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Fraud and Scam Prevention Tips

Posted on April 4, 2019 | Announcement

by: Terri Rucevice, Unity Loan Officer & Mandi Health, BSACS, CUCE, Compliance Administrator

When it comes to fraud and scams, you are your own first defense. You can always assume that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Anyone of any age can become a victim of fraud but taking precautions can make a big difference.  Listed below are some popular scams that we’ve seen recently:

 

    • You may receive a check in the mail with directions to follow for things such as becoming a secret shopper or the promise of vast riches in return for cashing this check. They may have a number to call to verify in the letter as well. (THIS IS A FALSE VERFICATION.) Feel free to Google search the company.  Always allow checks received to clear your account first, usually five business days. Make your financial institution aware of your concerns, if you have a gut feeling it may not be what it seems, it is worth checking out.
    • Con artists insist that people wire money, or send funds immediately using companies like Western Union or Walmart Money Services instead of your financial institution, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money.  These money service companies also will not pick up on unusual transaction patterns like we typically do at your local financial institution.
    • Don’t wire money to strangers you have never met, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or friend in an emergency who wants to keep the request a secret. This all usually indicates fraud.
    • Take extreme caution when you see pitches that insist you must act now, guarantee big or fast profits, promise little or no financial risk, demand that you send cash immediately. If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you think about it, if the deal was THAT good, they would NOT be sharing. The only profit is theirs not yours, especially if you are required to give them money up front!

 

  • If you see charges on your financial statements that you don’t recognize or didn’t approve, contact your financial institution, card issuer, or other creditor immediately. This is very common so please monitor your account daily. The sooner you are aware, the quicker we can stop any more from happening.

 

  • Dishonest merchants can bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services without your authorization.  Always read the fine print.
  • Only do business online with companies with which you are familiar.
  • Never send cash or wire funds before you receive your items. It’s best to use payment protected plans such as credit cards or online pay services such as PayPal.
  • If someone overpays you for an item that you are selling and asks you to send money back to them due to the overpayment, this is a scam. Do NOT give them the merchandise as this check (even though it’s an “official” bank check) is almost always fraudulent.

 

If you are affected by any of these scams, please report them to us at the Credit Union and at ftc.gov.

 

Don’t forget: Always reach out to your Credit Union for assistance with your banking needs or questions, as it may save you from a major loss.