Banking Tip of the Month - Popular Fraud Schemes
How we handle money is changing, and it has been for years.
It used to be that any transactions you wanted to make with your money, from depositing checks to withdrawing funds, had to happen at a physical bank location. Now, with increasingly sophisticated software available at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to manage your money from your own devices.
While these advancements are significant for making your life more efficient, they also make the work of thieves a lot simpler. Read on to find out more about some of the most recurrent fraud tactics and how you can avoid them.
Common Fraud Schemes
Attempts at fraud can vary widely across different platforms. Fortunately, many fraudsters like to repeat devices that they’ve seen work in the past. Some of the most common strategies include:
- Fraud calls: If you’re like many Americans, you won’t pick up the phone if you don’t recognize the number. You’ve likely based this aversion on the experience of receiving dozens of unwanted calls. Scammers often pretend to be trusted brand representatives, such as an Apple employee or Amazon customer service worker. They make up a problem they claim you can only solve by giving them access to your personal account or using your information.
- Fishy Facebook posts: Recently, posts calling on people to recount childhood stories or fun facts about themselves have taken a sinister turn. Many of these prompts appear innocent and ask people to talk about their childhood home, pets, parents, and other common tidbits. However, these same pieces of information are often the answers to password reset questions. Thieves can use the content and comments on these posts to access the profiles of unsuspecting users.
Social Media Maneuvers
Facebook is far from the only platform that has had issues with fraud schemes appearing on users’ dashboards and feeds. Other social media fraud schemes have shown up as:
- Clickbait: “Buy now!” “Only 20 left!” Some ads pop out at you, claiming to sell things that are too good to be true or at unreasonably low prices. These links, however, may simply be downloading malware onto your device.
- DM deception: Strangers saying “hello” in your direct messages may be new friends waiting to be discovered - or someone trying to steal your money. Scammers frequently pretend to be potential friends and love interests, hoping to get you to reveal useful personal information.
With all of these approaches being utilized by thieves, how are consumers supposed to protect themselves from fraud? Awareness is the first step, but other tactics include:
- Keep your passwords to yourself. With more websites asking you to make an account with them than ever, it makes sense to use an organization strategy for creating and storing your passwords. Whether it’s a journal you keep locked, or an encrypted app that stores your information, make sure you’re the only person who knows all of your passwords. Also, try to change your passwords every few months.
- Log out. Though internet cafes may nearly be a thing of the past here in America, publicly accessible computers are still relatively common in libraries, universities, and community centers across the country. Avoid handling transactions on these computers, when possible. If you log into any account, be sure to log out before leaving the area – and don’t turn on “remember me” for any site you access on a public device. The information you use on one site may be useful when trying to hack into your account on another.
- Be suspicious. You may think you have a handle on keeping your finances secure, but scammers are getting craftier with their lies. Use extra caution when interacting with phone calls and emails that you were not expecting, even if you think you know the source. Fraudsters may be using elaborate persuasion tactics to fool you. Building up your fraud awareness means being suspicious whenever someone unknown asks you to do something over the phone or the internet.
For instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently confirmed that scammers used real employee names and imagery when contacting clients to try and steal money. The CFPB also strongly emphasizes that they will never call you to inform you that you won a lottery, a class action lawsuit, or the like. You can find out more about this particular scam here.
If you’re looking for a boost in fraud protection for your finances, turn to Dream First Bank. Our team of experts on the Fraud Squad is ready to help secure your accounts. On top of that, our online tools make managing your money a breeze.
At Dream First Bank, our ultimate goal is to make dreams come true. To secure yours, contact us today.