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Dec. 5, 2023


A relatively new type of fraud that targets online shoppers, triangulation fraud involves malicious actors using fake retail sites to harvest online shoppers' payments information. The fraudsters use legitimate merchants to complete the orders so shoppers don't know their payments information was compromised, requiring financial institutions to manage disputes and reissue cards. 

The Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) helped Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) develop a white paper, which details the impact of the fraud scheme and provides steps to help raise awareness of this online shopping threat. 

Access the white paper here.


Nov. 29, 2023


This scam is called payroll diversion or third-party payroll fraud. The scammer sends an email designed to look like it's coming from an employee to human resources, payroll, or the finance department requesting an update or change to that employee's direct deposit information. If the scam is successful, the money is diverted to the criminals bank account. In another version of the scam, the criminal will send a phishing email directly to the employee, designed to appear as if it's coming from their employer, to get that employee to divulge information that will allow the scammer to access his or her payroll information.

Employers and employees can help avoid this scam by confirming any changes to payroll information directly with the person purporting to request the change. Pay attention to the sender's email address. Often the email may have the employee's or employer's name in it, but subtle clues can help determine if it's fake.

August 29, 2023

Fraud Schemes Continue to Grow and Evolve. 

The FBI monitors schemes like Business email Compromise, Vendor and Payroll Inpersonation Fraud, and Mortgage Closing Schemes, Which typically involve social engineering or computer intrusion techniques. For details on how to spot and prevent these cyber fraud schemes, access the booklet put out by NACHA on Protecting Against Cyber Fraud.

More About Credit-Push Fraud

Credit-Push Fraud uses social engineering and email phishing attacks to deceive someone into sending funds to a criminal-controlled account. One good resource that broadly outlines CPF and offers steps for identifying and combatting the trend is Nacha’s recently released guidebook, “A New Risk Management Framework for the Era of Credit-Push Fraud”. Nacha’s Michael Herd states that “improved information sharing can counter fraud by improving awareness and understanding of fraud scenarios, enabling communication and recovery between parties regarding specific instances of fraud (”

CPF continues to dominate in the faster payments space with its expectation of quick turnaround and dependence on digital connections. Below are the four most prominent CPF scenarios, and how to protect against them, as outlined by Nacha.

Payroll Impersonation Fraud, characterized also as ghost employee fraud, employee misclassification fraud, or employee falsification fraud, occurs when cybercriminals hack employee records or access company portals using phished credentials to create a false identity. Much effort is made to identify an employee that has access to payroll and related accounting-type activities to redirect paychecks into a criminal-controlled account.

Best Protections: Tighten scrutiny over direct deposit changes and systems access, utilize multi-factor authentication for accessing sensitive employee records and details, and increase employee education for awareness and red flags.

Vendor Impersonation Fraud, also classified as Relationship and Trust Fraud by the Federal Reserve, takes place when fraudsters convince government agencies, service organizations, and third-party vendors to make payments to the fraudster’s account. Smaller businesses and vendors tend to fall prey to this fraud type, whereby internal protections may only be stopgap measures.

Best Protections: Authenticate all payment change requests using known contact information, separate internal oversight between current and new vendors, and maintain stringent policies for vendor address and direct deposit changes.

Business Email Compromise Fraud (BEC) occurs when an email of someone holding authority within a company (normally C-Level personnel) is compromised and a request for funds is sent to a trusted internal party. Also classified as Relationship and Trust Fraud by the Federal Reserve, BEC fraud can be very damaging to a company, given current focus on the digital space, quick money movement, and reliance on email communications to conduct daily operations. Fraudsters conduct BEC fraud using techniques such as spear-phishing, wicked malware, and slight changes to legitimate email and company addresses.

Best Protections: Be cautious of urgent requests, verify (in person when possible) every request for personal payments or fund transfers, set up and never disable two-factor authentication, and scrutinize email address formats, company URLs, and phone numbers.

Account Takeover Fraud (ATF) occurs when a fraudster gains access to all necessary account information and then conducts transfers into their own accounts or accounts funded for unscrupulous purposes. ATF can wreak havoc in many ways, but criminals with legitimate credentials can deplete accounts quickly and move on before raising suspicions.

