Tis the season for a scam awareness campaign

As we move closer to the holiday season, our marketing efforts will shift to personal loan, credit card and club saving promotions. However, let’s not forget about a very important campaign to focus on – fraud prevention.

While most holiday traditions are filled with joy, family and friends, the fraudsters and their scams ramp up their efforts over this season. These cyber scammers devise schemes in an effort to exploit our members’ habits of giving and gift-buying for their loved ones to hopefully cash out as many of our members become preoccupied with all the festivities.

For example, member Suzanne is busy texting her mom about Thanksgiving travel plans when she gets an email from what appears to be Amazon. It says her account has been double charged and she needs to click on the link in the email to be reimbursed. She immediately notices a grammatical mistake in the subject line: “Your account have been overcharged.” She scrolls over the link and realizes it’s not an Amazon URL at all but a jumbled mess of numeric and alpha characters. This member realizes it’s a scam, and contacts Amazon directly.

Credit union marketers should be informing their members on how to stay safe and avoid being scammed like member Suzanne. 

Here are some helpful hints to put on your website, include in a blog or email to protect members:

  • Scroll over links in emails and social media ads to display the true destination of the website to make sure it’s a legitimate site.
  • When possible, use a credit card. It’s easier to dispute charges and may limit the damage if it turns out it was a scam.
  • Stay away from unfamiliar retail, travel, and charity sites online or research them by searching for their names on review sites.
  • Carefully examine gift cards at the point of purchase. Any sign of tampering could mean a scammer already has the pin and can deplete the funds once it’s bought.
  • Beware of huge discounts on hot gift items, especially when touted on social media posts, unfamiliar websites or in an email.
  • Spelling errors or shoddy grammar could be signs of scams.
  • Stay away from sites which do not provide a physical address or phone number.
  • If a website does not have a privacy policy, do not use it.
  • Beware of unsolicited email asking for a link to be clicked on or for an app to be downloaded to access a deal or arrange a delivery.
  • If an email, phone call or text says it’s a financial institution, don’t act on it. Call the financial institution directly. Most credit unions would never call unexpectedly to demand account information such as account numbers, passwords, PINS, Social Security Numbers, etc.)
  • Do not give out any password, credit card, debit card or account information to unsolicited calls, emails, or texts.
  • Be very skeptical of free or too good to be true offers.

Remember fraudsters don’t take breaks during the holidays but rather increase their scamming so inform your members to stay alert, look for the signs and act with an abundance of caution. 

They will have a better chance of a safe and scam-free holiday! 

Lori Holmes

Lori Holmes

Lori Holmes is the Vice President of Bellwether Community Credit Union, which has been named Best Company to Work For in New Hampshire for nine straight years. She leads all ... Web: https://www.bccu.org Details

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