Scams Happening in Our Area

Knowing about past and current scams can help you avoid falling victim to fraud or Identity Theft. Although some of these scams may look outdated, fraudsters will initiate similar scams once time has passed and they feel they can trick people again. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with recent scams.

If you fear that you’ve given out personal or financial information please contact your financial institution immediately.

A scam that imitates Microsoft customer support locks the screen on your device and instructs you to call a phone number. Everything about this warning looks real, but don’t be fooled! This is the beginning of an elaborate scam. Imposters are prompting people to call “Microsoft Customer Support” for assistance. Customers are told that their bank accounts have been compromised and are instructed to withdraw cash and make a deposit into a bitcoin account through a specific ATM.

If you receive a message that your bank account has been locked out or compromised, always take it seriously. Never click on links in these messages. Instead, call your bank directly using a telephone number from their website. Never let someone be the middle man between you and your bank!

While scanning through Facebook or Instagram you find a super low-price item that is a must have. The price is too good to be true! You are tempted to click on the link and grab the deal of the day!

Cyber criminals set up fake online stores that offer products at cheaper-than-usual prices for items that you might need. At checkout, you have the option to use a trusted third-party payment platform, meaning criminals could directly access your information. They may also ask for payment by wire or gift cards so it can’t be traced.

What you can do:

  • If the price seems too good to be true, it is! Move on – resist the temptation to purchase
  • Research the company online or ask your family and friends if they have heard of the company
  • Examine the website – is it secure, is there a phone number and mailing address that you can verify
  • Look up the company on the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org).

Scholarship Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of stressed out college students. They have tailored scholarship scams to anxious students to gain access to their financial information.

How you can be safe:

  • Know who you’re dealing with. Most foundations don’t charge a fee to apply for a scholarship.
  • Beware of search services that guarantee you’ll receive money.
  • Get the details in writing.
  • Make sure you understand the refund policy.
  • Do you own scholarship search. You will be better off finding scholarships on your own. Asking your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office is a good first step.

Find more information and other links to valuable scholarship resources at fraud.org

The amount of junk mail we all receive each day is overwhelming. It’s no wonder shady companies go the extra mile to make their junk mail look serious. They add words like urgent and last notice in large bolded text. They instruct you to call or respond before it’s too late. In most cases there is even a fee waiver attached that looks like a bank check.

These are all gimmicks to grab your attention and make you act without thinking. While there are legitimate home warranty companies available, most of these mailings are junk. The best thing you can do is throw them away.

Community National Bank is not affiliated with any Home Warranty Company. As always, call your financial institution if you are ever concerned about fraud. We’re here to answer all your questions.

Phishing is a cyber-attack that uses disguised emails as a weapon. The goal is to trick the email recipient into believing that the message is something they want or need —for instance, a link asking you to change your password, a link to track the shipping of a recent holiday order or to download an attachment.

Phishing doesn’t just happen with email, it happens with calls and texts too. You may receive text messages or emails claiming you're eligible for a refund for an item you never purchased, just so that thieves can get you to reveal your card information. You might even be enticed into donating to a charity that provides homes for abandoned puppies -- that just doesn't exist.

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may:

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
  • say you must confirm some personal information
  • include a fake invoice
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
  • offer a coupon for free stuff.

Here’s some ways to identify a phishing email:

  • The sender's email address looks almost right but contains extra characters or misspellings.
  • There are misspellings or bad grammar either in the subject line or anywhere in the body.
  • They address you with generic terms ("Mr." or "Ms." or "Dear Customer") instead of by name.
  • The message warns that you need to take immediate action and asks you to click a link and enter personal details, especially payment information.
  • The messages promise a refund, coupons or other freebies.
  • The company logo in the email looks low-quality or just plain wrong.

Federal Trade Commission: How To Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams | FTC Consumer Information
cnet: Don't fall for these clever Black Friday scams this year - CNET

Has an online love interest asked you for money? That’s a scam!

Romance scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money.

They’ll often say they’re living or traveling outside of the United States and need money to pay for plane tickets, surgery, customs fees, visa or other sneaky things.

Signs of a scam:

  • Professes love quickly. Claims to be overseas for business or military service.
  • Asks for money, and lures you off the dating site.
  • Claims to need money – for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Plans to visit, but can’t because of an emergency.

