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Scams That Have Affected BFCU Members

As can happen to anyone, several members have been the target of fraudulent attacks over the years.  Thanks to the due diligence of our employees, we are sometimes able to help members before they send funds to scammers, saving our members as much as $60,000.  If an employee asks you questions about a large transaction or where you are sending funds, it is because they are trained to look for potential attacks and are trying to help protect your finances from fraudsters.


Here are the scams we’ve seen the most:

"Here is a check for a large amount. Please send me gift cards equal to half of the value of the check and you can keep the rest of the money as payment."
They act like they are doing you a favor by giving you a generous amount in exchange for sending them just a few giftcards. However, after you send them the gift cards, the check will bounce, and you will be out that much money.
"To deposit the money, I need access to your mobile/online banking."
NEVER give someone else your online banking credentials. The most common reason they give is that they "wrote you a check and want to remote deposit it into your account so you have access to it right away." However, it's important to know that even with remote deposit, it can take 2-5 days for the check to clear, and they will use that time and the access you gave them to scam you out of your money.
"I deposited/sent a check for too much - please send us back a check with the difference."
If someone sends you a $5,000 check and claims they meant to send it for $500, then tells you to send back the $4,500 difference, chances are that their check will bounce and you will be out $5,000.
"You owe money to the IRS. If you don't pay over the phone now, we'll issue a warrant for your arrest."
The IRS will never ask you to pay over the phone. The best thing to do in this situation is to hang up and call the actual IRS phone number to speak with a legitimate representative.
"Your child/grandchild is in jail (or stuck somewhere with no money) and needs you to pay to bail them out."
If this happens to you, ask for information on where your relative supposedly is being detained and a phone number to call back. Then hang up and try to call the relative at their own phone number to make sure they are okay. Usually when someone is detained, the jail does not call on their behalf and ask for payment over the phone; your family member would call you directly and ask you to pay at the courthouse or to a bail-bondsman.
Your computer isn't protected - I need to access your computer from here to fix it."
Whether you receive this claim via phone call, email, or pop-up on your computer, you should always take your device to a trusted business or individual to take a look instead of trusting the stranger who reached out to you, especially if that person wants you to send them a code so they can remotely access your computer.
"I want to buy your car. I'll send you a check for the purchase and shipping, and you send me the car."
With this scam, they send you a check for your purchase price and the cost of shipping and have you send them the car. By the time you send the car, their check bounces, so you are now out the cost of shipping the vehicle (which is often $1,000-2,000) and they have stolen your car.
"Click here to claim your prize/get money/confirm your information."
If you receive a text message or email from someone you have never messaged before asking you to click on a link, do not click on it. By clicking on that link, you could be opening the door to viruses or programs that steal your information. Only click on links in messages that you were expecting or that come from a trusted source.
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Red Flags

  • Someone says “don’t tell anyone about this” or coaches you on what to tell the credit union.
  • The purpose they instruct you to put on the wire form is a lie, such as saying it is for a spouse, family member, or close friend when it is actually for someone that you don’t know personally.
  • Someone reaches out to you about money (whether “you won money” or they need money) and you aren’t expecting it.
  • Someone contacts you and talks with a sense of urgency; for example, they claim that you must do what they are saying right now or there will be consequences (such as you will be arrested or severely fined).
  • Someone calls you claiming to be from a legitimate company, but the phone number they give for you to call them back does not match the actual company’s number.
  • Someone asks you for gift cards.  No legitimate business or government entity will ask you for gift cards as payment.


How to Minimize Your Risk

  1. Be wary of all of the red flags mentioned above.
  2. Use strong, unique passwords that use a combination of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  3. If someone contacts you claiming to be from a legitimate company (like Amazon), ask for their name and department and tell them you’ll call them back. Then, look up the company’s phone number and call to ask for that person.
  4. Never be afraid to tell the credit union the whole story.  We are not here to judge, and we have experience with deciphering and mitigating scams and will do everything we can to help you.
  5. Review your bank statements and account activity frequently.
  6. Don’t click on any links that you aren’t expecting or from unknown phone numbers/email addresses.
  7. Never give out personal information, such as your address, social security number, online banking credentials, account numbers, etc.
  8. When shopping online, be wary of websites for unknown businesses, and only enter your card information if you trust the website.  If you’re ever not sure, you can always Google “Is ____ a scam business” or “_____ reviews” to see what other kinds of experiences people have had with them.
Closure notice

We will be closed on Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day and apologize for any inconvenience.

Remember, you can perform most of your banking business via our mobile app or the two 24/7 deposit ATMs in our drive-thru!