Every day technology becomes more prevalent in people’s lives. From working and traveling to shopping and socializing, it seems people are always connected today. But this non-stop reliance on your devices also creates a haven for fraudsters. The best way to protect yourself from becoming a fraud or identity theft victim is to understand how these scams work. Here are some trending scams and tips to on how to protect yourself.
- Phishing/Vishing/Smishing Scams
These scams are one of the most common scams affecting credit union members. In this type of scam, scammers send fake emails, text message or make phone calls pretending to be from the credit union. The message will typically ask for personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers or social security numbers. The goal of the scammer is to steal your personal information so that they can use it for fraudulent activities.
To protect yourself from these scams, always verify the legitimacy of any message you receive by contacting us directly. Do not click on links or download attachments from emails or messages you receive from unknown sources.
With more singles looking to connect online, America's most expensive scam is on the rise. In this type of scam, scammers create fake online dating profiles and build a relationship with their victim, often over a period of months. Once the scammer has gained the victim's trust, they will ask for money or personal information.
To prevent romance scams, be cautious when communicating with someone you meet online, especially if they ask for money or personal information. Don't share personal information or send money to someone you have never met in person. Research the name on the profile to see if the details check out and do a reverse-image search of the profile to see if it's a stock photo or an image that was plucked off the internet.
It's an amazing employment opportunity-or is it? In this type of scam, scammers pose as potential employers and offer job opportunities that are too good to be true. They may ask for personal information, such as social security numbers or bank account information, or request payment for training or equipment. To prevent job scams, research the employer before providing any personal information or making any payments. Look out for red flags such a job postings with spelling errors or poor grammar, or job offers that require upfront payments. Be wary if you're asked to share personal information before an official contract is signed.
To prevent job scams, before applying or accepting a job offer, do thorough research. Ask for references of past or current employees and check out the company website to see if it’s secure and has real information about the firm, including a street address. Check out the company’s social media accounts, too. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the employer any questions you may have about the company or job.
- Government Imposter Scams
Receiving a call, text, or email from a government agency, such as the IRS or Social Security Administration, can be alarming – and that’s the point. Fraudsters go to great lengths to impersonate these organizations because they know most people will take them more seriously.
Typically, the scam works by an employee from these agencies reaching out to you to verify personal information to settle a debt or pay money upfront to receive federal funds. These fraudsters even create fake employee IDs to appear legit and coerce individuals into divulging information. They often threaten a home loss, arrest or the possibility of losing Social Security benefits if you do not comply.
To prevent imposter scams, be cautious when receiving unsolicited calls or messages. Do not give out personal information or money unless you are sure it is legitimate. Government agencies will always communicate with you through US mail first. They will never text, email, call or contact you via social media about a new issue. The only exception to receiving a call or email is if you are already working directly with the agency on a known problem.
If you spend any time on social media platforms, you’ve likely been bombarded with posts featuring celebrity-endorsed products. While these promotions can seem like a great way to get access to exclusive products and services, they can also be a gateway for scammers to access your personal information, sell you scammy products and more.
In this type of scam, scammers pretend to be a celebrity or a member of their team, and contact their victim via social media or email. The scammer may request money or personal information, or ask their victim to participate in a fake charity or investment opportunity.
To protect yourself, do your research and make sure that every celebrity-endorsed social media post is legitimate. Many celebrities have their own accounts on Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, and it’s easy for scammers to pose as celebrities to promote their own scammy products. Be sure to verify the account before engaging with it. It’s also important to follow basic online safety rules at all times. Never share your credit card or account numbers with an unverified contact, and only visit secure websites.
When donating money to charity, even if it appears to be endorsed by your favorite celebrity, it’s best to verify that it’s legitimate. You can look up the charity on a charity-vetting site, like Charity Navigator, GuideStar or CharityWatch. You can also Google the charity along with the word “scam” to see if there’s anything suspect about this organization.
There are many scams that are currently affecting credit union members. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of these scams and take steps to protect your personal information. If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, contact us immediately.
Stay vigilant and stay safe!