Fraud and Scams

In 2019, scammers cheated American consumers of over $232 million dollars. We want you to be informed and geared to protect yourself from any scammers. 

Fake-check scams cheated consumers out of more than $28 million in 2019, learn how you can protect yourself.

The most costly scams invovle an old-school tool – checks. Fake checks are a tactic used by scammers in a variety of false story lines. The two most common elements are that you always have to deposit a check of some sort and then part with some of the money. Be better prepared and protect yourself. Some of the most common ways scammers are targeting consumers are listed below:

  • Mystery shopping – Scammers reach out to people and “pretend to hire them” telling them that their first assignment is to evaluate a financial institution, retailer, or the shopper gets a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account and wire it to someone else. But once the money is wired, the person on the other end can disappear.
  • Personal assistants. People apply online and get hired as personal assistants. They get a check and are told to use the money to buy gift cards or to buy equipment or supplies for their new client. Once the scammers get the gift card PIN numbers, they use them instantly, leaving the “personal assistant” without the money when the bank figures out the check is bad.
  • Claiming prizes. Often referred to as “Sweepstake winners” or “Grand prize winners”, people are given checks and told to send money to cover taxes, shipping and handling charges, or processing fees. But that’s not how legitimate prize claiming works.
  • Overpayments. People buying something from you online “accidentally” send a check for too much and ask you to refund the balance.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Never use money from a check to send gift cards, money orders, or wire money to strangers or someone you just met.Many scammers demand that you send money through money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram, or buy gift cards and send them the PIN numbers. Once you wire money, or give someone the gift card PINs, it is like giving someone cash. It’s almost impossible to get it back.
  • Toss offers that ask you to pay for a prize. Prizes are free, you shouldn’t have to pay to win anything.
  • Don’t accept a check for more than the selling price. You can bet it’s a scam! No check will ever come for an amount that it isn’t valued at.

How We Can Help:

  •  If you have concerns or questions regarding fraud please feel free to call us at 432-550-9126.

Fraudsters are changing their schemes to prey on the heightened anxieties that people are experiencing during these uncertain times.

The four fraud trends that are impacting consumers are not particularly complex. As many criminals often do, they are finetuning their tactics to capitalize on fear and compassion that people are feeling during this pandemic.

  • Imposter Scams – These scams involve criminals contacting consumers and attempting to obtain personal and banking information by impersonating agencies that are associated with COVID-19 or the U.S. government. These have included unemployment benefits and small business loans.
  • Charity Scams – One of the most disheartening online trends has been the effort to steal funds from individuals who are sympathetic to a cause and who willingly give of their money to what they believe is an organization aligned with their beliefs.
  • Product Scams – Possibly one of the most difficult forms of scams to try and identify and measure are those related to product purchases. These scams involve selling consumer products with questionable or no effectiveness. The risk with product scams may entail theft of consumer funds to pushing ineffective products.
  • Investment Scams – People buying something from you online “accidentally” send a check for too much and ask you to refund the balance.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Imposters and scammers will try to exploit you in many different forms, including email, SMS messaging, messaging services, and even through direct calls.
  • There is a list of scam charities documented on the Federal Trade Commission website.
  • Most product scams are committed though online and messaging channels.

How We Can Help:

  •  If you have concerns or questions regarding fraud please feel free to call us at 432-550-9126.

Fraudsters are changing their schemes to prey on the heightened anxieties that people are experiencing during these uncertain times.

The four fraud trends that are impacting consumers are not particularly complex. As many criminals often do, they are finetuning their tactics to capitalize on fear and compassion that people are feeling during this pandemic.

  • Imposter Scams – These scams involve criminals contacting consumers and attempting to obtain personal and banking information by impersonating agencies that are associated with COVID-19 or the U.S. government. These have included unemployment benefits and small business loans.
  • Charity Scams – One of the most disheartening online trends has been the effort to steal funds from individuals who are sympathetic to a cause and who willingly give of their money to what they believe is an organization aligned with their beliefs.
  • Product Scams – Possibly one of the most difficult forms of scams to try and identify and measure are those related to product purchases. These scams involve selling consumer products with questionable or no effectiveness. The risk with product scams may entail theft of consumer funds to pushing ineffective products.
  • Investment Scams – People buying something from you online “accidentally” send a check for too much and ask you to refund the balance.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Imposters and scammers will try to exploit you in many different forms, including email, SMS messaging, messaging services, and even through direct calls.
  • There is a list of scam charities documented on the Federal Trade Commission website.
  • Most product scams are committed though online and messaging channels.

