Common Examples Of Fraud
Criminals have become more sophisticated in using the Internet to obtain valid personal information for illegal purposes. Chat rooms, email, message boards, surveys, and fake websites have been used as a means to obtain money, bank account numbers or personal information. Be aware of potential scams to avoid becoming a victim.
The perpetrator of this scam will appear to have a genuine reason for not being able to conduct a transaction on their own, and will ask you to deposit cashiers checks or money orders into your account and wire all or a portion of the money back to them or to someone else that is out-of-state or overseas. The cashiers checks or money orders are actually stolen or fake, but by the time this is known, the customer has wired the requested money to the perpetrator.
Carefully review any online offer when it is necessary to mail or wire transfer the payment prior to receiving the benefit, particularly if it is sent to a PO Box or overseas. Always be suspicious if an unfamiliar person contacts you in this context.
The victim of this scam is notified that they have won a lottery that they did NOT enter. The customer is informed that a check will be sent to them and that they must wire funds to cover the taxes incurred on the winnings. In reality, the check the victim receives is fraudulent and will be returned, but usually not until the “taxes” have been wired to the perpetrator.
A similar scheme involves the notification that a distant relative or friend has passed away (or a similar variation of the story) and inheritance tax must be paid upfront before the inheritance is sent. The check the victim receives is fraudulent and will be returned, but usually long after the “tax” has been wired to the perpetrator.
This type of fraud occurs when criminals pose as a financial institution online (“phishing”) or through text messaging (“smishing”) in an attempt to obtain confidential customer information. A “phishing” website will often trick customers because it closely replicates the company’s legitimate website. A “smishing” message often requests customers to provide sensitive financial data or risk having the account closed or suspended. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing” because thieves will bait customers for confidential information such as social security numbers or credit card numbers by posing as the individual’s bank or credit card company. The information gathered through these schemes is then used to make fraudulent charges to credit cards, to withdraw money from bank accounts, or to steal someone’s identity.
“Smishing” is short for SMS Phishing. This scam utilizes Short Message Systems (SMS) to send bogus text messages that request financial information. The information gathered is used to make fraudulent cards, to withdraw money from bank accounts, or to steal someone’s identity.
“Phishing” victims are commonly targeted through an unsolicited email or pop-up window; while “Smishing” victims are targeted through unsolicited text messages. The messages may appear to be from a valid company, stating a reason for requesting the confidential information and asking the recipient to link to a “secure site” to input the information, download software to protect their system, or reply to the text message. The site is not secure at all; it is only a close replica of the true site. The text message did not come from a legitimate source and it is only requesting sensitive account information.
Known “phishing” attacks have been disguised as emails from venders such as E-Bay or PayPal. If you receive an email from either of these companies requesting personal information, do not reveal any information without first verifying the source.
If you receive an email, pop-up message, or any type of electronic request soliciting personal account or password information, NEVER follow the link or reply to the text message and provide the requested information.
Peoples Bank would never contact a customer online to ask for confidential information or confirm information we already have. If you receive a suspicious email from Peoples Bank, please inform us immediately at (219) 853-7600 or contact your local Banking Center. You should also report suspicious activity or email communications to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Send the actual email you received to spam at uce dot gov. If you believe your information has been compromised, learn how to report the fraud in order to fully resolve the issue.
Identity theft, the most escalated type of fraud, occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or other identification, and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process.
Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information.
To learn more about identity theft, you can reference the Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Peoples Bank takes the security of customers’ confidential information very seriously. Your financial well-being is important to us. We want to protect your good credit, personal information and your hard earned money! Please further educate yourself by viewing our safety tips to prevent fraud.
If you suspect you have become a victim, learn how to report fraud in order to fully resolve the issue.