Fraud is at an all-time high. Pay attention to these red flags and familiarize yourself with some common scams so you can avoid becoming a victim.
- It sounds too good to be true.
- Someone is giving you free money.
- You have an online relationship with someone you have never met.
- You are asked to send gift cards for payment.
- Someone asks for access to your computer.
What does being a victim mean for you?
Victims are responsible for their mistakes. Once a deposited item is returned as a fraudulent item, your account will be deducted the amount of the fraudulent item, plus any additional funds you transfered to the scammer. The total amount you lose could be significant.
The bank’s job is to ask questions when a transaction seems suspicious, to try and avoid having you deposit a fraudulent item, and to also put a suspicious item on hold until it can be verified. These steps are taken to PROTECT YOU.
If you feel you are a victim of a scam or have any questions, please contact:
First Mid Fraud Support at 833-488-3723
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
The following scams are common ways scammers take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. Knowing these tactics will help you spot scams so you don’t become another victim.
Check Fraud Scam
Did you receive a check in the mail or via email?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is the payee different than the person who is sending you the check?
- Were you asked to send money back to someone?
- Are you being asked to deposit the check through an ATM or Mobile Banking App?
- Is the sender being pushy?
This is how a check fraud scam works. An individual is sent a check that is either counterfeit, stolen, altered, or could even be from someone else wrapped up in the scam. The individual is told to deposit the check. The scammer may even provide a backstory to give the banker. The scammer is hoping the banker will deposit the check without a hold. The check is sent electronically through the Federal Reserve. It takes a few days turnaround to receive notice from the paying bank if the check is no good. The scammer will ask the individual to quickly send money before the bank is aware the check is no good. Often, the scammer will ask for the funds in the form of gift cards, a wire, money transfer application, or cryptocurrency. These transactions are quick and non-traceable. Common scams related to check fraud are job scams and romance scams.
Government Impersonation Scam
Have you been threatened with legal action if you didn’t respond to an unexpected call?
A scammer will impersonate a government official or law enforcement. Common impersonations are the Federal Trade Commission or IRS. The impersonator will state a crime has been committed and threatens arrest. The impersonator will request funds be sent via prepaid cards or wire transfer to avoid arrest. The phone numbers will be spoofed and show up on caller ID as law enforcement, further intimidating the victim.
Have you been asked to urgently help a child or grandchild by immediately sending them money?
The victim will receive a call stating a grandchild or child is in trouble (in jail, car accident, etc.) and needs money quickly. The victim will be told not to tell anyone. Of course, a parent or grandparent will want to protect their family. The victim is instructed to send large sums via gift card, wire transfer, or sometimes even cash. The victim will be told not to tell anyone, or the grandchild/child will be in danger.
Lottery, Sweepstakes, or Inheritance Scam
Did you receive an unexpected windfall, or inherit money from a relative you’ve never met?
If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Often, victims are told they need to pay taxes up front and are asked to send funds via wire, gift card, or cashier’s check. Legitimate beneficiaries never need to pay taxes up front.
Money Mule Scam
Were you offered an opportunity to make money from a financial transaction?
As a money mule, a person receives money in their bank account from a third party and is asked to transfer it to another account, in exchange for receiving a commission on the transaction. They may also be asked to withdraw the money in cash and give the cash to someone else, keeping a portion of the funds for handling the transaction. Using a money mule is a form of money laundering.
Are you in a relationship with someone you have never met?
Romance Scams are designed to pull on a victim’s “heartstrings”. The scammer will create a fake online identity. Often the scammer will even steal pictures and information from real social media accounts to create a profile. The scammers intentions are to establish a romantic relationship as quickly as possible. The scammer wants to gain the victim’s trust quickly and will often propose marriage. Scammers will often say they are in the military, making it more realistic as to why they cannot meet in person. They will ask for money, promising to repay it when they return home. Scammers prey on lonely widow(er)s.
Tech Support Scam
Was your computer “infected” and you were instructed to call immediately to have it fixed?
Generally, this scam occurs by clicking a link online. A pop-up will occur saying the computer has been infected by a virus and instructs the victim to call a phone number. Once the victim calls the number, the scammer will be on the other end of the call, posing as a support representative. The scammer will ask to remote into the victim’s computer and will have the victim log in to their online banking for payment of services. Often, the scammer will transfer funds from a savings or home equity line of credit into the victim’s checking account. They will then tell the victim they accidentally overpaid them (the victim does not realize the funds came from their own account). The scammer will instruct the victim to go buy prepaid cards or do a wire transfer for the overpayment. The scammer will tell the victim they are going to be in trouble if they do not send the funds, scaring the victim. The scammer will tell the victim not to tell anyone what has happened and will often coach them on what to say.