Hot Scams of 2019
Unfortunately scam artists have come up with new, devious ways to steal your identity and your money. To protect yourself from scammers, ACU of Texas strongly recommends that you enroll in Benefits Plus Ultimate and take advantage of their Identity Theft Security Center.
Wal Mart Secret Shopper
A member recently brought this package in and discussed first with ACU of Texas - THANK GOODNESS!
Scam is a "secret shopper company" sends you a check for, in this case $2600. Your instructions are to deposit the check and then immediately go to Wal Mart and purchase money orders to send back to the "company". The victim gets to keep $600, while mailing $2000 in money orders away - all to "review" how well the money order purchase is conducted...
Once the smoke clears, the original check turns out to be fraudulent, which would leave you, the check casher, responsible for the money taken out in cash to purchase money orders.
Check looks legitimate, but it is fake...
Click Fraud Scan to view the entire packet sent.
PC Repair Scam
Victims are contacted via a phone call that their computer(s) have been infected, and are under attack by a vicious malware virus. The scammer offers to “fix” the problem, and asks for remote access to the computer. During this time, the scammer will infect the computer with an actual virus that will wreak havoc on the internal operating system, and will convince the victim that the only solution is to pay for additional repairs. Not only have you given this scammer your credit card information, but access to your personal computer too.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – HIGH. Want real-time security software? Check out Benefits Plus’ Bitdefender®.
Counterfeit Goods Scam
Imagine, you’re doing comparison shopping online and at last, you’ve found the exact item you want at a low, low price! Don’t be fooled by the price tag, or the images on the screen, this could be a scam. When you make the purchase, if this is truly a scammer, they will turn around and sell your information on the black market.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – LOW. Risk of feeling foolish when your package shows up and its not what you bought? High.
Fraudulent Check Scam
Scammers will target just about anyone with this popular scam that ends up with a bounced check and no money in the victims account. Victims will be contacted with a request to help deposit and cash a check, and as an incentive for helping them out, the scammers offer to throw in a bonus as a way of saying thanks. What really happens, is that victims deposit a check that ends of bouncing and leaves them with nothing. Talk about a thank you.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – MEDIUM. At ACU of Texas, we take precautions to make sure you don’t fall into these types of scams, with holds on checks and proper research to make sure large checks are real.
Scam artists pose as government official offering a unique opportunity to gain grant money, for a small processing fee. The goal is to have the victim give up their savings for an opportunity they cannot pass up. What actually happens is, the scammer takes the victims savings and personal information, and leaves the victim with nothing.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – HIGH. Keystone Community Development Corporation can assist you with applying for real grants. Stop by your nearest ACU of Texas location to learn more.
Collection Agency Scam
Victims are targeted by scam artists who fraudulently represent collection agencies. Sometimes, scammers use actual credit information to threaten the victim. The harassment often leads to the victim entering into a vicious cycle of harassment and payment.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – HIGH. If anyone calls claiming to be a collection agency, immediately hang up and contact the institution they claim to be from. If the scam artist claims to be from ACU of Texas, please give our Member Access Center a call or visit one of our 15 branches.
Work from Home Scam
Working from home, its every person’s dream. Avoid the stress of the commute, and work on your own time. What could be better? The scam offers fictious opportunities for working from home, but in realty scammers send fake paycheck with overpayments, in an attempt to get victims to send real money back to them.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – HIGH. These scammers can be avoided when victims do due diligence and research the companies they are applying to. ACU of Texas will also help you by making sure any check you attempt to cash is real.
Social Security Scam
Scams that target people who depend on Social Security Benefits are especially upsetting. Often times, the victims receive an email or a call threatening to have their benefits cut off if they don’t confirm their social security information. In reality, scammers just took your information and are ruining your credit, stealing your identity and creating more problems down the line.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – HIGH. In an effort to combat such scams, we want to make one thing perfectly clear: Social Security will not send you an email asking you to give us your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, or other private information. If someone saying they are from Social Security does email you requesting information, don’t respond to the message. Instead, contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to see whether they really need any information from you.
A lottery scam is a type of advance-fee fraud, which begins with an unexpected email notification, phone call or mailing (sometimes including a large check), explaining that you have won a prize or sum of money from a competition or lottery you never entered. The correspondence will typically attempt to create a sense of urgency by asking victims to respond quickly or risk missing out. It may also urge victims to keep their winnings private or confidential to 'maintain security' or stop others from gaining access to their prize by mistake. Scammers use these tactics to prevent victims from seeking further information or advice for independent sources. Click here to view an example of a lottery scam received by an ACU of Texas member.
IDENTITY THEFT RISK – HIGH. Scammers who claim victims will receive a direct deposit or electronic transfer of funds will ask for bank account numbers, routing numbers, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. While they have no intention of transferring the money into the victim’s account, with the information they request, they can easily access accounts.