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The Top 4 Types of Fraud to Watch Out For

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Top Types of Fraud Blog
By: AffinityFCU

In an era when scammers have greater reach than ever before thanks to technology advancements like the internet, it’s crucial that Affinity members are alert to these threats. Based on my past and recent experiences, here are the top four types of fraud most commonly directed at our members, which they should proactively watch out for:

1. Counterfeit Checks: Members are often sent counterfeit checks under various pretenses and asked to wire the sender money from the proceeds of the check. The check, of course, will bounce, leaving your account negative in the amount of money you send the scammer. You can recognize this type of fraud based on the reasons the scammers give for sending you the check. These include sending a check from a company at which you don’t work, or for items you sold online via Craigslist1, LetGo or another digital marketplace. In the latter case, you should be suspicious if the amount on the check is for more than the item is actually worth. Alternatively, victims are asked to purchase gift cards with the fraudulent check, and then email the numbers on the back of the gift cards to the sender. Shortly thereafter, the member discovers the check they received to make the card purchases was fraudulent.

2. "Card Cracking": This scam is often directed at younger people2 who are contacted or approached by someone asking for their credit or debit card number, with the promise of being able to keep some of the money if they will cash a check for them. Instead, the perpetrator gives the victim a fraudulent or stolen check and then uses the card information to withdraw funds from the members account or purchase money orders. This type of fraud has an additional danger: as these checks are sometimes stolen or forged, by agreeing to the fraudster’s scheme you could face legal liability for participating even if you end up being a victim as well. If someone proposes a venture that seems shady or explicitly says it’s an illegal scheme, you should ignore or report them.

3. Social Media and Internet Scams: The internet has created all kinds of new opportunities for fraud over the past two decades. I mentioned how online platforms have been used in counterfeit check scams. Additional types of fraud include people contacting you via Facebook or Instagram asking for money for a business venture. A common ploy is to impersonate a celebrity, which is why I say you should generally ignore personal messages from anyone claiming to be Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson, among others. Another internet-related scam is often perpetrated on people who buy a new PC, laptop or tablet. They will receive a phone call from someone claiming they want to give them a refund for computer services purchased when they bought their device and ask them to download an application, which enables them to connect to their computer. Once connected, the scammer will ask the victim to sign into their online banking account so the refund deposit can be made, and at that point, they will steal their information. Beware of any phone calls you may get that indicate you need to log on to a computer to receive refunds (or money for any reason). That’s not how refunds work, and it’s most likely a scam.

4. Email Fraud:  This is a type of fraud that happens to people both in their personal lives and at work – and is also one of the simplest ones. You get an email from someone saying they’re your lawyer, real estate agent or even a family member requesting money. In the workplace, the scammer will often pretend to be the company’s CEO, CFO, owner, or your supervisor, indicating that you must access the business account and forward them cash. To guard against this type of email fraud, you should carefully scrutinize people’s signatures and letterheads. Better yet, don’t transfer money based on email at all. If you get such an email, call the person who’s allegedly sending it at a phone number you know is theirs, and ask if the request is legitimate.

Fraud has always existed, and scammers will continuously find new ways to adapt. What’s important is that you stay alert, guard your financial information and keep up to date on the latest trends in financial fraud and security.

This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition are made. 

1 Retrieved from:

2 Retrieved from: