PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS
This page has been created to educate members on a few of the most common scams to watch out for.
If you have any concerns regarding possible fraudulent calls, texts, or emails, please contact the Credit Union during our regular business hours at (786) 257-2300. If you received a check or direct deposit that you suspect may be fraudulent, please speak with a Credit Union Representative before withdrawing the funds.
The Zelle / P2P scam has fraudsters impersonating a Zelle account holder’s financial institution and deceiving the account holder into using Zelle to transfer funds to themselves using their mobile phone number under the guise that it will replace funds stolen from their account. However, the Zelle transfers go to the fraudsters.
Here is how it works:
- Fraudsters send text alerts to account holders – appearing to come from their financial institution – asking the account holders if they attempted a large dollar Zelle transfer.
- Fraudsters immediately call the account holders who respond ‘NO’ by impersonating the financial institution’s phone number and claiming to be from the financial institution’s fraud department.
- Fraudsters tell the account holders the Zelle transfers went through, but the funds can be recovered.
- Fraudsters tell the account holders in order to recover the stolen funds, they must use Zelle to transfer the funds to themselves using the account holders’ mobile phone number, but before doing so, the fraudsters instruct the account holders to disable their mobile phone number associated with their Zelle account.
Note: Fraudsters may have previously opened an account at the account holders’ financial institution (likely using a stolen identity) and established Zelle through online or mobile banking linking the member’s mobile phone number to Zelle.
- When the fraudster links the account holder’s mobile phone number to the fraudster’s Zelle account, a 2-factor authentication passcode is generated and sent to validate the mobile phone number. The text message containing the passcode is actually sent to the account holder’s mobile phone; however, the fraudster cons the account holder into providing the passcode over the phone (The text containing the passcode has the financial institution’s name, which explains why the fraudsters open a fraudulent account at the account holder’s institution.)
- The fraudster enters the passcode to activate the mobile phone number on their Zelle account.
- The account holders are instructed to Zelle themselves the funds.
- The Zelle transfers actually go to the fraudsters.
If you believe someone is calling you impersonating our financial institution, do not communicate with the caller. You may call our Contact Center at 786-257-2300 or visit one of our branches to authenticate the issue.
The checks are fake, but they look real. In fact, they look so real that even employees in financial institutions may be fooled. Some are phony cashier’s checks or money orders; others look like they’re from legitimate accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has created counterfeit checks without their knowledge.
In recent months, several people have unexpectedly received checks that seem to be drafted from our institution. We have determined that these are counterfeit Cashier Checks. The checks may come from Craigslist, OfferUp, job posting, online lotteries, auction websites, etc. Often, the sender will ask the recipient to deposit the check and then wire back a portion of the funds.
The Cashier Checks that we have encountered have a logo that may resemble the Credit Union’s logo, but it is not the same. The checks will often have a memo of “Certified Cash,” “Instant Cash,” “Authorized Cash,” etc. Though the check may look very real, it is counterfeit.
If you are selling goods online, do not accept a check and never wire money to a stranger. Think twice and question the legitimacy of checks from unknown senders. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you believe you have received a fraudulent check, do not communicate with the sender. You may bring the check to any BHSFFCU branch or call our Contact Center at 786-257-2300 for verification.
The taxpayer receives an erroneous refund and gets a call from someone claiming that he or she is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant, and a "blacklisting" of their Social Security Number. The scammer gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.
Tax Collector Scams: Scammers posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.
Note that the IRS does not:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Additional information on these and other related scams can be found on the IRS Tax Fraud Alerts page.
Members have received text messages from parties claiming to be their Credit Union or Bank. In these texts, they are asked to call a telephone number that then prompts them to provide personal or financial information. This includes account numbers, card numbers, social security numbers, etc. While the Credit Union may occasionally send text messages asking you to contact a specific person or a department, the Credit Union will never...
- Ask you to provide your account or card information to an automated system.
- Ask you to leave confidential information on a recording.
- Ask you to visit a website, other than www.BaptistHealthFCU.org
The member receives a text from a fraudster to alert about a suspicious transaction. Upon receiving a response text declining the transaction from the member, the fraudster calls the member, pretending to be the fraud department of the financial institution. The fraudster gains access to the member’s online banking account by requesting the username and one-time password, which is then used to reset the password. Upon gaining access to the online account, the fraudster registers for Zelle® and attempts to send payments.
Through social engineering and direct calls, some users are still falling victim to these fraud scams. In these cases, the fraudster calls to convince the member to authorize the stepped-up authentication request, so that the member can receive a refund from the previously fraudulent transaction. In reality, the member is not getting a refund, but is sending the payment to the fraudster.
Fraudsters have taken advantage of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to exploit the global thirst for knowledge on the virus. Malicious actors have launched Coronavirus-themed phishing attacks to spread malware, typically looking to steal banking credentials. Fraudsters have also created fake websites to deliver misinformation.
Some of these attacks are in the form of emails, which contain infected attachments or links to malicious websites. The emails are made to appear like they come from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO posted an article on its website warning users of this scam.
There are also several fake Coronavirus interactive maps that infect user devices with credential-stealing malware. Fraudsters are circulating links to these malicious websites containing Coronavirus maps through social media and phishing emails.
Please be very cautious. Think twice before opening an attachment or clicking on a link that you do not recognize. Be extra mindful when providing personal information, always consider why someone would want or need your information and if it is appropriate to give it out.
Scammers are now preying on the public health fears with COVID-19 survey schemes.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), recently warned the public to be on the lookout for scammers promising a prize in return for answering questions about your vaccination experience on a bogus survey. “In reality, the surveys are used to steal money from consumers and unlawfully capture consumers’ personal information,” warns the DOJ.
Survey scams can even look official, claiming to be from vaccine manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Don’t be too quick to roll up your sleeves to complete a post-vaccine survey, though.
Learn more about the vaccination survey schemes by clicking here.
Scammers induce a false sense of immediate necessity, using pressure tactics such as aggressive or insistent language to prompt you to act right away. Scammers might claim that you owe money and then resort to threats of involving law enforcement if you fail to make an immediate payment. They may even instruct you on what to say to your bank to withdraw or transfer funds or ask you to maintain confidentiality.
Scammers send unsolicited communication, whether through phone, text, or email concerning an invoice, order, delivery, or charge that you have no prior knowledge of. If you don’t recall making a transaction, do not send personal information to contacts that you do not know.
Victims are asked to make payments or transfer money through unconventional means like gift cards, cryptocurrency, payment apps, or online wire transfers for various reasons, such as resolving an issue, claiming winnings, or promising high returns on investments.
For additional information on these and other scam alerts, please visit the Federal Trade Commission's Scam Alerts page at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
You can also learn about scams that are active in your area by visiting the Better Business Bureau's Scam-Tracker site at https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker