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Know the scams so you can avoid them

Unknown number calling in the middle of the night. Phone call from stranger. Person holding mobile and smartphone in bedroom bed home late. Unexpected call woke up.

One of the best ways to protect your personal information and your money is to have a healthy dose of skepticism. That’s especially true when emails or screen popups ask you to click a link or people or letters ask you to send money or give out information you wouldn’t normally.

People of any age or intelligence can and have been scammed. A client recently received a Facebook notification saying she won $35,000. She was told to send money to cover the taxes and her driver’s license number and bank routing number so the money could be deposited. An alert teller identified the scam before the client lost any money, but thieves are relentless.

Here are some popular scams to be aware of:

  • A window popup tells you your computer operating system isn’t working and to call a number or click the link so the company can fix it. Scammers often ask for your banking info for payment and access to your computer to install a virus and steal even more information. Never click the link. Always look up the number on your own or call a Microsoft or Apple store directly to determine if there’s a problem.
  • IRS scams are notorious around April. Usually they are phone calls saying you owe back taxes, and if you don’t pay immediately by sending gift cards or a wire transfer, the IRS will sue or arrest you. According to the IRS, it usually sends a letter first and would never threaten arrest or demand payment without giving you time to respond. If you get a call like this just hang up the phone.
  • You’re asked for money by someone you think you know well because you have a personal relationship online, but you’ve never met them. These sweetheart scams aim for the heartstrings. Be wary if they ask for money early in the relationship or they’re located overseas. The FBI recommends sticking to reputable dating sites.

Never provide personal financial information, including your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords over the phone or online. Be careful who you friend on social media and what you share. Don’t blindly follow directions, and trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, talk to a close friend or family member to talk through your suspicions.

If you fall victim to identity theft, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files. Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.

If your concerns are about your account or your money, you can call our Customer Care Center anytime at 740.349.8633 or visit a banker to share your concerns. We’re always here to help. You can also find more resources in our Fraud Protection center.

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