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Fraud Prevention

To contact us if you ever see anything suspicious on your Zeal account, please email us at Fraud@ZealCU.org.

Don’t fall victim to fraud. What to Know. What to Do:

Common Fraud Tactics

How to Identify and Report Them
Don’t Fall for an Account Takeover Scam

A scam known as “account takeover” fraud is on the rise, and there are a few things you can watch out for to try to keep it from happening to you.

What it is. The account takeover scam involves theft of your login usernames and passwords with the intent to access, and then take over, your account. By impersonating you online, the scammers can use your account as they wish, which usually means taking the money out for themselves.

(This scam is also used to take over a person’s email and social media accounts, usually as a preliminary step to later get control of their financial accounts.)

How it works. This scam usually begins with the fraudster calling, texting, or emailing you and claiming to be an employee of your credit union, bank, or other business where you have an account. The caller may already have certain personal details about you, such as the last four digits of a card number, the names of others on your account, a partial Social Security number, or your phone number or address.

The information they have can make them seem like a legitimate representative, but don’t be fooled!

The scammer’s next step is to ask you about questionable transactions on your account. When you say the transactions aren’t yours, they say they need to verify some details in order to freeze the card or account and prevent a theft.

They may ask you for your online banking user ID to “verify your identity.” Once they have your user ID, they’ll enter it and use the “forgot password” option to reset your password, usually while they still have you on the phone. If you have two-factor authorization set up, your bank will send you an automatic verification code; the caller will ask for that code, implying that they sent to you.

That’s all it takes. Now the scammer has your user ID, a new password that you don’t know, and full access to your account. Your money won’t stay in that account for long. What’s worse is that the cybercriminals may also attempt “credential stuffing,” where the login and password from one site are used to try to log in to accounts elsewhere.

Protect yourself. Some risk factors for account takeover and other types of identity theft are out of your control. For example, you may be the victim of a data breach, or your information might have been posted to the dark web. But there are some steps you can take to decrease the risk:

  • Don’t use the same online user ID and password for multiple sites. Try to use a unique, secure password for every online account. Look into secure password managers to generate and store unique passwords so you don’t have to remember every single one.
  • Use multifactor authentication when it’s available. You’ll receive a one-time passcode by text or email each time you log in to your account. Don’t share this code with anyone you don’t know and trust.
  • Check your financial accounts often. If you catch errors or unfamiliar transactions quickly, you have a better chance at success in working with the institution to protect your money.

Common Text Messaging Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions: Be aware of Imposter Scams via Text Messaging.
Don’t click on that random text asking you to take action or click a link. It’s a scam. Today’s most common fraud tactic targeting consumers is the Imposter Scam; Scammers are using text messaging to target their victims.

The scam begins with a text or a call; the scammer pretends to be a person or business you trust to convince you to send them money or share personal information. Any text asking you to share personal, sensitive information is a scam; Zeal Credit Union, as well as any other legitimate business, will never contact you to request sensitive information such as: your Online Banking password/username, PIN(s), or account number – and we’ll never request that you wire us money.

The Imposter Scam: Read more.

Never send money to a love interest you have never met in person. It could be a romance scam.
Romance Scam Prevention Tips

According to the FBI, in 2021, upwards of 24,000 victims, nationally, reported losing an approximate $1 billion to romance scams. The FBI notes the actual amount is likely higher, as many don’t report romance scams.

Prevention tips include:

  • No matter how long you’ve been communicating with someone online or through a dating app, send money ONLY to people you KNOW and have an established and close personal relationship. Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
  • Research any suspicious person’s photo and profile using online searches.
  • Beware if the person asks you to leave the platform where you “met” and communicate directly by text or phone.
  • Be cautious if the person attempts to isolate you from friends and family, this is a big red flag.
  • Beware if the person promises to meet in person but then always comes up with a reason to postpone.
  • If someone becomes a victim of romance or another form of fraud, they should report it as soon as possible to their financial institution and local law enforcement.
Recognize the signs of a scam.

Don’t fall for a scam. Read “How to Avoid a Scam” at Consumer.FTC.Gov.

Set up alerts on your accounts.
Request a free credit report.

You can get a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order all three reports at once, or one every four months. To order, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.

Stay protected.

Stay aware of common consumer scams and fraud tactics. Check back here, and at Consumer.FTC.Gov , often to stay current on the most common consumer scams and how to avoid them.

Additional Helpful Resources
Video Resources:
What to do in the Event of a Data Breach
What is ATM skimming?
How to Keep your Computer Secure
Protect your Computer from Malware

Understanding Public Wi-Fi and Secured Websites
Identifying Scammers