Pull the plug on scammers

You probably know that giving out your personal information or sending money to people you don’t know is a really bad idea. But sometimes spotting scams can be tough, as scammers are always finding new and more sophisticated ways to fool their unsuspecting targets.

Hit “delete” on fraudsters trying to trick you! Use these six tips to help you identify common scams, protect your personal data, and outsmart scammers who stand to gain from your pain.

  1. Stop thief! Prevent identity theft (in which a scammer gains access to a victim’s bank accounts) by closely guarding your sensitive personal information, such as your social security number, driver’s license number, and employer information.
  2. Know the warning signs. Monitor your financial statements and immediately report anything suspicious. At times, thieves will make small initial transactions to "test" the account. Review your credit report every 3-6 months. If someone has stolen your identity and is attempting or has obtained a loan in your name, it will appear on the credit report.
  3. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
  4. Play detective. Never give your financial information (or access to your computer) to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. You can ask for a call-back number and then verify its authenticity by looking at the company's website, the back of your credit card, or your account statements.
  5. Keep your guard up. Scammers often take advantage of current events, which has led to a host of COVID-related scams recently. Watch for scams claiming that you’ve been exposed to the virus and then asking you to click on links, fraudulent emails about government stimulus checks, and offers for cures or fake products and services. Also, stay alert for those pervasive romance/dating scams in which you’re asked to pay for health care or travel expenses for someone you’ve never met in person
  6. Use common sense. Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card and unused credits cards at home in a safe and secure location. Keep copies of important information you carry regularly and store them in a safe deposit box.
Keep in mind: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for it!