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Protect Yourself from Fraud

fraudIt’s always a good idea to stay informed of common or ongoing scams so you can protect you and your family from fraud. We’ve broken down five common scams and how you can avoid them.

Tech Support Scam

This scam occurs when you contact a fraudulent third-party customer service organization for technical support. The fraudulent tech support associate will remote into your computer, where they will have the ability to control the mouse on your computer. The associate will charge you an initial fee for their services and have you log in to your Online Banking so they may show them where the fee was deducted.

Because the associate will not be able to “fix” the problem, they will process a refund – which is actually a transfer from one of your other bank accounts. He or she will change the description of the transfer to make it look like a deposit, giving a description like “Refund from Tech 123.”  Then they will report that an error was made on the refund and ask you to send back the excess funds via gift cards or wire transfers.

If something like this happens, you should not send the money back, and you should ask the associate to disconnect from your computer. You should report the call to the police and call the manufacturer number for technical support. 

Advance-Fee Scams

In this type of scam, the fraudsters will appear to have a genuine reason for not being able to conduct a transaction on their own, and they will ask you to deposit cashier’s checks or money orders in to your account. They will then request that you wire or deposit the money from the cashier’s checks or money orders in to someone else’s account.

The cashier’s checks or money orders they asked you to originally deposit in your account are actually stolen or fake, but you usually do not realize this until you’ve already wired the requested money to the perpetrator.

Avoid this scam by making sure you never wire or transfer money to someone you do not know. If someone attempts to trick you with this scam, report that person to your bank.

Lottery Scams

This scam begins when you are notified that you have won a lottery that you did not actually enter. You’re informed that you must wire funds to cover the taxes incurred on the winnings before receiving a check. The check that the scammers send will be fraudulent, but victims of this scam usually do not realize this until the “taxes” have been wired to the perpetrator.

To avoid this scam, be sure you do not accept prizes for a contest or lottery you didn’t enter. Never transfer funds to anyone you do not know.

Inheritance Scams

This scam occurs when you are notified that a distant relative or friend has passed away, and you must pay an inheritance tax before you receive your inheritance. You will receive a fraudulent check, which will be eventually be returned, but this usually occurs after you’ve wired the funds for “taxes” to the perpetrator.

Always be cautious of any organization asking you to transfer funds, especially if the reason for the transfer is suspicious. When in doubt, reach out to the organization independently and inquire about the inheritance.

Secret Shopper Scams

This scam occurs when you contact a fraudulent company about becoming a Secret Shopper. These scammers typically place online ads that will direct you to fake websites.

The company you contact will send you a fraudulent check and ask for you to deposit the check. They will then request that you send a portion of the funds back for a Certification Program or to test the Money Transfer Service. The fraudulent check will eventually be returned, but this usually does not occur until after the funds have been sent to the perpetrator.

When inquiring about a job, be sure you are using a reputable source, and avoid wiring money to someone you don’t know.

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