What they’re up to – Fall 2022

What they’re up to – Fall 2022

We bring you the latest scams to keep you ahead of criminals.

Family emergency scams
A hand holds up a smartphone displaying a list of contacts

The victim receives a call from someone claiming to be a family member claiming with urgent financial difficulties. Common emergency claims in this type of fraud are: taxes, facing deportation, medical bills, eviction or needing bail. They need money fast and haven’t reached out to their closest relatives out of fear or shame. They may have personal information about the victim, gleaned from stealing mail or social media; the information will help add legitimacy to their request.

The fraudster asks the victim to provide money fast. The element of urgency is always present, as a ploy to stop the victim from checking in with other family members.

If anyone calls you, a friend or a relative with this kind of request, the best thing to do is to talk to family and check on the validity of the request. At times like these, communication is key, even if relatives don’t get along.

Investment scams

In this scam, fraudsters mail or email an investment company brochure, which they follow up a few days later with a phone call or email referring to the previous contact. This helps add legitimacy.

They pressure for an investment that has a time element. It might be a special discount for the first 24-72 hours, or a bonus. In return, they offer too good to be true returns: ownership of actual assets, unbelievable rates, etc. They ask the victim not to disclose the deal to anyone else, as they’re getting a special deal. They keep calling and try to keep the victims on as long as possible on the phone, sometimes “improving” the offer to close the deal.

You can protect yourself from this scam by:

  • Remembering that there is no such thing as easy money in investing.
  • Not answering unsolicited calls.
  • Never rushing to decide on an investment.
  • Checking the broker or brokerage firm on FINRA’s
    BrokerCheck, a free service to check on all registered brokers and brokerage firms. If your caller and/or the company are not on the list, no matter what they say, they are not legally authorized to do the business.A smartphone with the screen turned on, featuring the Amazon logo

Fake Amazon employee scams

This type of fraud surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, and scammers seem to find new and more innovative ways to keep it going.

Here are some examples of scams run by people claiming to be employees of Amazon:

  • Phone calls from the company (through spoofed phone numbers) or legitimate-looking emails claiming to need the victim’s financial institution information and other personal information to process a refund.
  • Others call about suspicious charges on the account or a Prime card, or lost packages. They attempt to get customer information, login credentials, or even gain access to the victim’s computer to solve the issue.

The best ways to prevent falling victim to these scams are:

  • Again, not answering unsolicited calls.
  • Never provide your login credentials or “texted verification codes” to a company. They would never need them.
  • Hanging up and calling a legitimate phone number back to confirm the claims.
  • Checking the sender’s full email address and URL to confirm that they are legitimate – and watching out for small changes in a letter here or there.
  • Knowing that only scammers will ask you to pay for anything with a wire transfer, prepaid card, or a P2P service.

Spoof requests on payment platforms

In recent months there’s been a rise in scams involving well-known payment platforms such as Venmo,

Zelle® and PayPal, among others. Here are common examples:Hands with mitts on a laptop keyboard

  • In some cases, victim receives a spoofed text, email or other messages from someone they know, requesting money. The victim sends the money, only to find out that the person that they knew never requested it.
  • In the “me-to-me” scam, victims receive a message asking them if they made a certain transaction. When they answer No, a con artist claiming to be from their financial institution calls them from spoofed number. They inform the victim that they can reverse the unauthorized transaction by sending the money to themselves. The scammer requests a verification code that they are about to send to the victim’s phone to authorize the transaction. That code is the verification the scammer is using to register an account with the member’s email and phone number. when the victim sends the money, they actually send it to the scammer.
  • Meanwhile, now that we have more post-COVID freedom, fake ticket sales and merchandise scams continue to rise. Scammers always want payment platform quick payments and prepaid cards.

Our tips are simple:

  • Always check on anyone you know asking you for money via text, email or non-voice methods. Be sure you’re really sending the money to that person before sending. It may save you money.
  • Never send money using a quick payment service or gift card to people you don’t know as payment for anything. If something goes wrong, you will not get your money back.
  • Don’t send money to any company (including OAS FCU!) unless you initiated the call, to a trusted phone number, and for payment of services or products that you are certain to buy.

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