Fraud Prevention Tips
1. Spot Imposters
Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t spend money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request – whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
2. Do Online Searches
Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
3. Don’t Believe Caller ID
Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
4. Don’t Pay Upfront for a Promise
Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
5. Consider How You Pay
Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
6. Talk to Someone
Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert, tell a friend, or call the Credit Union.
7. Hang Up on Robocalls
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
8. Be Skeptical About Free Trial Offers
Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
9. Don’t Deposit a Check and Wire Money Back
By law, financial institutions must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the financial institution.
10. Protect Your Card Number
NEVER give your card number over the phone unless you initiated the call. Unsolicited calls are almost always fraud. If you have any doubt about the call, hang up.
11. Sign Up for Free Scam Alerts
Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox. Go to ftc.gov/scams.
1. Never Share Your Password
Never give out your password to anyone. Never give it to friends, even if they’re really good friends. A friend can – maybe even accidentally – pass your password along to others or even become an ex-friend and abuse it.
2. Use Multiple Passwords
Don’t use just one password. Using different passwords for different sites ensures that a breach at one site does not compromise your other accounts.
3. Long Passwords are Better
Make the password at least 8 characters long. 10 or 12 characters is even better. Longer passwords are harder for thieves to crack.
4. Use Capitals and Symbols the Smart Way
Include numbers, capital letters and symbols but remember that $1ngle is NOT a good password. But Mf$1avng (short for “My friend Sam is a very nice guy”) is an excellent password.
What To Do If You Are a Victim
1. Don’t Panic
Don’t panic but don’t ignore the problem. Take these steps. They will help you get through this.
2. Contact the Credit Union
Call us at 307-432-7400 – we can help secure your accounts with us.
3. Contact Local Law Enforcement
The non-emergency number for the Cheyenne Police Department is 307-637-6500 and for the Laramie County Sherriff’s Department it is 307-633-4700.
4. Go to the Cybercrime Support Network
The Cybercrime Support Network will walk you through steps to help.
5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Anyone can be a victim of fraud. You’re not the first one or the last. Also, consider sharing your experience so others don’t get caught in the same trap you did.
Other Safety Measures
1. Password Protect Phones
Use a “password” or fingerprints for your phone. The information we have on our phones is too important to not protect.
2. Phishing Attacks
Don’t fall for “phishing” attacks. Be very careful before clicking on a link (even if it appears to be from a legitimate site) asking you to log in, change your password or provide any other personal information. It might be legit or it might be a “phishing” scam where the information you enter goes to a hacker. When in doubt, log on manually by typing what you know to be the site’s URL into your browser window.
3. Secure Devices
Make sure your devices are secure. The best password in the world might not do you any good if someone is looking over your shoulder while you type or if you forget to logout on a cybercafe computer. Malicious software, including “keyboard loggers” that record all of your keystrokes, has been used to steal passwords and other information. To increase security, make sure you’re using up-to-date anti-malware software and that your operating system is up-to-date.
Fraud We’ve Seen Recently
Tech Support Scam. The refund scam works like this: Several months after a purchase, someone calls to ask if you were happy with the service. If you say “No”, the scammer offers a refund. Or, the caller says the company is going out of business and giving refunds. The scammer eventually asks for your bank or credit card account number, or asks for access to your bank account to make a deposit. But instead of putting money in your account, the scammer takes money from your account.
Trapped Family Scam.Trapped Family Scam”]Don’t believe emails from friends or family that state the loved one is “trapped” in a foreign country (or in jail or hospital) and needs money. Before withdrawing funds from your account, contact that friend or family member. You’ll likely discover that they are safely at home and that their email got hacked.
Unexpected Check Scam.We’ve seen recent instances of this scam. Members have received counterfeit cashier’s checks drawn on out of state banks and credit unions. These checks look authentic to the untrained eye. Know that anytime you receive unexpected checks in the mail from individuals and people you do not know, they’re probably fraudulent.
ATM Skimming: Protect Yourself
Protect Your Pin
Hidden cameras are often used to steal your PIN. Covering the keyboard as you enter your PIN is a simple way to help avoid theft. Never give your PIN to anyone. And, do not use any ATM with a card reader that appears altered.
Stay Away From Unfamiliar ATMs
The safest ATMs are those with the logo of your credit union and COOP ATM and Shared Branching.
Check Your Balances Frequently
…And if you notice something wrong, use the contact number on the back of your debit card to report any fraudulent withdrawals.