Don't Fall for These Popular Scams Right Now ... or Ever!
Watch out for fake checks and payment scams.

Submitted by ltownsend on September 15, 2020

avoiding scams

Lately, financial institutions have seen an increase in victims of fraud involving fake checks and payments. This could happen as receiving a fraudulent “loan” check or selling something online and receiving a fake check as payment. Here are a few examples of the type of fraudulent activity used to separate you from your hard-earned money.

Peer-to-Peer Payments

Peer-to-Peer payment platforms, like Zelle and Venmo, have become a quick, convenient way to pay another person or small business. But these programs can also be used to scam your money from you. It usually involves you purchasing a product and possible will include additional requests from the “seller” to pay extra for insurance, added fees, etc., but you never receiving the product. And the seller does not return your calls or emails.  Unlike PayPal, online P2P apps are designed for transactions between friends or family members, not for purchasing products online. In fact, most of these services, including Venmo, prohibit their use for commercial purposes. To protect your money, stay away from product sales, especially with strangers, on P2P services. For more info, go to www.fraud.org/p2p_alert 

Advance Fee Loans

When you are desperate for quick cash it’s tempting to listen to anyone who says they can help you. But you should never pay for your loan before you get the loan! Normal lenders charge application, appraisal, or credit report fees but do not require you to pay up-front for the loan. Our best advice? Come to us first. Skyward Credit Union is here to help those with low credit scores obtain loans at lower rates than most other financial institutions, and at reasonable terms for repayment.  We will never ask you for advanced fees for processing paperwork, credit reports, or applications. If you are asked for advanced fees for a loan, they are trying to take your money, not lend you any. For more information on why you should avoid payday loans, see our blog.

Fake Check Scams

This is one scam that comes in a variety of ways. Maybe you’ve been contacted by someone with an “advance” on a sweepstakes you’ve supposedly won and need to pay a fee or “taxes” to claim. Or someone wants to buy something you have advertised. Or, a stranger is asking you to deposit a check for safekeeping and then asks you to wire them back a specific amount (there is no legitimate reason to do this). The checks you’ll receive look real but are fake. With a scam like this, it’s very hard to recover the funds you’ve lost. Your best defense is to avoid the risk of fake checks and don’t fall for this scam. For more information on the Fake Check Scam, go to: consumerfed.org/consumer_info/consumer-tips-fake-check-scams/ 

If you ever have questions on a check you have received, or a transaction you have been asked to make, our knowledgeable and trained staff can help you determine its legitimacy and your best course of action. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Our best interest is in helping you avoid losing your money to a scam artist.

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