Your security is the highest priority at Integrity Bank and Trust.
Your security is the highest priority at Integrity Bank and Trust. As such, we want to help educate our members on keeping their own access safe and secure. Always keep in mind, we will never reach out to you asking for passwords, account info, or multi-factor authentication codes.
Bank fraud comes in many different forms and can originate via e-mail, phone calls, U.S. Mail, theft of personal information, data breaches, ATM skimmers, cashless Point-of-Sale transactions and much more.
There are several warning signs that indicate you might be dealing with a scammer. Contact with a scammer may include the following requests:
A helpful tip: If something doesn’t seem right, just hang up, walk away, and don’t reply with any confidential information. Scammers often want people to make a quick decision without thinking about it.
Here are some of the most common types of fraud and scams:
A charity scam is when a thief poses as a real charity or makes up the name of a charity that sounds real in order to get money from someone. These kinds of scams often increase during the holiday season as well as around natural disasters and emergencies, such as storms, wildfires, or earthquakes. Be careful when any charity calls to ask for donations, especially ones that suggest they’re following up on a donation pledge someone doesn’t remember making.
What to do: Ask for detailed information about the charity, including address and phone number. Look up the charity through their website or a trusted third-party source to confirm that the charity is real.
Most debt collectors will contact someone to collect on legitimate debts someone owes. But there are scammers who pose as debt collectors to get someone to pay for debts they don’t owe or debts that may have already been paid.
In most cases, a legitimate debt collector will provide information about the debt during or shortly after the first communication. This information may arrive as a letter often called the “validation notice.” If someone doesn’t receive this information, they can ask for it. If someone does receive this information and doesn’t recognize the debt or has questions, they can dispute the debt. And if a debt collector won’t send information about the debt, that might be a sign they are dealing with a scammer.
What to do: Don’t provide any personal financial information until the debt can be verified.
After someone dies, scammers may check obituaries or other legal notices and contact the deceased’s relatives, posing as a debt collector. If someone receive such a contact, the scammers are trying to get personal or financial information in order to steal money or commit identity theft or other types of fraud.
What to do: In general, no one is obligated to pay someone else’s debt after they die, unless it’s a shared debt or required under state law. When someone dies with an unpaid debt, it’s generally paid with money or property left in the estate. Always avoid giving anyone a Social Security number, birth date, or financial account numbers, unless you are certain about the party being speaking too.
Debt settlement or relief companies often promise to renegotiate, settle, or in some way change the terms of a person’s debt to a creditor or debt collector. Dealing with debt settlement companies, though, can be risky and could leave people even further in debt.
What to do: Avoid doing business with any company that guarantees they can settle debts, especially those that charge up-front fees before performing any services. Instead, work with a free or nonprofit credit counseling program.
Imposter scammers try to convince someone to send money by pretending to be someone they know or trust like a sheriff, local, state, or federal government employee, or charity organization.
What to do:
Remember, caller ID can be faked. You can always call the organization or government agency and ask if the person works for them before giving any money.
A call from someone who sounds like a grandchild or relative asking to wire or transfer money or send gift cards to help them out of trouble.
What to do:
If elder-abuse is suspected, report to the proper local authorities.
Foreclosure relief or mortgage loan modification scams are schemes to take someone’s money or someone’s house, often by making a false promise of saving them from foreclosure. Scammers may ask people to pay upfront fees for their service, guarantee a loan modification, sign over the title to personal property, or sign paperwork they don’t understand.
What to do: If you are having trouble making payments on a mortgage, a HUD-approved housing counselor can help assess options and avoid scams.
In a lottery or prize scam, the scammers may call or email and tell someone they have won a prize through a lottery or sweepstakes and then ask them to make an upfront payment for fees and taxes. In some cases, they may claim to be from a federal government agency.
What to do:
Avoid providing any personal or financial information, including credit card or Social Security numbers to unknown parties. Also, never make an upfront payment for a promised prize, especially if an immediate payment is required.
Mail fraud letters look real but the promises are fake. A common warning sign is a letter asking to send money or personal information now in order to receive something of value later. Examples of mail fraud might include notices of prizes, sweepstakes winnings, vacations, and other offers to claim valuable items.
What to do: The USPS has identified common postal or mail fraud schemes. A victim of mail fraud can file a complaint through the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
A money mule is someone who receives and moves money that came from victims of fraud. While some money mules know they’re assisting with criminal activity, others are unaware that their actions are helping fraudsters.
Money mules may be recruited through online job or social media posts that promise easy money for little effort. They may also be asked to help a love interest, who they’ve met online or over the phone, by sending or receiving money, as part of a romance scam.
What to do: Never agree to receive or send money or packages for unknown parties. Also, be aware of jobs that promise easy money.
Mortgage closing scams target homebuyers who are nearing the closing date on their mortgage loan. The scammer attempts to steal the homebuyer’s closing funds—for example, their down payment and closing costs—by sending the homebuyer an email posing as the homebuyer’s real estate agent or settlement agent (title company, escrow officer, or attorney).
