Scam and Fraud Alerts
More money is coming to families…and scammers are ready 06.02. 2021
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, eligible families will get monthly payments from the government from July 15 through December 2021. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send these monthly payments directly to people through direct deposit, paper checks, or debit cards. Unlike economic impact payments, these payments are an advance on families' child tax credit. People who are eligible will get up to half of their child tax credit in these monthly payments and the other half when they file their 2021 taxes.
If you qualify for payments - which depends, in part, on how much you make - you'll get them on about the 15th of each month, automatically, without having to do anything. The IRS is working to get online systems set up on its webpage and make sure all questions get answered. Go to IRS.gov for the latest info on who qualifies, how much you'll get, and how to address any problems you might run into.
When money from the government is in the news, we know scammers are about to run their standard playbook. They may call, email, text, or DM you. They'll say they can help you get your payments earlier (they can't), get you more money (also no), or tell you other lies (for sure). Here's the real deal:
Only the IRS will be sending these payments. Anyone trying to "help" you get your child tax credit is really after your money.
The government will NEVER call, text, email, or DM you out of the blue, asking for money or information. Keep your money - and your Social Security, bank account, debit and credit card numbers - to yourself.
Nobody legit will ever demand that you pay by gift card, wire transfer through companies like Money Gram or Western Union, or cryptocurrency. That's a scam, every time.
If someone tries to scam you out of these payments or anything else, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
The latest phone scam, a fake DEA agent tries to steal your money using gift cards 05.11.2021
Authorities are working to crack down on an impostor phone scam in which the caller pretends to be a DEA agent and then tries to steal the victim's money -- often by having them purchase gift cards.
Phone scams in general are on the rise, with the number of reported scams nearly doubling between 2019 and 2020, according to the latest numbers from the Federal Trade Commission. Half a million reports were filed last year alone, with losses totaling over 1 billion dollars.
Follow this link for the full story.
FBI Expects a Rise in Scams Involving Cryptocurrency 05.03.2021
Fraudsters are leveraging increased fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and launder it through the complex cryptocurrency ecosystem.
If you are contacted by someone who claims to be with the FBI, IRS, or any other government agency asking you to send money or purchase Bitcoin, hang up and call the local law enforcement immediately.
People of all ages, including the elderly, are being victimized by criminals through cryptocurrency-related fraud schemes. Developments in cryptocurrency technology and an increasing number of businesses accepting it as payment have driven the growing popularity and accessibility of cryptocurrency. There are not only numerous virtual asset service providers online but also thousands of cryptocurrency kiosks located throughout the world which are exploited by criminals to facilitate their schemes. Many traditional financial crimes and money laundering schemes are now orchestrated via cryptocurrencies.
The FBI advises you to be on the lookout for an increase in the following cryptocurrency fraud schemes related to COVID-19:
Blackmail Attempts -Threatening emails or letters in which scammers claim to have access to your personal information or knowledge of your “dirty secrets” and demand payment in Bitcoin to prevent release of this information have been circulating for years. With the advent of COVID-19, there is a new twist on this scam. The correspondence claims that the writer will both release your information and infect you and/or your family with coronavirus unless payment is sent to a Bitcoin wallet.
Work from Home Scams - Scammers, posing as employers, may ask you to accept a “donation” of funds into your own bank account and to deposit them into a crypto kiosk. The so-called “donation” is likely money stolen from others. Your acceptance and transfer of the stolen money is considered illegal money mule activity and potentially unlicensed money transmission.
Paying for Non-Existent Treatments or Equipment - Scammers have been known to lure customers from trusted e-commerce sites offering products that claim to prevent COVID-19 onto unrelated and unregulated messaging sites to accept payment in cryptocurrencies for products that do not actually exist.
Investment Scams - Criminals often pitch fraudulent investments in a “new” and developing cryptocurrency, such as an initial coin offering (ICO) or other investment vehicle to take a victim’s money. These scams typically involve scenarios that seem “too good to be true”—offering large monetary returns for a short-term, small investment. The reality is that scammers steal the investment money for personal use and utilize the complexities of cryptocurrency to hide the true destination of the stolen funds.
Although there are legitimate charities, investment platforms, and e-commerce sites that accept payment in cryptocurrency, pressure to use a virtual currency should be considered a significant red flag.
By remembering the following tips regarding finances and cryptocurrency, you can better protect yourself from fraud:
- Verify that a vendor/charity is legitimate and accepts cryptocurrency before sending payments/donations.
