Beware of Unsolicited Scams!

Have you been receiving robo-calls, emails or texts message from persons or sources that you don’t know or with whom you have never initiated contact? More than ever, unscrupulous individuals and fraudulent fake companies are targeting consumers with faulty claims of “free-money,” debts being owed, or other scams designed to trick people out of their money.

Following is a brief description of what a scam and a scammer is and how they operate, plus a note or two on a few of the most common scams making the rounds right now. Take note and take precautions to avoid getting caught up in one!

What are scammers??
Scammers are common criminals that use all kinds of underhanded and false information approaches to obtain your personal information and other confidential financial details about you which they then use to drain your accounts and take your money. Specifically, after these criminals collect your personal information, they can use it to steal your identity and commit fraudulent activities such as charging your credit card; opening bank accounts in your name to write bad checks; or withdrawing funds from your savings and checking accounts, all of which are possible using the information they falsely obtain.

How do scammers operate?
Scammers will try anything to steal your money. For example, they may pose as long-lost members of your family in order to get you to send them money for a fake emergency or a needed repair. Or, they may pose as a “government official” who needs you to confirm your identity by providing you SSN or bank account information over the phone for a curious “official” purpose. They may also pretend to represent a charity that is in dire need of your financial support. Here are a few other current common scams:

Current Scams:

Coronavirus Charity Scam: With Covid-19 still impacting the country, numerous fake Coronavirus charities have been created requesting funds “to help combat the coronavirus and help feed and clothe those impacted.” If you are contacted by a charity such as this asking for your help, make sure you conduct thorough research on them to confirm they are valid before sending them any money or providing any of your credit card or bank account information.

Medical Alert System Scam: This is a telemarketing scam that targets seniors with a promise of a medical alert device or medical warning system “free of charge” claiming that a family member or friend has already paid for it for them. Seniors are then asked to provide their bank account or credit information to “verify their identities” only to find out later that they were being charged a monthly $35 service fee with no system in place. Be wary of any “free” offers and always get proof from a friend or family member first if someone claims they purchased something in your behalf.

Government or Law Enforcement Official Scam: Sophisticated scammers often utilize computer software programs that can mimic Caller IDs, which makes it appear as if they are actually calling from a local police, sheriff or other law enforcement agency. They oftentimes go on to say that there is a warrant out for your arrest for a past due ticket or fine that you never knew you had, but they tell you that you can pay the fine or ticket with a Western Union Moneygram, a wire transfer from your bank, or a pre-paid debit card to avoid any further fines or an arrest. Government officials never make calls like these, so if you receive a call like this, simply hang up!

Debit Card Reactivation Scam: This scam is dear to our hearts because it involves a debit card. The scammer’s “target” receives a text message alert that looks like a text alert from your bank, asking that you confirm information to “reactivate your debit card”’ by following the link in the text. This is a scam designed to, once again, steal your personal information and gain access to your bank account. If you happen to receive this, do not reply to it, delete the text, and notify us/your bank about it so we/they, in turn, can alert others.

These are just a few of the many ways that scammers attempt to steal from unsuspecting others, so stay diligent and alert in order to protect your personal and financial information from these unscrupulous characters!

As always, F&M Bank is here to assist you, so if you suspect any fraudulent activity has occurred with your accounts, call us so we can help!

NMLS #718145

published on 11/17/2020