Best Protections: Engage and never disable multi-factor-authentication on all accounts, stay mindful of data that is shared online and via social media sites, and never click on links in unsolicited emails and text messages.

May 25, 2022

Zelle® Financial Education

Understanding Fraud & Scams

As a consumer, it’s important to understand how fraud and scams are defined because there may be differences in the consumer protections offered by your bank or credit union. A basic way to differentiate fraud and scams is unauthorized vs. authorized transactions.


If someone gained access to your bank account and made a payment with Zelle® without your permission, and you weren’t involved in any way with the transaction, this is typically considered fraud since it was unauthorized activity. If someone gained access to your account, and stole money or sent it without your permission, this could be defined as fraud. Immediately report suspected unauthorized activity to your financial institution. Because you did NOT authorize a payment, you are typically able to get your money back after reporting the incident.


If you were knowingly involved in the transaction and you gave the “ok” and authorized a payment to be sent, this is typically defined as a scam. Even if you were tricked or persuaded into authorizing a payment for a good or service someone said they were going to provide, but they didn’t fulfill it, this would be considered a scam. Because you authorized the payment, you may not be able to get your money back. A few types of scams reported involve purchasing tickets, buying puppies and other financial scams like cash flips. Get more examples of scams.

Contact Your Financial Institution for Possible Recourse

Contact your bank or credit union immediately if you feel you’ve been the victim of fraud or have been scammed. In cases of unauthorized payments, consumers have legal rights and protections under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (also known as "Reg E”). It’s important to read the user service agreement and the account agreement with your financial institution to understand the terms of any payment service you intend to use.

Resources & Tips for Safe Payments

How to Pay it Safe with Zelle®

Zelle® is a fast, safe and easy way to send money to friends and family. It’s similar to cash. So you want to make sure you use it to pay only people you know and trust, like your roommate, your dad or your babysitter. Not people you don't know, like that stranger on the internet selling suspiciously inexpensive puppies from a place you've never heard of. Look for Zelle® in your banking app, and pay it safe out there.

Digital payments continue to grow across the U.S. And with issues like identity theft and other cybercrimes on the rise, it’s important to know what you can to do help protect yourself – and your money - when sending and receiving money digitally. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to only send money to people you trust.

Here are some other things you can do:

1. Update your security settings: Change your security settings to enable multifactor authentication — which is a second step to verify who you are, like a text with a code — for any accounts or services you use that support it. For example, social media sites, online and mobile banking, credit cards, utilities and more.

2. Sign up for text or email alerts offered by your bank: Most banks and credit unions warn of suspicious activity on your account. Sign up for account alerts, and contact your bank immediately if you suspect unauthorized activity.

3. Steer clear of phishing calls and emails: Fraudsters today are using more sophisticated email and phone techniques to gain access to your information. Fraudsters spoof calls and send emails that look like they are from your bank. Beware of clicking links in emails, and never provide any information over the phone if someone stating they’re from your bank calls you. Hang up and call your bank at the phone number listed on the back of your bank-issued debit card or on the bank’s official website if you must provide information over the phone. Learn more about fraud and scams.

4. Don’t share personal details online: Avoid sharing your location, home address, phone number and other personal information across social media. Check your settings and permissions on each social platform, and activate any additional security features available, like two-factor authentication. Also, don’t accept friend/connection requests from people you don’t know.

5. Use strong passwords: Don’t use the same password for every site. Tools like Last Pass and KeePass will securely store your passwords so you don’t have to remember dozens of them. And, it goes without saying, but don’t share your passwords with anyone!

6. Beware public Wi-Fi: Using the free public Wi-Fi at your favorite neighborhood coffee shop may save you some gigabytes on your data plan, but it can come with risks. If you do choose to log onto the coffee shop’s free Wi-Fi guest network, make sure you don’t log onto any secure sites, such as your mobile or online banking sites.