- Conduct extensive research on potential investment opportunities.
- Do not use your personal bank accounts for work-from-home business-related activity or provide your bank account information to someone who is not named on the account.
- Contact law enforcement before paying out blackmail and/or extortion attempts and before converting your money into cryptocurrency to pay them.
The FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division has an entire team dedicated to preventing and combating cryptocurrency money laundering and frauds. If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please contact your local field office or visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:
Zelle Fraud Scam 01.20.2021
Fraudsters continue to target members of credit unions offering Zelle by using a sophisticated scam to defeat 2-step authentication (also referred to as out-of-band authentication), which leverages the use of one-time passcodes.
Here's how the scam works:
• Fraudsters send text alerts to members – appearing to come from the credit union – warning members of suspicious debit card transactions.
• Fraudsters call those members who respond to the text - spoofing the credit union’s phone number - and claim to be from the credit union’s fraud department.
• To verify the identity of the member, the fraudster asks for the member’s online banking username and tells them they will receive a passcode via text or email and the member must provide it to the fraudster. In reality, the fraudster initiates a transaction, such as the forgot password feature, that generates a 2-step authentication passcode which is delivered to the member.
• The member provides the passcode to the fraudster who uses it to log in to the member’s account using a device not recognized by the host system.
• Upon logging into the accounts, fraudsters change the online banking passwords and then use Zelle to transfer funds to others.
What to know and do...
Credit union employees would never ever ask for personal information, such as account numbers, usernames, passwords, and passcodes.
Members should never provide personal information in response to a text message or phone call allegedly from the credit union.
Call the credit union at 404-329-6415 to question any text message or phone call allegedly received from the credit union.
Fraudsters may attempt to contact Emory Alliance Credit Union members from a spoofed phone number (a phone number that looks like it is from Emory Alliance Credit Union).
The fraudster may ask you a few questions regarding potential fraud on your account and then ask for personal information in order to obtain access to your online banking. No one from the credit union will contact you and ask for your log in banking credentials or ask you for codes that you may receive by text on your phone.
If you receive a call that seems suspicious, hang up immediately and call us back at 404.329.6415.
Counterfeit Cashier's Check Alert
Emory Alliance Credit Union has received several inquiries regarding counterfeit checks. These checks are being used in a variety of scams in an attempt to gain excessive amounts of cash from unsuspecting consumers. Several scams include the following:
Work-At-Home/Secret Shopper Ads - Perpetrators examine newspapers, websites, and online job postings offering small but fast employment. Generally they will forward the unsuspecting consumer a counterfeit check and request that the amount over what was agreed, be returned in the form of a Western Union transfer.
Online Sales - Consumers are sent counterfeit checks to pay for an item purchased online with a request that the over payment of funds be sent back to the purchaser.
Often times, these counterfeit items look very genuine and authentic. Emory Alliance encourages all consumers to follow the guidelines issued by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to avoid becoming a victim of these scams.
Click here to learn more about the latest scams and get tips from the FBI on how to avoid becoming a victim.
Don't Be the Next Victim of Fraud
HELP US PROTECT YOU
YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED IF:
- You receive a check or money order in response to something you sold online.
- You have any reason to suspect that a check or money order you receive is not valid.
- The check is drawn on an account that is different from the person buying your item.
- The amount of the check or money order is more than the item’s selling price.
- The check or money order is connected to someone you only communicated with by email.
- You are informed that you were the winner of a LOTTERY, that you did not enter.
- You receive commission for facilitating money transfers through your account.
- You are asked to open an account as a result of a job offer you received online.
DON’T BE A VICTIM
- If the check or money order is later returned, you will be held liable for the bad check.
- We are not able to tell you when a check or money order you deposit will clear.
- Even when we lift a “hold” on funds from a deposited check or money order, that does not mean the item has cleared.
- If funds are to be held by a third party, or escrowed, be sure it is a party you can trust.
- Remember: always exercise extreme caution when conducting business with strangers.
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Never provide your online banking credentials to anyone.
- Trust your gut feelings - when you have a bad feeling about an offer or a company.
- If someone asks you to deposit a check or money order and then wire them funds, this is definitely a scam.
For help learn about our partner CyberScout.
For Education visit our partner Balance.
Emory Alliance Credit Union and other reputable organizations will never contact you asking for your sensitive, financial information. If you have been impacted, please notify us at 404-329-6415.