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COVID-19 Scams

Protect Yourself and Your Finances

From COVID-19 Scammers

January 5th, 2021 - Scam Alert

The good news is that stimulus checks are out. The bad news is, scammers are out too.

The most recent phone scam on the rise again with opportunistic criminals includes “spoofing” financial institutions’ phone numbers to look legitimate, and texting or calling individuals from these numbers in order to gain personal and financial information. Members should be wary of any unsolicited phone calls or text messages that require the verification of personal information or indicate a problem with their account. If you were not expecting a call or text message from your financial institution, please do not respond. Members are being asked to verify login credentials including username or password, and full social security, credit card or account numbers. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE THIS INFORMATION OUT.

As a general rule, financial institutions will not initiate a call to you requesting personal information or ask you to make a payment or transfer money. Those type of transactions are normally initiated by the Member. If you feel you are being targeted, do not respond to the text, hang up and contact First Source directly to verify you are speaking with a true representative. Report any activity that seems suspicious to our Member Care Center at 315-735-8571.

Together, we can live smarter, be vigilant and mitigate fraudulent risk.

Unemployment Benefits Scam Alert

We have been made aware of a current and widespread unemployment benefits scam involving asking for money upfront with a promise to pay the funds back, or funds given to you upfront with an ask to then return those funds.

Unfortunately, this is not a new scam, it just appears to be heightened at this particularly vulnerable time. It can come in the form of cash, check, direct deposit, pre-paid debit card, or other electronic money transfers.

As always, please be vigilant. If you were not expecting funds, or are receiving unexpected requests for funds, please do not immediately comply. Check first, and always verify  before proceeding.

Here is some information from the Utica Police Department:

Learn More

Texting Scam Alert

We have also been made aware of yet another text scam that is circulating the area. This scam includes mortgage promotional information.

First Source does not currently send promotional information via text messages. If you feel you are being targeted, do not respond to the text and contact us directly to verify you are speaking with a true representative. Please be diligent about your financial records.

The internet has become a huge part of our everyday life, allowing us to stay connected to family and friends, conduct business from the safety of our homes and keep our finances fluid and accessible. Unfortunately with this convenience also comes the threat of scammers looking to take advantage of the vulnerabilities our world is currently facing. Using phone calls, emails, social media and even copycat websites, imposters are creating content that appears official and related to COVID-19. Their goal? To trick you into sharing personal information like credit card and account numbers, login IDs and passwords. 

Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

Using Real Company Names

Fraudsters will often use legitimate company names or faked copies of official emails and websites to trick you into believing the request is coming from a trustworthy source. Praying on the fears of the recent pandemic, they even circulate correspondence that appears to be from the World Health Organization, or local government agencies.

Scare Tactics

Many scammers will use threats or urgent messages to obtain information. Don’t be fooled and don't respond.

Official-Looking URLs

Because most scams won’t have a secure web, always make sure the URL (web address) of the website your visiting begins with https://, indicating a secure site. 

Regardless of the tactics a scammer may use, there are some easy ways to keep yourself and your finances protected. Below are some steps you can take:

  1. Simple Security Techniques - It may seem obvious, but simple things like creating unique, strong passwords, setting up notifications, and keeping your contact information up to date are simple ways to improve your online security.

  2. Call to Confirm - If you feel you may have been targeted, contact us directly at 315-735-8571. Do NOT respond to any numbers provided in a suspicious email or found in your Caller ID. 

  3. Be Wary of Typos - Since large companies tend to use professional writers or editors, grammar and spelling mistakes can often be a red flag. 

  4. Beware of Links - Receive an unexpected email? Do NOT click any buttons or links within a suspicious email, as it could direct you to fraudulent site or download malicious software.

  5.  Be Vigilant - Closely monitor your transactions daily through online banking or your mobile app. Also check monthly financial statements. If your identity is stolen, or there is suspicious activity, these efforts can quickly detect fraudulent transactions.

  6. Security Updates - Be sure to keep personal firewalls and security software installed and up to date. This step is essential in keeping your information protected.

  7. Current Affairs - Stay up to date on news of phishing attacks that may be circulating throughout your community.

Here is a helpful article from the New York Credit Union Association for more information regarding COVID-19 scams. If you feel you are being targeted, please contact First Source directly at 315-735-8571 and report any activity that seems suspicious to our Member Care Center. You can also visit our Identity Protection page to learn additional ways to keep your information and accounts safe.