Using Zelle® Safely

No sensitive account details are shared when you send and receive money with Zelle® – only an email address or U.S. mobile number tied to a bank account in the U.S. Authentication and monitoring features are in place to help make your payments secure, but, pay it safe: Only use Zelle® with people you trust, and always make sure you are using the correct mobile number or email address!

Here’s how to pay it safe:

  1. Only send money to those you trust: Zelle® should only be used with friends, family and others you trust. Why? Because you can’t cancel a payment once it’s been sent, if the recipient is already enrolled with Zelle®. And if you send money to someone you don’t know, or you do not get what you expected, you may not get your money back.
  2. Treat Zelle® Like Cash: While Zelle® and cash are certainly different, both provide the recipient with fast access to the money you send. With Zelle®, money moves directly into the enrolled recipient’s bank account within minutes1. And again, once you authorize a payment to be sent, you can’t cancel it if the recipient is already enrolled.
  3. Beware of payment scams: If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, a stranger selling online concert tickets at a steep discount and insisting you pay with Zelle® may be a scam. Zelle® does not offer a protection program for authorized payments, so pay it safe. Only send money to people you personally know and trust.
  4. Confirm your recipient's contact information: Make sure you have the correct U.S. mobile phone number or email address for the person you want to send money to. When in doubt, contact your friend to double check. If you authorize a payment to be sent to the wrong person, you may not get your money back.
  5. Understand your payment options: If you don’t know a person or aren’t sure you’ll get what you paid for, using your credit card may be a better payment option. Many credit card companies offer built-in buyer protections for cardholders. Check the terms and conditions of your credit card to see what’s offered. Unlike a credit card, Zelle® does not offer a protection program for any authorized payments made with Zelle® – for example, if you do not receive the item or the item is not as described or as you expected.

September 15, 2021

Protecting Your Bank Account from Fraud

Hackers are scammers are always looking for ways to get your bank account information. Staying proactive and following some simple safety tips can help you protect your bank account.

Online Banking Tips

  • Password protect your phone, tablet, computer
    Password protect your devices when not in use to prevent unauthorized access and to protect yourself in case your device is lost or stolen. Consult the documentation of your device for information on how to set up password protection.
  • Create strong, unique passwords and change them every 3 months
    Passwords should be 8 or more characters long and include a combination of numbers, symbols and upper- and lowercase letters.
  • Use multi factor authentication
    If your bank or credit union offers multi factor authentication. Use it. Multicolor authentication is a method in which your device is granted access after successfully providing two or more pieces of information.
  • Don't keep your accounts logged in
    When you are done with online banking, log out.
  • Avoid banking on public WIFI
    Public WIFI isn't necessarily secure. Avoid doing online banking on public WIFI networks. Save that for a secure network at home.
  • Don't access your bank account from a shared computer
    Avoid accessing your bank account from a computer that is not yours or is a shared computer.
  • Only buy from secure websites
    Before making a purchase online, make sure the website is secure and authentic. Avoid using your debit card and opt to use your credit card. Credit cards offer more protection.

General Tips

  • Don't provide personal or account information unless you initiate contact
    Your financial institution should not ask for you to supply personal information, such as your social security number or account number, via text or email. Be suspicious of any unsolicited requests for your information. When in doubt, contact your financial institution via the phone number on the back of your debit/credit card.
  • Never provide your bank account or personal information via email
    Your financial institution should never ask for information like your social security number, bank account information, or credit card information via email.
  • Check your account regularly for unauthorized charges or withdrawals
    Make it a habit to check your bank account transactions frequently for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. Report any fraudulent charges immediately to your bank or credit union.
  • Check your annual credit report at least once a year
    Visit is external) to obtain your free credit report. Check for unauthorized accounts opened in your name.
  • Report lost/stolen cards right away
    If your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, report it right away to your financial institution.

Sept. 15, 2021

The Most Common Types of Consumer Fraud

Consumer fraud occurs when a person suffers from a financial or personal loss. The fraud can involve the use of deceptive, unfair, misleading, or false business practices. Fraudsters typically target senior citizens and college students, but all consumers are at risk of fraud.

