General Guidelines for Scam Prevention
- Don’t trust messages containing poor grammar and spelling.
- Do not click on links in unsolicited emails.
- Be wary of email attachments.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information through email, and do not respond to email requests for this information.
- Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations.
- Be aware of unsolicited text messages, especially when you haven’t requested one.
- Be aware of emails/calls/text messages which ask you to take action/click on something. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. If you feel the communication may be legitimate, feel free to hang up and reach out to the organization at their listed phone number/email address. This could prevent scammers from posing as entities that you trust.
- Do not give anyone access to your online banking username/password, PIN number, security codes, account numbers, or credit/debit card numbers.
- Use caution when considering information you’ve seen on social media.
- If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!
Red Flags for Counterfeit Checks
- Non-existent or faded credit union or bank logo
- No address, invalid address, or just a PO Box
- No check number in top, right corner
- Thin, flimsy, or low-quality paper
- Spelling or typing errors in any of the printed areas
- Mismatching of written and spelled out check amounts
- Areas where things appear to have been added or erased from the check
Even if you’ve been very careful with your information, we recommend regular monitoring of your accounts and credit report for any suspicious activity.
Register for online banking to monitor your accounts with ABFCU.
Get a free credit report.
Look at the Federal Trade Commission’s Tips for Staying Safe Online.
List of Confirmed Scams by Date
Please note that this list is in no way comprehensive. These are known ways scammers are operating; however, methods for scams and fraud are changing constantly.
A rise in online shopping has resulted in increased online shopping scams in which the victim places an order on a website which appears to be consistently lower in price for an item (typically these websites are promoted on search engines or social media), but does not receive the item they ordered or receives a different product entirely. All attempts by victims to be reimbursed or receive actual items ordered are unsuccessful. To avoid being victimized in this way, be wary of online retailers offering goods at a significantly discounted rate. Do your research before purchasing– make an inquiry of the retailer on the Better Business Bureau’s website, check the Whois Public Internet Directory for the domain registration information, look at reviews and complaints, and check the contact details on the website’s “Contact Us” page.
If you are a victim of an online shopping scam, report the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, report the activity to the online payment service used for the financial transaction, and contact your financial institution immediately upon discovering any fraudulent or suspicious activity.
With unemployment rising due to COVID-19, there are now many reports of false unemployment claims in which the scammer will use a victim’s social security number and employment information to attempt to file for unemployment benefits. Oftentimes, the victim is unaware of this occurring until their employer has been contacted.
For more information, refer to “Be Aware, Report Fraud, Protect Yourself” published by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.
Fraudsters are now contacting consumers pretending to help prevent fraud. The fraudster will initiate a text or phone call to you, and will use scare tactics (including, but not limited to posing as your bank or credit union’s “fraud department”) to convince consumers to give or confirm information to allow them to “help” stop the fraud. He or she may already have a great deal of your personal information. Remember to hang up and to call a good phone number to confirm legitimacy.
Check out this article about Caller ID Spoofing and What to Do About It.
Counterfeit checks are increasing with “work at home” scams. Payment is made with a counterfeit corporate or cashier’s check. Victims attempt to deposit the check into their own account, frequently while withdrawing funds at the same time.
COVID Phishing through both email and SMS. Emails may include titles such as 2020 Coronavirus Updates, Coronavirus Updates, 2019-nCov: New confirmed cases in your city, or 2019-nCov: Coronavirus outbreak in your city (emergency). Emails or text messages will contain a call to action; specifically, to visit a website to provide personal information or to reply with personal information.
See full alert released by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Center.
Government Payout/Stimulus Scams are expected. Please be aware that the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to receive your stimulus check. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number.
See full blog post from the Federal Trade Commission.