Protecting Yourself From Scams
Scams come in many forms. You may be solicited via the mail, phone call, e-mails, social networking or even text messages to unknowingly participate in or become victim to a scam. If a person or company has contacted you and you did not previously request this contact to be made, take caution in proceeding with further interactions. You should question the intention of the sender when:
- You did not request to be contacted
- You are being requested to give any information about yourself or others, your job or home, your financial information or information otherwise considered sensitive
- You are being offered money, or asked to send, donate, transfer or return money
- You are being offered a free gift for other compensation for doing what is being asked
Here are some quick tips to help you handle the situation:
- If you are being contacted via phone and asked to donate money to a charitable cause, ask if there is a website you can go to for more information or if they can mail you more information prior to you contributing. If they pressure you to make an instant donation (some will claim as a charity they can’t afford to send you information) there is a good chance it may be fraudulent.
- If you receive a check for any reason from somebody or a company you weren’t expecting, it may be part of a scam. You should contact your financial institution to research the source of the check prior to contacting the company. They are expecting you to contact them or may have even asked you to and are ready to try to talk you into following their line of action.
- If you are selling an item from an online bidding website and receive a check for more than the value of the item you were selling, or multiple checks, and are asked to cash the check and return the difference it is probably a scam. You should contact the online company you are listing through rather than trying to work it out with the sender.
- E-mails, text messages or social networking sites may provide links that appear to go to a website, file, offer a coupon or other enticing leads. You should never click on a link provided to you from an untrusted source. Delete the message immediately.
Hopefully these tips will help you better identify potential scams. Remember, VSECU will never contact a member by mail, phone, email, social networking or text message and solicit confidential, personal and/or account information unless the contact was initiated by the member first. If you receive a phone call, email or text message and are unsure if it was from VSECU, please contact us by phone.
If you believe you have fallen victim to this scam or other fraudulent activity, please report it directly to VSECU:
During business hours: 802/800 371-5162
After business hours: Credit Card – 800-257-2743; Debit Card – 800-523-4175
You may also contact the Consumer Assistance Program of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office at www.atg.state.vt.us or call 800-649-2424.