Here are some of the most common frauds that victimize consumers and tips on how to protect yourself from becoming affected.

  • Consumer fraud occurs when a person suffers from a financial loss involving the use of deceptive, unfair, or false business practices.
  • With identity theft, thieves steal your personal information, assume your identity, open credit cards, bank accounts, and charge purchases.
  • Mortgage scams are aimed at distressed homeowners to get money from them.
  • Credit and debit card fraud is when someone takes your information off the card and makes purchases or offers to lower your credit card interest rate.
  • Fake charities and lotteries prey on people's sympathy or greed.
  • Debt collection fraud tries to collect on unpaid bills whether they are yours or not.

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information—which can include your name, Social Security number, bank account number, and credit card information—often through data mining.

The goal of the thieves is to use your personal information to assume your identity to access your bank account and drain funds, open and use credit cards in your name, take out loans, use your health insurance to pay medical bills, and file a tax return to collect your refund.

Signs of Identity Theft

You may be a victim of identity theft if one or more of the following occurs:

  • Unexpected withdrawals are made from your bank accounts.
  • Bills and financial statements you normally receive in the mail stop coming—a sign criminals changed your address so they can open financial products in your name.
  • You receive calls from debt collectors about unfamiliar credit cards and debts.
  • You notice unfamiliar accounts on your credit report.
  • You receive bills from medical providers for treatments you didn't have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name.
  • You receive notices, or hear news about, a data breach at a company where you do business.

What You Can Do

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, start by going to, a website administered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The site provides directions on how to help you recover your identity and repair any damage you have experienced. In addition, the FTC urges you to:

  • Call companies where you expect fraud occurred to report the fraud, close or freeze accounts, and change login passwords and PINs.
  • Place a free fraud alert with credit bureaus and obtain free credit reports.
  • Report the identity theft to the FTC using the link above.
  • Report the theft to local police for local monitoring.

Mortgage Fraud

The FBI deals with thousands of mortgage fraud cases each year. Today's mortgage scams are often aimed at distressed homeowners, according to the FBI's Financial Institution Fraud Unit. These scams include foreclosure rescue schemes, loan modification schemes, and equity skimming, among others. They are often carried out by real estate and mortgage professionals who misuse their specialized knowledge and authority.

Signs of Mortgage Fraud

The National Crime Prevention Council advises that you may be a victim of mortgage fraud if one or more of the following are true:

  • You were promised a loan modification or that foreclosure would not happen.
  • Payment of fees was required in advance of services provided.
  • You were offered a money-back guarantee, advised to stop making mortgage payments, told not to contact your mortgage servicer, or instructed to begin making payments to someone other than your servicer.
  • The process to buy the home seemed much slower than normal.
  • Your questions were not answered or were answered incompletely.
  • You were asked to sign papers you did not have a chance to read or did not fully understand.

What You Can Do

The FBI recommends that consumers protect themselves against mortgage fraud by doing the following:

  • Seek referrals and avoid unsolicited contacts related to any real estate deal.
  • Ask for and check the license of anyone with whom you are doing business.
  • Walk away from any high-pressure or "seems too good to be true" transaction.
  • Don't sign any paperwork you do not fully understand.
  • Seek the advice of a qualified credit counselor or attorney.

Credit and Debit Card Fraud

Credit or debit card fraud can occur when someone steals or finds your card or manages to obtain the information from the card to purchase goods, withdraw cash, or otherwise use your card in a fraudulent manner. You should know that the Fair Credit Billing Act limits your liability to $50, and oftentimes, there's no cost at all depending on the bank or credit card issuer.

Signs of Credit and Debit Card Fraud

Although credit and debit card fraud is among the most common types of consumer fraud, any of the following signs should set off red flags for you:

  • Your statement contains charges you don't recognize.
  • You notice several small dollar amount charges from your account—a signal someone could be testing your card in advance of a major purchase.
  • You don't recognize the name of the company attached to the charge.
  • Charges appear from unfamiliar or distant locations you haven't visited.
  • You experience a significant and unexpected drop in your available credit balance.
  • You receive phone calls requesting credit or debit card information.

