January 25, 2017
Your financial institution goes to great lengths to protect your bank accounts every day, however, they can’t always protect you from fraud or identity theft. This is where “falling asleep” on your finances becomes dangerous. If you don’t check your accounts for weeks or months at a time, fraudulent charges could be racking up on your account without your knowledge!
Scammers use many different tools and techniques to gain access to your bank accounts or convince you to send money—they get smarter every day! One of the most common types of fraud occurs when scammers impersonate someone you trust, like a family member, government official, a charity, or a company you do business with. They may call or send an email, asking for personal information or money; if you weren’t expecting this request, do not respond until you are absolutely certain of their identity and intentions.
Similarly, if someone asks you to pay for something in advance, use extreme caution! If they claim you won a prize or qualify for debt relief, but you must pay taxes or fees prior to taking advantage of it, it’s likely a scam. It’s also becoming increasingly common for scammers to ask you to cash a check for them—sending most of the cash back to them and keeping some for yourself; these checks are fraudulent and will be returned against your account.
If a company or organization asks you to pay using an uncommon type of payment method, like a wiring service or reloadable debit card, ask more questions! Real and honest businesses should accept cash, credit cards, or personal checks. When in doubt, however, always use a credit card to pay; they have the most fraud protection built-in and it’s much easier to recover lost funds if it does turn out to be fraudulent.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where fraud happens every minute of every day. We have to put up our defenses when it comes to our finances; don’t share your personal information with anyone until you are confident their identity and intentions are true. To learn more about current scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.consumer.ftc.gov.
By: Teri Etienne, Treasury Management