Fraud and scams are a reality in today’s world. Learn how to protect yourself and your personal information.
- Never share account information. This includes your Internet banking login, account numbers, social security number and PINs. Do not provide personal information over the phone unless you initiate contact and verify that it is a trusted source.
- Do not “over share” on social media. For example, avoid posting when you are on vacation and when you will be returning. Wait until you get back to post the fun photos!
- Secure your mail. Place outgoing mail in a post office collection box. If you plan on being away from home for more than a couple days, have the US Post Office hold your mail. SPIRE eStatements are a great option!
- Safely dispose of sensitive information. Shred any papers that have personal or financial information.
Monitor your accounts
- Regularly review accounts statements.
- Set up eAlerts to be notified when transactions occur on your account.
- Request a copy of your credit report annually. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to request a free credit report from the three main consumer reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The only website authorized to give this free report is www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also request a copy by calling 1.877.322.8228.
Credit or Debit Card Fraud
- SPIRE has a free fraud monitoring tool in place (Falcon). If fraud is suspected you will be notified.
- You are protected from unauthorized charges with the Visa® Zero Liability Policy, which means you are not responsible for fraudulent charges you did not authorize.
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately. Call Visa® toll-free at 800.449.7728.
Scammers pressure you to give them your bank debit card and PIN or mobile banking login information. They use this to deposit fraudulent checks at the ATM or through mobile banking and then withdraw the funds. They claim they will give you a portion of the funds from the fake deposit (quick cash). They also say you will not be held responsible if you file a fraudulent claim with your financial institution. This is NOT true. By doing this you could be held liable and/or labeled as a “co-conspirator” and be required to pay back the money.
Fake IRS Calls
Generally more popular around tax time, however, scammers will call claiming to be the IRS and say you owe back taxes or are required to pay “federal student tax.” The IRS will never initiate contact by phone, email, text or social messaging demanding you to pay or asking to verify your information. If in doubt, hang up and contact the IRS directly – do not call the number you received the message/call from.
Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams
This particular scam is becoming more and more common and happens in a variety of ways:
- A robo caller or even a live person calls and claims they can lower your interest rate(s) with your existing credit card companies. They claim to have a special relationship with the credit card company or are authorized to act on their behalf. This person will ask you to verify your information (full card number, CVC code, etc.) and then say something like, for a nominal fee you can take advantage of the offer.
- A caller impersonates someone from the actual credit card company. These calls have been known to have “spoofed” phone numbers. In an example from one of our members, the phone number the call came from was not even a valid phone number! The scammer will likely impersonate larger companies such as Citi, Bank of America, etc. – they think the chances of getting someone that actually has that card is higher than a smaller company. Some even say they are calling from “Card Services” or “Cardholder Services”!
The primary purpose of this scam is to obtain personal and/or card information to defraud consumers and even commit Identity Theft. Some fraudsters may already have a “target list” where they have some information on someone but need more. The criminals attempt to gain this information when calling and offering the false promise to lower your interest rate.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has been targeting these boiler room operations and have even pursued legal action against the ones they’ve caught. The FTC highly recommends filing a complaint on their website (https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov) if you have been targeted by this scam - even if you didn’t provide your personal information or suffered a monetary loss.
To stay up-to-date with the latest fraud trends, we recommend visiting:
Federal Bureau of Investigation: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety
Federal Trade Commission: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
If you believe your data has been compromised, contact SPIRE right away at 651.215.3500 or 1.888.34.SPIRE.