Vantage Point

Don’t Get Swindled! Five Fraud Trends to Avoid

Imagine: You get your account statement or check your balance through online banking or the mobile app and find something awry—charges you don’t recognize, purchases you never made, transfers you hadn’t authorized. The feeling falls in the pit of your stomach: you’ve been a victim of fraud!

Though that sense of dread can feel overwhelming, what’s worse is that you know you’ve a lot of work ahead of you to sort things out. At Vantage, we pride ourselves on doing our best to offer our members superior service and support in such challenging and frustrating times. We assist members every day with these types of nightmare scenarios, and sadly, they happen all too often.

As much as we’re able to help, the best way to prevent the worry is to be proactive. Remember that once you share your account information, you can be held liable for the transactions. Unfortunately, the best we can do from there is to protect you moving forward by blocking the card or account—which is why it’s so important to avoid the scams and fraudsters before they gain access to your accounts and information.

One consoling fact is there are often “trends” in fraud, which means that you can create a game plan for avoiding the common traps. Based on the current trends we’ve been seeing from our members, here are five common scenarios along with some tips to help you avoid the schemes of the scammers.

  1. If someone asks you to download an app to give them remote access to your device… It’s most likely a scam. We’ve had a lot of calls from our members stating they downloaded an app on their phone giving scammers access to the device and apps, thus allowing the fraudsters to purchase items and transfer cash.
  2. If you get a phone call from someone stating they’re from a company and need to verify your information… Hang up and call the company back using the phone number provided by the company’s official website. We’ve seen a rise in fraudulent impersonation of companies and government agencies, but simply double checking the call’s origin could have saved our members an immense headache.
  3. If someone asks you to pay them via gift card… You’re likely dealing with a scam. A legitimate company will never ask you to pay them with a gift card.
  4. If a pop-up appears with a phone number to call in order to fix a virus on your computer… Do NOT call the number and be sure to close your browser. The person on the other end of that suspicious phone number is quite likely the person who created the issue in the first place.
  5. If someone is remotely accessing your device… Do NOT log in to your online banking or any account that has your financial/card information. If they have remote access to your device, then you want to be sure not to give them access to your account and private information by mistake.

One final note: Remember how you pay a merchant also matters. While Vantage may be able to help you with transactions directly pulled from your account, if you’re using a cash transfer merchant—such as Venmo, Facebook Pay, or Cash App—then we’re likely unable to process the dispute. These types of merchants provide a “cash transfer service”, which means that processing a return to the merchant isn’t an available option. In other words, unfortunately, if you’re purchasing something from an individual and they don’t deliver the goods or services, then you’ll likely be out the funds.

Remember: No matter the trends in fraud, the best ways to protect your personal and financial information is to pause, question, and think… and, of course, be vigilant and proactive!

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud on a Vantage account, call us at 314.298.0055 or 800.522.6009.