Watch Out For Financial Scams

Scammers are using texting, emails, phone calls and social media to commit fraud. Stay vigilant and keep a look out for these types of scams:

Scam #1 Text and Email Scams for Gift Card Codes

Scammers will often pose as a bill collector, sending a text or email asking for iTunes, Amazon or Visa gift card codes as a form of payment. Gift card codes are not traceable and are not acceptable forms of payment for any bill. If anyone asks you for gift card codes as payment, no matter what, it is always a scam. These scams also pop up during tax season with scammers posing as the IRS, sending scary texts and emails about tax fraud or penalties.

What to do:
  • If you receive a text or email about a bill asking for gift cards as payment, do not reply.
  • Go online and find a help number on the company’s website to see if there are any issues with your account.
  • Don’t use information included in the text or email to contact the company.
  • Delete the scamming text or email and block the sender.
Scam #2 Phone Phishing for Banking Details
Scammers will call the unsuspecting victims pretending to be Fraud Prevention from the victim’s financial institution. The caller ID may even state your financial institution’s name. Scammers will create some made-up transactions on the account they need to verify, sounding official.

Once the victim denies the transactions, the scammers will ask for as much information as they can get from the victim, such as credit card number, expiration date, CVV code, SSN, username, and password. The scammer tells the victim they are attempting to “verify” the cardholder’s identity.

What to do:
  • Before you give anyone banking information, ask yourself “Why do they need this info?”
  • Your financial institution will never call you asking for your card number, username, or password.
  • Immediately hang up and call the number on the back of your card if you have questions.
Scam #3 Social Engineering via Social Media
Oversharing personal information on social media profiles can help scammers turn you into a victim. Beyond identity theft, personal information can be used to facilitate a friendship or relationship with the victim over the course of weeks or months, building trust in order to scam the victim.

Once trust is established, the scammer then tries to manipulate the victim into giving them access to bank accounts. The new “friend” uses the victim’s account to deposit funds then sends the funds out through apps like CashApp, Zelle, or PayPal.

What to do:
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or dig deeper to ensure that who you are communicating with is in fact who they claim to be.
  • Never send money or your banking information to anyone you meet online, no matter what sad story they tell you.
  • Turn your social media settings to 'friends only' and be careful what you share and who you add as a friend.
  • Vacation pictures, online resumes and even pets’ names help the scammer to build a more believable story.

Be vigilant!

  • Guard your banking information by using strong passwords, changing your passwords often and shredding sensitive papers when they're no longer needed. 
  • Be careful when answering calls or texts from numbers you don't know.
  • When in doubt, call your credit union or bank directly.