Scams, Frauds and What You Can Do About Them
Oct 1, 2020
Even in tough times, one group of professionals never slows down. They are the fraudsters, grifters and cybercriminals who are always aiming for their next victim. They make it their business to know the latest technologies and angles for potential fraud. If you take action to protect yourself, your and loved ones and your family, you do not have to become a victim. Here are five ways to prevent fraud and theft over the holidays:
STEP 1. LOOK OUT FOR THE SENIORS IN YOUR LIFE.
According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 Americans age 60 and older will be subject to some form of crime over the course of a year. In addition, many elderly people may not understand new technologies or the latest scams, making them easy targets. To protect your senior friends and loved ones:
• Regularly call or visit seniors to keep them from becoming socially isolated or falling under the influence of a new “special friend.”
• Show them how to block commercial mail, online solicitations, and robocall solicitations.
• Help them set up safeguards at the bank,and provide assistance in getting a debit card and a checking account with low spending. limits, and arrange for their financial institutions to provide oversight.
STEP 2. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR ONLINE PURCHASES.
Up until recently cyber crooks would test a stolen credit card with a low dollar purchase. If the purchase went through, they would go for the big rip-off. Unfortunately, as anti-fraud technology has become more advanced, thieves are now trying for big scores on their first buys. During the holidays when shoppers spend more, their fraudulent purchases are more likely to blend in with legitimate spending. Regardless, set up alerts on your accounts for major purchases.
STEP 3. PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER AGAINST MALWARE COMPUTER VIRUSES.
Created by hackers, malware is designed to steal your financial information or ruin or hold your computer ransom. If you have not installed an anti-virus program, or you are not sure that your anti-virus program is working, here are seven signs that tell you that your computer may have a virus:
1. You try to open your task manager and it doesn’t appear.
2. Your computer runs slowly and programs crash frequently.
3. You see a lot of pop-up ads, many for virus protection (don’t click on them!).
4. Your hardware lights blink, even when you’re not using the computer.
5. Files have moved or disappeared entirely without your knowledge.
6. Your browser has new features you didn’t install.
7. Your friends receive spam mails and messages from you.
Whether your computer has been infected by a virus or not, install a trusted anti-virus program to protect your computer. Also, do not trust websites offering free services to protect your computer. This is a popular scheme for spreading malware.
STEP 4. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR OTHER FRAUDS.
Thieves may pretend to be your credit union, charity or another financial organization. They will ask for your account information, or donations, especially during natural disasters. They may even offer to make it easy for you to conveniently transfer money through open payment apps like Zelle and Venmo. Please be aware once they obtain one piece of your information, they will go after your other account information via phone, mobile, online or in person.
As a precaution before you hand over your money, do research for company names, products or charities to see if fraud alerts come up. To stay informed, sign up for free alerts from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/scams. If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint.
STEP 5. TRAVELING DURING THE HOLIDAYS? TELL HONDA FCU.
Our experts can help protect you against fraud, and ensure there is no interruption in access to your credit union services. At least a day or two before you go, please call us at 800-634-6632 and select option #5 to speak with one of our representatives. Then tell them where you are going and your dates of travel.
Of course, you can also log into your account through digital banking from our home page and send us an email with your travel details. Another smart tip is to download the HFCU App. With this in hand, you’ll have easier access to your money and our services. That said, safe travels!