Friendly Reminders About Not-So-Friendly Fraud

You know, we’ve written plenty of words about fraud: Like this blog post that we updated in late March, or this one, all about online and mobile banking scams just as a couple of examples. In fact, because fraud keeps rearing its (very) ugly head, it’s probably one of the top things we write about, post about, talk about, and, honestly, worry about here on the Simplicity CU team. And if there’s something that scammers, fraudsters, and their whole type love, it’s targeting people when they’re feeling vulnerable.

You know, like right now.

That’s why we always have our eye on those dirty dogs. We spend so much time thinking about it, in fact, that we forget not everyone sees it exactly the way we do. Where we have a whole bunch of stories from years and years of tracking all of the rotten things fraudsters dream up, our friends and neighbors outside the credit union (hopefully) barely encounter it at all.

Sometimes, if we’re totally honest, we forget that not everyone has heard about every different scam in the book. With that in mind, we’re actually writing this blog post to remind ourselves of some things that might help you.

1. You DON’T remember last year (or a month ago, or any other time) when the exact same thing happened to someone else.

Right now, when a lot of people are out of work and looking for options to put food on the table, is primetime for the fraudsters to be out in full force. When the economy takes a downturn – or even just hints that it might – those baddies take advantage of it, so we’ve been (kind of) here before.

Sure, maybe we posted something at the time to let people know we were seeing some increased fraud. You probably even took it seriously (because you’re smart like that) but if it didn’t happen to you or someone you know, there’s no reason to expect you to retain that information. That’s not really how human brains work, right?

That’s why, even though we feel like a broken record, it’s our job to keep reminding you that untrustworthy people are out there all of the time, trying to get your personal info, so they can eventually get your hard-earned money. Annnd…

2. You want to trust people so you’re willing to take a risk if it’s going to help you and your family.

That faith in humanity is just one of the things that makes you an awesome person, so don’t lose it, ok? Sure, if we’re TOTALLY honest (and we should be, because we’re friends, right?) we’re pretty jaded. An actual Nigerian Prince could walk into our building with a live tiger and his entourage and we wouldn’t believe him.

The fact is, scammers have SO many ways to trick or scare or coerce you into giving them your personal info – things like your online banking login, account numbers, even your social security number – that we can’t even BEGIN to list them all here. (Actually, we kind of already did, but those examples are just the tip of the iceberg.)

That’s why it’s so important that we work together. Our team is trained to watch out for you, our trusting friend. Sometimes that means we spot activity on your account that doesn’t seem normal or that we ask you few more questions when a transaction you’re doing raises a red flag, but it always means that we’re here for you if an offer seems too good to be true, because….

3. The hope of something that seems too good to be true might be the last hope you think you have.

Hey, we get this, we really do. We’re people (helping people) and we’ve all felt like we had nowhere else to turn. So when you come to us, really wanting to believe that your new ‘friend’ or ‘business partner’ just needed your online banking login so they could deposit your ‘paycheck’, we don’t want to tell you you’re getting scammed, but it’s our job.

We know you need that money to buy food or diapers, fix your car, or do one of a hundred other things you really, truly need at that moment, but we take our responsibility to protect you seriously. Sure, that may mean you’ll be angry, yell at us, even threaten to close your account, but deep down we understand, and we have broad shoulders.

So when we see something, we want you to know we’ll say something, and we hope you understand. Let’s make a deal, promise us that if you ever get the sneaking suspicion that something sounds fishy, you’ll talk to us before you give up any of your personal info, and we promise that we’ll be there for you to help you through.

4. You probably don’t go looking for all of the different ways someone could scammed online.

Sure, it’s probably just us, but good news! We found a bunch of good info to share.

Here’s some financial empowerment from our friends at Banzai to help you be a smarter consumer.

And this one is an interesting look at the psychological reasons people fall for scams and how you can avoid them.

And here’s a surprising look at why younger consumers – not their grandparents -  are most likely to fall for scams.

Finally, here’s an article specifically about online and mobile banking scams from Forbes that has really solid advice.

Sure, this was a lot of info, and it still only scratches the surface of the things that might help you protect yourself from fraud. That’s why we know we have to stay committed to keeping our eyes peeled for fraud, even if it means repeating ourselves.