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Fraud Takes Many Forms – Avoid Becoming a Victim

Photo of a Fraud Alert sign.

Posted on April 24, 2023

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that Americans lost nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, an increase of more than 30% over the previous year. In Hawaii, the increase in fraud cases far outpaces the Mainland, with residents reporting nearly $38 million in fraud losses last year, up a whopping 68% from the prior year.* Scammers becoming increasingly savvy — a concerning trend for both consumers and businesses.

Fraud can occur in many different ways — in person, over the phone, or even online. Although this may seem frightening, there are things that you can do to make it more difficult for scammers to target you. Here are some tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim.

•  Never provide sensitive information to anyone who calls, emails or texts you asking for it: Scammers often pose as well-known businesses and attempt to gain your personal information by asking you to reverify your login credentials or passwords, or provide your account number. Legitimate businesses and financial institutions, like Hawaii State FCU, will NEVER call, text or email you requesting sensitive information, including Social Security Numbers, passwords, login credentials or account numbers.

•  Consider switching to eStatements: Scammers sometimes target your mail, swiping items like bank and credit card statements, and use the information to steal your identity. They may even have your mailing address changed so that future statements are sent to the scammer’s address instead of your own. One way to avoid this is to sign up for eStatements, which will provide you with a secure digital copy of your statement. Less sensitive information in your mailbox means less chances that a scammer can walk off with it.

•  Be careful with what you share online: Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but be cautious with what you share online. Posting stories on your vacation? Scammers can use this information to not only know where you’re currently located, but also the fact that you’re not home.

•  Use a variety of passwords: Using different memorable, but hard-to-guess passwords for your online accounts can be beneficial in the event that one of your accounts is hacked or a site that you use experiences a data breach. By varying your passwords, you make it difficult for hackers to use your stolen information to infiltrate other online accounts and steal your identity.

If your personal information is compromised or you believe you’re the victim of fraud or identity theft, we recommend you do the following:

  • Contact Hawaii State FCU’s Member Service Call Center at (808) 587-2700 on Oahu or U.S. Toll-Free (888) 586-1056. We can assist with reviewing your accounts for suspicious activity and close any compromised accounts.
  • File a report with local law enforcement.
  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Contact at least one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a “fraud alert” on your file, which will prevent anyone from opening new credit in your name without your approval.

For more fraud prevention tips and information, check out our Wallet Wisdom blog.

*As reported in the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2022.

About HSFCU Marketing

Hawaii State FCU firmly believes that financial education empowers people to make smarter decisions throughout their lives, resulting in a better financial future. We do this by providing useful financial tools such as educational blogs, online courses and free webinars on a variety of topics including planning for retirement, debt management and buying a home. For more information on these and other resources, including free financial calculators and budget-friendly recipes, visit www.HawaiiStateFCU.com and click on “Financial Health.”

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