Beware of Banking Scams
Scammers never take a break. They’re always dreaming up ways to con you out of your money. Recently, there’s been a significant uptick in scams involving checking accounts at many financial institutions.
In these scams, criminals will utilize social media to connect with the victim.
They usually pose as representatives of a bank or credit union and milk the victim for sensitive information, like account numbers and passwords. Since the scammers are using the credit union’s social media accounts, the victims often won’t hesitate to share this information. When the scammers have what they need, they will proceed to empty the victim’s accounts and then disappear.
Often, when the scammers receive a response from the victim on social media, they will redirect the victim to what appears to be the financial institution’s website. The victim, thinking they are on the site they frequently use, will quickly input their username and ID, which the scammers will then use to empty their accounts or open credit cards in the victim’s name.
Sometimes, the scammers will impersonate helpful member representatives who are seemingly looking to answer your questions. You’re used to our representatives being helpful and always on call to assist you, so you won’t see anything strange with the scenario.
Other times, the scammer may claim your account has been compromised and you need to immediately update your information. They’ll be oh-so-helpful with this step. Until you share your information with them, that is.
Still other times, scammers will pose as representatives of a sweepstakes or some other contest that you’ve “won.” All you need to do is share your account information and your passwords to be made into an instant millionaire! Except that, of course, you won’t.
Don’t be the next victim! Be aware and be alert. Here’s what you need to know about this scam:
1.) Check URLs
Scammers are becoming increasingly more suave at posing as companies their victims are familiar with. You can check a site’s authenticity by double-checking the URL on the web address. Make sure it matches the USCCU site exactly. You can also check a site’s security by looking for the “S” after the “http” on the web address.
2.) Be suspicious
Awareness can be your best protection. It’s easy for a scammer to pose as a member representative on social media, but if you’re on guard, you’ll spot these fakers. Is a representative claiming there are problems with your account when everything seems to be in order? Are they asking you to share sensitive information through insecure channels? Is someone promising you’ve won a contest you’ve never entered? If things don’t add up, it’s best to opt out.
3.) Reach out to your credit union
It may be difficult to determine whether the people you’re talking to are the real thing. If you think you’re dealing with US Community Credit Union but things suddenly start looking fishy, there’s a simple solution. Hang up or log out of whatever medium you’re engaged in and call us yourself. You can always reach out to us at 615-256-8712. This way, you’ll know you’ve really reached us and you’re not being scammed. Be sure to call this number and never use another number suggested by a suspicious-acting “member representative.”
4.) In case of fraud, take action
If you suspect you’ve been taken for a ride, let us know as soon as possible. The sooner you catch a scam, the better off you’ll be. We’ll also be able to alert our other members and work on catching the crooks who’ve conned you.
It’s also a good idea to let the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) know about the scam. The more information you share, the easier it will be for the feds to nail those scumbags. Contact the FTC at FTC.gov.
5.) Protect yourself
It’s a good idea to practice basic safety and protective measures with your accounts.
- Safeguard account details: Never share account information without being certain about who you are talking to.
- Use good password hygiene: Use complex passwords and change them often. Be sure to use different passwords for each of your accounts.
- Choose extra protection: Opt in for two-factor identification when logging into your accounts. That’s an extra level of protection for you and another hurdle for scammers to scale.
- Set up alerts: Choose to receive an email or a text message when transactions on your account exceed your typical level of spending.
- Monitor your accounts: It’s a good idea to check your accounts on a regular basis, and with our app, this is now easier than ever. In most cases, you will be responsible for fraudulent charges on your account if you report them more than 60 days after your monthly statement is delivered.
Your Turn: How do you protect yourself from social media and other forms of banking fraud? Share your best tips with us on Facebook!