As technology continues to improve and develop, so do the tools and methods that scammers use. With increasing fraud nationwide, our security and fraud team created this list of important tips to help you protect your accounts.
Signs you may be targeted for fraud
Fraudsters use a variety of communication methods to target their victims. You might receive an email, text message, phone call, instant message, social media message, postal mail, or messages within communities on websites and mobile apps – like dating sites and discussion forums.
If someone you have never met in person contacts you or wants to be friends online, be very cautious of connecting with them. If anyone asks you for any of the following information or favors, or they promise you something like financial help or a gift in exchange for your personal information, beware. Remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have never met someone in person, even if you’ve chatted online or talked on the phone, be extra careful. Fraudsters can use profile photos online that are not really them. They can be nice and fun, and make you feel understood when you talk. On dating sites, they pledge their love and compliment their victims with flattery like, “there is no one like you,” “you are my true love,” and, “I’ve never felt this connected to anyone before.” Scammers are skilled in psychology and technology. They know what it takes to get people to trust them, so victims hand over their private data.
Don’t let that be you!
11 fraud schemes to watch for
1. A known or unknown person contacts you via email, text message, phone call, instant messenger, social media, or mail and asks for your account number, routing number, online banking username or password, PIN, credit/debit card number, or Social Security Number.
Important Note: Fraudsters pose as companies you know to solicit your personal information. They sometimes even impersonate Vantage West (example 1 / example 2 / example 3 / example 4). If you ever wonder whether an email from us is legitimate or not, please DO NOT click any links in the email, and call us at 800.888.7882.
2. You receive an “out of the blue” offer for a business opportunity or secret shopper job.
3. You meet someone on social media or a dating website/mobile app who promises to help you financially or says they’ll buy you something.
4. You receive an email, text message, phone call, instant message, social media message, or mail telling you that you owe back taxes, have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, virus on your computer, or family in trouble in another location.
5. A person offers to buy something that you are selling online. But the prospective buyer needs to pay through a third party or a large check, and you will have to send money back to them.
6. A known or unknown person contacts you via email, text message, phone call, instant messenger, social media, or mail and asks you to visit a website to verify account information.
7. You receive a large check and a known or unknown person contacts you by email, text message, phone call, instant messenger, social media, or mail and tells you to cash the check and send some portion of it back to them.
8. You receive a call and the caller ID appears as a “known” legitimate business but the person on the phone asks you for personal or account information.
Please note, to verify suspicious debit or credit card activity, your financial institution will never request a PIN, full card information, or other personal details. Your financial institution already knows this information if they are calling you. The only time financial institutions will ask you to provide any information is to verify your identity, if you call them.
9. A person claiming to be from a “fraud department” or similar entity asks you if you have used your credit or debit card at various random merchants. When you deny the stated activity, the “fraud department” offers to send a new card via FedEx and requests your current PIN “so they can issue a new PIN.”
10. You receive an email, text message, phone call, instant message, social media message, or mail telling you that you have won a sweepstakes, lottery, prize, inheritance, or free money.
11. You receive an offer from someone who tells you they’re your long-lost relative or old friend or acquaintance and they’re offering to lend or give you money.
What to do if you believe you are a fraud victim
If any of the scenarios above sound like something you’ve encountered, or you have another reason to believe you might be a victim of fraud, the first thing to do is change your online banking password. Please log into online banking and change your password right now. Seriously. Go to online banking.
Then, to report suspicious activity, verify whether any communication is legitimate, or ask any other questions about your account, please call our Member Solutions Center at 800.888.7882. We’re here for you and want to help you stay safe.
- Read about clickjacking, SIM swapping, and smishing
The world of cybersecurity is always changing. Learn about three cybercrimes and how to avoid them.
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website
The FTC offers updates on the most recent scams and tips to avoid becoming a victim.
- Visit the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker
It’s an interactive map with details on current scams and dollars lost, with the option to report a scam.
- See the Arizona Attorney General’s Consumer Scam warnings
This list of consumer scams focuses on protecting Arizona seniors from financial exploitation, but these warnings can benefit any consumer.
If you receive any call, email, text, or other communication requesting your PIN, account details, or personal information, hang up and call your financial institution.
Don’t give your online banking login to anybody. Even if you have a joint account owner, they are able to create their own login.
We are here to help you, and we are dedicated to protecting the safety and security of our Members’ accounts.