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Identifying and Avoiding Scams in Vermont

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Scams, whether successful or not, are all too common – even in Vermont. According to the office of the Vermont Attorney General, over 3,000 Vermonters submitted a fraud report in 2023. This represents just a fraction of the incidents that actually occurred. Fraudsters have many different types of scams they try to use on victims, all with hopes of obtaining financial information or monetary value. Below are some common scams that are happening in Vermont, and ways to detect them before it’s too late. 



This scam has become increasingly popular. This scam involves a fraudster pretending to be someone from a bank or credit union. Typically, the scam starts with a text or phone call to an individual about suspicious activity in their account. The fraudster than “helps” the victim to secure their accounts. As part of the verification process, the fraudster will ask typical identity questions. The fraudster will also mix in some atypical security questions to try and gain access to the victim’s account. This could include asking for full card information, online banking credentials, or one-time passwords that are tied to online banking profiles. Below are tips to avoid this scam. 

  • If someone begins to ask for unusual or suspicious information, hang up and call the main number of your financial institution to confirm the call is legitimate.  
  • Read one-time passwords sent to your phone carefully. Do not provide one-time passwords that reference digital banking to anyone. This code can be used by the fraudster to log into your online banking profile.  
  • Be wary of being asked to keep conversations confidential from other employees. If someone asks you to do so, end the call immediately.  
  • You should never be asked to move your funds out of the credit union in order to protect them.  



This scam involves fraudsters posing as an employee of a technology support company (for example, Norton Security). Fraudsters usually tell their potential victims there is a security concern with their device or that they are being charged a high amount for device protection. Once the victim is in contact with the fraudster, the fraudster often asks to remote onto the victim’s device or asks them to download an app that will help with the security issue or be more cost effective. As soon as they are connected to the device, fraudsters work quickly to gather as much personal information as possible by looking through recent web searches, documents, and other personal information stored there. Fraudsters will often tell victims that they are going to refund them money and ask victims to log into their financial institution’s online banking profile. Once the victim does this, the fraudster has the information they need to log into a victim’s online banking profile and initiate transactions out of the account. Here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid this type of scam. 

  • Use caution if you receive a call, digital pop-up, or email regarding your device’s security. Never call the number in the notification. Call the main number or a trusted number for the service to confirm legitimacy.  
  • No legitimate company will ever ask you to log into your online banking profile to issue a refund. 
  • Being asked to return funds in the form of a gift card or wire transfer for any reason, including reimbursement for too large of a refund or as a “thank you gift,” is an instant red flag for a fraud attempt. 


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This scam involves a fraudster impersonating a relative, close friend, or someone speaking on behalf of a relative. They tell victims something bad has happened to their loved ones and they need money ASAP to resolve the emergency. Often, they tell the victim that they will be contacted by a lawyer after the initial call for additional details. Victims are usually told to keep the situation confidential and withdraw a large sum of cash. The following tips are ways to catch onto an attempted family emergency scam. 

  • Slow down in these situations. Take a breath and think about what is being presented to you. Fraudsters prey on emotions and create a sense of urgency.  
  • Call the family member in trouble, or another close family member or friend, to confirm the situation.  
  • If you are told to lie or omit information when working with your financial institution about the purpose of a transaction, you are talking to a fraudster. 


Scams are always evolving. Use caution when talking to anyone about your personal financial information. If you receive an unsolicited phone call or email that feels suspicious, end the conversation and, if they are a service provider of yours, reach out to the company directly. You should also speak with your financial institution directly to discuss the situation and ensure your financial information is protected.


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About Risk Management Department

Our vision is to empower possibilities for greater prosperity for Vermonters. Part of fulfilling that vision is protecting our members’ accounts against unauthorized access. The security of your personal information is a top priority for VSECU. Are you afraid that your financial information at VSECU has been compromised? Please contact us immediately at 1-800-371-5162. We can help with the process of securing your accounts and may even be able to help mitigate your loss.

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