As part of Security Awareness Month, throughout the month of October we will be sharing security tips and fraud prevention information to keep our members informed on what we are seeing throughout the communities we serve.
Fake Check Scams
In a fake check scam, a person you don’t know or just recently met will ask you to deposit a check— usually for more than you are owed. Once you deposit the check they will insist that you keep part of the funds as a "Thank You". The scammers always have a good story to reassure you that the "favor" is legitimate, but its not!
Common Check Scams
- Lottery or get rich quick schemes
- Online auctions or over payment scams
- Mystery shopper or employment scams
- Report fraud to a HAPO staff member. You can also report scams to local law enforcement and the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.
How to Spot a Fake Check
- Look up the phone number on the banks official website that issues the check and ask if they can verify it for you. Never call the number on the check
- Consider how and why you received the check. If. IF someone you don’t know initiated the payment, proceed with caution. Look for poor grammar and spelling errors in any communication you may have had with this person
- Look at where the check was mailed and who the check came from. Does it make sense to the reason you received the check. Is it coming from the same area.
- Determine if the check is correct and made payable for the correct amount. Fake checks are often made out for more than the agreed upon amount. This way you will feel compelled to send back any “extra” funds right away.
If you have been the victim of a scam, or if you have received a check in the mail and are concerned about it being fake please contact HAPO’s fraud team right away and we can help you with next steps you may need to take.
ID theft costs people 5.8 Billion dollars in Fraud in 2021 don’t be the next victim.
Prevent ID Theft with these Tips
- Check your credit report regularly
- Monitor your accounts
- Set up alerts
- Stay in the know on current fraud trends by visiting HAPO.org
- Share your story. You might be surprised what you can learn from your friends.
Protect your Passwords and PIN
- HAPO will never ask you for your PIN or Password for anything ever!
- If you get a call and someone is asking you to provide a password or PIN, hang up the phone. If you ever get a text or email with a one-time passcode that you did not ask for do not respond and do not give it to anyone asking.
- Use strong passwords to protect your information. Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites. Consider using a password manager to help you keep track
- Use multi factor authentication when you can. Pick security questions only you will know the answer to.
Tools to Protect You and Your Money
- Online Banking Alerts
- Card Alerts
- Around the clock fraud monitoring
- Statements online for access when and where you are
- Financial coaches to help make sure your budget is keeping up with you.
To help combat fraud, phishing and identity theft we have provided educational videos on how to better protect your financial accounts and personal information. Please feel free to watch these videos to learn how to better protect your accounts.