With fraud involving cryptocurrency and online payment systems on the rise, it’s more important than ever to be cautious with your financial information. Just this week, a scam in Dauphin County cost one individual $16,000 (Read the story here.)! Don’t let your account be the next target; keep these practices in mind to keep your information (and your funds) safe and secure:
1. Don’t give your information to anyone:
This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to become flustered when you receive a call telling you that your account has been hacked, or that you need to send money to fix an error you made (spoiler alert: you probably didn’t make an error, but scammers rely on you being scared to make it easier to confuse you into paying them). Remember that 1st Ed will never ask for your username or password over the phone, and you should not have to verify secure information like card numbers, your full social security number, or similar information that could be used to steal your identity.
2. Make sure it’s really your financial institution calling you:
Even if the number calling you seems to be legitimate, scammers can easily spoof phone numbers. Before taking action, call the number on the back of your debit or credit card, or one listed on the financial institution’s website to be sure it’s a legitimate representative. They may tell you that you’ll have to be placed on hold or a similar lie to get you to stay on the line, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Be wary of links that are emailed to you:
You should not be contacted about attempted fraud or your account’s security through email. Even so, be mindful of links that you may be sent, and make sure they’re coming from a trusted source to avoid phishing scams.
4. Don’t send money to people you don’t know:
Scammers rely on your fear and confusion to disorient you into sending money, which can be difficult (or impossible) to recover once it’s gone. You should never be asked to go to a store to purchase funds to be sent through gift cards, cryptocurrency, or other similarly untraceable means. If you can’t be sure that the person contacting you is legitimate, DO NOT send them funds or information.
5. If you don’t know, ask:
Don’t just assume the person contacting you is who they say they are. If you receive a call from someone saying they’re acting on behalf of someone you know, get in contact with that person through ways you know will connect you to the real person. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, DO NOT send any information to the original caller. You should also never be told to stay on the phone while processing the transaction, or to avoid calls from friends or family members. Attempting to isolate you from people who may call attention to suspicious activity is a telltale sign of a scam.
If you aren’t sure whether something is a scam, reach out to your financial institution to check. At 1st Ed, we’re here to help you stay safe!