The first thing you learn when talking with Bernadette is that when it comes to fraud prevention, she’s got all angles covered. As Manager of GECU’s Risk Management Department, she’s got an encyclopedic memory for every scam that’s shown up in our community. The second thing you’ll learn is that even Bernadette is sometimes surprised by the new ways fraudsters come up with to try and trick people out of their money. Fortunately, she has some tips that can help you avoid scams and keep your money from falling into the wrong hands.
“The number one rule is to never share your personal information like your Social Security number, your passwords or account numbers,” says Bernadette. Scammers are known to go as far as impersonating financial institutions, utility companies and others in an effort to gain this information. “Simply saying no and calling the business they claim to be from at their official, listed number to verify will let you know if a call or email is legitimate.”
This rule extends to online interactions like buying, selling, answering a help wanted ad and even online dating. Fraudulent offers are often poorly worded, with frequent misspellings, choppy sentences and missing information. “If something seems too easy or too good to be true, it probably is,” says Bernadette.
As a final rule, Bernadette suggests being proactive when a suspicious encounter presents itself. “We owe it to our members to go the extra mile. We’ll meet in person to help them avoid a scam.” If you come across an offer that seems too good to be true, or are contacted by someone requesting your personal information, Bernadette invites you to contact your financial institution to see if they’ve heard of a similar scam. “A good transaction benefits both parties, and if the other person can’t wait for you to make sure you’re not being scammed, it’s a good idea to walk away before money or information is exchanged.”
With people like Bernadette and the Risk Management team, spotting and avoiding a scam is easy.
Added Security for Fraud Prevention
Take advantage of the mobile wallet included with most smartphones to protect your payment info with added layers of security. Mobile wallets, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, let you make secure purchases in stores, in apps, and on the web. They also allow you to send and receive money from friends and family. Mobile wallets do not share your actual card number, so your information stays private and secure. Plus, you can check out faster with your smartphone (no need to dig for your wallet). Remember to add your GECU debit and credit cards to your mobile wallet.
Identity theft, frauds, ransomware viruses and more can make our online experiences challenging but here are some advanced tips that can help secure your online presence.
- Create a strong password for every account you own and never share or write it down.
- Use up-to-date spyware and malware protection software, like antiviruses and firewalls.
- Use caution when browsing the internet, don’t click on any pop-up that shows up in your screen.
- Backup your important data on the cloud or an external hard drive.
Most of us won’t encounter any of these scammers, but it’s important to stay alert and proactive. With a little bit of caution, you can protect not just your money, but your good name. If you’ve ran across something that seems too good to be true or someone asking for your personal information, make sure to verify with your financial institution. GECU’s website features fraud alerts on the homepage and a new fraud prevention tip in every issue of the Link, our newsletter. GECU members are encouraged to check with their nearest branch or call us at 778-9221 or toll-free at 1-800-772-4328 if they’ve been approached by a suspected fraudster. Remember that GECU will never contact you asking for your personal information.
GECU makes every effort to keep your personal and financial information safe from online threats. You’ll find a whole lot of useful info and helpful tips to protect your accounts and personal information in our Fraud Prevention Resource Center.