The rate of Americans falling victim to scams, both locally and nationally, rise each year. With the increased rate of members receiving a fake text message and a rise fraudulent activity, we feel it’s our duty as your trusted financial partner to inform you of these tactics. Fraud can affect anyone and through various channels. It affects individuals they target as well as the organizations they impersonate. Armor yourself with the knowledge to protect against phishing.
Common Scam Tactics
Federal Credit Union Scams: Scams impersonating your financial institute to steal account credentials. The scam usually comes in the form of a text or email. Remember, your financial institute will never contact you seeking logins, passwords, or social security numbers,
Federal Student Loan Scams: A call, email, or text messaging declaring your loan borrowing needs additional (personal and sensitive) information to process your upcoming student loan payments. This scam rose to relevance during the 2020 Student Loan Relief Period when payments on millions of student loans were put on pause. If you have questions about your student loan, visit https://studentaid.gov/
419 / The Nigerian Prince: An email or letter sent by an alleged benefactor seeking financial assistance in exchange for a large sum of money to be transferred into the victim's bank account.
Catfishing / Sweetheart: Taking place on dating websites and social networks, catfishing scams involve earning the trust and love of the scam subject. Catfish scams use storytelling to influence their target into sending them money, usually in the form of prepaid cards.
Device Servicing and Maintenance: A scam to steal passwords and sensitive login information. The scam is commonly disguised as coming someone impersonating an IT professional from a major technology organization. I.e Apple, Samsung, Microsoft.
Extended Vehicle Warranty: A scam to steal financial and personal information. The scam hurts both car owners and vehicle loan holders. The scam call often comes from an automated message.
Phishing: An email coming from seemingly reputable sources seeking account information. The email leads to an unassuming website, disguised as authentic but is actually a hub to steal personal information.
Tax Season Scams: Tax season sees an uptick in scam calls coming for criminals impersonating federal IRS agents. They intimidate the taxpayer into providing their social security numbers and personal information. Another common trick used involves the solicitation of "gift cards" in exchange for "fixing their tax issues."
Crypto and Gift Cards: New scams are rising involving non-regulated and non tracked currency. From federal agents asking for crypto or gift card payment through QR codes and ATMS, to fake bitcoin retirement accounts and fraudulent crypto "trading," be careful and stay vigilant when getting involved in the wild world of digital currency. Read more from the FTC.
Tips To Protect Yourself from Scams
Check Your Credit Report Regularly - You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com. (Space your requests evenly throughout the year so you’ll have access to your report every four months.) Review the document carefully and make sure you authorized every credit line that appears on your report.
Sign Up for Visa Purchase Alerts - With Visa Purchase Alerts, you’ll receive real-time text alerts based on preferences you select yourself. First, simply enroll your First Commonwealth credit and debit cards, and then set up your custom alert triggers based on threshold amounts, geographical location, and more. When a transaction occurs outside of the parameters you set, you’ll receive a real-time text alert so you can put a stop to fraud the moment it occurs. Learn more at www.visa.com.
Take Advantage of Our E-Services - Digital Banking makes it easy for you to keep a constant eye on your accounts – helping you spot suspicious activity long before you receive your monthly statement. And speaking of statements, be sure to sign up for e-Statements! It’s a simple way to cut off thieves’ access to the papers they need to steal your identity. For more information about all our e-services, see 24/7 Access.
If at any point you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft, notify us immediately and file a complaint at www.ftc.gov. Then visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage.