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Understanding & Avoiding Financial Scams In 2024: MEFCU’s Tips For Protecting Your Money

Protecting against financial scams in 2024 with MEFCU`

In 2024, financial scams are more sophisticated and prevalent than ever. With the rise of digital transactions and the increasing use of technology, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and informed about potential threats. At Members Exchange Federal Credit Union (MEFCU), we are committed to helping our members protect their financial well-being. This guide covers various types of scams, how to identify them, and effective strategies to safeguard your money.

Common Financial Scams To Watch Out For

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, address, and financial account numbers, and uses it to make unauthorized purchases or obtain credit. MEFCU offers comprehensive Identity Theft Protection plans starting as low as $2.50/month. These plans include daily credit monitoring, alerts for suspicious activity, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage.

Phishing And Vishing Scams

Phishing scams involve fraudulent emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, asking you to click on links or provide personal information. Vishing, a combination of “voice” and “phishing,” uses phone calls to achieve the same goal. Scammers might impersonate bank representatives or government officials to steal your information. Learn more about these tactics from the University of Georgia’s cybersecurity tips.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams involve fraudsters posing as technical support representatives, claiming there is a problem with your computer or device. They may request remote access to your device or ask you to download malicious software. Protect yourself by never granting remote access to unknown parties and running regular virus scans. If you think any of your MEFCU accounts have been compromised, call our Fraud Awareness Center at 800-748-9459.

Investment Scams

Investment scams promise high returns with little risk. Scammers often reach out via social media, email, or phone, convincing you to invest money. Initially, you might see small returns, but eventually, communications stop, and your money is gone. The Federal Trade Commission reported over $4.6 billion lost to investment scams in 2023.

Predatory Schemes

Predatory schemes take advantage of vulnerable individuals, especially during times of financial stress. According to the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, common schemes include advance fee loan scams, foreclosure bailouts, and rent-to-buy scams. These scams often involve upfront payments for services that are never provided.

Specific Scams In Mississippi

Phone Call Scams

The Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office warns residents about scammers posing as law enforcement officers. They claim there are warrants for their arrest and demand payment via Cash App, PayPal, or gift cards. Remember, legitimate authorities will never ask for payments through these methods.

IRS Impersonation Scams

The IRS warns that scammers often pose as IRS agents, targeting seniors in Mississippi to steal personal information. They might use threats of arrest or demands for immediate payment via unconventional methods like gift cards or cryptocurrency. Always verify the legitimacy of any IRS communication by contacting the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.

Protecting Yourself Against Scams

Monitor Your Accounts

Check your credit report and bank statements regularly for unauthorized transactions. MEFCU provides tools and resources for disputing unauthorized charges to help you take action quickly if you spot any discrepancies.

Use Strong Passwords And Security Measures

Ensure your online accounts are protected with strong, unique passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Be wary of unsolicited emails and phone calls, and never provide personal information unless you are certain of the requester’s identity.

Understand Behavioral Red Flags

Understanding the behavioral red flags of fraud can help you recognize suspicious activities. These red flags include unusual financial activity, reluctance to provide information, and inconsistencies in stories from potential scammers.

Report Suspected Fraud

If you suspect a scam has targeted you, report it immediately. MEFCU has a Fraud Prevention Service that sends automatic alerts for potential fraud. Additionally, report any suspicious activity should be reported to local authorities and federal agencies like the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Enroll In Identity Theft Protection

Consider enrolling in MEFCU’s Identity Theft Protection program. These plans offer daily credit monitoring, educational resources, and a dedicated support team for fraud resolution.

A Final Word On Financial Safety

Staying informed and vigilant is your best defense against financial scams. At MEFCU, we are dedicated to providing you with the tools and resources needed to protect your financial health. For more information, visit our contact page, check out our latest blogs, or call us at 601-922-3350 or toll-free at 1-800-748-9459. Your security is our priority.