How to Recognize a Scam When You See or Hear One
Fraudulent phone calls and text messages are often sent to consumers in an effort to steal personally identifiable information and/or money. Mass text broadcasts are commonly used by fraudsters to reach large audiences of potential victims. This scam is quite common and often operates simultaneously in multiple states.
Another common scam is a phone call from a strange number claiming to be the IRS or a law enforcement agency of some kind threatening arrest unless you pay immediately, usually by some form of non-traceable payment such as prepaid cards or gift cards, or even wire transfers to offshore accounts.
Rest assured that if you receive a phishing text or phone call, this does not mean that your card information or personal information has been compromised. It simply means your phone number has been chosen (often by randomly typing numbers).
IRS Scam Details
IRS scams, as well as other telefraud scams, are often conducted by multiple groups and individuals operating out of India, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and other countries, making prosecution of the conspirators difficult. The scam callers will often target the elderly, and threaten immediate law enforcement action unless payment is made during the phone call. The victim will usually be told to purchase a prepaid card or a large amount of gift cards and provide the card numbers to the caller - and will even stay on the phone with the victim while they drive to the store and purchase the cards or make the wire transfer.
Card Info Scams Details
Current card information scams include automated calls or texts requesting your debit or credit card information. The calls may state they are from a local credit union and your debit card will be disabled unless you enter your card information. Under no circumstances would your financial institution require you to enter your personal information in this manner. If you receive this phone call, hang up and report it immediately. If you did enter your debit card information, please contact Card Services immediately.
These types of calls or text messages often do not reference a particular issuing brand but they may vaguely refer to a credit union or bank. They may reference a large local institution, knowing that many people are likely to be customers of that institution. Phone calls or text messages may originate from Jamaican area code 876 which is easily confused by consumers with a toll free number.
What Can I Do If I Am a Victim?
Collect as many details as possible. Full telephone numbers including area codes are essential for any telephone scam investigation. Never call a potentially fraudulent number. Law enforcement and local communication companies may be in the middle of an investigation that will be compromised if the fraudsters become suspicious.
The website of the Treasury inspector general for tax administration has an online form to report I.R.S. impersonations. It includes sections for reporting how much you paid to the perpetrators of the fraud, and whether you provided personal information. A personal identification number is assigned to the case so you can confirm that any agent who follows up is legitimate.
You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which investigates consumer fraud.
If you used a wire transfer to pay a con artist, you should contact the wire transfer company. The MoneyGram Customer Care Center is 1‑800‑926‑9400. The Western Union Fraud Hotline is 1-800-448-1492.
The I.R.S. contacts people by U.S. mail, never by phone or email. If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the agency, do not open attachments or click on links. Forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself from Card Fraud
Crooks find more and more ingenious ways to scam people out of their hard-earned money. There are several things to remember in order to protect yourself from fraud:
If you receive a suspicious call or text, don't provide personal information, and don't engage with the caller.
It is not always the I.R.S. that is being impersonated. The F.T.C. keeps a monthly blog about the most recent scams. In July 2018 alone, there were about half a dozen types of scams. Be aware, and learn to recognize a scam when you see or hear one.
If you suspect your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, report it immediately. Call us at 1.855-578-5797, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Be sure to keep FWCCU informed if you are going to be traveling or making a large purchase.
Never reply to phone calls, emails, or text messages that ask for your card number, PIN number, or personal information, or ask you to go to a website to enter your card number.
Familiarize yourself with Fort Worth City Credit Union’s phone number, website and logo.
If you ever receive any correspondence that claims to be from us that just doesn’t look or feel right to you, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 817.732.2803. We will be able to confirm or deny the communication attempt. Your personal and financial security is worth the effort!