Protect Yourself Against Potential Fraud
Scammers and cybercriminals look for opportunities to take advantage of the vulnerable, especially during times of emergencies or natural disasters. We are seeing a large increase in the number of scams happening due to the Coronavirus Pandemic with scammers attempting to gain access to personal information like account and routing numbers, user names, passwords and social security numbers using phone calls, phishing emails and fraudulent websites. In some cases cybercriminals are asking that you click on links or download documents which could potentially install malicious software on your computer to steal sensitive information.
What is Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal and/or financial information without permission to do so. Identity thieves may steal your address, social security number, bank account information or credit card numbers. If they are successful they may use this information for the following transactions:
- Purchase unauthorized items
- Take additional credit lines out in your name
- Gain access to your tax refunds
- Receive medical treatment on your healthcare plan
How you can protect yourself against Identity Thieves
There are many steps you can take to arm your personal information against identity thieves. Below are a few examples of things you can do to keep your information secure:
- Keep documents with sensitive information in a safe and secure location. When it is time to dispose of these items, shred them before throwing away.
- Keep your social security number in a safe place- never carry it with you
- Report lost or stolen credit cards, debit cards, drivers license or ID cards immediately
- Contact us regarding any suspicious activity
For more information and helpful links please visit the Federal Trade Commission's website
Typically, an unwanted call begins as a robocall or an imposter trying to convince you that " You have won" or is impersonating a Law Enforcement or Federal Agency. These scammers use technology to make the call appear to be from an area you may be familiar with. Phone numbers can be faked and caller ID is not always a tool that can be trusted. Some examples of Unwanted Call scams are below:
- You've Won
- These scams can come to you in the form of a call, email or letter in the mail. They might tell you that you won a prize, a trip or even the lottery.
- The scammer will try to get you excited about the prize and will ask you to pay a fee, taxes or customs duties with your credit card number or bank account information.
- Once you have given the scammer your payment information you provided a scammer with your personal financial information that they now can use that information on other items.
- Law Enforcement or a Federal Agency
- Scammers will use scare tactics to ensure they capture your attention by telling you will be arrested, fined or deported if you do not pay yours fines immediately.
- Real law enforcement, IRS, your financial institution will never call and threaten you.
- Imposter Scam
- These scammers will call and pretend to be someone you trust- a government agency such as Social Security, IRS, or a family member.
- The scammer will try and convince you that your Social Security number has been compromised, you owe taxes or a family member is in jail. These are considered scare tactics to get you to wire money to these individuals immediately.
Here is how you can prevent falling victim to an unwanted call scam:
- Report the scam
- Hang up
- Keep your personal financial information to yourself
- Do not send any money until further investigation is done
It can sometimes be hard to recognize the difference between a real job application and a fake job application. These fake job advertisements will promise you a job but to get the job you must first send them money for training or certifications that are not legitimate. Some common employment scams are:
- Work from home scam
- These job advertisements typically claim that you can make thousands of dollars working from the comfort of your own home.
- They will ask you to pay upfront for training or to obtain a special certification
- If there is a fee associated with accepting a job that is the first sign that it is a scam
- Mystery shopper scam
- While mystery shopping is a a legitimate job, most advertisements for these jobs are fake.
- If you are being asked to pay for certifications or to get the job it is most likely a scam.
Here is how you can avoid a job scam:
- Do your research. Always do your diligence on the company and individual that is offering you a job. Validate the company is in fact legitimate, make a call to the organization to ensure the individual you are working with truly does work there and they are in fact hiring.
- Do not pay any fees upfront. Most employers will not ask for money upon employment. This should be one of your first signs of being scammed.
- Do not give any of your personal information out until you have validated the opportunity is legitimate.
- Report the scam
Online dating scams
This popular scam happens when you have met somebody special on an online dating platform. Soon after meeting the conversations will move off the online dating platform to something more personal such as personal phone or email communicating. You're led to believe there is a strong bond when they ask you to send money for things such as travel costs, medicals bills or something urgent. That is a sure sign that the relationship is a scam.
How to protect yourself against Online Dating Scams:
- Report the scam
- Try to meet the individual in person before divulging any personal information or sending money