Protect yourself from Identity Theft.
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The following information has been provided to help protect you from the many types of financial fraud and identity theft. Select a topic from the tabs to learn how to protect your personal information, how to identify a fraud or scam, and how to report it if you have become a victim of fraud.
FRAUD ALERT: Fraudsters are targeting credit union members with fraudulent calls, emails, and texts. BFSFCU will never text, call, or email asking for your personal or account information. Never give out your username, password, or security code. Click here to learn more.
Elder Abuse Awareness
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Prevent Identity Theft
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In phishing schemes, the fraudster will send an email falsely claiming to be from a legitimate company in hopes of luring consumers to a "spoofed" website.The spoofed website is almost an exact copy of the legitimate website, created for the sole purpose of stealing personal or financial information. Consumers are typically asked to update sensitive personal information, such as names, account and credit card numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, etc. If your sensitive information is entered onto their phony website, your information may be at risk.
Do not reply to or click on a web link in an email that asks for any personal info unless you have initiated contact with the merchant.
Examples of Common Email Scams
This scam has been used for decades and has migrated from mail to faxes to email. The email will often start off with an introduction indicating that a government official (or some other person that would appear to have significant wealth) has died and left a large amount of money that is available to be transferred. The message then encourages the recipient to respond or unknowingly participate in the scam in order to receive some type of inheritance money or share of the funds. Over time, the sender may ask for funds to be sent to them to cover taxes, international fees or legal fees under the guise that the recipient will be reimbursed once the funds are transferred.
There is no deceased official or long-lost relative and no funds or inheritance exist.. The scam entices victims with the promise of large payoff. Over the years, the deceased individual has been described as a minister of mining or natural resources, successful business owners and even royalty. The locations for these types of scams have also changed over time.
This scam appeals to the excitement of lottery winnings. An email will arrive notifying the recipient that they have won a lottery. The email may even mention a legitimate lottery organization, but just because the email includes that name does not mean that the email is from the organization. There is usually a request to keep the winnings a secret. The email will advise that a claims agent (or some other official sounding person) be contacted to arrange for payment. Once those conversations start (usually over the phone), there isa request for funds (or payment) to cover taxes, legal fees or other processing costs in order to receive the so-called ‘winnings’ or lottery amount
Take note of the following red flags:
- Unless you have purchased a lottery ticket, you are not going to win.
- Any taxes on lottery winnings are withheld from the payments and not paid up front.
- The taxes are not paid through P2P payment methods (like Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, etc.) or through gift cards
- Legitimate lottery organizations do not charge fees.
- Beware of emails that originate from free email accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, MSN as fraudsters pose as legitimate organizations through personal email providers.
These schemes can take on many different forms, but usually involve an email or text message indicating that the recipient has a refund due but all that needs to be provided is information to speed up the processing of the refund. The scam artists or fraudsters may claim to represent the IRS, state tax officials, government agencies, or even stores where you may have purchased something.
The email directs the recipient to a website that may look legitimate but is a fake or spoofed site. Once there, the person will be requested to provide various personal information such as Social Security number, credit card number or account information so the ‘refund’ can be deposited.
Providing this information is dangerous. Once in the hands of a fraudster, it can lead to credit card fraud, unauthorized access to your financial accounts or even identity theft.
The IRS and most state taxing authorities do not use email to correspond with you about refunds. Commercial establishments may use email, but you should be very wary of emails like this as they are usually done automatically or through registered email addresses. If you are unsure, contact the establishment by phone to make sure the request for information is legitimate.
Financial Account Confirmation Scams
Emails that request sensitive information are often called phishing emails. They often take the form of a message from a financial institution asking for the recipient to provide their account information due to a computer error, as part of a system upgrade or even as part of an enhanced Internet security initiative.
The recipient is usually directed to a website that may look real, but is not. The information requested may include account numbers, usernames, access codes and passwords (or even authentication text message codes). All of this information is dangerous in the hands of fraudsters.
Financial institutions will never ask for this type of information. If you receive this type of phishing email, contact your financial institution directly.
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As more people turn to online dating websites, apps, and social media platforms, scammers have also found these avenues to be lucrative in exploiting individuals.
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Online Investment Scams
The internet has become the communication channel of choice for many investors - which also makes it a popular place for scam artists to find victims.
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Gift Card Payment Scams
Gift cards are the most common payment method that scammers seek from their targets, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Scammers have turned their attention to cryptocurrencies for one simple reason: payments made in cryptocurrency are difficult to trace.
Amazon has been targeted as a favorite to impersonate by fraudsters due to its widespread popularity amongst consumers.
Real Estate and Mortgage Wire Scams
One of the latest schemes involves targeting individuals who are in the midst of purchasing a home.
Phone calls from fraudsters are more than just an annoying nuisance, they are one of the most dangerous type of scams.
IRS and Tax Scams
Have you, or someone you know, received a call from the IRS or the Social Security Administration (SSA) asking for money? Very likely those calls were made by crooks.
Computer Repair and Tech Support Scams
These are most often executed in one of two ways – through unsolicited phone calls or from pop-up warnings on computers.
By doing your research, you can protect yourself from falling victim to a charity or donation scam and ensure that funds are going to the people that need it.
Advance Fee Scams
Victims are asked to make a small advance or upfront payment for goods, services or financial gain that promises a significant reward that never materializes.
Fake checks are used in many types of scams and the best way to protect yourself is to stay vigilant.
Learn tips on how to prevent your mail and financial information from being intercepted.
Legitimate companies, like PayPal, will never rush or threaten you, or ask for your personal information.