Do you know the warning signs of a fraudulent scam? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FTC received nearly $1.7 million fraud reports in 20191. While the final numbers for 2020 aren’t in yet, the FTC reported in April of 2020 that Americans reported losing $13.44 million dollars due to the Coronavirus2. With fraudsters finding new ways to target people and their finances, it’s critical that you understand the warning signs of a fraudulent scam and how to protect yourself and your finances from falling victim.
Below are three common signs that indicate you might be the victim of a fraudulent scam.
1. The scammer is pretending to be from an organization with which you are familiar.
It’s not uncommon for a scammer to pretend they are an employee of a company that you are familiar with, such as the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or even your bank. They use technology that allows them to change the phone number that appears on your phone to make it seem like it’s a legitimate call. This method is used in an attempt to gain access to your funds once you answer the phone call. If you’ve received a suspicious message from First Bank asking for your account number or for other financial information, please call the First Bank Service Center at 800-760-2265.
Learn more about the most recent scam alerts reported to the FTC.
2. Scammers pressure you into acting quickly.
Have you received a suspicious phone call or email and the person calling you is pressuring you to act quickly? Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’ve received an unexpected call or text message from someone pressuring you into making a quick decision, report it to the FTC here.
3.) Scammers tell you to pay in a certain way.
Scammers often insist that you pay them by putting money on a gift card and sending it to them, or they will request that you pay them by sending money through a money transfer company. Once money is sent through a money transfer company, there’s usually no way the payment can be reversed, and there aren’t protections for the person sending the money. If you receive an unexpected message or a call from someone asking you to wire or transfer, or put money on a gift card to send to them, report it to the FTC here.
Now that you are familiar with some of the common warning signs of fraudulent scams, below are some steps to take to help protect yourself and your finances.
- Block unwanted phone calls and text messages from numbers you don’t recognize.
Legitimate organizations will never request personal information like your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or debit card numbers through a phone call, email, or text message. If you receive a message or phone call requesting this information, block the number and report it to the FTC here.
- Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in suspicious emails or text messages.
If you receive an email from an unfamiliar sender, refrain from clicking on any links or opening any attachments until you can verify the email is legitimate. Once a link in clicked or an attachment is opened, it will download malware onto your device, allowing cybercriminals to access your information. Additionally, you never want to click on a link via a text message if you are not expecting it.
Learn more about the rise in Business Email Compromise scams and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
- Avoid sending money to someone that you don’t know.
Be wary of people calling or texting you and requesting money. If you don’t know who the person is or if you’ve never met them before, hang up and report it to the FTC here. If you can’t verify who the person is or the reason they are requesting money, you may be receiving a call from a scammer.
As always, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the warning signs of fraud and how to keep your financial information safe from fraudsters. Remember, First Bank will never call, text, or email our clients and ask them to provide or update personal account information such as account numbers, PIN numbers, eBanking ID’s, passwords, debit cards, social security numbers, and more. If you’ve received a call, text, or email that you think is suspicious or if you’ve provided someone your account information, please call the First Bank Service Center at 800-760-2265. For more tips on protecting yourself and your financial information from fraud, visit our Security Hub.
1Federal Trade Commission, New FTC Data Shows that the FTC Received Nearly 1.7 Million Fraud Reports
2Federal Trade Commission, COVID-19 Scam Reports By The Numbers
Federal Trade Commission, How to Avoid a Scam
Federal Trade Commission, Using Money Transfer Services
Better Business Bureau, 10 Steps to Avoid Scam