Online fraud is a constantly evolving threat to all of us. We, along with our partner, Charles Schwab, continue to remain diligent and hyper aware of the fraudster’s latest tactics to help keep our clients safe. The fraudsters continue to get savvier and more creative with their schemes; no longer is it only those deemed “vulnerable” who are getting duped!
Most folks know not to provide personal information via an email or phone request. Most also know not to click on links or attachments in emails you are not expecting. However, we thought we’d share three cases of recent, more elaborate fraud attempts as practical examples to help heighten your awareness:
- Merchant Credit Case: This is a scam where a fraudster gains access to your bank account. Not only do they have your routing number and account number, but they can also view recent data. First, they initiate a pending merchant credit appearing to be from a vendor of one of your most recent purchases. Then, the scammer will call you to share a sob story about how they screwed up the transaction and accidentally gave you a credit and ask you to please wire the money back so they don’t get in trouble with their boss. After you wire the money, the pending credit disappears!
- Email Takeover Case: This is a sophisticated scam where hackers take over and clone your email account to initiate correspondence with your financial institution and impersonate you. The scammer will request a “third-party” wire and work electronically with the institution’s representative to authorize the instructions. Marquette and other reputable financial institutions verify new wire transfer instructions verbally with our clients before releasing funds to help protect them from this scam.
- Publisher’s Clearing House Case: In a sweepstakes scam, the crooks often try to convince you that you'll be sent a huge check for your prize after you pay taxes and processing fees. Typically, they will ask you to put cash on gift cards (BIG red flag) then read the gift card number and pin to them. They might also ask you to simply wire the funds and they will release your prize. Legitimate sweepstakes never request money in advance of collecting a real prize, nor do they require a purchase to win.
In addition to bringing awareness by sharing these cases, we want to provide the confidence and assurance that we have strong fraud prevention procedures in place to protect our clients. We even have an outside service that regularly tests us with fake phishing emails.
Keep in mind, whenever we ask for details on requests for money movement, we aren’t being nosey, we genuinely want to be that “second set of eyes” for our clients. Our team is committed to keeping you from being a victim of fraud.
Finally, we thought we’d leave you with some good resources to review and retain for reference:
Schwab’s How to Prevent Identity Theft: Identity Theft Prevention | Charles Schwab
Schwab’s Identity Theft Checklist: Identity Theft Checklist | Charles Schwab
The Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Guide: Identity Theft Guide and Checklist | FTC