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Safeguarding Your Finances: How Leaders Empowers Members to Combat Fraud

safeguarding finances

Leaders Credit Union is committed to empowering its members to protect their hard-earned money by providing comprehensive education and proactive measures against fraudulent activities. We have a risk management team dedicated to protecting you from fraud and educating you on how to avoid it. With around 100 fraud cases a month, our risk management team sees every kind of fraud possible. We sat down with Rebecca Scheidecker, Help Desk Support and Risk Management Specialist, to ask her what types of fraud our members are experiencing and what her best tips and tricks would be to avoid fraud.

“The spectrum of people that fraud hits is vast, from teenagers to the elderly,” Rebecca said.

Common Fraudulent Practices

Fraudsters use various techniques to deceive unsuspecting victims. Here are some of the most prevalent forms of fraud we see our members facing:

Phishing: Fraudsters send emails or text messages disguised as legitimate communications from reputable organizations, such as financial institutions or government agencies. These messages often contain links that redirect victims to fake websites where personal information, such as account numbers and passwords, is stolen.

Impersonation: Fraudsters may call or email individuals, claiming to represent Leaders Credit Union or other trusted institutions. They may request sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers or dates of birth, under the disguise of verifying account details or resolving technical issues.

Shipping Texts: Fraudsters may send text messages claiming to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS), alerting recipients about undelivered packages or requiring payment for customs fees. These messages often contain malicious links that lead to phishing websites or malware installations.

The Psychology of Fraud

Fraudsters often exploit emotions such as fear and urgency to manipulate their victims. They create a sense of panic or time pressure, prompting individuals to act impulsively without carefully considering the situation. This can lead to hasty decisions that compromise personal information or financial accounts.

“Urgency and fear drive those phone calls and if they can keep someone off balance or worried, emotions are a bad instigator to thought processes,” Rebecca said. “They kind of shut down your thought processes. So people aren’t thinking logically. During the pressure of the moment, they give away information.”

Rebecca shared many tragic members’ stories where they lost money from a fraudster. One was a romance scam, which are difficult because the fraudsters work you for a long time, sometimes even talking to the person for several years before they ask for money. The fraudster gets your money by telling you to transfer money to them and then they will pay you back. They build a level of trust and usually, the first transaction goes well, but then the following transactions are fraudulent once they’ve established this trust.

There was one lady who had gone so far in a romance scam that they got engaged and needed to transfer money for a wedding. The woman and the fraudster had never met in person but had Face Timed a few times. The fraud department at Leaders tried to help her avoid transferring money for this wedding, but she transferred it anyway. Eventually, she did realize that it was fraud, and she was embarrassed. Unfortunately, this fraudster had established trust and scammed her.

Although this is a tragic story and this woman lost a lot of money, and a love she thought was real, there are situations where we catch fraud and our members listen. There was another woman in a romance scam who was a single mom and was about to fall for fraud, but she listened to the advice of professionals and was able to realize it was a scam before she gave the money away. The most important thing is to listen to your bank or credit union if they think something might be fraudulent. They are the experts and want to help you.

Another common fraud tactic is the Microsoft scam. There was a member who had something pop up on their screen saying there was virus on their computer and that they must stop and call a certain number immediately. The fraudster was the person on the other end of the phone. Most people think the person they’re calling is there to help them, but in reality, the fraudster gains access to their computer, logs in to different personal websites with your banking information, and gets all your personal information from the computer.

fraud prevention kit

Leaders Credit Union's Approach to Fraud Prevention

Leaders Credit Union takes a comprehensive approach to fraud prevention, encompassing education, proactive measures, and support for victims.

“Protect your information, your personal information is called personal for a reason. Only certain people should have that. Some random person sending you money or your best friend down the street, they don’t need your personal banking information,” Rebecca said.

We actively educate our members about various fraud schemes, providing tips on identifying and avoiding fraudulent activities. We also have security systems to monitor account activity for suspicious patterns and transactions. These systems can flag potential fraud attempts before they succeed, allowing the credit union to take immediate action to protect members' funds.

In the unfortunate event that a member falls victim to fraud, Leaders Credit Union provides prompt and compassionate assistance. The credit union works closely with members to assess the situation, implement necessary safeguards, and provide guidance on reporting the fraud to relevant authorities.

Key Takeaways

Stop and Think: If you receive a suspicious communication requesting personal information or urging you to take immediate action, take a step back and evaluate the situation carefully. Never provide sensitive information over the phone or through unverified links.

Communicate with Your Financial Institution: Leaders Credit Union encourages members to reach out if they have any concerns about potential fraud. The credit union is committed to helping members protect their finances and will never judge those who have been victimized.

Vigilance is Key: Fraudsters are constantly adapting their tactics, so it is essential to remain informed about the latest schemes. By staying educated and taking proactive measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to fraud.

Commit to Safeguarding Your Finances with Leaders

Leaders Credit Union is committed to safeguarding its members' financial well-being. By empowering members with knowledge and providing comprehensive support, the credit union plays a crucial role in combating fraud and fostering a secure financial environment for all.

Rebecca’s biggest piece of advice to protect yourself is that, “We are here to help you, and helping you means helping protect your money. We’re not going to judge you, we want to make sure we’re putting you in the best position possible to take care of your financial needs.”

We've created The Ultimate Fraud Prevention Kit that is a comprehensive guide that dives deep into everything you need to know to protect yourself from financial fraud.

Report Scams to the FTC

If you were scammed or think you saw a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.