What to do: These schemes are often complex and appear as legitimate conversations with a real estate or settlement agent. When closing on a home, take several steps, including identifying trusted individuals to confirm the process and payment instructions and writing down their names and contact information so they can be reached directly.
A romance scam is when a new love interest tricks someone into falling for them when they really just want their money. Romance scams start in a few different ways, usually online. Scammers may also spend time getting to know someone and developing trust before asking for a loan or for access to finances.
What to do: Be smart about who to connect with and what information is shared online. Don’t share sensitive personal information, such as bank account or credit card numbers or a Social Security number, with a new love connection.
Scammers may use money wire transfers to steal money. One example of a wire transfer fraud is the “grandparent scam,” where a scammer poses as a grandchild or a friend of a grandchild and say they’re in a foreign country and need help. Once a money transfer is picked up, there is very little that anyone can do to get it back.
What to do: Never transfer money without making sure that the person you are trying to help really needs help and is who they say they are. If a money transfer was made to a scammer, contact the bank or company immediately and ask if it can be reversed.
Keep an eye out for identity theft by reading each monthly statement from credit card companies or banks and checking credit reports for suspicious activity.
People should look closely for charges they did not make, even a small charge can be a danger sign. Thieves sometimes will take a small amount from a checking account and then return to take much more if the small debit goes unnoticed.
Review free credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus. If an identity thief is opening financial accounts in someone’s name, these accounts may show up on the credit report. Look for the following:
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself and others from fraud and scams. Criminals and con artists use many scams to target unsuspecting people who have access to money. Consumer scams happen on the phone, through the mail, e-mail, or over the internet. They can occur in person, at home, or at a business. Here are some tips to protect yourself from scams:
Fraud and Scams can be reported it to the authorities as follows:
ATM Skimmer – A skimmer is a card reader that can be disguised to look like part of an ATM. The skimmer attachment collects card numbers and PIN codes, which are then replicated into counterfeit cards. Skimming is the type of fraud that occurs when an ATM is compromised by a skimmer.
Elder financial exploitation – Elder financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds, property, or assets. It is the most common form of elder abuse, but only a small fraction of incidents is reported. The perpetrators can be strangers who gain the trust of older adults, but they can also be family members or friends. It’s important to know the warning signs.
Foreclosure relief scam – Foreclosure relief and mortgage loan modification scams are schemes to take someone’s money or someone’s house—often by making a false promise of saving someone from foreclosure. These scammers may ask for money upfront and claim to guarantee that they can get someone’s mortgage terms changed. If someone is having trouble making mortgage payments, a HUD-approved housing counselor can walk them through someone options for free.
Fraud alert for prevention – A fraud alert is something someone can use to reduce the likelihood that they will be the victim of new account identity theft. It requires creditors who check credit reports to take steps to verify the identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account. When someone places a fraud alert on their credit report at one of the nationwide credit reporting companies, the company must notify the others.
There are two main types of fraud alerts: initial fraud alerts and extended alerts. Members of the military have an additional option available to them—active-duty alerts, which give service members protection while they are on active duty.
Fraud by fiduciaries – A fiduciary is someone who manages someone else’s money or property. For example, agents under a power of attorney and court-appointed guardians are fiduciaries. When someone is named a fiduciary, they are required by law to manage the person’s money and property for his or her benefit, not their own. When a fiduciary spends the money for his or her own benefit, that may be fraud.
Identity theft – Identity theft occurs when someone steals someone else’s identity to commit fraud. Stealing someone’s identity could mean using personal information without their permission, such as name, Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card number. The Federal Trade Commission offers information about preventing and responding to identify theft.
Imposter scams – Imposter scammers try to convince someone to send money by pretending to be someone they know or trust like a sheriff, local, state, or federal government employee, or charity organization. Remember, caller ID can be faked. Someone can always call the organization or government agency and ask if the person works for them before giving any money.
Mail fraud – Mail fraud letters look real but the promises are fake. A common warning sign is a letter asking someone to send money or personal information now to get something valuable after they send the money or information.
Phishing – In phishing, a scammer impersonates a business or a person to trick someone else into giving out their personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account information. A scammer may use fraudulent emails, texts, or websites to steal this information.
Security freeze for prevention – A security freeze prevents new creditors from accessing a credit file and others from opening accounts requiring a credit check in their name, until that party lifts the freeze.
Because most businesses will not open credit accounts without checking someone’s credit report, a freeze can stop identity thieves from opening new accounts. Be mindful that a freeze doesn’t prevent identity thieves from taking over existing accounts.
Spoofing – Spoofing occurs when a caller disguises the information shown on caller ID. This gives the caller the ability to disguise or “spoof” the name and/or number to appear as though they are calling as a certain person from a specific location.