Covid-19 didn’t scare them away and the hurricane-like winds of the derecho, that struck our region, didn’t blow them away; fraudsters are still here and very persistent. The average consumer isn’t aware of all the tricks of their trade, but we are! If we see any indication in a transaction of one of these scams, we will start asking questions. Please don’t be offended, it’s not because we don’t trust you but rather are trying to protect you. The fraudsters know we are on to their methods and will probably give you a story to tell us. Don’t fall for that.
Here are a few:
Car Wrap Scam – you’re offered money to have an advertisement placed on your car. They get you to cash a bogus check and send money out. When the check bounces, you’re responsible.
Romance/Friendship Scam – these people prey on those looking for companionship. They’re very believable, and some even develop fake relationships over a long period of time. Unbeknownst to you, they have many victims and take their time to stagger payouts to maximize their take.
Distraught Grandchild – you get a call from your grandchild, or so you think. They say they are in trouble and not to tell mom or dad. They give the phone to “a police officer” who tells you that if you send money or gift cards, they can make the troubles go away. It is all a trick!
Money Mules – you may not be risking your own cash, but just helping someone out by moving theirs. This is money laundering. Many members have received wires and ACH deposits from friends, a friend of a friend, and even the Small Business Administration or various states’ unemployment departments. There’s always a reason why they can’t deposit money into their own account and ask you to deposit it into your account and send it. Simple right? Not unless you want to go to jail! Acting as a money mule for someone is serious business. Not only may you be responsible to pay back ill-gotten funds, but you could go to prison.
We have seen multiple instances of each of these scams at Ascentra, plus hundreds of others. Please let us help you. If you have any concerns, call or stop into any of our branches or reach out to our Compliance and Fraud department by calling (563) 355-0152.
Visit ascentra.org/news or onguardonline.gov for additional articles and information on how to protect your finances from fraud.