Know the Warning Signs of Fraud

Computer hacker

Each year millions of reports about fraud are filed and victims lose billions of dollars because of these crimes. With fraud continuing to become more rampant, it is essential to stay informed and take actions to protect yourself and your family against fraud and scams. Many of these scams have been around for years so let’s point out some common warning signs that you might be dealing with fraud.

1. There is a prize involved.
You get notified that you’ve won a lottery or contest and are told to claim your prize. Oftentimes, you must first pay a fee to claim this prize.

2. You’re confronted with an urgent request.
Scammers often pressure victims into making a quick decision. This is usually because they want you to send cash (or gift cards) before you realize it’s fraud. Take time to do your research. Any reason that a scammer has given you to send money can often be found online due to other victims sharing the same story.

3. You receive an unexpected check or credit card you didn’t apply for.
The check may arrive via an expedited delivery method. There are usually instructions with the check to deposit and then send a portion elsewhere.

4. You’re threatened with severe consequences if you don’t comply with the scammer.
You may be told that you or your family could be hurt if a transaction isn’t completed. You may also be told you could face jail time or arrest by the IRS.

5. You’ve received an email that doesn’t look quite right.
You’ve received an email with instructions to submit money from someone perpetrating to be another company. Many times there are grammatical errors and it comes from an odd email. Pay close attention to the actual email address to ensure legitimacy. Look up the company’s number rather than relying on the number in the email.

6. You receive a text that says “DO NOT SHARE THIS CODE.”
If you didn’t register for something and you’ve received this message, someone has gained access to an app which allows them to make purchases (usually Samsung or Apple Pay). When you receive a message that says this, you shouldn’t share with anyone and you should immediately contact your local branch.

7. You’re asked to pay for something via payment methods like cryptocurrency, gift cards or wires.
Scams come in many different forms (some old, some new) but many things remain the same and that’s the way they ask for money. They often learn the ropes of an institution so they know what questions will be asked to avoid declination of a transaction. This is why your institution may ask you many questions if you conduct a transaction that seems unusual for you. If you receive a request in these manners, contact your local branch immediately.

8. It seems too good to be true.
Always remember there isn’t an abundance of free money floating around. Nobody is going to send you thousands of dollars just because. Do your research and call your local branch!

Article by: Kelly Gridley, AVP, Enterprise Risk Management, Indiana Members Credit Union