How to Avoid Money Scams

Posted: July 14, 2020

Updated: October 5, 2023

A member is looking at their phone with their card in their hand while learning how to avoid money scams.

You work hard for your money, so you take the necessary precautions to protect it. Whether it’s practicing good cybersecurity habits, keeping important documents safe or checking your account and card balances once a week, you do a lot to ensure your finances and personal information are where you need them to be. However, there are criminals who will come up with ways to try to scam you out of your money and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Here are some common money scams and how to avoid them.

Work from Home Scams

With many people in the workforce working from home or seeking remote options, there are scammers who are posting too-good-to-be-true remote positions that are a means of stealing your account information and PII. Some of these criminals will ask you to purchase office supplies through a website, promising they’ll reimburse you for the money. Instead, they may have directed you to a fraudulent site that harvested your information and compromised your account information. Before agreeing to work remotely for someone, research the company. Are there any bad reviews about them or any issues reported by past employees?

Bad Checks

You receive a check in the mail. It appears to be from a legitimate business and even though the business name may be real, it’s unlikely that business actually issued that check. The checks usually come with a letter and instructions on how to deposit the check. What you don’t realize is you’re responsible for the check and the returned check fee. You’re told to deposit the check in your account and at some point will be asked to do something with all or a portion of the money. Then, after the money is withdrawn and the check comes back bad, you are liable for the negative balance. If you receive a check from a company you’d ordered something from recently, call a secure number on their official website or a past statement to confirm it is legitimate.

An “Employer” Requesting Account Information

Some people have lost out on their hard-earned money due to an “employer” requesting they share their Online Banking credentials so they can deposit money into their account. A true employer would never ask for this. Instead, your employer may ask for your routing and account numbers to set you up for direct deposit. If someone is saying they’re your employer and asks for your Online Banking credentials ask why, explain that you’re uncomfortable doing so and do not give them your information.

Online Car Scams

The internet can be a great way for people to sell items they’re no longer using. However, scammers may take advantage of that and create believable scenarios to steal people’s money and information. For example, say you’re selling your car online and an interested “buyer” contacts you. They’ll want more details about the car, but then they ask you to spend money to download a car history report. You pay the small fee and then you don’t hear from the person again. Unfortunately, this is a relatively common scam where scammers are collecting your personal account information by pretending to be interested in the car you’re selling. If someone asks you to do so, ask them why it’s needed and be cautious of fulfilling their request.

While protecting your finances has gotten easier, criminals are working harder to steal your information. By knowing of common scams and how to spot them, you can help prevent a scammer from stealing your personal information.