Online fraud and scams are created to obtain money or property from an individual through deceptive statements or acts. There are many types of online fraud and scams.

Recognize fraud and scams

Financial fraud is a crime, and it could cost you money. The best way to stop this crime is through awareness and prevention. Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Almost all fraud is based on tricking you into giving away something of real value, in exchange for something of presumed value. By the time you realize the received item or service is fake, it's too late.

Some signs to look for when trying to identify fraudulent activity:

  • Messages containing poor grammar and spelling
  • Messages not signed with an individual's name
  • A sense of urgency to purchase, even if details or a photo of the item have not been provided
  • A buyer wishes to purchase something from you on behalf of a "client"
  • A buyer wants a shipping agent to pick up a purchased item and asks for your home address
  • You received a payment sent as a cashier's check or money order, the amount is more than the listed price, and you are asked to wire the remainder back
  • Use of a TTY device to "confirm" a purchase - this is sometimes done to disguise the criminal's voice

Protect yourself

If you think someone might be trying to rip you off, the first thing to do is STOP and think. Don't rush into any "deal" you might regret later.

  • Know who you're dealing with - Ask for a phone number and say you will call the person back. This gives you a chance to check them out. Always check the credentials of an organization you do not know personally. Contact your local Better Business Bureau to find out if the company you're dealing with is legitimate.
  • Be cautious - Don't respond to any offers that look suspicious.
  • Take your time. Legitimate companies won't rush you to send or wire money. Ask yourself: Is the potential loss of your hard-earned money worth the "deal" that's being offered?
  • Check that check - Never accept a check from a person or business you do not know without verifying the check is real and the funds are available. A DNCU member service representative can help you determine if the check is valid.
  • Keep your accounts safe - Never wire money to someone you don't know, and never use your personal account for making "business" transactions. Legitimate businesses will not ask you to do this.
  • Keep track - Use DNCU Online Banking so you don't have to wait for your monthly statement to track your account. You should also review your credit report at least once a year to check for unusual activity.

Fraud is costly and embarrassing. Avoid being a victim by being smart, skeptical and aware!

If you think you're a victim

If you think you have accepted a counterfeit check or lost money in a fraudulent deal, you should report your concerns to a DNCU member service representative and to your local FBI office. Provide as much information as possible about the perpetrators, including print-outs of e-mail and details of phone conversations.

DNCU can assist by providing you with resources for reporting a financial crime:

While members are responsible for their account transactions, including the deposit of potentially counterfeit checks, Del Norte Credit Union will be there to assist if the need arises. Promptly informing a member service representative is the first step in protecting your account.