Each year scam artists and identity thieves steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting consumers. These criminals use the phone, email, text messaging, postal mail, and the internet to steal your information or trick you into handing over your money.
Promoting financial literacy is a core credit union mission. On this page you can learn how to recognize common scams and take action if you think you are a victim of fraud. You can also learn what you can do to protect your finances from fraud.
Common Scams and Frauds
Here are a few common scams:
Telemarketing Scams/Phone Number Spoofing - Telemarketing scams try to get you to provide personal or financial information over the phone. They may even come from a number that is close to or exactly like a business you use like the credit union.
How to Avoid
To avoid unwanted telemarketer and potential scam calls register for the National Do Not Call Registry. Your phone number will be put on the list with only a few, simple steps. You can register here. If you don't recognize the number, simply do not answer the call. The credit union will never ask you to provide or verify your:
If you ever have any concerns about a communication you receive from Boulder Dam Credit Union, hang up, do not click any links, and contact the Credit Union directly to confirm that the call or text is valid.
Job Scams - Fraudsters prey on people who are looking for a job. They create fake job listings to take advantage of inexperienced job seekers. They gain access to your personal information and use it to drain your bank account.
How to Avoid
Only use legitimate job search sites and be careful responding to job offers that are sent over social media. If it sound too good to be true...it is.
Romance Scams - Also known as - catfishing is fraud that begins when a scammer sets up a fake account, often on a dating website. The fraudsters then wait for an unsuspecting victim to connect with the fake account and they then lead the person along until they feel like they can defraud them in some way.
Cyber crime includes more than fraudulent e-mail messages and fake websites that allow criminals to take your money. A cyber crime may involve tactics using ransomware, where criminals lock you out of your files until they receive a ransom, or phony phone calls, such as criminals pretending to represent a tech support company so they can get your information.
Protect yourself from a range of cyber crimes by taking these precautions:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a list of Cyber Crime Stories. Be aware of the latest cyber scams by checking this list and searching the Internet for the most recent cyber scams.
If you are a target of cyber crime, contact your financial institution immediately. Then, report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a joint government collaboration. The IC3 links complaints together to refer them for case consideration. It also uses data to identify emerging trends and patterns.
Phishing is when Internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving them your personal information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.
For example, a fraudulent e-mail may state that NCUA will add money to the member's account for taking part in a survey. The link embedded in the message directs members to a counterfeit version of NCUA's website with an illicit survey that solicits credit card account numbers and confidential personal information. NCUA will never ask credit union members or the general public for personal account or personally identifiable information as part of a survey.
Scams Targeting Older Adults
The elderly are the fastest growing segment of our society and they are also an important part of our country's economy. America's growing older adult population is uniquely vulnerable to a broad range of exploitation and abuse. Financial crimes in particular are targeted at older adults with alarming frequency, and are all too often successful.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Common Fraud Schemes webpage provides tips on how you can protect you and your family from fraud.
Older adults especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons:
Common Fraud Against Seniors
Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or Social Security number, to commit fraud. Identity theft affects millions of people each year. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name.
You may not know that you are the victim of ID theft until you experience a financial consequence (mystery bills, credit collections and denied loans) down the road from actions that the thief has taken with your stolen identity.
How Thieves Get Your Information
Identity theft affects people of all ages, races, and nationalities. Anyone can be a victim. Thieves use many tactics to get your information. Some of the most common are:
Preventing Identity Theft
The items listed below will help you to prevent identity theft:
To stop receiving pre-approved credit card offers, request to opt out online or call 888-5-OPT-OUT (567-8688).
To reduce the number of phone solicitations you receive from national marketers, register for the National Do Not Call Registry.
If You Think You are a Victim
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, use the Identity Theft Checklist.
Additionally, order new credit or debit cards for any accounts involved in the theft. Or, you may want to close the accounts altogether.
For more information about what to do next, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft center, or call the identity theft hotline at 877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
Identity Theft Resources
The Federal Trade Commission has launched IdentityTheft.gov, a resource that makes it easier for identity theft victims to report and recover from identity theft. A Spanish version of the site is also available at RobodeIdentidad.gov.
The website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters and other helpful resources.
In addition, the site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft. The site also has advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach.
Before you do anything on a website, ensure the URL is correct. Many scammers use URLs that deliberately look very similar to a real business, but link to a copycat website. Scammers hope to lure you into the “evil twin” website to trick you into giving them personal information such as your account number and password.
If you have doubts that you’re on the right page you can retype the URL into your browser, conduct an internet search for the business name, and see if the same website is in the top listing. You can also read the website’s “About Us” section to look for information about the business.
Tips for Keeping Your Personal Information Safe and Secure
Always be cautious! Keep your personal information personal and protect yourself from cyber criminals by following these ABCs:
Protect Kids Online
Kids have lots of opportunities for socializing online, but they come with certain risks. Parents can help reduce these risks by talking to kids about making safe, responsible decisions.
We appreciate your help in fighting fraud!
Your security will always be our top priority. That’s why our Fraud Prevention resources are continually updated to keep you informed on how to spot the latest scams. Remember, if it seems too good to be true... it probably is.