Impersonation Scams

Financial Institution Impersonation Scams

Picture this: it's a typical weekday evening, and you receive a phone call from a local number. The caller, who tells you they are from your credit union, says there are questionable charges on your account. Beware, its possible that this is a financial institution impersonation scam. In a financial institution impersonation scam, a fraudster pretends to be a representative of a credit union, bank, or government agency to gain access to victims' accounts. Impersonation scams are on the rise, especially after the holiday season, when people make more purchases than usual and may lose track of their spending.

So how does it work? Scammers use spoofing to make the victim's caller ID show any number or name they choose. The victim assumes they are speaking with a trusted caller. The caller may also have a key piece of information (such as debit or social security numbers) that they use to appear legitimate.

The caller asks to verify a questionable debit or credit card charge. But no such charge exists. When the victim states the charges aren't theirs, the scammer offers help but must verify their identity first. The scammer then asks the victim for their online banking user ID.

Once the scammer has the user ID, they go to the financial institution's website and use the "forgot password" option. They will say, "I sent you a code for verification. Please read it back to me." The code is the secure access code to change the victim’s password in online banking. With the password changed, they now have control over the account.

Remember, a real financial institution representative does not need access to your online banking to block fraudulent charges. If a caller begins asking you for personal information, or if you suspect you are talking to someone impersonating a financial institution representative, hang up immediately. Call back using a number from an official statement or website. While scammers can spoof phone numbers calling in, they can't redirect your calls out, so calling a trusted number is the best way to protect yourself.

If you believe you have been the victim of impersonation fraud, contact O Bee Credit Union as soon as possible at 360-943-0740.


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