When it comes to scams, the most important thing to remember is that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters use many different approaches, including postal mail, telephone calls, faxes, email, websites and online chat rooms to scam potential victims
Remember, you are responsible and liable for any item you cash or deposit into your account, whether it is a check, money order or transfer. Never provide personal or account information to an unknown person or business. Also, once you send a money transfer, you can't get it back, which is why scammers frequently use them to steal money.
Below are examples of the types of scams criminals may use.
Do not accept jobs in which you are paid or receive commission for money transfers through your account. Job scammers use reputable online job boards to offer work-at-home jobs or accounting positions.
Lottery or sweepstakes scams
You are told you have won a lottery you did not enter, but must pay a percentage for taxes or other fees before claiming the prize.
Someone you met online asks for money for a variety of reasons, such as emergency surgery or to purchase airline tickets so you can meet in person.
These scams can come in several forms:
- You receive an email, or telephone call, from someone claiming to be a relative, saying they are in trouble and need you to wire money. Never send money to someone claiming to be a relative or friend unless you have verified the person's identity
- You receive a check for something you sold, but the amount of the check is more than the selling price. You are asked to deposit the check, but send back the difference in cash
- You receive a check from a business or individual different from the person buying your item
- You are instructed to transfer money, or receive a transfer of money, as soon as possible
- You are asked to hold an item you have advertised for sale, and an agent of the buyer will come to pay for the item
Do not accept checks from individuals you have only met online, and never pay a fee in advance of receiving a loan or credit card.
Fraudsters calling from what appears to be a legitimate company may have identifying customer information, such as your name, to make the call appear more authentic and convince you to share personal or account information. If you doubt the call’s legitimacy, hang up and contact the company using official contact numbers.
Mortgage scams target both prospective and current homeowners. Prospective buyers and distressed homeowners should be leery of agencies offering to falsify or alter information to get a favorable loan decision. These include offers of mortgage modification, foreclosure rescue or short sale scams, which may involve money-back guarantees, title transfers, up-front fees or high pressure sales tactics.
Learn more about scams
We know you work hard for your money, and we want to help keep it out of the hands of scammers. If you're suspicious of a request for money, talk to a banker at your nearest Starion Financial location. Our bankers are trained to recognize many of these scams and may be able to offer suggestions for verifying the identity of the individual or alternative payment options. And while there is no guarantee, here are some tips that can help keep you safe from scams.
If you think you may have been scammed
- Contact Starion Financial
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
- Report scams to your state Attorney General
- For scams originating outside the U.S., file a complaint at www.econsumer.gov