In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received 2.8 million fraud reports from consumers, with reported losses of over $5.8 billion – an increase of 70% over the previous year’s losses. We’ve compiled a list of common scams, as well as some tips to help you keep your personal information and your assets safe.
Scammers are constantly developing new tricks to steal personal information and assets. The following are some of the common scams currently used by fraudsters:
Credit Card Fraud – Probably the longest-running and best-known scam, credit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card.
New Account Fraud – A form of identity theft, new account fraud occurs when a thief uses a victim’s personal information to set up new accounts. The thief makes purchases or accesses funds using the new account, leaving the victim to face the consequences.
Phishing – Phishing occurs when a scammer attempts to trick victims into sharing personal information, such as account numbers or passwords. Most phishing attempts take place by email, with the email designed to look as if it was sent by a reputable source.
Smishing – A combination of SMS (an abbreviation for the texting technology known as Short Message Service) and phishing, smishing refers to using text messages on mobile devices to steal personal or financial information.
Pharming – This scam involves the installation of malware on a personal computer or server. The malware secretly redirects you to a fraudulent website, where you are prompted to enter personal information.
Ransomware – In this scam, a hacker installs malware and then threatens to block a victim’s computer access or expose personal information unless the victim pays a fee.
Account Takeover – This type of fraud involves unauthorized access to a victim’s computer accounts, email accounts, and/or other personal information. The scammer can even change passwords to prevent the victim from accessing his or her accounts.
Steps You Can Take
The following actions can help you protect your personal information and your assets from potential scammers:
Do not share your personal information, such as your account number, PIN or password. This tip includes your correspondence with First Harvest Credit Union via email or social media.
Do not click on links or open attachments from senders you don’t recognize. Simply delete the email or text.
Report suspicious emails and texts to your financial institution.
Use a secure Wi-Fi account when accessing your personal information, such as online banking. Avoid accessing sensitive information using public Wi-Fi.
Be wary of sharing personal information on social media. The more information hackers can glean from your profile and posts, the more likely they are to access your personal information.
Keep your passwords secure by (1) using different passwords for different accounts; (2) using long and complex passwords; (3) using multi-factor authentication; and (4) updating your password periodically. Consider using a password manager to safely store and manage your passwords.
Review your bank accounts and credit report regularly to check for suspicious activity. You're entitled to three free credit reports per year through AnnualCreditReport.com - one from each of the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Please keep in mind that First Harvest Credit Union will never ask for any personal information via email or text message. If you suspect you have received a fraudulent email or text from First Harvest, please contact us at (800) 582-7640.