Beware of fraudulent requests by email, phone or text message for personal, private or account information and for funds transfer, money orders or prepaid debit cards.
Criminals are always looking for new angles and ways to get your information or trick you into sending them your money. Social engineering occurs when criminals pretend to be a relative, a friend or a representative from law enforcement, the IRS, the Social Security Administration, a company you have a relationship with or a financial institution and request sensitive information. Recent high profile national retail store data breaches are another reference point used by criminals to get you to let your guard down and share your sensitive information. Be suspicious of every call, email, text or social media interaction.
They will call or email asking you for private information like social security number, passwords, account or credit/debit/prepaid card numbers or request you log into your accounts. The emails or website they send you to may even look legitimate. Pay close attention to addresses: the email or website spelling might be off by only a letter or have a different extension like “.cc” or “.net” instead of “.com” – always be mindful. A simple text is another way to gain access to your sensitive information.
Fraudsters might call and request a wire transfer posing as a bill collector, ask for an ACH payment pretending to be from the IRS, demand that you purchase a prepaid debit card and read back the information pretending to be a police officer or even ask for a money order while posing as your grandchild in trouble in a far off state. Always be careful of scammers when you answer the phone, get an email or even on social media networks.
Beware of foreign lotteries; watch out for people, who wish to buy your goods by overpaying with fraudulent checks asking for the difference in cash; ignore emails phishing for your passwords and account information; look out for threatening callers who demand fast action and quick payments; and remember if a deal sounds too good to be true – it usually is – just hang up, hit delete or walk away.
Be on the watch for these common situations:
Lottery Scams: Someone sends you a check or calls claiming you won the lottery (usually from a foreign country) and instructs you to cash the (fraudulent) check and send back the taxes.
Overpayment Scams: This is a variation on the lottery scam. Someone overpays you for something you are selling (especially online or a large item like a car). They ask you to cash the (bad) check and give them or wire them the difference.
Credit Related Schemes: Someone offers you a credit card, credit protection or help repairing credit for a fee. You pay and the scammers are off to the next victim.
Work-From-Home-Scams: They ask for an up-front fee for training materials. Usually they send you nothing and the job does not exist.
Health Care/Insurance/Medicare Scams: Con artists talk you into providing all your personal information, either to steal your identity or cheat the government by using your information to bill for fictitious medical services.
Home Repair Scams: Roving handymen show up at your door offering cheap repairs. The work performed is shoddy or it is a distraction tactic to rob your home.
Family Member or Care Worker Fraud: As people age, sometimes they can be tricked, threatened or influenced into giving money, signing over assets (like a house) or buying gifts for people who would take advantage of them.
Young or old, you must be aware. Beware of the foreign banker with millions to hide, fake emails or deals too good to be true.
For more information on how to protect yourself, check out other topics in our Security Center.
To report a scam or fraud issue on your account, please call 1-888-254-9500.