fraud and scams
What you can do to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of fraud and scams.
Today, institutions across the globe continue to report dramatic surges in fraudulent activity. Perhaps even more alarming, frauds and scams have become increasingly sophisticated. This means it’s become all too easy to fall prey to a host of deceptive tactics used by cunning cyber criminals. Having access to your personal information is like money in the bank for criminals. You can help ensure the safety of your accounts by remaining vigilant about any suspicious activity, and carefully reviewing all your account transactions on a regular basis.
Rest assured, your ALEC accounts are protected.
ALEC employs highly advanced security procedures and very strict precautions. Our experienced staff continually monitor your accounts as well as our internal systems for any signs of fraud or criminal attempts to steal money or personal and sensitive information. Read our article to learn more about how ALEC protects you. And as a reminder, ALEC will never request your Social Security Number, PIN, CVV or one-time passcode by phone, text, or email.
Scams to be aware of.
Credit and Debit card fraud and ATM skimming are scams people are accustomed to seeing. Some scams going around are:
Congratulations — you met someone new online. Your new-found friend or relationship partner is asking for help with a problem, and they need you to wire or send funds to them. The request will come, so they can come visit you, for an auto repair, their business needing help, or help with their household expenses. If you offer to come visit them, there is always an excuse as to why you can’t meet up. DON’T send them any money. Sending money to a person you have never met face to face but is your “friend” is really not a friend.
Wire Mortgage Fraud.
You’re purchasing a new home and working with your mortgage company to schedule closing. The date is set, you receive wiring instructions, and a contact person. Then a couple of days before closing, you receive an email with “new” wiring instructions. DON’T wire the funds to the “new” wiring instructions— contact your mortgage company directly, using the original contact information, to verify the wiring instructions. Fraudsters are hacking title companies, trying to get people to wire the funds to a different place. If the money is sent to the fraudster, YOU are out the money, and your home closing can be affected!
ATM fraud can occur when individuals lose their card, allow others to use it, or when their Personal Identification Number (PIN) is compromised. To protect yourself when using an ATM:
- Never write your PIN on your card or in your wallet. Memorize it and keep it secret from anyone not authorized on your account.
- Never use your date of birth, Social Security Number, license number, or street address as a PIN.
- Don't throw away receipts at the ATM location. Keep them to reconcile your account, then securely dispose of them when you get home.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using the ATM. At night, try to use a machine that’s well lit and avoid dark, remote locations.
- Make sure to take your card from the machine before you leave.
- Be aware of the person behind you. Make sure no one can see you entering your PIN or how much money you withdraw.
- Review your statement promptly to ensure all transactions are accurate. Report any discrepancies immediately.
- Destroy old cards immediately after receiving replacements.
Other common scams to recognize and avoid.
More scams that criminals have devised to cleverly steal your money or identity include:
Congratulations — you're notified that you've won a lottery or sweepstakes in a foreign country, but first must send funds to pay for fees and taxes on the winnings. DON'T deposit any checks that are purported to be winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes that you don't remember entering. Take time to research any offers you receive over the Internet.
You’re selling an item but have been given a check over the amount you’ve asked for or agreed upon. The buyer wants you to refund the overage by asking you to send the difference to them. In addition, Craigslist scams involving job opportunities have been reported. The fraudulent employer may overpay for your services rendered and ask for a refund for the amount overpaid.
Secret Shopper Scams.
Be aware of the secret shopper scams, these are usually jobs critiquing money transfer locations or retail stores. The fraudster will send you a check to deposit immediately and instruct you to either purchase gift cards or wire funds through a money transfer service. The instructions are very specific to not tell anyone of what you are doing, as to protect the “secret shopper” experience. Once the gift card information or funds transfers are sent, the money is spent or moved quickly.
Work From Home Scams.
Recently you have become unemployed, are looking for some part-time work, or are contacted for a job based on a resume you previously posted on an online job site. The work at home scam is when your new “employer” sends you a check for too much money, these funds are to be used to purchase equipment and send the difference back to them. That check is going to bounce, and you are going to be out any funds for purchases of equipment and funds sent back to the fraudster. Valid work from home companies will not send you funds prior to working or ask you to send funds to pay for supplies.
There are a lot of scammers and fraudsters ready to take your money or your identity. Stay vigilant to protect yourself. Be on the lookout for imposter scams and identity theft schemes. Always use secure websites, especially when divulging sensitive or financial information. We are here to help if you have any questions.