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Avoid Financial Scams and Fraud

When cybersecurity is insufficient, it can lead to stolen identity and financial loss. Most scams and scammers have two main goals, to steal your money and your identity. You should know what to look for, how the scams work, and what to do, so you can protect yourself and your finances.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself

Do not open emails or texts from people you don’t know.

If you are unsure whether a message you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in the message unless you are sure it is safe.

Be careful with links and new website addresses.

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose communication channels have unknowingly been compromised.

Secure your personal information.

login in with a strong password on a secure siteBefore providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is safe and secure.

Use Strong Passwords.

Strong passwords are critical to online security. Create a long passphrase, avoid common words, use multi-factor authentication, and utilize a password manager.

Keep your software up to date.

Keep all your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices.

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks.

Trending Scams to Look Out For

Money Mules

Scammers use people as “money mules” to receive or move money obtained from victims of fraudulent activities. If a stranger asks you to open a bank account or asks for access to your bank account or debit card, be extremely guarded. A scammer may ask you to move money and direct you to deposit funds into your bank account or ask you to purchase virtual currency or gift cards for someone else. In doing so, you may be unknowingly hiding someone else’s money for them.

Online Datingheart images circling laptop and cellphone

Romance scammers, create fake profiles and attempt to build relationships with their targeted victims through online dating apps or social networking websites. Once the relationship develops and they have earned your trust, the scammer makes up a story and asks for your money.

Mortgage and Foreclosure Scams

Watch out for scammers who falsely claim to be lenders, loan servicers, financial counselors, or representatives of government agencies who can help with your mortgage. Foreclosure scams usually come from multiple advertisements stating that a company wants to save you from foreclosure. This scam allows fraudsters to take the equity out of your home. They may even try to evict you from your home and sell it.


A scammer may pretend to be someone you know or trust or a government agency, to convince you to send them money. These scams are communicated through emails, phone calls, letters, text messages, and social media. The messages might ask you to “confirm” or “update” confidential personal financial information, or they may offer to help victims of current or previous frauds with an investigation or to recover losses. Some scams request that you file official looking forms or claim that you have an unpaid debt and threaten you with a lawsuit or arrest if you don’t pay.

The FDIC or other government agencies do not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money or sensitive personal information, and will never threaten you, or demand that you pay by gift card, wiring money, or digital currency.

Maintaining your cybersecurity will help prevent you from being a victim of identity theft and potential financial loss. Staying current on the latest types of scams can help you to identify the risks and learn how avoid them, so you can protect yourself and your finances. Visit our Security Center to stay up to date on the latest scams and how to stay safe.


Sources & enhanced by Credit Union of Denver

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