Common fraud attacks

Wire transfers: Scammers often use methods that make it difficult to cancel or reverse the transaction and get your money back, like wire transfers. Wire transfers are a fast, irreversible way to send money domestically or internationally.

Digital payments: Scammers are targeting person-to-person payment systems like Pay It Now, Zelle® or Venmo®. If they can get your online banking username and password, they can move your money to their account. Never give anyone your online banking username and password.

Check or account deposit: If you have ever sold something online or through a public advertisement, you may have encountered this type of scam. This is when a scammer sends you a check or deposits money to your account for more than the amount needed to cover the sale. They may say the extra is for shipping or other fees. They will instruct you to deposit the check and send any unused portion back to them. They will pressure you to complete the transaction quickly – typically within a few days. But after you send the money, the check will bounce leaving you responsible for the full amount of the check and any associated fees.

This scam takes advantage of the time it takes a check to fully process through the financial system. It can take up to 10 business days to identify a check as fraudulent. If the scammer can get you to complete the transaction before that happens, they will make off with your money.

Be suspicious if anyone pressures you to complete such a transaction quickly, especially if they urge you to use mobile check deposit to deposit the check. Scammers know their fake checks might not stand up to scrutiny. They don’t want to take the chance that a credit union employee might spot the fraud and save you from being a victim of this crime.

Debit or credit card: If you have a debit or credit card, there is a chance your card information has been compromised in a scam or data breach. You can prevent scammers from making unauthorized purchases by setting alerts on your Oregon State Credit Union cards using Card Control and Card Management. You should also examine your monthly statements for suspicious activity.

Gift and prepaid card: One popular scam is to solicit payment or donations by pre-paid credit cards or gift cards. Be wary of anyone who asks to be paid in this manner. Gift cards are like cash, and charges cannot be reversed.

Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency is a new form of digital money that can be traded online for goods or services. Cryptocurrency scams are a new way to trick people into sending money because, once sent, cryptocurrency cannot be recalled or canceled. If anyone asks you to make a payment, send money or invest using cryptocurrency, be careful. If they insist the payment must be made using cryptocurrency, it’s probably a scam.

Tech support: Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. They want you to pay for tech support services you don't need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They often ask you to pay by wiring money; putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card; or using a person-to-person app like Pay It Now because they know those types of payments can be hard to reverse. Tech support scammers use many different tactics to trick people. Spotting these tactics will help you avoid falling for the scam.

Helpful fraud department: In this scam, the caller pretends to be with your financial institution’s fraud department. The caller is likely using a spoofed phone number so the incoming number looks legitimate. The caller explains that possible fraudulent activity occurred on your credit card, and they provide you with fake transaction details or your card number so you believe your card was compromised. They may even claim your card has been blocked. Under the guise of verifying your identity and helping you get a new card, the caller will attempt to gain your personal information and private banking information.

Amazon: This involves people operating under the guise of Amazon customer service, but the only service they’re providing is cleaning out your credit union account. If you get an unusual call from Amazon notifying you of a potential security breach, be very cautious about providing any personal information to them. If you get a text or email advising you to call Amazon, do not call the phone number in the message, and do not call Amazon at a phone number you found by searching online. If you get a message about a refund you did not expect, do not provide your credit union account information. In all of these cases, you should log in to your Amazon account and contact customer service from within your Amazon account. And remember: never click on a link in an email unless you know with absolute certainty who is sending that email.

Economic impact payments: Scammers continue to target economic impact payments. Watch for these scams.

  • Fraudsters send potential victims fraudulent checks, instructing the recipients to call a number or verify information online in order to cash the fraudulent checks.
  • Stealing an economic payment from the U.S. mail.
  • Phishing schemes with the intent of getting financial account information.

Learn about other Economic Impact Payment scams.

COVID contact tracing: Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately, there are people out there pretending to be contact tracers, but are in fact scammers trying to steal your personal information. The Oregon Department of Justice has issued a warning about this scam.

COVID-19 vaccine-related: With every passing day, the news on COVID-19 vaccine distribution seems to change, and scammers, always at the ready, are taking advantage of the confusion. Besides a big dose of patience, here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help you avoid a vaccine-related scam. 

Unemployment benefits: Identity thieves are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic by submitting bogus unemployment benefit claims and collecting benefits meant for others. According to the FBI, these unemployment scams are difficult to detect. Learn how to tell if you’ve been a victim of this type of scam and what you can do about it.

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