Fraud Prevention: How to Recognize Scams & Avoid Becoming a Victim of Fraud
3 min. read
By: FCU Team
The cornerstone of financial institutions is gaining and maintaining the trust of their members, but what happens when scammers exploit this trust? As technology advances and mobile banking becomes the norm, scammers are creating more sophisticated schemes to steal the hard-earned money of unsuspecting consumers. However, there are ways to protect your financial future and steer clear of suspicious characters looking to take advantage. Keep reading to learn more about the more common scams, tips for identifying and avoiding them, and what to do if you suspect fraud.
The Most Common Phishing Scams
With the average American having about 27 password-protected accounts, it is impossible to keep your information private on the internet. Luckily, the best tool against phishing scams is knowledge. Hackers and identity thieves favor a few common scams you should be aware of, including emails, texts, or calls with suspicious links and keyloggers. A keylogger is a typically malicious program used to record keystrokes during regular computer operations unbeknownst to the user.
How to Identify These Types of Fraud
Stop fraud in its tracks and protect your financial health by staying vigilant and learning to identify scams as soon as you encounter them. Scammers often use similar methods to trick their victims, and you don't have to be a computer whiz to keep them out of your accounts. A few of the oldest tricks in the book include:
- Scammers posing as your credit union
- Unexpectedly being asked for personal information
- Getting a text, call, or email from your "credit union" claiming there's suspicious activity on your account
- Messages coming from an unusual sender
- You're encouraged to act on information urgently
Avoid Becoming a Fraud Victim: Prevention Tips
It's important to remember that your financial institution will never ask for passwords or your social security number. If you receive a text or call requesting sensitive information, someone is likely trying to gain access to your account illegally. In addition to not typing your login information into untrustworthy links, you should also ensure that all your passwords for different accounts are unique. If a hacker gets the password to one account, you don't want them to be able to use the same password to access all your other accounts. Reduce the risk to your bank account and use a solid prevention strategy that involves unique passwords longer than 16 characters using both numbers and letters.
We also suggest enabling the two-factor identification feature whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your financial accounts. Keep your notifications turned on so you can quickly identify fraudulent withdrawals and take action to correct the situation if your account is compromised.
A good rule of thumb is that rather than clicking on links or calling numbers provided via text or email, you go directly to your institution's website and contact their support number to confirm the message was from them. You can also enter the verbiage used into your search engine to see if anyone has reported similar suspicious activity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will often post reports about the claims they've received of potential phishers for you to review. You should always treat fraud risks seriously since being a victim of identity theft can make achieving financial security harder over the long term.
What to Do If You Suspect Fraud
If you suspect you might be a victim of fraud, it's essential to act quickly. Immediately report your suspicions to the institution the scammer was posing as, as well as the FTC's fraud portal. You should also change your account passwords, especially those that share a password with the breached account.
Contact your financial institutions and inform them immediately, pay attention to possible fraudulent transactions and look for suspicious monthly expenses in your online statements.
Consider monitoring your account in real time for the next few months. This process can also help build up good spending habits and get you focused on your financial goals.
We've Got Your Back
You've worked hard for your money, so protect it. As your neighborhood credit union, Florida Credit Union will always be in your corner to help keep you and your finances safe before and after fraudulent activity. If you want to learn more about protecting your account or stay updated on the latest phishing scams seen by our members, visit our fraud alert page. Remember, you can contact our team for fast, local service that prioritizes your financial security. Whether you are paying off debt, looking for a better interest rate, have a savings account, or using one of our credit card options. We are here for you and your family's safety and security.