Financial Fraud on the Rise
By: First Community Bank
Criminals are always perfecting new ways to come between you and your money — know what to look for and how to protect yourself.
Services including Apple Pay, PayPal and Venmo are convenient and easy to use, but since they are tied directly to your bank account, they can leave you open to fraud.
One of the more recent scams involves a stranger asking to use your phone in an “emergency” situation. When the call “doesn’t go through,” they begin to text — except they are actually opening your digital wallet. Unless you have a PIN or other security measure set on financial apps, the thief can quickly tap, open and transfer funds from your bank account all while pretending to text.
Debit or Credit
Although both are an alternative to cash, there are differences — and a credit card is safer.
If someone unlawfully uses your credit card number, you may be liable for a small amount, or perhaps none of those fraudulent charges. Debit cards don’t have the same protections under federal law, meaning you may be responsible for much more, depending on how quickly you catch and report the fraudulent activity.
Running a debit card as a credit card doesn’t offer any additional protections. When you enter a PIN for a debit transaction on the card, the money comes out of your account immediately; processing the card as credit only delays the debit from your account, possibly by a few days.
Paying at the Pump
Unless you pay inside, a credit card is the safer choice once again.
Check machines for loose, suspect attachments, or card skimmers, a growing problem, popping up in all sorts of payment terminals such as gas pumps. According to the National Association for Convenience Stores, 30 to 100 cards a day can be compromised on a single pump.
Some skimmers can also steal your debit PIN number and once that happens, your bank account is directly accessible to thieves via an ATM.
Scammers often use names of well-known banks, credit card companies, retailers, or even government agencies — complete with a spoof Caller ID.
Popular scams include IRS/taxes (you owe money), jury duty (pay a “fine” or be arrested), Medicare (need your personal information), etc.
Don’t share secure information over the phone. Your bank, the IRS, etc. won’t contact you to ask for this type of information. Not sure? Hang up and contact your financial institution, IRS office, etc. directly if you need confirmation.
Caution Before Clicking
Always be careful about links and attachments found in emails, texts, or pop-up ads, especially from senders you don’t know.
When in doubt, contact a company directly using verified contact information provided on a credit or bank card, or account statement.
You can also reach legitimate websites using your own verified bookmarked links, or by searching for the company online. Do not use links or phone numbers provided in an unsolicited message.
Learn more about First Community Bank at fcbot.com. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender.