With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, now’s not the time to let your guard down when it comes to protecting your personal information. Unfortunately, fraudsters don’t take time out to wish others good tidings and cheer. Just the opposite. They’re hoping to strike while we’re distracted and focused on spending time with family and friends.

In this article, you’ll learn about some of the most common fraudulent activities we’re seeing today, how you can spot them, and ways we can work together to prevent them from ruining the season.

Impersonating a credit union employee

Recently fraudsters impersonating credit union employees called several members requesting their online banking credentials (username, password, and multi-factor authentication or MFA code). Unfortunately, the fraudsters were able to use the credentials shared with them to transfer funds out of the members’ accounts.

In this instance, it’s important to note that Metro Credit Union will never call you asking for your online banking credentials. If you get a call like this, hang up and immediately call the credit union at 402-551-3052. That’s the first step to working together to protect your information and money. Again, we will never call you and request credentials.

Letting someone else do your banking

Another way fraudsters take advantage of distracted or vulnerable consumers is by convincing them it’s okay for others to log in to their online banking accounts. Just like you should not share your credentials over the phone, you should never let anyone log into your account. 

Similarly, you should not let anyone else deposit a check into your account. These activities are red flags and should be cause for concern. If you find yourself in either of these situations, reach out to the credit union or a trusted family member.

Finally, don’t let someone else have your debit card or PIN. There is never a good reason to share either.

Accepting help you didn’t request

When it comes to online fraud, it’s a good rule of thumb to never accept help from someone claiming to be calling from your computer manufacturer, antivirus company, or local tech shop. These fraudsters are known to call unsuspecting consumers warning you of a fictitious issue with your computer that needs to be fixed immediately. Their goal is not to help you, rather they are hoping to gain access to your computer so they can pull data, including usernames, passwords, and credit or debit card information, from sites you’ve recently visited.

Reputable businesses will not call you asking for this information. Never give information to incoming calls without verifying who is reaching out.

Trusting someone you don’t know who wants to be friends

We’ve all heard the adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Often that’s the case when it comes to fraudsters. Whether it’s someone pretending that they want to date you or asking you to send money so they can come to the U.S. to see you, it’s important to remember that fraudsters have their own best interests in mind, not yours. They’re not interested in you; they’re interested in stealing your money. Don’t let them.

A related scam we’ve seen lately is fraudsters reaching out to individuals telling them that they will be getting funds deposited into their account or a VISA gift card. The fraudsters will then ask you to return the funds. This is undoubtedly a scam, and you’ll be out the money. Again, if you find yourself in this situation, reach out to the credit union. 

Leaving outgoing mail in your mailbox

We’ve also seen and heard an uptick in outgoing mail being taken from home mailboxes. While it may seem convenient to leave outgoing mail in your mailbox, it’s also easy for thieves to take it when you’ve raised the flag as a signal to your postal worker.

Avoid the blue boxes and take the extra step to drop off your outgoing mail – especially personal checks – at your local post office. Better yet, a cashier’s check or money order is always a good option as these forms of payment do not have personal account information on them. 

These options significantly reduce the risk of your mail falling into the hands of fraudsters.

Working together, we can help to stop fraudsters in their tracks now and throughout the coming year. Taking quick action and remembering to stay aware of these common tactics will help lessen the impact of fraud for you and the credit union. Never hesitate to reach out to us at 402-551-3052 if you’re confronted with one of these likely fraudulent scenarios. We’re here to help keep you safe!