Scammers are always on the prowl to get important information or money from you. They’ll try many different ways to get what they want and it’s crucial you understand how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a banking scam.
Learn what to look for and what to do if you think you’re being scammed.
If you’re selling something, never accept a check or payment for more than the agreed selling price. The scammer will try to get you to deposit the fake check or money order and have you send the difference back. The problem is you’ll have to pay for the amount of the check and any money you sent back to them because the check will bounce.
If you’re ever overpaid, ask the person to rewrite the check or give you payment for the amount you both decided on. If the person refuses, tell them you don’t want to finish the transaction and don’t give them the item you’re selling.
Unsolicited Check Fraud
You receive a check in the mail as a prize and you’re so excited to have some extra spending cash! Even though you didn’t enter any contests, it must just be your lucky day, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t a real prize and the consequences are much greater.
The check could be disguised as a rebate or a refund for something or lottery winnings, but look carefully. Once you sign and deposit certain checks, it could be a legally binding contract for a high-interest loan or a monthly membership.
Phishing scams might be the sneakiest of all scams. Scammers will send you text messages or emails with links and attachments that look legitimate; if you click them, it’s possible ransomware will be installed on your computer, allowing them to view account information and important files.
Be careful when opening emails, even from a family member, friend, or trusted source. Think before you click on anything and do a quick search for phone numbers if they’re asking you to click and call.
Romance scammers will create fake dating profiles online, find a victim, and convince them they’re the person on the profile to make them fall in love. After talking back and forth, they’ll ask for money, saying they’re in deep trouble or need it to pay for something, like a ticket to come see you. In reality, they’re pocketing that money for themselves or using it to fund more scams. If you pay, they’ll keep coming back for more, giving you excuses why they need more and can even cause you to fall in debt.
In 2017, there were at least 15,372 victims of romance scams nationwide, with total losses of over $211 million. If you’re online dating, don’t send anyone you haven’t met money, especially if they’re located overseas.
Protect Your Information
- Don’t send money back or wire a portion of funds to a company or person after an overpayment. Ask for the specific amount up front.
- Verify cashier’s checks with the financial institution it’s drawn on before depositing to your account. Research the financial institution before calling – don’t use the number on the check.
- Be wary when clicking links and attachments within emails and texts.
- Don’t reply to emails, texts, or phone calls asking for your bank account number.
- Keep your security programs up-to-date.
- Don’t send people you haven’t met money, especially if they’re overseas.