With so much card activity moving online, it’s more difficult to sniff out fraudulent activity than ever before. In addition, scammers are getting better and better at impersonating merchants and banks as technology advances. In this article you will learn about the most common scams currently taking place, how to spot them, and ways you can better monitor your account and avoid scammers.

Card Block Text Alerts

The scam we are seeing most this year involves criminals sending bogus text notifications stating your card or account has been locked. The text will often provide a link or a number for you to call to remove the block. Their goal is to get you to provide your personal and account information so they can get the missing pieces they need to commit fraud with your money.

The links in these texts are often malicious themselves and can install viruses and malware on your device just by clicking on them. Some links may take you to an official-looking website, and may even attempt to mimic your financial institution. In any case, they will want you to provide your personal and account information to “fix” the issue.

If they provide a number to call, they will try to get that information from you over the phone or may try to convince you to download apps so they can help unlock you. These apps provide remote access to your device, allowing the scammers access to your smartphone, and the information and apps on it, including your online banking.

How can you protect yourself?

Know that Metro will never send a link through a text message. If you receive one of these texts, do not click a link or call the number provided. Instead, go to metrofcu.org and call us at our published number or reach out to us through Message Center via online banking.

If you receive a call from someone stating they are from Metro and it feels off in any way, hang up and call Metro at our published number. Metro Credit Union will never ask you to verify your information if we are calling you and will always encourage you to call us back to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

Cash Transfer Scams

Cash transfer services like Cash App and Venmo have become a popular way for friends and family to send each other money for a variety of reasons, like splitting a dinner bill, paying a friend back for a concert ticket, or sending a child spending money while they’re off at college.

The growing adoption and ease of use of these services have caught the eye of criminals looking for new ways to scam people into sending them money. The primary tools they’re using are online marketplaces like Craigslist, Nextdoor, or Facebook Marketplace. Scammers will place bogus ads for highly sought-after items, such as newly released electronics, or in many cases, pure-bred puppies.

These scammers will always have plenty of pictures to provide of what they are “selling”, and will always require you to pay before the exchange through one of these cash transfer services. Once that money is transferred, they will either request more money for a variety of reasons or simply block you from communicating with them further.

The real problem is it’s often not possible for Metro to recover these funds from the merchants, as they were not at fault for the scam, and the funds have already been moved out of the scammer’s cash transfer account.

How can you protect yourself?

Never send money to anyone using cash-transfer services that you don’t know and trust. Cash transfer services cannot be held liable for the non-receipt of goods, because they are not payment processors. They simply send your cash.

Gift Card Scams

Similar to cash transfer scams, criminals will ask for payment via gift cards instead of through a traditional means of payment. This is an anonymous way for them to steal your money and cannot be reversed once you give them the redemption code and they drain the money from the card.

In these situations, scammers will often call you pretending to be with collection agencies, the IRS, or other law enforcement, and use scare tactics like threatening arrest if fines aren’t paid immediately. They will then request payment via store-bought gift cards, and once again, that money is not able to be recovered from the store the gift card was purchased at, from the gift card company itself, or through a dispute claim because the gift card was purchased legitimately.

How can you protect yourself?

Understand that local, state, and federal government agencies do not collect payments via gift cards and will not call you regarding owed fines or taxes. Legitimate collection agencies also do not collect funds in this manner, and you should be extremely wary of anyone attempting to collect payment by gift card for a product or service you haven’t received yet.

Bogus Order Confirmation

A long-standing phishing scam involves criminals sending emails posing as large online retailers confirming a high-dollar purchase. This is meant to scare you into clicking the links provided to cancel the order, which will install malware on your device, or to get you to call a bogus customer service phone number, where a scammer will answer and attempt to get the information they need to actually steal your money.

How can you protect yourself?

If you receive an email like this and did not order the product, do not click any links and do not call the number on the email. Instead, log into your Metro account, or reach out to our Customer Service, to ensure no recent charge has been made from your account. If there is no suspicious account activity, it means the scammer does not have the information needed to commit fraud against you. Simply delete the scam email. If there is anything suspicious, our staff will assist in ensuring you, and your money, are secure.


Metro Credit Union in Omaha, NE