What You Can Do

Fight against credit and debit card fraud by doing the following:

  • Check accounts daily and report unusual activity to your bank.
  • Complain to the CFPB if the bank's response is not satisfactory.
  • Have the card canceled or your account frozen.
  • Don't respond to telephone calls with information the caller should already have.
  • If you decide to follow up on a call, do so by contacting your bank at a known number.

Deceptive Interest Rate Reduction Robocalls

A relatively new twist on credit card fraud, according to the FTC, comes in the form of robocalls that "guarantee to reduce your credit card interest rate" (for a fee). These types of offers are usually scams and no more effective at getting credit card companies to lower your interest rate than if you called the company yourself for free. In addition to paying a fee for no service, some of these fraudsters ask for personal information which they then use to commit identity theft.

Signs of Deceptive Robocalls

According to the FTC, rate reduction robocall scams typically have one or more of the following in common:

  • The call is unsolicited and not from a known or trusted source.
  • The message claims to guarantee your credit card (or new card) rate will be zero or very low.
  • The caller says the deal is only available for a limited time.
  • A claim is made of a special relationship with credit card companies.
  • You must pay a fee before any action is taken.
  • Personal information such as your Social Security number is requested.

What You Can Do

Here are some ways to protect yourself from this type of scam:

  • If you want a lower credit card interest rate, call the customer service number on the back of your card and request it yourself—it's free.
  • Do not share credit card, bank account, Social Security numbers, or other personal information with telemarketers period.
  • Reject any deal that requires an upfront fee. Companies cannot charge a fee before performing a debt relief service.
  • Hang up or do not answer unsolicited pre-recorded sales calls.

Fake Charities

Fake charities use the same techniques to steal your money that legitimate charities use to raise funds, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Before you donate, make sure you know where your money is going.

Signs of a Fake Charity

Several telltale warning signs suggest you are dealing with a fake charity:

  • You are pressured to give now even to the point a courier will come to your door to collect your contribution.
  • The charity only accepts cash, gift cards, or wire transfers.
  • You receive a thank you for a donation you didn't make—an attempt to make you think you already support the organization.
  • The group goes by a familiar-sounding name that doesn't quite match the organization it reminds you of.
  • The caller or solicitor won't (or can't) provide detailed information about the organization.
  • You are told you must donate to be included in a sweepstakes.

What You Can Do

FTC guidance on not falling victim to a fake charity includes doing the following:

  • Get the charity's contact information and check out the organization before you give using one or more of the following: BBB Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharityWatchGuideStar.
  • Ignore high-pressure pitches including pressure to pay now.
  • Avoid making cash donations.
  • Be careful about donating in the wake of natural disasters. This is when con artists come out of the woodwork.
  • Don't provide personal information such as Social Security number or bank account information.
  • Be proactive and make your annual giving plan ahead of time. Offer to add the charity's name to your list for consideration.

Prize and Lottery Fraud

Prize and lottery fraud comes under many names—sweepstakes, drawings, foreign lotteries, and more. This type of fraud often targets the elderly and originates with a phone call or postcard. The FTC receives tens of thousands of complaints about prize and lottery fraud each year. Because many victims don't report being scammed, officials estimate the problem's scope is far greater.

Signs of a Fake Lottery or Sweepstakes

Fake lottery scams, many of which are foreign, exhibit well-known signs that something is wrong:

  • You receive notification that you are a "winner" but need to send money to the lottery or sweepstakes office to cover taxes or administrative costs.
  • Your winner notification arrives by bulk mail.
  • You are required to attend a meeting to collect your prize.
  • You don't remember entering the lottery or sweepstakes.
  • Any payments you make are followed by more requests for cash or you are contacted by other organizations claiming you won their lottery as well.

What You Can Do

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Never pay money to collect on a lottery or sweepstakes. Legitimate taxes can be taken out of your winnings.
  • Don't share your credit card or bank account numbers or send money even if the organization sends you a check—which is probably bogus.
  • If you think the prize might be real, research the name of the company or organization and contact it at a known phone number.
  • Report all suspected scams to the FTC.

