“This time of year there is a lot of money exchanging hands and police say that’s a prime opportunity for criminals to steal your belongings or your personal information” says Arianna Bennett from KTVN.   This means extra shopping trips, spending more on travel, and increased transactions of your debit and credit cards.  With all of the increased spending, make sure you are aware of how to keep your information and belongings safe, as well as all of the fraud and scams out there.  These increased transactions are looked at as a golden opportunity in the eyes of scammers.

identity-theft-fraudThe first piece of advice is to never give any personal information to people asking for it over the phone or online unless you’ve verified that the person asking is legitimate.  That includes your account numbers, Social Security number, and credit card numbers.  As your credit union, we already know your information and will not be asking for it again unless it is through a secure communication channel.  We will never ask for your social security number or credit card number over the phone.  If you are not sure if it is a legitimate call, just hang up and call us back at 937-643-2160 (also provided on our website or statements).

And speaking of your statements – don’t forget to check these often! The earlier you catch suspicious activity, the easier it is to fix.  Always check your statements against your receipts to make sure you were charged the correct amount or that there are not any suspicious charges.  You can view up to just about as many years as you have been a member of statements online (since we began offering e-statements at least!).

A few more tips before we get to the scams to look out for:

  • Don’t leave any evidence of holiday presents out on the curb for the trash. This tips off thieves that you might have expensive things inside for them to steal. Try taking boxes of expensive items to a community dumpster or recycling station.
  • Put your lights on timers if you’re going on vacation.  Some neighborhoods also offer neighborhood watches or police stop-ins during your time away. Contact your city manager or neighborhood chairperson to see if this is something available to you.
  • Keep your curtains closed when you are not home.  An open window displaying that brand new 55″ TV, Play Station 4 and sound system is tempting to a thief.
  • Don’t leave any purchases in plain sight in your car no matter how safe the neighborhood is.  Store these in your trunk and keep your car locked.

Below is a list of potential consumer scams to watch out for, researched by Honor Credit Union.  Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean scammers take a break.

Of course, if you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact your financial institution right away!  If you are a Day Air member, you can call our Member Service Center at (937) 643-2160 or contact us.

Home Delivery Scam

Scam: The homeowner finds a delivery notice on their front door notifying of an “unsuccessful” attempted delivery which directs the homeowner to call a number.

Prevention: Never call back nor provide any type of personal or financial information. If you were expecting a delivery, research it further to find out if it’s legitimate.

Coupon Scam

Scam: Consumer responds to an offer for online coupons requiring personal or financial information including card or password information.

Prevention: If responding to online coupons, never provide personal or financial information including card or password information.

Fake Charity Scam

Scam: The consumer receives mail or in person to give money to a charity. The letter or person asking for the donation doesn’t give up. Don’t give money to a charity until the consumer has researched them. Take extra caution when asked in person or at your home.

Prevention: Don’t give money to a charity until the consumer has researched them.

Gift Purchase Scam

Scam: Scammers advertise popular gifts on websites and social networks, even if they don’t actually have the popular items.

Prevention: Take extra caution when considering the purchase of a popular item. Researching the website and social networks is a must.

Gift Card Scam

Scam: Consumer purchases a gift card on an online site or at a retail location. When the gift card is used, there is no value on the card/card number.

Prevention: Consider purchasing a gift card at your credit union. This will help secure the value placed on the gift card when used.

Technology Support Scam

Scam: Consumer is contacted and advised to provide information because of a threat to their computer/mobile device.

Prevention: Never provide any information when a technology support team is contacting you. If you are having technical problems, the consumer should do the contacting to the technology support service.

Fraudulent/Fake Check Scam

Scam: One of the most popular scams involves scammers convincing unwitting victims to accept fraudulent/fake checks. Checks are much higher than the amount expected. Scammers then use a variety of creative, clever stories to explain the compensation discrepancies and convince victim to send back overpayment via cash-like payment methods or wire transfer.

Prevention: Never send funds back on any overpayment check.

Electronic Holiday Greeting Card Scam

Scam: Clicking on a phony online greeting card can result in downloading a keystroke logging program.

Prevention: Take extra caution before clicking on an online greeting card. Check with the person who is sending it to confirm it was from that person.