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Trends in Scams–Most Popular in 2011
Free Prizes & Sweepstakes
How They Work: You receive a phone call, letter, text or fax saying you’ve won an expensive prize. You are then asked to send money for taxes, processing fees or shipping to claim it. The prize isn’t real, and the scammer keeps your money.
Protect Yourself: If an offer is too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t give out your account information, and don’t send money to an unsolicited claim. It’s best not to reply.
Fake Check Scams
How They Work: Someone gives you a realistic-looking check asking you to wire money in return. A common scenerio is an overpayment scam, where you are sent more money from a buyer than the cost of the item you’re selling and are asked to send the overpayment to a shipper or third party. Other fake check scams can be focused around the lottery, subletting, work-at-home jobs, relationships and more.
Protect Yourself: You are 100% responsible and liable for any check or money order you endorse and cash, and for any funds placed in your account. There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money in return. Be cautious, even if you “know the person” through emails and phone calls. Insist on a cashier’s check from a local financial institution, and cash it there.
Internet Shopping Scams (Non-auction)
How They Work: Items that you buy on the Internet are never delivered or are misrepresented, and you don’t get a response from the seller to get your money back.
Protect Yourself: Buy from sellers you know, or check with the Better Business Bureau and website feedback forums. Watch out for offers that are too good to be true, and for sellers who won’t give you details on the product, price, delivery, return policies, etc. Don’t respond to unsolicited email offers. It’s also best to use your credit card for online purchases because it is easier to dispute charges and get your money back.
How They Work: You receive an email from what appears to be a financial institution, retailer, IRS or government agency, etc. It asks you to confirm your information for reasons like your account will be closed, an order has been placed in your name or your information has been lost due to a computer problem. The information you submit is used to steal your identity.
Protect Yourself: Remember, UW Credit Union will never send you an unsolicited communication asking you to confirm your account information, PIN or password. If you receive a message, call us at 800.533.6773. If you receive a similar message from a retailer, contact them directly. Don’t click on links within emails.
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