According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers lost $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, a 70% increase over the prior year. Criminals pretend to be someone else to steal money or sensitive personal information. They may include romance scams, as well as people falsely claiming to be a government official, a relative in distress, a well-known business or a technical support expert. More information can be found on the FTC website.
What Scammers Do?
• Make you think you know them – org or business you likely work with like a cell phone company or a major credit card brand
• Tell you there is a problem or a reward
• Pressure you to act fast
• Tell you to make a payment in a very specific way
When someone is asking you to make a payment and you are feeling pressure or a sense of urgency – Stop!
• Hang up or stop texting/emailing
• Don’t give out your personal information
• Talk to someone you trust – family or your bank and ask them for help
Tips to Avoid a Scam
1) Don’t respond to texts or calls from unknown numbers
2) Don’t answer questions that ask for personal info on social media – what’s your favorite color – seems safe but often that is a security question for accessing online info
3) Question anything electronic – most banks, financial institutions, and government agencies will notify you by mail not text or email if something is wrong or if information is needed
4) Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device
5) Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
6) Never disclose sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, secret words or personal identification numbers (PIN) over the phone, in an email or through a website.
If you suspect you have been a victim of financial fraud, please contact your banker, or to report a lost or stolen debit card after business hours please call 1-800-472-3272.