Be Alert this Holiday Season!  

Holiday Scams And Fraud

Holidays are a time of family gatherings and spreading cheer.  Unfortunately, it’s also a time for increased fraud and scams due to the high number of transactions, increased charitable giving, and the busy time of year. As scams become more sophisticated it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not, especially when the fraudsters claim to be representing organizations you know and trust. It’s important to stay alert and keep your guard up. Here are some tips to help keep you safe.

Don’t respond to urgent phone calls or text messages that sound unfamiliar.  

Fraudsters can claim to be your bank, a store, or can say they are in touch with a family member, urging you to take immediate action such as clicking a link, sending money or providing login credentials or one-time passcodes. The urgency of the message is a red flag. Don’t respond to the message or use the contact information provided. Instead contact the organization or individual the message claims to be on behalf of directly to verify and/or notify them of the incident.  

Don’t give out your personal information or passwords.  

If someone reaches out to you asking for your personal information such as social security number, account information, e-mail address, login credentials or one-time passcodes, DO NOT give the information to them. No legitimate organization will reach out and ask you for this sensitive data. Instead, contact the organization the fraudster is claiming to be from directly to notify them of and discuss the incident.  

Don’t be fooled by official checks or prize drawings.  

Fraudsters can offer official-looking checks, often encouraging you to deposit the check and send something back in return such as a portion of the proceeds, a gift card or anything of monetary value. By the time you realize the check is fraudulent you are already out the money. Others offer prizes such as gift cards or official-looking checks that appear that you’ve won something. If it doesn’t sound like something you personally entered or applied for, don’t use it or attempt to cash it. And, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

Don’t send money or gift cards to unknown parties.  

If you get an unexpected e-mail, call or text asking you to send or wire money as charity or payment for services, don’t do it. Some fraudsters even go so far as posing as a stranded co-worker or friend in need. While others may pose as a friend of a friend or start as a stranger but then take the time to befriend you online and get to know you before asking for money.  

Don’t click any links in e-mails or text messages. 

Typically you will opt-in to receive e-mails and text messages from a company. If you receive one out of the blue and you haven’t opted in to receive text notifications, it may be fraud.  

Do alert us to any fraudsters claiming to be AmeriCU.  

We are here to keep our members safe.  If you receive a message or call that you were not expecting, be suspicious. It’s better to trust your gut and contact us directly to confirm before taking any action.  

These are just some examples of the thousands of scams that are out there. It can be difficult to try and keep up to speed on all of the ways fraudsters are trying to steal your identify and scam you out of money. Luckily there are a few simple steps that can help keep you safe, regardless of the scam:  

  1. Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. 
  2. Never give your information to someone who reaches out asking for it. Always confirm the validity of the individual or organization and contact them directly using trusted contact information.  
  3. Only use trusted sites when exchanging funds online.  
  4. Don’t assume someone is who they say they are. Always confirm.  

Stay connected to our Member Security Center to check for any known fraud alerts and contact us immediately if you believe you’ve fallen victim to a scam. 

Do have a safe and secure holiday season from fraud.  

It’s important that you’re informed and, most importantly, protected, so that you and yours can enjoy the holidays free from fraudulent activity!  

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