Text and internet scams on the rise
December 1, 2022 • 5 minute read
Text and internet scams on the rise
All the digital conveniences we have available to us should come with a warning label: There’s always someone looking for a way to take your money. WSECU has increasingly become a target for text and internet scams, so it’s more important than ever to be vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.
Here’s a look at some of the popular scams taking place today.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment scams
P2P payment services are a convenient way to electronically transfer funds. Zelle and Venmo are two examples of popular P2P payment platforms. WSECU also offers this service with PayItNow P2P Transfer, available in Bill Pay. Here is one of the most common scam attempts:
A text message is sent to an accountholder asking for verification of a “fraudulent” transaction that never actually took place. When the accountholder responds to say they don’t recognize the transaction, they receive a call from someone pretending to represent the financial institution. The scammer then asks for account information such as sign-in credentials to verify the account. Next, the accountholder may receive a verification code, which the scammer will ask the accountholder to provide. The scammer then uses this code to reset the accountholder’s password and gain access to the account.
Remember to never give away personal or account information via text, phone or email unless you initiated the contact. Contact your financial institution directly if you’re concerned about a transaction you don’t recognize.
Another reason P2P payment services are a favorite tool of scammers is that once funds are sent, the transactions are often unable to be reversed. And scammers have come up with a number of ways to scare people into sending them money, such as pretending to represent the IRS. When using P2P payment services, make sure the person receiving the funds is someone you know and trust. For anyone else, consider using a different payment method that offers more protection if fraud occurs.
For more information on text and email scams, take a look at our article on phishing scams.
Fake websites in Google Ad results
Another scam that is growing in popularity is the use of Google Ads to lead victims to fake websites. False online merchandise ads are especially popular; buyers pay for products — giving away payment information in the process — that are then never delivered.
When making an online purchase, be sure the website you’re buying from is from a vendor you know and trust. One way to protect yourself is to check the URL address for any misspellings — a sure sign that you may be on a fake website dressed up to look like one you know.
Scammers have also been known to set up fake websites made to look like your financial institution — using the financial institution’s logo and mirroring the look and feel of the real website. The scam takes place when an accountholder goes to the fake site and enters sign-in credentials. Once scammers have this information, they can access your account.
While Google seems to be in the spotlight, other browsers are just as vulnerable. Take precautions and be aware of sites you visit or ads you click any time you’re online.
Ways to reduce the risk of being scammed
- If you receive a text or email from WSECU and you’re suspicious of its validity, don’t respond, even if our toll-free number is displayed. Forward the suspicious email or a screenshot of the text to firstname.lastname@example.org for review. Call the Contact Center if you clicked any links in the suspicious email or text or provided personal information.
- Contact any other financial institution you do business with if you believe it is being impersonated in correspondence.
- Never share personal or financial information via text, email or phone unless you initiated the contact.
- Set up account alerts to be notified of all transactions.
- When using P2P payment services, only send money to those you know and trust. And be sure to keep your P2P payment apps up to date.
- Use multifactor authentication whenever possible.
- Use browser bookmarks or password managers to access websites where you sign in to your accounts.
- If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your financial institution immediately.
Legitimate WSECU texts and emails
Members may receive texts or emails from our fraud and account alert system after enabling their alerts, or they may receive information regarding loan payments from an automated text system. Fraud and account alerts ask only for a “Yes” or “No” response. WSECU loan payment reminder texts are sent from the short code 77376.
WSECU will never ask for personal information, such as Social Security numbers, sign in credentials, or account information, directly through text or email.
Keep scammers out of your account.
Monitoring your transactions is the best way to keep your account safe. Sign in to Online Banking and set up account alerts today.