Don’t Let the Fraudsters Get You Down

There’s no question that life is much better when people are honest and forthright, especially when it comes to money.

Unfortunately, there’s also no question that that happens far less often than it ought to, which means that it’s always important to be on your guard against scams designed to get you to give up money and access when you really shouldn’t.

Recently, we’ve been hearing reports of a phone-based scam targeting older members of our community and trying to get funds via wire transfer. Because the scam is perpetrated over the phone by a live person—as opposed to an obvious “robocall” or the classic email from a “Nigerian prince”—it has a greater air of legitimacy than other attempts at fraud. However, looking a little bit more closely will help you see that the story doesn’t add up and help you avoid becoming a victim.

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In this scam, the caller claims that money has “erroneously” been transferred into the victim’s account, and that it needs to be “returned.” The scammer often then tries to gain access to the victim’s computer to “reverse” the account, either by purchasing gift cards or sending another wire transfer.

The thing about this kind of claim, though, is that it doesn’t stand up to investigation. If there were a transfer into your account, it would not only show up in your statements, but you also could see it in real time with FCB Texas’ online and mobile banking. So, even if you accept the idea that there might have been an error, checking the facts yourself will help guard you against fraud. But that leads to the next part of the scam.  

Don’t keep secrets

These fraudsters know that your bank can clear up any confusion about transfers into or out of your account. The solution? Keep you from discussing the matter with your bank.

Targets of this scam are often told that by helping to “reverse” the “erroneous” transaction, they could be perceived as laundering money, and would get in trouble if they were to notify their bank.

Put simply, there is no legitimate transaction that you cannot discuss with your bank or other financial institution. If someone tells you not to discuss a wire transfer—or any other movement of funds—with your bank, it’s a clear giveaway that something unsavory is happening.

Now that you’re aware of this particular scam, you can be on your guard against it. However, if there’s a new wrinkle in the story, and you’re still in doubt, contact us and ask.

You’ve likely heard that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fortunately, the same thing applies the other way. If something sounds too bad to be real, it probably is—and even if it is real, there’s never any harm in checking it out. We’re here to help fix mistakes, but the easiest ones to fix are the ones you never make in the first place. For more information on protecting yourself from fraud – and on getting the most out of your banking experience – check out FCB YOUniversity