Protect your financial information by recognizing the five Ps of common fraud patterns
Credit Union of Colorado says awareness is the best defense
Scammers are always on the lookout for their next victim.
âScammers use a variety of tactics to steal private financial information and profit from vacations. Once they have access to credit card or bank account details, they can make unauthorized charges, empty your accounts and steal your identity, âsays Chad Wilcox, senior vice president of loans at Credit Union of Colorado. âCredit Union of Colorado is here to help you recognize the five Ps of common fraud schemes. Once you know about these ploys, you can give crooks exactly what they deserve – a lump of coal.
The five Ps of common fraud schemes:
- Scammers pretend to belong to a known organization
Scammers often pose as government organizations or companies you do business with, such as the Credit Union of Colorado. These criminals will also invent names that sound like well-known companies or service providers and use technology to change the number displayed on your caller ID.
- Scammers say there is a PROBLEM
These scammers know how to get your attention. They will use scare tactics to trick you into responding to requests for cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or account access. Victims are often convinced that they should open their wallet after being told that they:
- Owes taxes in return
- are in trouble with the law
- Need to resolve an account problem
- May be physically injured
- Having a family member in financial crisis
The scammer always claims to have the solution but will only provide it in exchange for your money or private financial information.
- Fraudsters URGE you to act immediately
Scammers want you to act fast and keep communication a secret. They may call you, email, or text you with threats to arrest, sue, or humiliate you if you don’t immediately do what they say. They don’t want you to take the time to check their history.
- Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way
Thieves often insist that you pay with cash, gift card, wire transfer, or virtual currency like Bitcoin. These payment methods are not easy to trace or reverse. Some will send you a fake paper check for more than the amount needed, tell you to deposit it, and ask you to send them the difference.
- Scammers ask you to claim a PRIZE
Have you ever received a congratulatory email, text, or phone call for a contest or sweepstakes you can’t remember entering? As alluring as the notification may sound, savvy consumers are ignoring these attempts to lure victims into this common scam. Scammers will lie and say that you won the lottery money or that you were approved for a free grant. There’s a big deal: you have to pay a fee to claim your alleged prize.
How to avoid scams:
Awareness is essential to avoid scams throughout the year. Before acting on any unsolicited request for personal information, remember the following tips.
- Identity theft scams take many forms. Government agencies and tech companies rarely call you unexpectedly or send text messages demanding payment. If this is a legitimate request, they won’t mind if you call them back at the number displayed on the organization’s website.
- Scammers fabricate bogus problems and emergencies. Confirm claims of out-of-town accidents and legal issues by contacting family or local law enforcement. Look up the number. Do not call the number provided to you by a caller or the one that appears on your caller ID – numbers are often spoofed.
- Never pay to resolve a legal issue or claim a prize using virtual currency, cash, wire transfer, or gift cards. These payment methods are difficult to trace and are most often associated with fraudulent schemes. You may not be able to dispute or recall transactions you authorize, even if you later find out that it was a scam.
- Credit Union of Colorado will NEVER ask you for a verification code, website password, or full activated card number over the phone, text, or email. Whenever you contact a financial institution about your account, you may be asked to verify your identity by other means. You should never divulge financial details to someone who calls you out of the blue.
- If it’s not right, it probably is. Lotteries, loans, and jobs don’t go down the drain if you ask for a few hours to think it over. Trust your instincts. âWe encourage our members to stay alert to potential fraud. Your best defense is awareness, âsays Wilcox. âIf you think you have been scammed, we recommend that you use the Credit Union of Colorado Fraud Checklist. to recover the security of your accounts and possibly your identity.
Credit Union of Colorado in your community: Founded in 1934, Credit Union of Colorado is one of the state’s largest credit unions and is deeply connected to the communities where its members live and work. The credit union’s âhere to helpâ culture is demonstrated by its strong support to local communities through financial donations, promotional sponsorships and employee volunteerism. Credit Union of Colorado offers the latest banking technology with 18 full-service branches statewide, including lobby service centers, safes, ATMs, and ATMs at no additional cost. The Credit Union also offers its members the convenience of digital banking services with remote check deposit and access to ZelleÂ®, a fast, secure and easy way to send money directly from your mobile banking app. or your online bank account.
With over 85 years of experience, Credit Union of Colorado is a stable member-owned financial institution with over $ 2 billion in assets serving over 140,000 members. The Credit Union of Colorado Foundation supports education and emergency human services programs through college scholarships and grants to nonprofit organizations.