Unwrapping the Dangers of Holiday Fraud
The holiday season is a joyous and festive time of year, filled with warmth, laughter, and the spirit of giving. Unfortunately, it is also a time when financial scams tend to spike and scammers get creative in their attempts to take advantage of the festive spirit. With the surge in online shopping, financial transactions, and charitable giving, fraudsters delight in using various tactics to try and take your money.
Here are some of the most used fraud tactics during the holiday season and ways to combat them.
- Card/PIN Skimming: When fraudsters use devices to capture card data and PINs. Protect yourself by checking card readers for signs of tampering and routinely monitoring your accounts for unauthorized transactions.
- Check Fraud: Fraudsters steal, alter, or forge checks to make purchases via your account. Prevent falling victim by storing blank checks securely, avoiding pre-signing checks, and monitoring your accounts for any suspicious activity.
- Phone Scams: When criminals pose as government agencies, banks, or law enforcement to gain access to personal financial information. Remember that CCU will never ask for sensitive information over the phone, and if you're in doubt, verify calls by contacting us directly.
- Technical Support Scams: Involve individuals posing as a member of tech support services to gain access to finances. Never allow an unknown caller to gain access to your computer and do not send funds to any technicians. Exercise caution and report any suspicious communications.
- Senior/Grandparent Scams: Prey on emotions, often urging individuals to keep the crisis a secret. If you receive such a call, take the time to verify the information with other family members.
- Romance Scams: Target emotions and may involve financial requests. Protect yourself by avoiding the sharing of account information and refraining from forwarding funds to unknown individuals.
- Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams: Deceive individuals into believing they've won cash prizes. Stay cautious and never offer personal information in response to such messages.
- Overpayment Scams: Occur when selling items online, where the buyer may offer a check for more than the selling price. Independently confirm the buyer's information and never accept checks for amounts exceeding the agreed-upon price.
- Online Job Scams: Enticing but fake high-paying positions, often requiring the receipt of funds into your account. Be cautious, especially with job offers that skip interviews, and never share sensitive information without verifying the legitimacy of the employer.
- SMShing: Fraud through text messages where scammers trick you into sharing financial or clicking on harmful links. Never respond to SMS messages requesting sensitive data, and know that CCU won't ask for your information this way.
- Spam Emails: Contain attachments or links that can lead to fake sites or download harmful software. Don't email personal information to unknown sources, delete unfamiliar emails, and be cautious of opening attachments.
- Phishing and Spoofing: Emails that may appear legitimate but aren’t. Check the destination URL by hovering over the link without clicking. Avoid responding to requests for personal information, urgent appeals, offers that sound too good to be true, and emails with apparent typos or grammatical errors.
At Commonwealth Credit Union, your security is our top priority, and we're here to equip you with the knowledge to navigate the holidays in a financially safe way. For more information, visit our security page