Overview of Scams & Fraud Schemes
Scammers and fraudsters are trying new (and inventive) ways to get sensitive information or money from their victims. With social media and data breaches, there’s so much information available that it is getting easier for criminals to create legitimate sounding messages.
Oftentimes, attacks include a strong emotion: fear or love. This can disrupt logical thinking. Pause, take a breath, and wait before reacting. Read more about social engineering and how to protect yourself.
Tips to Protect Yourself From Scams
- Do not click any links or download attachments from an unknown sender and avoid bogus websites.
Scammers want you to go to a fake website to fill out forms so they can collect information that can be used to steal your money or ID, or they might place malware on your device if your download an attachment. Make sure you are on an official website before updating account information, such as changing a password or modifying payment information.
- Resist the pressure to act fast.
Criminals create a sense of urgency to lure you into immediate action, making it harder to think critically about what is being demanded of you. This could be insistence that you “act now” for a special deal or have an underlying threat. If you do feel unsafe or in danger, contact the police immediately.
- Don’t call phone numbers listed in the email or texts.
If you get a request from an unknown sender or suspicious message, check the validity by contacting the actual company’s customer service staff at an official number or typing the official website address. You can then explain why you’re contacting them and take next steps if needed.
- Keep your anti-virus and security software up to date.
Ensure your computer anti-virus, malware and security software is up to date. Keep your devices software up to date. Be careful when using public Wi-Fi as your information can be more vulnerable to hacking. Do not give access to your device or account to someone you do not know.
Common Scams & Fraud Schemes
Fraud often happens after you respond to something. If you receive an email, call or text message asking for usernames, passwords, a Social Security number, financial account numbers or other detailed data, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. If you have an email or text with misspellings or bad grammar, it could be a phishing attack. And if there is some threat involved—to you or someone you love—proceed with extreme caution as it’s likely a scam.
Common scams include:
Romance Scams: Fraudsters pose as interested parties who are looking for love. Read our article about these scams.
Grandparent Scams: Posing as a relative (usually a grandchild) or an official entity (like a police officer) the criminal targets older individuals expressing an immediate need for financial support.
Children & Student Scams: Crooks go after information from minors, including bogus offers for scholarships or grants. Read our article about protecting children's identity.
Account Update Scams: An email or text message alerting the recipient about an issue with an account or important account update. The message can look legitimate with similar names and logos to give it an official-looking appearance. Read our article about these scams.
Home Repair Scams: Criminals appear in person to charge homeowners in advance for services that are not ultimately provided.
Asset Recovery Scams: Fraudsters claim to help previous scam victims recover lost funds or assets after receiving an upfront fee.
Customer Service or Utility Scams: When you get a call that appears to be from a legit company, but it actually is a scammer on the other line. Read our article about how to watch for these scams.
Family or Caregiver Scams: Relatives or acquaintances take advantage of elderly individuals to get their money. Read more about scam safety for seniors.
Charity or Lottery or Sweepstakes Scams: Trust is gained using a legitimate cause or charitable organization. Or a fraudster claims a prize was won and can be claimed for a “fee.” Read more about giving and holiday season scams.
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
Report it immediately to the local authorities and your financial institution.
Regularly monitor your account for suspicious activity. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud or a scam, contact your bank immediately. If you are a Fidelity Bank customer, call us at 877.281.0689.
Learn more about how to keep your debit card safe with Brella from Shazam.