ScamWise - Don’t Become A Victim
The best way to deal with scammers is to do what you can to avoid becoming a victim in the first place. MIDFLORIDA's Chief of Risk Management has some advice.
"It’s not always easy to spot a scam right away," said Richard Haggins, MIDFLORIDA’s Chief of Risk Management. "I always recommend that people keep these precautions in mind any time they’re interacting with someone online, or when they get an unexpected phone call."
- Post photos on social media that can identify critical pieces of information about yourself. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to do. For example, you may not notice that your street number is visible if you take a photo of yourself in front of your house.
- Give out any of your personal information on social media or online dating sites, even if you feel like you know the person.
- Believe an online person when they tell you they are "stuck" or "stranded," or that they won’t be released from a hospital, prison, or foreign country without having money sent to them. This is a classic tactic for scammers.
- Send money to a relative or friend based on a random phone call or social media request. Instead, call the person directly to confirm they are in need of help.
- Send money to someone you met online, or agree to be the "go-between" for a transaction (such as depositing money to your own account in order to pay a third party). This seems obvious, but after many months of online "relationships," many people feel they truly know their scammers and don’t think of them as strangers.
- Believe a caller who claims they are from the IRS, electric company, or a similar entity when they say you owe money. Instead, hang up, use a reliable source to locate the phone number for the agency or company, and call back to verify legitimacy.
- Monitor your bank and credit card accounts and report any suspicious or unauthorized transactions immediately.
- Be suspicious of an unexpected check that is mailed to you. Bring it to a MIDFLORIDA branch and we can help you look into whether the source of the check is legitimate.
- Delete emails from unknown sources, and avoid using public Wi-Fi to access your bank accounts.
- Shred your unneeded mail, especially "junk" mail and offers you have no intention of exploring. To opt out of many of these types of mailings, visit the FTC website.
- Ignore social media friend requests from people that you don’t personally know, even if you share mutual friends.
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If you think you’re a victim of an online scam, contact us right away.
Visit our Security page for scam alerts, safety tips, and security notices so you can be on guard against activity that may lead to identity theft or fraud of your account.
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Federal Trade Commission
Fake check information and anti-scam resources
Richard Haggins, Chief of Risk Management, has worked for MIDFLORIDA for more than 20 years and oversees all aspects of Loss Prevention and Fraud Investigation.