Scams and Fraud

Millions of Americans have become innocent victims of scams and are paying dearly. We don't want you to become their next victim. We have noticed an increase in fraudulent cashier's checks, certified checks, money orders and travelers checks presented for payment which are part of "get rich scams". These negotiable items look authentic to gain your trust. Watch out for letters, e-mails or phone calls asking for help. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be fooled!


Home Equity Line of Credit Checks

Fraudsters are always looking for ways to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. A potential target for fraud is Home Equity Line of Credit checks. These checks are directly linked to typically a larger available balance and can cause quite a disruption if access to these checks gets in the fraudsters hands. People First is constantly monitoring these transactions and by following these tips below, your accounts can remain safe and secure. Always be vigilante on all of your accounts. These tips can be used in many instances for protection.

  • Keep your checks in a safe and secure location
  • Do not share any of the account information on these checks
  • Enroll in eAlerts to notify you of any large transaction from your HELOC loan. This can be a text or email notice.
  • Consider changing overdraft protection from your HELOC to other alternate methods.
  • Decline checks when opening your account or shred them if they are not needed (If you currently have HELOC checks).

People First strives to be one step ahead of current Fraud and inform all of our members to be aware. Unfortunately, fraudsters are good at getting innocent people to give away their personal information every day. Please keep your personal account information secure and always be overly cautious when you are asked to divulge personal information.

How can I tell if I am being scammed?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this a letter, check, or deposit I expected?
  • Do I know the person who sent the letter or e-mail?
  • Do I know what the payment is for?
  • Are there instructions in the letter or e-mail that ask for help? For example, you may be instructed to provide them with personal information or cash a check and send them a portion of it in the form of a check or wire transfer.

Beware of these common scams...

  • Job Offer - An e-mail or letter is sent to you offering you a job. You are instructed to set up a bank account and send the employer your online banking login credentials. After providing them with this information, funds are electronically deposited into your account. You are then instructed to withdraw the funds and immediately wire them to an unrelated party, typically overseas. The deposit turns out to be fraudulent and you are scammed for a considerable sum of money.
  • Congratulations, You've Won - An e-mail or letter is sent to you stating that you've won something, usually in a random drawing or a lottery. All you need to do is visit a web site or provide other information, such as a social security or account number and you'll receive your winnings.
  • You Are Receiving An Inheritance - You are informed that a relative has passed away and the estate is trying to contact you to make payments from the will. An initial payment is made to you and you are asked to provide information or to cash the check. In some cases, you have been targeted and there actually has been a recent death of a relative.
  • Auction Fraud - The Internet has become popular with online auction sites. Beware of scams where you purchase items online and send payment but you never receive the items. Before you make a purchase, make sure you know who you are dealing with and verify their authenticity.
  • Phishing - A fake e-mail is sent to you, allegedly from a credit union or another organization, asking you to log in and verify your account information or send money. A link takes you to a fake Internet site created with the logos and other identification pieces that make you believe it is the real thing. It may indicate that they are conducting an audit or that if you do not act immediately your account will be terminated. Phishing schemes have increased with the efforts to raise funds for hurricane victims.
  • Nigerian 419 Letter - An e-mail or letter is sent asking for your help in transferring money into their account for a share of the total. Before the transaction can be finalized, you must send thousands of dollars in fees payable by check or a money order. They provide you with a check to be cashed to make the purchase. In many cases, they are interested in getting real checks and money orders that they can duplicate and alter for payment.
  • Postal Forwarding/Reshipping Scam - A phony company that claims they lack a US mailing address and bank account asks you to accept goods sent to your address, and then to reship them. The story may be that they are in need of personal items to help the needy. You will receive some products or money, and you will be asked to reship and pay for the costs.

Telephone Calls and E-mails

A significant amount of fraud starts with a telephone call or an e-mail. The perpetrator will make it sound or look like you are receiving a legitimate request from your financial institution. Never respond to a telephone call or an e-mail without being absolutely sure of whom you are dealing with. Please note: People First FCU will never call you or e-mail you asking for personal information.

If you would receive a questionable e-mail or telephone call, please contact our Member Service Center immediately.

What to do if you receive a suspicious letter, e-mail, or are the victim of an internet crime?

Don't Respond - report the e-mail to the police or a letter to the postal authorities. If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime please file a complaint with FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3):

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