Debt Collection Fraud

Some scammers, posing as collection agencies, call consumers demanding payment of bogus outstanding debts. These are not legitimate debt collectors. If you have actual unpaid debt, subject to collection, you have rights there, as well. These rights are spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Signs of Debt Collection Fraud

When it comes to discerning between a legitimate debt collector and a scam, here are some signs to look for:

  • A scammer will withhold information from you including the exact amount of the so-called debt, the name of the creditor, that you have a right to dispute the debt, or information that lets you check on the legitimacy of the debt collector.
  • They will pressure you to pay with cash, by money transfer, or with a prepaid debit card.
  • They might threaten you with jail or even suggest they are a government official.
  • Sometimes scammers threaten to tell family members, employers, and others that you are a deadbeat.
  • They will try to get your personal information, such as account numbers or your Social Security number.
  • Some scammers call early or late (before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.) which is forbidden by the FDCPA.

What You Can Do

If you suspect you have been targeted by a debt collection fraudster, here's a list of actions you can take:

  • Don't give any personal information to anyone over the phone or via email.
  • Ask for a callback number as well as the caller's name, company name, and street address.
  • If the debt collector mentions the name of the creditor, call them and ask for details including the nature of your debt and the name of the company contracted to collect the debt.
  • Check your credit reports for free every 12 months to look for any reported debts. (Not all creditors report, so this isn't a failsafe way to identify all possible legitimate debt.)
  • Know your rights under the FDCPA (see above).
  • File a complaint with the FTC or your state Attorney General's Office if you believe you have been scammed.

COVID-19 Scams

The coronavirus pandemic—and the resulting quickly passed government legislation—has created opportunities for scammers to enter the scene and use both fear and financial need to take advantage of people.

Signs of COVID-19 Scams

Fortunately, the FTC has been tracking COVID-19 scams and scammers alike and provides a list of signs that an offer is actually fraud:

  • You receive a phone call, email, or text telling you about a brand new cure, vaccine, or treatment for COVID-19 available only from this provider.
  • A robocall offers financial assistance or to speed up the receipt of your unemployment or stimulus checks for a fee.
  • You are contacted about obtaining a new inexpensive home test kit or contact tracing kit.
  • Someone may call claiming to represent the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to offer to sell access to special information, services, or medicine.

What You Can Do

Don't act hastily when it comes to the coronavirus but do take appropriate action if you feel you have been scammed:

  • Do not respond to calls, texts, or emails from unknown contacts.
  • Never share personal information via email, texts, or over the phone.
  • Do not pay until you have investigated the source.
  • Watch for spoof numbers or contacts. Government agencies will never call to ask for personal information or money.
  • Do not click links in text messages or email.
  • Know that legitimate contact tracers need health information, not money or bank account numbers.
August 5, 2021

Educational flyer offers tips to prevent elder fraud

The FBI has developed a tri-fold brochure, outlining common fraud scams and simple steps to protect against elder fraud.

Know the signs of identity theft

Taxpayers do not need to file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, with the IRS regarding an incorrect Form 1099-G. The identity theft affidavit should be filed only if the taxpayer's e-filed return is rejected because a return using the same Social Security number already has been filed.

See Identity Theft Central for more information about the signs of identity theft and general steps that should be taken.

Additionally, if taxpayers are concerned that their personal information has been stolen and they want to protect their identity when filing their federal tax return, they can request an Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN) from the IRS.

An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using a taxpayer's Social Security number. The IP PIN is known only to the taxpayer and the IRS, and this step helps the IRS verify the taxpayer's identity when they file their electronic or paper tax return.

FDIC: Insured Bank Deposits are Safe

Beware of potential scams using the FDIC's name!

In light of recent developments related to the coronavirus, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is reminding Americans that FDIC-insured banks remain the safest place to keep their money. The FDIC is also warning consumers of recent scams where imposters are pretending to be agency representatives to perpetuate fraudulent schemes.

