do to prevent fraud, the most important thing is to just be cautious. Report spam accounts on social media, don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize (if it’s truly important, they will leave a voicemail), and send those suspicious emails to the spam folder. If you get a message from a financial company and they say they are from your bank, credit card company, or your credit union, keep in mind that these organizations will not be asking for your card number, PIN, social security number, or online banking login. End the conversation before it even begins and call your financial institution from the number they list on their website or a direct number you know for sure is legitimate. Report the message you received and ask them to review your account for any discrepancies. This also alerts those companies to fraud or scams that could affect others, and they’ll be able to take steps to help others avoid this same thing.
Feeling more prepared to recognize fraud? Now it’s time to help your loved ones! Go to part two of our fraud series to learn how.
March 26, 2021
Published by SunWest Credit Union
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