Scammers are good – they’re smart, resourceful and unfortunately, all too often, successful. It is very important that you recognize the signs of a financial scam and ask as many questions as possible to prevent becoming a victim – knowledge is power!
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2017, the most frequently reported scams include phony debt collections, identity theft and impostor scams, in which someone pretends to be a trusted person such as a government worker, a tech support agent or a family member in an emergency. Impostor scams proved notably widespread and dangerous: One out of every five people who reported a complaint was caught up in one, and those who were fooled lost a median of $500 each. Still, as successful as these scams are, others are even more lucrative. Travel, vacation and timeshare-plan schemes topped the list of fraud categories that accounted for the highest median loss, at $1,710 each. Mortgage foreclosure relief and debt management scams also cost people a lot of money, with an associated median loss of $1,200 each. Business and job opportunity schemes rounded out the top three with a $1,063 median loss.
Do not provide your financial account information or your social security number to anyone without first knowing exactly how they will be using that information. There are legitimate looking fronts that these scammers use to gain access to your most important asset – your bank account! If these criminals get your personal information they have the power to impersonate you, create online profiles in your name, transact financially through various methods of banking. Always keep your personal information secure!
Questions to ask yourself before you provide any personal information: Who are you are speaking with and what valid proof do you have of their identity? Research the company and this employee – check out the Better Business Bureau or simply search for it online. What is the method of communication and did you initiate the contact? Did you receive an email, text or phone call and did you initiate the contact or did they contact you? If they have contacted you out of the blue with a business deal or request for money, research the company first and contact them afterwards if you’re confident it’s real, or decline altogether. What do you seek to gain? Have you been promised something in return for providing your information? Have you been asked to receive money and then send money, but keep a small portion?
Catholic Federal employees are here to assist you and want to help prevent you from becoming a victim of a scam. Have you received a check? Has money just appeared in your account but you don’t know how? Have you been asked to wire or electronically transfer money somewhere? Have you been asked to deposit a check or cash on behalf of someone or asked to use your ATM or Debit card? Please contact our staff immediately at 1-800-798-2328 or stop into one of our offices and we will personally assist you with this.