Resolve to be scam free in 2022! Stay alert and be a little more pessimistic when approached with offers that are too good to be true or demands to take immediate action. Scammers continue to use their tried and true methods as well as dream up new ways to steal money and personal information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers four common signs of a scam* and recognizing them could help you avoid falling for one this year.
- Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know. They have been known to impersonate Social Security, the IRS, Medicare, or even businesses like a utility company or a charity asking for donations. Do not rely on caller ID as technology exists which allows scammers to spoof names and phone numbers.
- Scammers say there's a problem or a prize. This could include any of these popular scams or a completely new, but similar scenario: a) you owe money and the police are on their way to arrest you, b) your grandchild is calling because of an emergency and only you can help, or c) there's a problem with one of your accounts and you need to verify information. You also may have won a grand prize, but have to pay a fee to receive it.
- Scammers pressure you to act immediately. Scammers may threaten you, but never be afraid to hang up the phone and call back using the contact information you have on file. Don't take any action without verifying the source or talking it over with someone you know and trust.
- Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. If asked to pay by gift card – without a doubt, it's a scam. If asked to deposit a check and then send money back, it's a scam. Never pay someone who insists you pay by gift card or money transfer service.
The FTC recommends that you stop and talk to someone you trust. Telling someone else about the threat (or opportunity) could help you realize it's a scam before any funds are lost or valuable personal information given.
*Read the full FTC article: www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-avoid-scam.
Bank First customers, please contact your local office right away if you have provided bank account information, passwords to your online banking accounts, or paid funds as a result of fraud attempts or scams.