Monday, October 20, 2014

Phone Scams -- Who are you REALLY talking to?

Every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams — from a few dollars to their life savings. Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. Many sound very friendly and come across nonthreatening — calling you by your first name and making small talk. They may even claim to work for a company you trust, like an insurance company or financial institution.

Mid-­Minnesota Federal Credit Union has heard of a number of phone scams, primarily affecting senior members. What’s good to know is there is a very simple solution to phone scams. Simply don’t, under any circumstances, offer your personal information to ANYONE over the phone unless you have initiated contact with the organization.

MMFCU will never call requesting personal information of you such as account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security number, or any other personal information. Should someone make such requests of you, say you never offer that kind of information over the phone. If they persist, hang up the phone.

Here are a few red flags to help you spot telemarketing scams:
  • You've been specially selected (for this offer).
  • You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product.
  • You've won one of five valuable prizes.
  • You've won big money in a foreign lottery.
  • This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
  • You have to make up your mind right away.
  • You trust me, right?
  • You don't need to check our company with anyone.
  • We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.
One way to avoid calls like this is to join the National Do Not Call List. You can register home and mobile numbers. If you are still getting calls and you are on this list, they’re probably scammers ignoring the law. If this happens, hang up and report them to the Federal Trade Commission.

You can always contact your credit union and report any suspicious requests for confidential account information. MMFCU will use our resources to spread the word about these scams.