ActorsFCU News

October 11, 2018

Known Scams to Avoid

The list you see below are all scams that have impacted members of ActorsFCU. Please review and be mindful.

When it comes to scams, a general guideline to keep in mind is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Another guideline to keep in mind: You shouldn’t accept money that you didn’t earn, especially from a person you don’t know.  In addition to the known scams discussed below, please see our page on How to Safeguard Your Account

 

1. Gift card fraud 

Gift cards are commonly used in fraud schemes.  If anyone asks you to send them gift cards (especially if you do not know the person well), please assume that it is fraud.  Gift cards are often involved with “IRS” scams, employment fraud, and many, many others.  If a transaction or situation seems too good to be true, it likely is.  Or if a person is threatening or intimidating you to buy and send them gift cards, please do not fulfill their request.  Instead, report the perpetrator to your local police.

 

2. Check fraud

This type of fraud often victimizes people who are trying to sell something online.  The fraudster will offer to send you a check in excess of your sale price.  They will tell you to keep a certain amount (usually more than you were asking for) then remit the difference back to them.  They may ask you to wire the money or to send it in the form of a cashier's check, money order, or gift cards.  Typically what happens is, once you’ve sent a portion of the money back to them, their original check will bounce.  They will get to keep the money you sent them, while you’re left on the hook for the full amount of their original check. 

 

3. "IRS" scam>

Fraudsters have been known to make calls, posing as "IRS" agents, to intimidate and cheat people out of money. The fraudster usually instructs the victim to make payment in the form of gift cards to avoid punishment, such as imprisonment.  If you receive such a call, please hang up!

 

4. Telephone & email scams

Telephone scammers will either try to steal your money or your personal information.  Telephone scams can happen either by a call from a real person, a robocall, or a text message.  The caller will often make false promises.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.  Rather than false promises, scammers may try to intimidate you into giving them money or personal information.  Remember that ActorsFCU, the IRS, or any other government agency will not call you to obtain money or personal information over the phone.  If you get a call from a charity requesting a donation, do your own research before agreeing to contribute money.  Unfortunately, fraudsters have been known to pose as fake charity organizations to take advantage of a person's generosity.

 

5. Employment posting fraud / Secret shopper

Employment posting fraud typically takes one of two approaches.  The first approach is that bogus employers will post jobs online with the intention of collecting personal information through job applications and email correspondence.  This is a phishing scam.  The second approach is that bogus employers will “hire” an individual and pay them with a check.  The check will be written in an amount much greater than the salary due.  The “employee” will then be instructed to deposit the check into their bank account and return the overpayment back to the “employer” either through a wire, cashier's check, money order, or gift cards.  This scam is commonly perpetrated with job postings for Secret Shoppers.

 

6. Lottery & sweepstakes scams

Lottery and sweepstakes scams are usually perpetrated through email.  People will be notified by email that they have been randomly selected as the winner of an international lottery or sweepstakes.  They will then be instructed to contact a phone number or email address to claim their winnings.  The prizes stated are typically large (e.g. $500,000).  The lottery office will then ask the “winner” for an initial fee ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 in order to process their claim.  In the end, the “winnings” are never paid and the “winner” loses the money they paid for the initial fee.  Bottom line, if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.

 

7. Check-washing

Check-washing occurs when a criminal “washes” the ink off of a legitimately written check.  After the washing process, the fraudster is left with a blank check that they can rewrite for any amount or purpose they choose.  Checks involved in this type of fraud are usually intercepted in one way or another, such as being stolen from mailboxes.  For this reason, it may be safer to pay bills online, either through direct billing or through a service such as ActorsFCU’s ePay$ Bill Pay.

 

8. Card skimmers

The magnetic strip on the back of ATM, debit, and credit cards are used to store information such as account number and expiration date.  Card skimmers are small devices placed over or within a legitimate card reader to capture the information stored within a card’s magnetic strip.  The stolen information can then be used to create counterfeit cards and make fraudulent purchases.

Fraudsters typically place card skimmers on gas pumps, ATM machines, and other payment kiosks. Skimmers can be difficult to spot, even when you know what to look for.  One line of defense is to visually and physically inspect the card reader before inserting your card.  If the card reader is loosely attached or appears to be tampered with, do not insert your card.  A second line of defense is using our CardNav app to gain greater control of your cards.