How We Can Help:

  •  If you have concerns or questions regarding fraud please feel free to call us at 432-550-9126.

 

 

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Determining how to choose the right credit card comes down to understanding your spending habits, card features, and more.

There’s never been a better time to be in the market for a credit card. New offerings provide borrowers with everything from lucrative rewards to low-interest rates!

When you’re ready, it’s important to take a step-by-step approach to determine how to choose a credit card for your needs.

  • Why do you want the card? Before looking at available options, consider what you hope to gain from using a credit card. You may want to use it for general spending, to earn rewards, or to consolidate other credit cards into one. Once you have an idea of what you want to use it for, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your spending
  • Consider your spending habits. Before looking at available options, consider what you hope to gain from using a credit card. You may want to use it for general spending, to earn rewards, or to consolidate other credit cards into one. Once you have an idea of what you want to use it for, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your spending habits.  If you do plan to pay off the balance each month, that opens the door for earning rewards and cash back. These rewards build whenever you make a purchase. Credit cards offer various versions including those that give you cash back each month, travel rewards, and even discounts on shopping trips or gift cards.
  • Determine where you spend money. Some credit cards offer bonus points and rewards when you spend more in certain categories. A few allow you to choose different categories from specific areas each month. Your goal is to align the card rewards programs with the things you spend money on the most.  For example, some offer bigger rewards when you use them to purchase gas or groceries. Others give discounts when you use them to buy airline tickets. Choose an area to focus on based on where you frequently spend money. That way, you’re earning more rewards.
  • Analyze the card’s features and terms. Before moving further, it’s important to consider all of a card’s features, not just rewards offered. The more you know about a card, the better. Here are some common features and how they may impact your decision:
      1. APR – In nearly all situations, you want to consider the APR or annual percentage rate. That’s the amount of interest you’ll pay to use the card. The lowest possible APR means you’ll spend less to borrow. APR is often linked to your creditworthiness, such as your credit history and score.
      2. Annual fees – Some credit cards charge a set amount of money each year as an annual fee. Others do not require this. Annual fees are more common for those with lower credit scores or a lack of credit history.
      3. Other fees – Look for other fees, such as application fees. It is also worth looking at what happens when you miss a payment. Late fees are common, but they will vary from one card to the next.
      4. Credit qualifications – Sometimes, credit card companies will tell you what credit score they are looking for in an applicant. Third-party sites can also give you some insight here. Do you have the credit to qualify for the card?
      5. Grace period – The grace period is the time you have to pay off the balance you’ve charged before interest applies. Some offer a longer grace period than others.
      6. Bonuses – Some credit card lenders offer sign-up bonuses. That may mean you can sign up for the card, use it for the specific amount within the allotted time, and earn discounts or savings when you do. Compare these offers to see which may be best for your needs. Others will match their cashback offer or double it for the first year.
  • Which type of credit card fits you best? Taking a step back for a moment, remember that not all people will pay off their balance in full each month – in fact, most do not. That’s okay, but it also means there are a few other things to consider when researching how to choose a credit card. One of those has to do with the type of card itself. Here are a few common options and what they can offer.
    1. Balance transfer credit cards – This type of card is ideal if you want to move all of your balances into one place. Some offer a zero percent introductory offer. If you pay off the balance in the set amount of time (usually 12 to 18 months) there’s no applicable interest.
    2. Student credit cards – If you have no credit history, student credit cards can provide you with a good starting point. They are designed to help you build a strong credit score if you make payments consistently and over time.
    3. Credit union credit cards – Don’t just shop for a credit card through the big names. Some of the best credit card offers are those available through your local financial institution. Your credit union, for example, has worked with you, knows your reliability, and can help you get a great credit card. CCFCU offers great credit card options, including those with rewards, for members.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Remember that there is a large range of credit card options when it comes to requirements, perks, etc. If you don’t qualify for the best credit card today, that’s okay! Use the current card you’ve selected wisely, making payments on time every month. That will boost your credit score and set you up for the approval of more attractive card offers in the future.

How We Can Help:

  •  If you have concerns or questions regarding credit or credit cards please feel free to call us at 432-550-9126.