We have experienced instances where members have unwittingly given fraudsters access to their mobile and/or online banking credentials, sometimes these are close friends or family members. It is never a good idea to share access to your account unless the person is a joint owner. More recently, with the rise of mobile phone deposits using check images, we have seen fraudsters fool members by offering to deposit fraudulent checks into the members’ accounts, and then they ask the members to send some of the money back to them via wire. The member complies, and sadly they learn too late that the checks are returned for non-sufficient funds or they check is a forgery.
With that in mind, here are the most frequent scenarios that we have experienced with suggestions to help prevent these scams:
Good Buddy – A criminal poses as a friend or long lost relative, and convinces the member to share his or her mobile banking credentials to deposit a check into the member’s account.
Payment for Work – A member gets contacted to perform a job and was told that he/she would be compensated through a mobile banking funds transfer or deposit.
The “Sugar Daddy” – there are sites that help people find love interests, like a “Sugar Daddy”, and this person is often a criminal. Once connected the person posing as a sugar daddy, requests the member’s account information to deposit checks into member’s account, then asks the member to return a portion of the funds once the checks have been deposited.
Members from the senior age group have reported loss due to the “Sweetheart scandal”, which occurs when a member meets someone online who fraudulently steals his/her information.
Hacked Computer – Members are told to disclose their usernames and passwords to have their computers fixed.
As our Members’ Watchdog, we advise you consider the following tips to avoid falling victim to mobile deposit fraud:
If an offer appears too good to be true, then it probably is. Disregard any requests for return of funds after deposits were made into your accounts. Do not send gift cards, In-store app credit, iTunes gift cards, or money orders in exchange for funds that are deposited on your accounts by mistake. Note that the IRS will not accept iTunes gift cards as a method of payment for “back taxes”.
Never share your login credentials with anyone; your username and password are important assets that should be kept confidential.
The fight against fraud is a never-ending journey, but with your help we can detect fraudsters’ one step at a time! While we are doing our best to ensure that members’ information does not get intercepted, we do ask our members to help us with the process by following these steps:
- Maintain your computer systems with the latest versions of anti-virus software.
- Avoid using easy to “guess” passwords, and keep track of all login credentials.
- Sign up for SCCU’s e-Statements, Mobile and Online Banking alerts, and ensure that we have on file your most up-to-date cell phone number, so that we can reach you more conveniently.