These are examples of popular scams that attempt to steal your personal information and identity.
Card Cracking is a type of fraud where a fraudster promises quick, easy, free money in exchange for people to share their debit card, PIN, online banking credentials, etc.
Fraudsters usually solicit on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.
They use this information to deposit fraudulent checks at the ATM or through mobile banking and then withdraw the funds. They claim they will give you a portion of the funds from the fake deposit (quick cash).They also say you will not be held responsible if you file a fraudulent claim with your financial institution. This is NOT true. By doing this you could be held liable and/or labeled as a “co-conspirator” and be required to pay back the money.
Anytime a buyer offers you more money for an item you are selling, it is likely a scam.
The Buyer/Fraudster sends a check for more money and instructs you to send or wire out an amount to their “shipping agent” to arrange shipment of the item.
NEVER accept a check for payment, even if it’s an Official or Cashier’s Check.
Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams
This particular scam is becoming more and more common and happens in a variety of ways:
- A robo caller or even a live person calls and claims they can lower your interest rate(s) with your existing credit card companies. They claim to have a special relationship with the credit card company or are authorized to act on their behalf. This person will ask you to verify your information (full card number, CVC code, etc.) and then say something like, for a nominal fee you can take advantage of the offer.
- A caller impersonates someone from the actual credit card company. These calls have been known to have “spoofed” phone numbers. In an example from one of our members, the phone number the call came from was not even a valid phone number! The scammer will likely impersonate larger companies such as Citi, Bank of America, etc. – they think the chances of getting someone that actually has that card is higher than a smaller company. Some even say they are calling from “Card Services” or “Cardholder Services”!
The primary purpose of this scam is to obtain personal and/or card information to defraud consumers and even commit Identity Theft. Some fraudsters may already have a “target list” where they have some information on someone but need more. The criminals attempt to gain this information when calling and offering the false promise to lower your interest rate.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has been targeting these boiler room operations and have even pursued legal action against the ones they’ve caught. The FTC highly recommends filing a complaint on their website (https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov) if you have been targeted by this scam - even if you didn’t provide your personal information or suffered a monetary loss.
Fake Check Scams
Did you receive an unexpected check in the mail? Were you offered a job online, offered to participate as a Mystery/Secret Shopper or were sent a letter with a check letting you know you won a prize or the lottery? If you have been sent a check, asked to deposit it and then send some or all of the funds back to the same person, or someone else, you are likely being scammed.
Lottery, Sweepstakes, and Prize Scams
Receiving an unexpected email or letter in the mail letting you know that you won the lottery or Publishers Clearing House is a sure sign of fraud. Most fraudsters send an official looking letter along with a check for several thousands of dollars instructing you to deposit the check and wire a portion or all of it back to pay for “taxes”. You will NEVER have to pay upfront to collect your winnings and if you actually did win big from the Publishers Clearing House they will be at your door with the Prize Patrol just like you see on TV.
A red flag is when the letter instructs you to remain quiet & keep it confidential and requests you to wire/send money.
Another red flag is when the "check" comes from a different company or address than the Publishers Clearing House.
Fake IRS Calls
Generally more popular around tax time, however, scammers will call claiming to be the IRS and say you owe back taxes or are required to pay “federal student tax.” The IRS will never initiate contact by phone, email, text or social messaging demanding you to pay or asking to verify your information. If in doubt, hang up and contact the IRS directly – do not call the number you received the message/call from.
If an online love interest has asked you to send them money, it is likely a scam. Fraudsters scour online dating sites preying on unsuspecting consumers. They quickly want to build a relationship, profess their love rather fast, usually claim to work overseas and then say that an emergency has occurred and asks you to send money. These imposters use urgency and fear to pressure you. Some even make you feel bad or that “you don’t love them” if you do not send them money!
Trust your instinct and don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out to a family member or close friend and get their opinion – these fraudsters are good at what they do and will cloud your usually good sense of judgment.
Some retailers hire Secret Shoppers to evaluate their products or services. Usually, if you are hired for the job you are instructed to make a small purchase and report on the experience. You will then be reimbursed for the purchase and usually can keep the product. If you receive a solicitation that offers to pay you to become a mystery shopper, sends you a large check and/or asks you to wire or send money back, it’s a scam!
Red flags include instructing you to keep it confidential, and/or send money back, grammatical errorsm and remitter of the "check" and sender are different.
A skimming device attached over the card reader to collect the card data and a pinhole camera is placed somewhere on the ATM to collect the PIN.
- ALWAYS cover your hand when entering your PIN.
- Monitor your accounts frequently.
- Wiggle the card reader to see if it’s loose (skimmers are attached usually quickly and often with double-sided tape).
Gas Pump Skimming
A skimming device is attached on the card reader or sometimes inside the gas pump. Look to make sure the security tape isn't broken or tampered with before using the pump. Also, try to use gas pumps closest to the store.
Point of Sale (POS) Skimming
Handheld skimmers can easily be purchased online. If any retailer that needs to take your card to swipe it – don’t let your card leave your sight!
Skimmers can also be attached to POS terminals - usually in self-checkout lanes.