Don’t become a victim! Southeastern Credit Union continues to see some of our members who fall prey to those who trick and deceive in order to steal money. When these criminals steal from your credit union account, the money is gone, and is practically impossible to recover.
The fraudsters and scam artists work social media, especially Facebook, to locate their unsuspecting victims. How?
- Offer at home employment with salary paid by check (usually out of state check)
- Notify the person, “you” have just won money and all you have to do is cash a check
- An agent from another country has thousands of dollars, even millions, and needs your help, and will pay for your help
- Selling cosmetics or nutritional supplements with no cost to you, no investment required
- Trip and travel, with no expense to you.
- Federal government program that pays you (you’ve earned it)
These are only a few examples. Typically, it involves the person being asked to deposit or cash a check, returning a small amount of the money to the sender (fraudster/scammer), and being able to keep most of the money. The check is usually out of state, takes a few days to return, and when it comes back “insufficient funds,” you, the account holder are left with the loss. Unlike credit cards and debit cards, where the card company absorbs the fraud losses, money you send to the fraudster or scam artist is gone forever.
These guys are good at all kinds of fraud.
The fraudsters have learned how to counterfeit official bank checks, cashier’s checks, and other legitimate means of payment. Just because it’s an official check or cashier’s check, doesn’t mean it’s real.
The fraudsters know how to hack into Facebook, and pretend they are one of your Facebook friends. This happens every day.
The fraudsters even know how to copy the website of legitimate companies making the fraud harder to detect. Never follow a link they provide you.
Too good to be true?
Is the offer too good to be true? It almost always is. The fraudsters and scammers pray on elderly people in particular. The elderly can be very trusting and are sometimes naïve to the frauds and scams that take place today. However, there are plenty of examples of much younger people who also fall victim to this kind of fraud. It is so prevalent today and so difficult to prosecute, the police often have no way to pursue charges or arrest anyone.
If you get an online offer or solicitation from social media (Facebook), what should you do?
Contact the credit union. Ask us. We’re more than happy to research the matter to determine if its legitimate or not.
Contact the police. Ask them. If it’s a fraud, more than likely they have already investigated others in our area who have fallen victim to this same fraud.
- Ask questions. The fraudsters and scammers hate this. Their success depends on immediate action by you, and not allowing you anytime to think the situation through. Ask for references. Ask if they are in the Better Business Bureau, if so, which city and state.
- Talk to other people. Frauds and scams often depend on isolation. They will tell you, don’t tell anyone! YOU SHOULD TELL SEVERAL PEOPLE. Ask what they think. Never let a scammer convince you to keep this “great deal” a secret.
- The IRS, any government agency or law enforcement, will never contact you via Facebook or other social media. Scammers at times will say you are in trouble with some agency — you can be arrested or put in jail. Again, ask questions. Tell them to call your attorney (even if you don’t have one). Don’t let intimidation make you act when you feel like something just isn’t right. Back to #2 — talk to other people. Ask them.
- If directed to a known company website, don’t follow the link they give you. It’s most likely going to a bogus site. Instead, use your search engine to look up the company on the internet and go to the company’s legitimate web site.
For more information about scams and frauds, go to the Better Business Bureau’s website and download their current annual report on fraud and scams.