Computer Hacker
hacker wearing headset and holding credit card

Fraud and scams are dishonest schemes
with the goal to gain money or information from you.

If you want to stay safe from hackers and scammers, always be cautious about unsolicited opportunities. If you didn’t contact them first, there’s a good chance scammers are at the other end. Never give out your personal information and never give money to someone you don’t know.

There is a large amount of fraudulent activity that occurs preying on innocent people.  Rhode Island Credit Union will make every attempt to keep you informed and advised of common activity.

It is important to remember to never respond to any email requesting personal information. Fraudulent emails and websites are created to look authentic. Notify us whenever you receive a suspicious e-mail or any unsolicited request for personal information about your accounts.

Have you ever seen an ad that promises you a new credit identity? Many of these ads guarantee they can get rid of negative credit information in your credit report or they can increase your credit score a specific number of points, but be careful. No one can guarantee this. Also, after receiving payment from your account, some of these companies may report all credit accounts, loans and inquiries in your name to the credit bureaus as fraudulent, even legitimate ones. That means you’d have to work with the credit bureaus and your financial institution to sort things out. Be wary if a company: Asks for your account number so they can “view your account”. Insists you pay them before they do any work for you. Tells you not to contact the credit reporting companies directly. Tells you to dispute information in your credit report—even if you know it’s accurate. Tells you to give false information on your applications for credit or a loan. Doesn’t explain your legal rights when they tell you what they can do for you.
In these types of scams, you’re contacted or see an advertisement on social media with an offer to earn money for “guaranteed income.” Once you respond or reach out, you’re asked to give personal information and pay a fee or buy a starter kit. You may be told, “We’ll need your bank account number so we can deposit your checks.” Through gradual back and forth communication, the scammer slowly tries to get you to trust them. Be suspicious of: Guarantees you’ll earn lots of money for a simple task (e.g., envelope stuffing) Vague descriptions of the job or what is required Requirements to pay money for information or materials, especially via money order, wire transfer or preloaded gift card Requests for personal information, especially bank account and identification details (e.g., Social Security Number, driver’s license, passport) Keep reminding yourself—if it’s “too good to be true,” it probably is.
Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. Con artists are present on most dating and social media sites. The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money. If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.
Grandparents often have a hard time saying no to their grandchildren, which is something scam artists know all too well. Scammers who gain access to consumers’ personal information by mining social media or purchasing data from cyber thieves, are creating storylines to prey on the fears of grandparents. The scammers call and impersonate a grandchild in a crisis situation, asking for immediate financial assistance. The callers may “spoof” the caller ID that appears on the recipient’s phone to make an incoming call look like it’s coming from a trusted source.mThe best advice for avoiding this type of scam, or any suspicious phone call, is to hang up immediately and contact trusted family members to verify. If you have caller ID and you don’t recognize an incoming phone number, just let it go to voicemail. If you do wind up in a conversation, use caution if you are being pressured for information or to send money quickly. Scammers often try to bully victims into transferring money through a mobile payment app, by wiring money, or by purchasing gift cards or money orders. If you receive a call like this, report it immediately to local law enforcement.
Victims are told they’ve won money, but they need to pay a fee, usually by wire transfer, to receive their winnings. If you find yourself facing something that sounds like one of these scams, don’t pay money to claim a prize and search the official website and call the lottery agency directly to see if you really won.
Powerful, touching images of people in need and victims of disasters abound on social media. They make us want to do something. Unfortunately, there are criminals who take advantage of people’s natural desire to help. Many put up fake websites after a natural disaster or impersonate celebrities with charities. However, what looks legitimate may not be.

Fraud tactics include:

  • Dumpster Diving. Thieves rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper that includes your personal information.
  • Malware. It is designed to harm, attack or take unauthorized control over a computer system. Malware includes viruses, worms and Trojans. It’s important to know that Malware can include a combination of all three of the types noted.
  • Phishing. Criminals use replicas of existing web pages to try to deceive you into entering personal, financial or password data. Often suspects use urgency or scare tactics, such as threats to close accounts.
  • Vishing. A type of phishing attack using a local phone number in a fake email to obtain your sensitive information. The attacker attempts to legitimize the email by providing a local phone number. The unsuspecting caller is then tricked through an automated phone system to relinquish their sensitive information.
  • Smishing or SMS Phishing. SMS Phishing is similar to Phishing and Vishing except that it uses SMS Text Messaging as the delivery medium. The recipient is usually asked to call a number to reactivate an account or debit card. The attacker will usually ask for information needed to reproduce the credit or debit card. They may even ask for a Social Security Number.
  • Pharming. Pharming takes place when a valid website address is illegally redirected to a site that is not legitimate. These ‘fake’ websites ask for personal and sensitive information.
  • Trojan. A Trojan is malicious code that is disguised or hidden within another program that appears to be safe. The Trojan allows attackers to gain unauthorized access to the computer in order to steal information and cause harm. Trojans commonly spread through email attachments and Internet downloads. A common component is a “keystroke logger” which captures a user’s keystrokes in an attempt to capture the user’s credentials. It will then send those credentials to the attacker.
  • Spoofing. When an attacker masquerades as someone else by providing false data. Phishing has become the most common form of website spoofing. Another form of spoofing is URL spoofing. This happens when an attacker exploits bugs in your browser in order to display incorrect URLs. Another form of spoofing is called “man-in-the-middle”. This occurs when an attacker compromises the communication between you and another party on the Internet. Many firewalls can be updated or configured to significantly prevent this type of attack.
  • Spyware. Loaded on to your computer, spyware is a type of program that watches what users do and forwards information to someone else. It is most often installed when you download free software on the Internet. Unfortunately hackers discovered this to be an effective means of sending sensitive information over the Internet. Attackers use the existing spyware from free applications on your computer for malicious means.
  • Virus. A computer virus is a malicious program that attaches itself to and infects other software applications and files. Viruses can carry a “payload,” executable scripts designed to damage, delete or steal information from a computer.