By Marie MacGlashin, Director of Deposit Operations, Marine Credit Union
As we roll into the holiday season, it’s important to consistently monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity. Here is some advice to help protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
- Spot importers. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Scammers use dating websites, Craigslist, social media, and many other sites to reach potential targets. They can quickly feel like a friend or even a romantic partner, but that is part of the con to get you to trust them.
- Sharing information. Never share personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door. This includes banking and debit card information, your birthdate, and Social Security number. Be cautious about what you share on social media, manage your privacy settings, and consider only connecting with people you already know.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
- Consider how you pay. Use secure, traceable transactions when making payments for goods, services, taxes, and debts. Do not pay by prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment method.
- Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
- Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
Marine offers many tools to help our members monitor their account activity including a free mobile app, e-Alerts and e-statements! If you ever have a question regarding a charge on your account, please contact us at 800-923-7280.