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!
Protect Yourself and Your Personal Information
Around the holidays and into the New Year fraudsters are more active. They strike and try to phish* information from unsuspected consumers without being noticed. Be vigilant when receiving phone calls, or emails asking for personal information or account details. If you are unsure of the validity, hang up and call the place of business directly. Trusted companies that you do business with will not make cold calls requesting information that you are unaware of the reason for the call.
When receiving emails, be cautious of links and forms requesting personal information. Always be on high alert and make sure the email sender's email address is correct. Fraudsters will spoof the look of an email, and change one or two letters in the email address, to make it look legitimate. Always be cautious when you are asked for personal information no matter it via phone or email. These fraudsters have gotten to be very good at making it seem real. Stay safe, and always protect your information.
*Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
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): https://www.ic3.gov
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