Educate yourself to protect yourself!
When in doubt, ask us!
Both of these statements are the best advice to protect your financial assets and your identity. The following scams are samples of scams that are taking place today that you should avoid. Check out the additional resource links to educate yourself on other scams being conducted by criminals for their financial gain and your loss. As always, if you have any doubt or concern, contact Gale Credit Union first. We will help you determine if it is legitimate or not.
- Smishing - Scammers send you a text that appears to be from your financial institution making a claim that your debit card or credit card has been compromised and you need to call them. The number they provide in the text, however, is not your financial institutions phone number, rather it is the scammers number. When you call, the scammer will attempt to collect personal financial data from you, stating they must verify your information, when in fact, they are just gathering your information to be used to steal money from your accounts.
- Phishing - This type of scam stems from a phone call using a variety of stories to get you to tell the fraudsters your personal financial information. Scammers often state they are from a large, well-known entity like the IRS, Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. They use a fear factor such as "you owe the IRS money", or "your computer/phone is spreading viruses on the internet" or even statements like "your grandson has been arrested and needs bail money to get out." In the wide variety of stories they tell you, it is always recommended to hang up, look up the correct phone number and then call to verify it is legitimate.
- Lottery Winner - That is right, even though you never played the Canadian Lottery, you are a winner! Well, not if you fall for this scheme. Fraudsters making this claim will send you a check for your winnings to be deposited into your account. The only catch is you must send them back a portion of your winnings. So, you deposit the check, send them money back (usually by wire or gift cards) and then days later you discover the check you deposited was fraudulent and you cannot get your money that you sent them back.
- Money Laundering - Scammers make contact with you, build a relationship to where you are willing to help them move to your town, often to get married. The catch is they need to send you checks, have you deposit them and send money back so they can purchase tickets to fly here. The checks, once deposited, are later discovered to be fake and you are on the hook to pay for them.
- Remote Access Scams - Fraudsters contact you either by phone, email, or text to notify you that your computer/phone either has a virus, needs a critical update, or has a technical error. They often report they are from Microsoft, Apple, Google, or some other computer tech firm. In order to fix the issue, they ask to "remote In" to your computer so they can see everything on your screen, save and copy all of your files, and place spyware on your computer. Often, they will have you login to online banking or bill payment services while they are tracking your key strokes to obtain your login credentials. Once they see your accounts and have your login credentials, they can hack into your accounts to transfer money to them without your knowledge. In some cases, they set up electronic checks to withdraw money from your account through the ACH system. They will attempt this everyday until the funds are drained.
- Ransomeware - Hackers or scammers obtain access to your computer and lock everything with a ransomeware program to where you lose all of your information. They then ask for payment from you to release the lock, but in many cases will re-lock the data after you pay them, thus demanding more money.
- Accident, Arrested, or Hostage - Criminals contact you in an emergency to let you know your relative has either been in an accident, has been arrested, or is being held hostage and request you to send money to them immediately. They play on your emotions that your relative is in dire need of money for medical or to be released. In fact, they may not even know who your relative is, but will trick you into telling them their name which they then use to convince you the "story" is true.
- Card Skimming Devices - Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals — like gas pumps — that grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice. Inspect the terminal well for any suspicious added on devices before using your card in that device.
- And many more....
There are many websites on the internet to research and educate yourself to prevent financial fraud, including:
Remember, Gale Credit Union values you as a Member and can help you avoid becoming a victim of financial fraud. If in doubt, just ask us first!