Red flag

Financial Scams to Avoid and How to Protect Yourself

The Federal Trade Commission recently reported a continued rise in identity theft and fraud. In recent years, thousands of internet and phone crimes or scams were reported daily to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. With statistics like that, it’s not a matter of if you’ll be targeted by criminals, but when. To help you protect yourself from these and other online-based crimes, we’ve compiled some quick information and tips. 

1. Account Credential Crimes

While it is unlikely a criminal can guess the username and password for any of your personal or financial logins, they can use phishing scams to gather personal information about you. Sometimes, an email that appears to originate from your financial institution will prompt you to log in using a special link. When you click the link, you’ll be taken to a page where you can type in your username and password to gain access to the special offer or message. When you do, you’ll be sharing that login with a criminal. 

Be wary of any and all emails. Instead of trusting a link in that email, find the company or institution website on your own and log in from there.  

2. Social Media Phishing Scams

If you’ve ever seen and answered questions about where you grew up, your mother’s maiden name, places you’ve visited, or states where you’ve traveled, there’s a good chance it was based on a sharing-type scam. With some basic information, it can be easier to guess your credentials, including debit card PIN and more. 

Beat the bad guys. Avoid sharing any personal information online. Even names of grandkids and pets can help criminals guess your passwords. 

3. Smartphone Spoofing

While wireless phone providers are getting better at notifying Americans when they are receiving a scam or fraudulent call, those calls still get answered by millions of us every day. Once a call is answered, criminals use personal information found online to trick the receiver into sharing personal account information, passwords, and more. 

Thwart the criminals. When faced with a smartphone spoofing call, hang up the phone or don’t answer. You don’t owe the caller anything. 

Avoid Scams and Fraud with 5 Simple Tips

  1. Never share your username and password with anyone you do not personally know or trust.  
  2. Never send money or communicate openly with anyone you do not personally know, have met in person, and trust.  
  3. Carefully open emails and avoid clicking links inside of messages. Instead, find the company website on your own and locate the special offer online.  
  4. Never click a link from an unknown text message. These are almost always fraudulent.  
  5. Never follow the directions of anyone pretending to be from your credit union or bank. At Central Willamette Credit Union, we will NEVER call or contact you asking for your personal or financial information. We already have that information. If you get a call like this, hang up immediately and call the credit union directly. If it was us, we will be more than happy to help.

We’re on Your Side

If you fall victim to a fraud or scam, be sure to report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FBI at their Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Additionally, stop by any branch or give us a call at (541) 928-4536.