In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.8 million reports of identity theft and fraud. Plus, more than 1,300 internet-enabled crimes and scams were reported every day in the prior year totaling more than $3.5 billion in losses, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). We chatted with One Nevada fraud and security experts about today’s most common fraud and how to protect yourself.
These scams work on human nature. Scammers target people online, become their friends or romantic interests, and ask for money or private information. This might include your online banking credentials, which they promise will allow them to send money back — eventually.
Outwit the criminals: The best way to thwart this crime is to request an in-person meeting before sending money or sharing information. A scammer will always have an emergency or last-minute conflict and be unable to meet.
Ever get a call that looked like it was from a local company, friend, or family member, but instead you were greeted with silence, beeps or clicks, an automated voice, or someone reading a script? That is phone spoofing. In the worst-case scenario, fraudsters will call spoofing the number of a financial institution. By utilizing personal information about you that was found online, they will attempt to trick you into sharing account numbers, passwords, and PINs.
Outthink phone fraudsters: Hang up and do not give out any personal information. If you’re still unsure if the call was or was not from your financial institution, find a customer service number you can physically validate and call them. Then report the attempted fraud.
This scam offers to pay good money for jobs such as mystery shopping, clerical work, or re-shipping products. They may even offer to pay you money to wrap your vehicle in advertising decals. However, when you get your first check, it may be made out for more than promised. The scammers will then ask you to refund them the amount they overpaid. Not only will the check they gave you bounce, but you’ll be out the money you sent them.
Workarounds for this fraud: Always research a company before you accept employment. Before sending money to anyone, wait a week to ensure the check clears.
Account Takeover Fraud
This crime can happen when a scammer gets access to your account via online or mobile banking. While very unlikely, criminals can use programs to guess usernames and passwords. However, criminals often gain access through phishing scams or by tricking you into giving out the information. The scammers then deposit bad checks with remote deposit and make substantial withdrawals.
Beat the bad guys: Don’t give out your debit card information, PINs, account numbers, or online banking passwords. Doing so could make you responsible for charges and withdrawals, even if it exceeds the original intent or authorization.
Some Quick Advice
Most scams can be avoided with these tips:
- Never share your online banking information, debit card PIN, or other financial information with anyone.
- If you’re sent a check, asked to deposit it, and then pressured to send money back by wire or gift cards, this is a scam. Do not cash the check or return the funds.
- Do not send money to someone you do not know personally.
- Be suspicious of emails and links urging you to log into online banking. These can send you to fake websites designed to look like a specific financial institution. It’s safer to go directly to the website and log in from there.
One Nevada is on Your Side
By remaining aware of possible online threats; you can stay one step ahead. However, anyone can fall victim to a scam or crime in today’s online and fast-moving world. If you feel you may have given out your financial information or been targeted by fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and give us a call at 800-388-3000. We can block your credit and debit cards, limit access to Digital Banking, and more.