Scammers and fraudsters are constantly adapting their strategies to steal your information. While we are always watching for fraudulent charges on your accounts, we cannot catch every transaction that comes through your account. You are the best line of security in ensuring your accounts don’t have fraudulent charges.
You can better protect yourself by knowing what to look out for with the following topics.
- 7 Tips For Fraud Prevention
- Frequent & Common Scams
- Online Account Takeover
- Pandemic/Charity Related Scams
- Lottery/Romance Scams
- Technical Support
- Warrant Scams
7 Tips For Fraud Prevention
1. Don't Give Information Over The Phone
Any time a caller is asking for your personal information, especially if you are not expecting the call- QUESTION IT!
A large amount of information is publicly available and all a fraudster needs is the last piece of the puzzle to gain access to your identity.
2. Be Wary When Providing Information
Most companies you have a relationship with will only ask for the last 4 digits. Trust your instincts! If you feel uncomfortable and do not know the person on the other end of the phone, hang up and call back. Find a phone number known for the company and verify it is them on the line.
Any legitimate company will understand if you want to take the extra step. If the caller is impatient and pressuring you to provide your information urgently – this is a red flag!
3. Don't Mail Checks, Consider Different Method Of Payment
Checks are frequently stolen from the mail and reproduced or altered.
4. Be Aware Of Account Activity
Utilize online banking to identify
any unusual transactions swiftly.
5. Don't Give Someone Access To Your Computer - Especially If They Contacted You
It’s best to deal with a local trusted software company if you have been told your computer is having technical difficulties or has been infected with a virus
6. Don't Click On Any Unknown Links
Links received via email or text should be handled with discretion, especially when from an unknown source.
7. Know What To Do If Your Information Is Compromised
If your account information has been compromised- call your bank right away!
If your SSN is compromised, call one of the credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your social security number- this will prevent any unauthorized accounts from being opened in your name.
- Experian: 888-397-3742
- Equifax: 800-525-6285
- Transunion: 800-680-7289
Frequent & Common Scams
Online Account Takeover
If a company states they have provided credit to your account, call your bank to see where it came from. This is a common scheme. Once a fraudster has gotten ahold of your account and personal information, they will login to your online banking profile or create a new account (many times without your knowledge) if you don’t have one.
Once access to the online profile is obtained, fraudsters often transfer money between accounts, making it look as though you have received a credit, when in reality it’s your own money! They will then ask for a portion of “the refund” or “winnings” back, usually through money order or gift cards.
Pandemic/Charity Related Scams
From fraudulent stimulus checks to unemployment benefits fraud, fraudsters have taken advantage of the uncertainty of the past few years and created new schemes to take advantage of individuals.
- Always be wary of any check you are not
expecting. If you question the legitimacy, your bank can help.
- Do not allow anyone to use your account for their unemployment benefits.
- Do NOT pay for a vaccine card and be wary of any “miracle cures”.
- A quick internet search can often help determine if a charity is legitimate.
- Always be wary of any check you are not
Lottery and romance scams continue to be the #1 and #2 most common schemes impacting consumers.
Fraudsters will frequently claim “overpayment” and ask to send some funds received on a check back to them by another method- most commonly gift card.
No legitimate business or sweepstakes will ever
request funds and especially will not ask for
- Do not send money to individuals you do not know.
- Do not accept checks you were not expecting.
Technical support scams begin with a pop up on your computer which states that you have been infected with a virus. Oftentimes the “company” will gain access to your computer to assist and resolving the issue. While in your computer “fixing” the problem, they can have access to all banking and personally identifiable information in a matter of minutes. If not already enrolled in online banking they can enroll for you and transfer funds, attempt to send funds out via wire transfer, or through ACH.
Warrant scams have been targeting the region recently. Fraudsters will make contact and state that a loved one is in trouble/incarcerated and in order to bail him/her out or prevent the charge from being on their permanent record. It’s worth noting that law enforcement will never make contact with next of kin over the phone to request funds directly.
*AARP has some GREAT resources available on their fraud watch network including a free helpline: 877-908- 3360. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/
About American Bank & Trust
American Bank & Trust is a locally owned and managed bank that is recognized for competent, professional, and friendly bank staff with unquestioned integrity. We deliver creative freedom to our customers through impactful opportunities that overlap an elite level of financial expertise with individuality and empowerment. Our growth strategy affords us the capacity to meet and serve all our customers’ financial needs and the financial products they desire in today’s fast-paced world.