At University Credit Union we work hard to prevent fraud on a daily basis.

The significant growth in technology over the last decade has provided amazing innovations that a few creative scammers try to abuse and take advantage of hardworking people. The best way to protect yourself from a devastating scam is by learning how they operate. This list comprises 10 of the newest and less well known scams to watch out for.

1. Impersonating Government Agencies –

Many of the tactics taken by scammers involve intimidating individuals out of their money. I personally have never received a friendly call from the IRS, but government employees will never demand immediate payment from anyone over the phone. The majority of scammers will try to get you to send payment through Western Union, Money Gram, or even by purchasing Visa debit gift cards and reading them the numbers over the phone. They will often threaten that a law officer is on his way over to make an arrest if they don’t receive some form of payment over the phone. Always remember that agencies, like the IRS, will make multiple requests before ever taking drastic action and that everyone is entitled to due process under the law.

 2. Online Dating Scams –

Online Dating Scams are some of the most vicious cases of fraud. The scammer will develop a relationship with the victim through dating apps and social media in order to cheat them out of their money. The scammer will usually say they live out of the country and want to meet in person, but that they don’t have the funds to travel. The victim will often send money and never hear from that person again.

 3. Amazon/Ebay/Paypal Email Scams –

This is one of the easiest scams to fall for because on the surface it looks pretty legitimate. The scammer will send an email that says your purchase has been confirmed for something the person never ordered. The scammer will often send an email from a domain name that is one character off from the actual business domain to trick the victim into replying. (Example, paypaI.com instead of paypal.com. It is hard to tell, but the first domain has a capital “i” instead of the letter “L.”) The victim will then contact the fraudulent sender and give their information in hopes of correcting the mistake.

 4. Extended Warranty on Cars –

Scammers love to use automated robocalls to increase the success of their scams. One of the most frequently used cases of a robocall scam is to offer bogus extended warranties on newly purchased automobiles. The caller will tell the victim that their coverage is about to lapse and that they will need to stay on the line for further information on how they can pay to increase coverage on their car. Sometimes these calls are targeted to the person’s make and model of vehicle, creating a sense of urgency that results in snap decisions by the victim.

5. Ticket Scams –

There are multiple forms of ticketing scams, but one of the most prominent is through online ticket sales. The scammer will purchase a ticket for a concert or sporting event through a legitimate ticket hub online. They will then sell duplicate copies of the ticket through email using classified sites like Craigslist or KSL Classifieds. This small investment by a scammer pays dividends and leaves behind many disappointed victims.

6. Computer Performance Scams –

After visiting certain websites, a popup may appear on the computer screen offering technical support for a non-existent problem, but secretly it will ask you to pay money or download malicious software. The downloaded material could also be a more dangerous form of software known as “ransomware” that will lock several important files on the computer until a large sum of money is paid to unlock it.

7. Text Message Scams –

The text message scam will appear as a message from the victim’s bank or credit union asking them to reactivate their debit card by providing personal information. The uses this info to steal that person’s identity and empty their accounts. It is always best practice to check with the institution in person and report any suspicious activity so that other targeted accounts can be protected.

8. Account Compromised Scams –

These scams can be through email, text, or by phone instructing the victim that their account has been compromised. The scammer will then ask for a few pieces of information to confirm the account, while they are secretly stealing the victim’s identity. Be suspicious of anyone gathering account numbers, social security, or anything else that isn’t already available publically.

9. Work from Home Scams –

Scammers will offer opportunities to vulnerable people to work from home and make large amounts of money with little effort to no effort. The person providing the “business opportunity” offers to train the victim and provide materials for a minimal fee, but never delivers on their promise after receiving payment.  Pyramid schemes or multi-level marketing ventures are another form of work from home scams that provide very little value to the consumer.

10. Charity Scams –

Anytime there is a natural disaster or especially during times of need, scammers prey on the public’s generosity by setting up fake funds and organizations to solicit donations. This type of scam can be found on social media, craigslist, and crowdsourcing sites like gofundme. It’s always best to be wary and work with reputable organizations that can be verified through a state consumer protection office or the Better Business Bureau.

At University Credit Union we take protecting the identity of our members very serious.

If you ever suspect fraudulent activity related to your accounts or identity, please contact the credit union immediately for help at (801) 481-8800 or by email at abuse@ucreditu.com. You can also visit our fraud reporting page here https://www.ucreditu.com/services-benefits/fraud-reporting.html

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