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Scam Red Flags & Prevention Tips


Year after year, people and financial institutions are susceptible to scammers left and right. Fraudsters are still playing old games but are also pulling out new tricks when it comes to scamming. 

According to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2020, it was reported that people lost more than than $3.3 billion to fraud - an increase of nearly $1.5 billion over 2019. 

Quick facts from 2020:

  • There were 2.2 million fraud reports
    • 34% indicated money was lost 
  • Younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people 
    • 44% age 20-29
    • People aged 70+ had a median loss which was much higher
  • The percent of fraud reports by contact method:
    • 31% Phone Call 
    • 27% Text 
    • 15% Email
    • 11% Website or Apps 
    • 6% Social Media 

Here are scam red flags & prevention tips to keep in mind: 

  • Do not always trust the display name – criminals will fake the email name to appear to be a legitimate sender
  • Check for misspelled words, bad grammar, and/or typos within the content
  • Always be cautious when clicking links and opening attachments
  • Never provide personal or account information when asked.
  • Do not share a one-time password sent via text or email 
  • Check email salutations – legitimate businesses will likely use professional greetings & salutations
  • Be suspicious of “urgent” or “immediate” response needed or “unauthorized login attempt” of your account
  • Know that the IRS or Social Security Administration will NEVER contact you by phone, email, text, or social media
  • Be suspicious if the recipient group seems random or unusual (i.e. all last names begin with the same letter)
  • Watch for emails or texts that appear to be a reply to a message that you didn’t actually send
  • Monitor the sender's email address for suspicious URLs & domains – often using similar letters and numbers
  • If something seems suspicious; contact that source with a new email or phone call, rather than just hitting reply
  • Be wary of offers that appear too good to be true, require fast action, or instill a sense of fear
  • Keep social media accounts private and be cautious about who you’re connecting with. Never share anything related to your credit union account, transactional history, or identifying information in unprotected public forums.

Source: Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2020

via CUNA Mutual Group