Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps or contact targets through social media sites. The scammer will say they are living, working or traveling outside the U.S. They cultivate a relationship with their targets and build trust. Sooner or later, the scammer will ask the target for money. They will say they have an emergency or an urgent need, such as a medical expenses, debt or travel expenses. Often times, the target is asked to provide online banking credentials or a routing and bank account number to deposit funds electronically or by check. The target is then instructed to transfer the funds back to the scammer or other parties in the form of gift cards, through money transfer services, wire transfers and even cash. The deposited funds turn out to be fraudulent and the target is responsible.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
With so many people talking about Bitcoin, it is no surprise that fraudsters would find a way to be part of it. Scammers may prey on those newer to Bitcoin since it is a complicated world to understand. They will ask their victim to make an initial investment in a company that is about to go for an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). After doing this, you will get a stake in the company (they claim). Most times these companies do not exist and your payment goes towards nothing except the scammer's pocket.
Always keep your passwords secure. You usually hear about keeping your financial account passwords secure, but this also applies to social media and sites with your personal information. Digital kidnapping can happen when a hacker takes over your social media profiles and demands money to return the access. The scammer may threaten to post damaging content too in return for money. If this were to happen to you, contact the social media provider and let them know you are a victim of fraud.
How can you stay safe?
Knowledge is power. Know what to look out for. Always lead with your head, not your heart. If something seems too good to be true, odds are it probably is. Finally, remember to always protect your passwords.
If you feel you may be a victim of a scam, please call us for assistance at 203-377-2252 and ask for Sikorsky Credit Union’s Fraud Investigator.