During these unprecedented times, consumers may receive false information regarding the security of their deposits or their ability to access cash. The FDIC does not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money or sensitive personal information. The agency will never contact people asking for personal details, such as bank account information, credit and debit card numbers, Social Security numbers or passwords.

Consumers may also be contacted by persons who claim to be employed by an agency, bank, or another entity. These scams may involve a variety of communication channels, including emails, phone calls, letters, text messages, faxes, and social media. Scammers might also ask for personal information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other details that can be used to commit fraud or sell a person's identity.

Consumers are also encouraged to contact the FDIC's Call Center at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342), Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET) if they have any questions or believe they have been a victim of fraud or a scam.

Are you a victim of Identity Theft?

The FTC has a useful ID Theft Recovery Plan with steps to follow, located here.


P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013 

P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

You should also contact the credit reporting agencies to notify them of any suspected fraud or identity theft. Equifax has established a dedicated toll-free number to answer questions you may have about the Equifax data breach and its effect on your personally identifiable information. You may call them at 866-447-7559.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local law enforcement office and/or your state attorney general. Finally, you may also want to consider reviewing information about recovering from identity theft, which is available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). The FTC also offers general information to protect your online presence at

Common Types of Scams and Fraud & Classic Warning Signs

What are some common types of scams? The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) wants you to know!

Scammers are constantly finding new ways to steal your money. You can protect yourself by knowing what to look out for. 

 What are some classic warning signs of possible fraud and scams?

There are several signs that indicate you might be dealing with a scammer.

They include contact from someone:

  • Calling or emailing you, claiming to be from the government and asking you to pay money.
  • Asking you to pay money or taxes upfront to receive a prize or a gift. 
  • Asking you to wire them money, send money by courier, or put money on a prepaid card or gift card and send it to them.
  • Asking for access to your money-such as your ATM cards, bank accounts, credit cards, or investment accounts.
  • Pressuring you to "act now" or else the deal will go away. Or someone who seems to be trying hard to give you a "great deal" without time to answer your questions.  

To report a scam, you can submit a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can also contact your local police or sheriff's office or your state attorney general's office to report the scam. Visit the National Association of Attorneys General for the contact information of each state attorney general.

Tip: Remember that if something doesn't seem right, you can always hang up or walk away. Scammers often want you to make a quick decision without thinking about it. Slow down, do your own research about the offer or consult with someone you trust. 


How to be Safer When Using a Smartphone or Tablet

Everywhere you look, people are using smartphones and tablets as portable, hand-held computers. "Unfortunately, cybercriminals are also interested in using or accessing these devices to steal information or commit other crimes," said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC's Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. "That makes it essential for users of mobile devices to take measures to secure them, just as they would a desktop computer."

Here are some basic steps you can take to secure your mobile devices.

Avoid apps that may contain malware.

Buy or download from well-known app stores, such as those established by your phone manufacturer or cellular service provider. Consult your financial institution's website to confirm where to download its official app for mobile banking.

Keep your device's operating system and apps updated.

Consider opting for automatic updates because doing so will ensure that you have the latest fixes for any security weaknesses the manufacturer discovers. "Cybercriminals try to take advantage of known flaws, so keeping your software up to date will help reduce your vulnerability to foul play," said Robert Brown, a senior ombudsman specialist at the FDIC.

Consider using mobile security software and apps to protect your device.

For example, anti-malware software for smartphones and tablets can be purchased from a reputable vendor.

Use a password or other security feature to restrict access in case your device is lost or stolen.

Activate the "time out" or "auto lock" feature that secures your mobile device when it is left unused for a certain number of minutes. Set that security feature to start after a relatively brief period of inactivity. Doing so reduces the likelihood that a thief will be able to use your phone or tablet.

Back up data on your smartphone or tablet.

This is good to do in case your device is lost, stolen or just stops working one day. Data can easily be backed up to a computer or to a back-up service, which may be offered by your mobile carrier.

Have the ability to remotely remove data from your device if it is lost or stolen.

A "remote wipe" protects data from prying eyes. If the device has been backed up, the information can be restored on a replacement device or the original (if you get it back). A number of reputable apps can enable remote wiping.



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