Protect Your Confidential Information from Scammers: Recognize the Warning Signs
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and months of lockdown, consumers are shopping differently and online spending has been on the rise. Although scammers can strike at any time of year, it’s never a bad idea to familiarize yourself with common tactics—and tips to avoid getting conned. Here are Emory Alliance Credit Union’s best tips to prevent fraud in Atlanta, GA.
Common scams and tactics
There are many different ways scammers might try to bilk you out of your hard-earned cash, and they get more creative every day. You have probably gotten a few questionable phone calls yourself, over the years, from people pretending to be bank officials, from the IRS or even the FBI. Some scammers pretend to be colleagues, family members or debt collectors, but they all have the same goal: to get your personal information so they can exploit it.
One common tactic is calling or emailing, and pretending to be a bank employee who has detected fraudulent activity on your account. The person might ask to “verify your personal details,” like name, birthdate, Social Security number (SSN), account number, address and more. Some even ask for your banking password.
Anytime you get a call or email like this, exercise extreme caution. Scammers and phishers can make their grifts seem very convincing, especially if they spoof official-looking email addresses and websites. Before you give away sensitive personal information, you need to be confident it’s safe.
How to protect yourself
Scams can look official. Here’s how to tell whether they’re legitimate requests for information or a scammer trying to compromise your personal data:
- Be cautious of attachments: Unless you’re expecting an attachment, be very cautious about opening them from strangers. Hackers can use them to install malware on your device.
- Remember that scammers can spoof emails: Just because an email looks official doesn’t mean it is. Look for that person’s contact information on the real website—a quick Google search can help.
- Look for typos and bad grammar: Often, hackers aren’t as concerned with looking professional as real employees. Some experts suggest that this is on purpose—they want to work with people who aren’t savvy enough to recognize bad grammar and spelling.
- Be suspicious of urgent requests: Sometimes you’ll get calls about “urgent” issues like unauthorized transactions. Treat these with extreme skepticism.
- Look for replies to emails you didn’t send: Occasionally, phishers will send emails that appear to be replies to emails you sent—but if you have no recollection of sending that email, it’s likely a scam.
- Check official websites for real phone numbers: If a financial institution calls you and asks for personal information, hang up, visit their website (don’t click suspicious links in your email) and call the number on the website to verify.
Following these tips will keep your finances safe during such uncertain times. For more information, or to learn how you can benefit from the possibilities of using a full-service credit union in Atlanta, GA, call Emory Alliance Credit Union today.
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