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Protect yourself against payment transfer fraud and scams

September 1, 2022

Protect yourself against account fraud and scams

Recently, we have seen an increase in fraud nationwide. Many of these financial scams are sophisticated, and we want you to be prepared. Here are some scams to be aware of and ways to protect yourself from loss:

One-time passcode (OTP) scams

Multi-factor authentication was created to help circumvent phishing attacks, as it involves a one-time passcode (OTP) being sent to the legitimate user’s smartphone (or another trusted device). This typically thwarts potential attacks because even if the scammer has the user’s passwords and credentials, they cannot access accounts without this code.

However, scammers are working around multi-factor authentication with specific tactics. If you receive a text message asking if you paid a large sum of money to a specific place or cause, please pay close attention! A common tactic is to trick you into sharing your OTP via text message. Here is an example of how this works:

You receive a text from a number posing as your bank, asking if you just paid $10,000 at a resort in a foreign country. You didn’t, and now you’re panicked and wanting to take immediate action to resolve the problem. Manipulating your emotions is a part of their ploy.

The text instructs you to reply “Y” if the charge is accurate, and “N” if it’s not. Any response makes you a potential target. Once you confirm it’s not accurate, they will instruct you to reply with a code they will send momentarily. At this point, the scammer uses your stolen credentials to attempt to log into your account—which prompts your real financial institution to text you a one-time code.

If you follow the instructions you were given and text that code to them, you’re providing the missing piece they needed to access your account. Once accessed, they can send your money virtually anywhere.

Sometimes, scammers will streamline their process by calling you and pretending to be your bank or another trusted institution. The caller ID may even display the name of your bank because it has become increasingly easy to spoof phone numbers. If you answer, they will then ask for the OTP that was just delivered to your phone by text or email.

Do not ever give one-time passcodes to anyone when they call or text you. Please remember: Nusenda Credit Union, and all other legitimate financial institutions, will NEVER contact members requesting their financial information such as card, PIN, or online banking credentials.

If you receive a suspicious text message, don’t click on the link. Instead, find the legitimate phone number of the institution (do not call the number that texted you) and call to verify if they actually need information from you. Only when you contact the financial institution directly should you share your one-time passcode. If you are a Nusenda member and suspect anything unusual or that you are a victim of identity theft, please call us immediately at 505-889-7755 (800-347-2838 outside the Albuquerque area).

Person-to-Person (P2P) transfer and wire scams

An unfortunate reality of wiring funds or using person-to-person payment platforms is that it’s very similar to giving away cash: once it’s given, it’s usually impossible to retrieve. If you are ever suspicious about whether or not you are encountering a P2P scammer, keep these things in mind:

  • Only send money to people you know. P2P platforms were created to enable relatives and friends to exchange money easily; they should NOT be used in transactions with strangers.
  • Avoid money transfer/check scams. These typically occur when someone asks you to help them transfer funds or deposit a check in exchange for money. You may receive an email or letter from a scammer asking you to help them transfer a large amount of money. You are promised a share of the money if you agree to provide them with your bank account information and assist with the transfer. Please remember, participating in this type of scam, even by transferring the funds, can mean you are participating in a crime.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is! If you receive a transfer from someone you do not personally know, the deposit is likely an error or fraudulent. Please contact your financial institution directly before withdrawing any funds. If you are a Nusenda member and suspect anything unusual with wires or deposits into your account, please call us immediately at 505-889-7755 (800-347-2838 outside the Albuquerque area). We are here to help!

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