Never assume that a phone call, email, or text message is authentic.
Scammers will try anything to trick you out of your money. This includes spoofing legitimate
companies, banks, and even government entities. Do not trust the caller ID, and always be
cautious if you aren’t expecting the communication. For additional information, check out our
article on Phone Scams.
Never deposit a check into your account if you do not know the sender.
Scammers rely on the fact that banks and credit unions must provide funds availability for
deposited items. You are financially responsible for items deposited to your account. If you
do not know the person who sent you the check, such as someone purchasing an item from you or
a new employer that insists on paying you by check, take extra precaution when depositing the
item. Request that your bank review the check item for red flags. Be mindful of the remitter
requesting that you send excess proceeds back to them through a different channel, such as
Zelle or PayPal. For additional information on how these scams function, check out our article
on Check Scams.
Never initiate payments through P2P methods if you do not personally know the
recipient. Zelle®, Cash App, PayPal and Venmo are all popular payment methods
amongst young people because they are easy, convenient, and able to be sent from your cell
phone. Scammers exploit this and will frequently ask for payments through these methods for
common scams for purchases (e.g. concert tickets).
Never provide your account information to anyone that asks for it and where you are
not expected to provide it. This includes your digital banking login credentials
(username and password or any authentication code), account numbers, debit card numbers, and
credit card numbers. If you provide this information unsolicited, someone could gain access to
your account. Legitimate reasons to provide this information would be through a secure
channel, such as a credit card number for a purchase on Amazon or your bank account number for
direct deposit payroll through your employer’s secure Human Resources portal.
Never provide your personal information to anyone that asks for it and where you are
not expected to provide it. Decline anytime approaches you unsolicited and asks for
your personal information (date of birth, address, social security number). Always think
before providing your personal details in any situation and that the request aligns with and
is appropriate for your situation, such as completing new patient forms at a physician’s
office or college applications.
Review your credit report. A great way to avoid Identity Theft and Fraud is by regularly reviewing
your credit report. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. This will pull your report from each of the
major credit bureaus - Equifax, Transunion and Experian. Review the credit report from the
perspective that you are able to identify or recognize all accounts, loans, addresses, and
inquiries made. If you don’t recognize certain information, place a fraud alert on your credit
report and begin the process of investigating any information you do not recognize (e.g.
contact the bank for an unrecognized loan account). Place a credit freeze when you confirm you
are a victim of identity theft.
Be especially careful on marketplace websites. This includes everything
from Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other applications where you can buy/sell items.
Scammers are known to infiltrate these sites looking for their next victims. Pay in cash or
request cash for any goods and meet at a public meeting location, such as a police station, to
exchange the goods, when possible.
Be cautious of job opportunities and internships. Scammers frequently
target younger people through employment opportunities on well-known job listing websites. If
you have been hired and have not interviewed in person, been to the job in person, and have
only been in communication through email/phone, be especially cautious of an Employment or Job Scam.