Gift Card Scams—Common gift card scams include scammers telling people to pay a fee with a gift card to avoid being in trouble with the government or pretending to be a family member or friend who needs the funds for a specific store.
Charity Scams—Can take place online and over the phone. Always research any charity before you donate (Charity Navigator rates charities by transparency, accountability and financial health) never give money by gift card, cryptocurrency or wire transfer.
Package Delivery Scams—Delivery notification scam calls and texts can look like they’re from a legitimate mail or package courier and include a fake tracking link. The link leads you to a website to enter personal info, or it will install malware, to gain access on your phone or computer and steal your information. Proceed with caution if you receive a text and when in doubt contact the courier directly for accurate information about your deliveries.
Fake Gift Exchanges—Not only will you likely not receive any gifts in return, but the schemers will sometimes use the personal information you provided to put you on other scam lists, or worse—commit identity theft. The BBB advises to report social media posts for these gift exchanges if you see them in your feeds.
Temporary Holiday Jobs Scams—Sometimes, a job posting will ask the applicant to pay for job supplies, application or training fees. They’ll also promise high wages for routine tasks, such as stuffing envelopes or answering phones. You should always request an official offer letter and confirmation in writing of what the job entails and the compensation amount before completing any work.
Know the Red Flags
Though the scams change frequently, the constant is that the bad guys are trying to trick you into giving away a valuable commodity, your information.
Knowing the red flags to look for can help protect you from becoming a victim. Protecting your information is the key to protecting yourself.
Our goal at the Meridian Trust is to provide our members the tools that they need to protect themselves and to protect their money. We want our members to thrive financially and to be a partner in their financial journey.
There is no “one size fits all” scam. Fraudsters know that they need to try different tactics in order to successfully steal people’s hard earned money and information.
- A merchant or company you work with (I.E. Amazon, PayPal, Apple) needs you to verify your payment information to unlock your account.
- A “friend” sends you a message on social media requesting funds. They may offer to send you a check to cash and you can keep some of the money.
- You buy/sell something online and the other party pays/overpays you and you need to send money back.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! There aren’t very many things in life that are going to make you a quick buck. If someone is offering you something that sounds like an easy way to make some cash and doesn’t involve much effort, it is probably a scam.
How to Protect Yourself
- Never give your card or account information out to anyone unless you intend for a purchase to be made.
- Do not share the code we send to validate your account log in. We will never ask for that code and it will allow access to your online/mobile banking profile.
- Do not deposit checks for anyone and send them money with the promise you get to keep some of the funds.
- Do not share your personal information such as Social Security Number or Date of Birth.
- Do not click links in emails you are not expecting or call the number on an email stating your account has been blocked or information compromised. Always use known websites and phone numbers to contact those businesses-look up the contact information yourself.
- Don’t answer calls from an unknown number; if it s a true call, they will leave a voicemail.