Understanding Fraud Safety

Understanding Fraud Safety

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
When I think about fraud and the variety of ways they target you, me, your neighbor down the street, your grandparents and everyone in the world, it’s a little overwhelming. However, knowing how to recognize fraud is something we are all capable of and Bruning Bank is always here to help!

General Fraud
My personal number one rule is if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Trust your gut! Things such as checks received in the mail that you were not expecting, should always be treated as though they are not legit. If you are unsure of the check, a good place to start is calling the phone number that is listed for the issuing bank. If the phone call will not go through or they are unable to verify the legitimacy of the check, discard the check. If you are still unsure of what to do, stop by your local bank and ask. We are always happy to help! 

Another good rule of thumb is shop what you know. Sometimes while shopping online, we find good deals and cheap prices, but things may not always be what they seem. If you are on a site that has something you are interested in, take a moment to do a quick Google search. Type in the name of the business followed by fraud. Generally, if there is a red flag with the business, it will show up here. If you are still unsure, no deal is ever worth your personal security and account security. If you are worried about a purchase you made, don’t hesitate to get in contact with your bank. We can talk you through the situation and make a plan to make sure you and your account information are safe! 

Phones Calls
As if those weren’t enough to worry about, a lot of us have seen an increase in phone calls with spoofed numbers that pretend to be your long-lost family member, the Social Security Department or maybe some Joe you don’t even know. Whatever the case, it’s always the same story. They give you a story followed by needing some type of personal information from you. How do we know what is and isn’t real? The same rule applies as before, follow your gut! Organizations like the Social Security Department are not going to be calling you. If anyone on any call starts asking you for your personal information or bank information, hang up! If it was a family member or business you may have a relationship with, give them a call back on the phone number you have for them. Redialing the number they called you on could lead you back to an illegitimate source. 

Stimulus Checks
Everyone is aware of the COVID-19 issues the world has been dealing with and the stimulus checks that have been issued to help individuals and families. Unfortunately, even though this outbreak has caused lots of devastation in a veriety of ways, the fraudsters mentioned above have seen it as a new opportunity to profit. The Americans who qualify for stimulus payments are seeing the checks come in one of two ways: ACH (automatic deposit into an account) or a physical check in the mail. After you receive payment in either form, you will receive a letter confirming 15-days after. The IRS is not using forms of communication such as phone calls, texts, emails or social media channels. 

If you have any questions about your stimulus payment, please visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. For specific information on when to expect your payment safely, visit irs.gov and select the link that says Get My Payment. You can input the required information fields and from there it will give you a date of payment as well as how the payment was processed. This is a secure site so you are safe to enter the information. If your funds were delivered via an ACH, it will give you the last four digits of the account number it was put into. 

In closing, let this information be a guide to you, your family, grandparents and your neighbor down the street. We are all vulnerable to fraud in many different forms; however, we are in control of our actions and the ability to stop fraudsters from getting our information so easily. If you do find yourself in a situation you are unsure of or maybe you did give out your information, don’t be afraid to call! The sooner, the better. We are happy to help you get through the situation and answer any of the questions you may have. 
- Bryanna Bowman, Personal Banker - Bruning