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The Devastating Reality of Fraud

In today's digital age, the financial sector faces an ever-growing threat from fraudsters and scammers who prey on unsuspecting individuals. With technology growing smarter every day and the power of AI increasing, scams are becoming increasingly abundant and convincing. Understanding the tactics of financial fraud and taking proactive steps to protect yourself is essential for maintaining your financial security.

Cybersecurity Scams

The most common methods fraudsters utilize are Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing.

  • Phishing is a method of cyberattack that attempts to trick individuals to click on dubious links in emails that may download malware onto the user’s device.
  • Smishing, like Phishing but through text messages, may also prompt the user to reply with their personal information such as login credentials or account numbers.
  • Vishing, scammers call potential victims pretending to be a legitimate company to solicit personal information from a victim.
    • Some scammers may also record the answering party’s voice, and with the increased use of AI, scammers only need 3 seconds of audio to clone someone’s voice. Scammers then use this recording to pretend to be you for nefarious activities, like attempting to trick loved ones into sending money for a supposed emergency.
      • Scammers can spoof phone numbers from anywhere in the world and make it look like it’s the real deal.

A Colorado Couple's Story

Unfortunately for one couple in Golden, CO. these fraudulent attacks became their reality when they were scammed out of more than $137,000 in wire transfers.

The couple received a text supposedly from their financial institution asking “Did you attempt to send a Wire transfer for the amount of $4,500.00? Reply Y or N. STOP to end.” to which they responded N. They got a text back immediately saying somebody from the institution’s fraud team will be in contact. Within 30 seconds, they received a phone call from the intuition’s exact fraud department phone number. They never guessed that the call was scammers who had just spoofed the phone number.  The scammers somehow already had their bank account number and even knew how much money was in the account, all they needed was a one-time passcode, which was unwittingly shared.

To learn more about this story, check out this Youtube video from our local Fox31 News Channel.

The couple shares that the scammers were quite advanced with a sophisticated script. Everything that the scammers said on that call was identical to what they’ve previously experienced with the actual fraud team. Smishing scams and spoofing phone calls are getting more sophisticated every day. Be very leery of unsolicited text messages, phone calls, or emails reporting a fraudulent charge on your account. A lot of the times the scammers are going to try to create the sense of urgency, try to slow down and look for those fraudulent indicators. If in doubt, hang up and dial direct the institution's number you know to be correct.

The Stats

The most recent FBI statistics show in 2022, 405 Colorado residents lost $457,985 to phishing scams. Another 467 Coloradans lost more than $2 million to spoofing scams. If you think you’ve been scammed, call your institution’s number directly to initiate a wire recall and file a report with the FBI at

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Guard your personal account information, ATM pins, passwords, and one-time passcodes. If someone contacts you and asks for this information, especially if it’s someone claiming to be from your bank, do not share it with them – they don’t need that information.
  • Utilize strong, unique passwords or passphrases for all your accounts. This means using special characters, upper- and lower-case letters, as well as numbers.
  • Visit our Security Center for the latest information. 
  • Learn more Tips to Keep Yourself Safe.

By staying informed about common scams, adopting robust security practices, and exercising caution, you can better protect yourself against fraudsters and safeguard your financial well-being. Remember, Credit Union of Denver is here to support you in navigating the complexities of financial security. Together, we can work towards a safer and more secure financial future.


Sources & enhanced by Credit Union of Denver

Phishing scam dupes Colorado couple out of $137K | FOX31 Denver (,your%20voice%2C%22%20Scheumack%20explained.

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