Fraudsters use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. MSUFCU’s Chief Marketing Officer Deidre Davis shares some practical tips to help you stay on top of the latest tricks.
How do you know if an email, text or phone call is a scam?
Scammers may pretend to be someone or an institution you trust, like a government agency, a family member, a charity, or a company where you do business. The best practice is to not send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
What if I get a call from a number that is identified as a business I know? Should I trust it?
Today’s technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for personal information or offering a “too-good-to-be-true” gift, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
What are some other scams I should watch out for?
If someone asks you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job, it might be a scam. The fraudster might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. Do not give out payment information unless you verify the offer is legitimate.
Also, consider how you pay for items. Using credit cards is usually safer as they have fraud protection built in, but some other payment methods, such as wire transfers, reloadable debit cards, and gift cards, often don’t.
What about offers to operate a home business where you receive a check to get started and need to send the extra money back?
This request is a definite red flag that something is wrong. Never deposit a check and wire money back. By law, financial institutions must make funds from deposited checks available within a set amount of days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the institution.
When in doubt about a situation you think might be fraud, it’s best to talk to someone. Before you provide money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. Instead, slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
How can MSUFCU help?
Most financial institutions. Including MSUFCU, have robust fraud surveillance set up to detect many types of fraud. However, it is always best if you are able to stop the fraud before it reaches your account.
If you spot a scam, report it to your financial institution. Your reports help catch fraud and prevent similar scams from happening to you or others.
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