Beware of Fraud Scams
Romance Scams, Online Sales, Lottery, Cashier's Checks & More
Don't be a victim. Protect yourself from fraud.
It's so easy to become a victim. It can happen fast. Before you know it, you've clicked "send" or put your money in the mail and you're out hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Scam artists work full-time at ripping you off. And after one scam bites the dust, the scam artists are ready with another one. It's no wonder so many people fall for the next generation scam.
There's no typical fraud victim. Even some of our members have fallen prey to these scams! Scammers don't care who you are, how old you are, or how much you earn. They're just after your hard-earned money.
If you're selling or buying merchandise, get an unsolicited on line business opportunity, or a letter telling you that you've won a lottery, you're fair game.
Here are some common scams:
- Romance Scams
- Online Sales/ Overpayment Scams
- Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
- Work from Home Scams
Protect yourself from fraud scams
Report the Incident
Scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps or contact their targets through popular social media sites like lnstagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust. Then they make up a story and ask for money.
Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reloadable cards or gift cards because they can get the cash quickly and remain anonymous. They also know the transactions are almost impossible to reverse.
How to Avoid Losing Money to a Romance Scammer
- Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart that you haven't met in person
- If you suspect a romance scam, stop communicating with the person immediately
- Talk to someone you trust; get advice on your new love interest
- Do research to verify the identity of the person you are communicating with
Report the Incident
- If you think a scam mer has your Kinecta FCU account information, notify us immediately by calling the Member Contact Center at 800.854.9846
- Report phishing to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint
Someone responds to your posting or ad, perhaps you are selling an item or offering room lodging online. The interested buyer offers to use a cashier's check, personal check or corporate check to pay for the item you're selling. At the last minute, the "buyer" (or his "agent") finds a reason to write the check for an amount that is significantly above the asking price. The buyer says the overpayment was an error and requests the difference be sent to a third party by wire transfer (MoneyGram, Western Union, etc.). He asks you to deposit the check and wire back the difference. The scammers want you to negotiate the items immediately and withdraw the funds prior to confirming that the check has cleared the issuing financial institutions.
Don't do it. The check is probably fake. It might fool a bank teller at first, but eventually the check will bounce and you'll owe money to the bank.
Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
You just won a foreign lottery! The letter says so, and a cashier's check is included. All you have to do is deposit the check and wire money to pay for taxes and fees. Don't do it. The check is probably fake and you will lose any money you send.
Or you get a call or email stating that you have won a lottery, sweepstakes or some other prize. They state that there are fees for taxes or custom duties to pay. They ask for your bank account information or ask you to send money via a wire transfer or to purchase gift card and provide the credit card numbers.
Legitimate lotteries and sweepstakes never charge fees or "taxes" to deliver your winnings
You cannot win a lottery you never entered and/or cannot participate in foreign lotteries
Myths about cashier's checks & money orders
- Don't think that because you received a Cashier's Check or money order they are as good as cash. Cashier's Checks and money orders are being counterfeited. Financial institutions and post offices have seen a dramatic increase in counterfeit activity.
Don't be fooled!
- If you receive a cashier's check or money order from someone you don't know, don't assume it's a legitimate transaction. We've seen these returned unpaid resulting in losses to our numbers.
- Federal Regulation CC regulates the length of time a financial institution must make funds available to consumers. The release of funds on a deposit is not assurance that the check has been presented and paid. On the contrary, if a check is returned unpaid, it is not received by the accepting financial institution until several days or up to two weeks from the date it was deposited.
Work from Home Scams
A consumer receives an online notification of a job offer. The offer usually involves "Mystery Secret Shopper" or "Money Manager". A check is received in the mail with a request to deposit the check and send a large portion of the funds to a third party by wire transfer (MoneyGram, etc.)
Due to the prevalence of fraudulent information online it is imperative that consumers investigate the job offer and obtain additional information regarding the employment
A job requiring the use of your personal bank account should especially be viewed as suspicious
Protect yourself from Fraud Scams
If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is! Watch out for anything from anybody that asks you for personal information or for money up front. Don't send it. And report it.
- Never provide your account number, social security number or routing number. This information can be used to withdraw money from your account.
- Don't get involved with an on line buyer from another country.
- Don't accept overpayments from buyers.
- Don't respond to emails, letters or faxes asking you to "deposit or clear money" through your account. When in doubt, delete! Or forward e-mails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Don't respond to winning lottery letters on lotteries you didn't enter.
- If you've been asked to "wire," "send," or "ship" money to someone you don't know - DON'T.
Report the Incident
If you've been contacted by a scam artist or been a victim of any sort of fraud, contact the FTC at www.ftc.gov or call 877.FTC.HELP.
If you've provided personal or account information to someone you suspect may be engaged in fraud, call our Member Contact Center at 800.854.9846. A representative can assist you in taking the appropriate steps to protect your account.