Knowledge is Power – Stay Ahead of Scammers
Scams can be very frustrating because they are increasingly difficult to identify. We work hard to stay ahead of fraud trends, but scammers are always one step behind – taking advantage of technology to access your personal, private financial information.
The number one fraud trend we see among our members isn't account information being hacked online somehow. Scammers have become so convincing that we see many members willingly providing their private information to strangers.
How do scammers legitimize their attempts at fraud?
Scammers will go to great lengths to make their scams seem real. They may make phone calls, send letters, and make claims as though they represent a bank or other company you do business with. In fact, they may have even identified specific details about your accounts and debts owed.
For example, maybe you owe your bank on a past due loan. Scammers may have hacked your credit report somehow to identify you as a good target because of the debt. They are hoping to capitalize on either your desire to pay back the debt or your fear of being in debt.
They may spoof your bank’s phone number – meaning that your bank’s name comes up on your phone’s caller ID when the scammers call. They may also send letters with falsified letterhead, either threatening you with legal action or providing instructions for how you can settle the debt.
How can I protect myself?
If you answer your phone and the caller is asking you about a debt owed or making a claim about your accounts or credit, do not provide any of your personal information. The caller may tell you your address and social security number, asking you to confirm them.
It is important to understand that a legitimate business will never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, tell you your private information as a way to confirm your identity. Most companies won’t call you at all asking for private information. If they do, let them know that you will give them a call back. Then find the phone number listed on the business website and call directly.
Similarly, if you receive a letter or a voicemail directing you to call a specific number, don’t do it. Instead, confirm that it is the business phone number before calling back. If you receive any correspondence asking you to call a number other than what is listed on that business website, that’s a big red flag.
It is always important to be skeptical when it comes to giving out your personal, private information. Question the legitimacy of any request – especially account and social security numbers. When in doubt, do not give your personal information to anyone.
If you have questions about any request for your personal information, give our team a call. We are here as your financial partner and can help you determine if a request is fraudulent.