Consumers lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, a more than 70 percent increase from the previous year. Benchmark Federal Credit Union is urging Chester County residents to be vigilant and protect themselves from the following four new scams, including those related to Google and Amazon.
Fake Amazon Employee Scams
There are increasing reports of scammers posing as Amazon employees and claiming that they require Amazon account verification. In fact, a third of reported fraud complaints from business scammers involve scammers claiming they are from Amazon, according to the FTC. Emails or text messages may contain links to a website that looks like Amazon but is actually a fraudulent website. In reality, they are sent by an external party trying to access your personal information by tricking you into opening an attachment or link that contains malware or redirects to a dangerous website.
Scammers use phishing for credit card information or other financial information. You can even ask for remote access to your computer to try and troubleshoot a problem. Be wary of unsolicited calls, emails, or texts asking for personal information. Delete any message or email without clicking any links. In addition to reporting this to the FTC, you can also report Amazon-related scams to [email protected]
Google Voice scam
This is the latest scam that uses popular technologies as a weapon. Scammers contact people with items for sale on popular websites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and others. They say they want to buy the item but are reluctant to be scammed. They notify unsuspecting targets that they will receive a verification code from Google Voice that you should read to them. The scammer then uses this information to set up a fake Google Voice account on your behalf. If someone asks you to do this, it’s probably a scam.
P2P Payment Scam
You may be familiar with apps like Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, and Cash App, which are peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps. They are a convenient way to send and receive money, but scammers take advantage of the popularity of these apps to steal money. Theft can take many different forms. It can be a payment request via a P2P app for a counterfeit product or service, e.g. B. tickets or reduced goods. It may even be a scammer posing as a representative of the P2P company or your financial institution. If a scammer obtains your personal information and accesses your account, it could result in unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
Most importantly, remember that P2P apps do not allow you to cancel a transaction after sending the money to another user. Therefore, avoid sending or requesting money to people you don’t know and trust. If someone is pressuring you to act quickly, it may be a scam. P2P apps have measures in place to protect your account. Be sure to activate them. They can include multi-factor authentication. If you suspect your account is being misused, contact your financial institution immediately. Also contact the P2P company and report the scam to the FTC as well.
As cryptocurrencies receive more attention, scams related to digital currencies are increasing. The FTC warns that if you see a text, email, or social media message asking you to pay upfront with cryptocurrency, it is a scam. Only scammers will demand payment up front for something with cryptocurrency. Investment scams are one of the leading cryptocurrency scams that use crypto as an investment and also as a payment. Cryptocurrency scammers pose as investment managers and even celebrities claiming that they can multiply your cryptocurrency once you transfer it to their online account. Don’t fall for the big claims made by cryptocurrency scammers.
Cryptocurrency scams can also include fake contests or giveaways. The scammer can pose as a well-known cryptocurrency website to trick targets into sending money or even sharing credentials. The latest cryptocurrency scam involves an impersonator, a QR code, and a crypto ATM that instructs victims to send money. A scammer encourages a victim to withdraw some cash and go to a crypto ATM to buy crypto. The scammer then shares a QR code containing their crypto wallet address with the victim. Once the victim scans the code, the purchased crypto is transferred to the scammer’s account.
Be sure to ask your bank or federal co-operative about their anti-fraud services, and use those services when pursuing new opportunities. Remember, no reputable financial institution will ever call, text, or email you directly to verify information, or ask you to click on a link. It’s a violation of strict privacy policies. Instead, financial institutions like Benchmark FCU leave you a recorded message asking you to return the call at your convenience. Make sure the phone number in the message matches the one you’ve always used for your financial institution, then call back.
Another tip: Whenever possible, enable multifactor authentication and report fraud attempts to the FTC.
Rebecca Worthington is Vice President of Community Relations at Benchmark Federal Credit Union. As the only state credit union serving Chester County exclusively, Benchmark FCU has served the community for more than 80 years and is known for exceptional service. To learn more about the products and services available at Benchmark FCU, visit our website at BenchmarkFCU.org. Anyone who lives, works, prays or attends school in Chester County, PA is eligible to join the Benchmark Federal Credit Union.