These scammers ask their targets to wire money, reload cards or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and stay anonymous. They also know these transactions are almost impossible to reverse.

To avoid losing money to a romance scammer, never send money or gifts to a person you’ve never met in person. If you suspect you’re a target of a romance scam; stop communicating with the person immediately, talk to someone you trust and listen to family or friends if they’re concerned about your new love interest.

What to do if you’re a victim of a romance scam:

  • Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you.
  • Never transfer money from your bank account, buy gift cards, or wire money to an online love interest. You won’t get it back!
  • Contact your bank right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer.
  • Report your experience to:
    The online dating site(if that’s where you met your love interest)

Federal Trade Commission: ftc.gov/complaint
Federal Bureau of Investigation: ic3.gov

Are you getting calls from people claiming to be from Medicare? These scammers will ask for your personal information or money to send you a new Medicare card. (This is also an example of an Imposter Scam)

Here’s what to do if you receive a call claiming to be Medicare:

Hang up – If someone calls claiming to be from Medicare, asking for your Social Security Number or bank information to get your new card or new benefits, that’s a scam!

Don’t give personal information to a caller – you can’t trust caller id! These calls can be spoofed so they look like they’re coming from Medicare even when they are not. Before you give any personal information, initiate your own call to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.

Report the call – Report Medicare imposters at 1-800-MEDICARE and ftc.gov/complaint.

 

For more information about stopping imposter scams, visit ftc.gov/imposters.

To learn about how to stop unwanted calls, including using call blocking technology, go to ftc.gov/calls.

What is a money mule?

Any individual who transfers funds to assist criminals with laundering proceeds from illegal activity. Often, the criminals offer easy money in return for the help to move their money.

The criminal may offer:

  • Cash
  • Wires
  • Pre-paid cards
  • Cryptocurrency

How are mules recruited?

  • Romance scams
  • Employment scams promising easy money
  • Lottery scams
  • Unsolicited emails or other communications requesting to open a bank account or cryptocurrency wallet in their name.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can be recruited to be a money mule. Targeted populations tend to include the elderly, college-aged students and newly immigrated individuals.

In 2020 and 2021 complaints of scams have increased as a result of isolation due to quarantine restrictions, loss of employment and increases in remote work.

Individuals acting as money mules are putting themselves at risk for identity theft, personal liability, negative impacts on credit scores and the inability to open bank accounts in the future. In addition, these individuals face prison sentences, fines or community service.

To prevent yourself from being recruited as a money mule:

  • Don’t accept job offers that ask you to receive company funds into your personal account or ask you to open a business bank account
  • Be suspicious if a romantic partner asks you to receive or transfer funds from your account
  • Do not provide your financial details to anyone
  • Do not provide copies of your identification documents to anyone.

If you think you are being used as a money mule:

  • Stop communicating with the suspected criminal
  • Stop transferring funds
  • Notify Law Enforcement
  • Notify your bank.

For additional information on Money Mules, please view:

FBI Scams and Safety: Don’t Be a Mule: Awareness Can Prevent Crime

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/money-mules

Consumers receive an email from Amazon thanking them for their recent purchase. They’re asked to submit a product review in return for a $50.00 Amazon credit. When the user clicks the link, they are brought to a site that looks like Amazon but is really a fake Amazon site created by the cybercriminal. Users are then asked to log in to their account. If they enter their email and password, their information is sent directly to the criminals who then have access to the user’s Amazon account. Malicious software can also be installed on the user’s computers or mobile device once they’ve visited the fake site.

Avoid clicking links within emails. If possible, open a browser and go directly to the site you’re looking to visit. If you have to click a link, be sure to check the website address before clicking. Watch for slight variations of site names.

People receive calls supposedly from Community National Bank informing them they have won a trip. THIS IS A SCAM. If you receive a call, do not give out any personal information, and hang up immediately. If you have questions, please contact your local CNB office.

These scams take place through all methods of communication such as calls, text messages and email. Stay alert when using all forms of communicating.

Fraudsters initiate automated calls to people in Vermont pretending to be from a banking institution and report to the consumers that their debit card has been frozen. The call continues to instruct consumers to press a digit and then enter their debit card number, expiration date and PIN to reactivate the card. If fraudsters collect this information, they can create fake debit cards and access the consumers’ accounts. Banks will not contact you to ask for detailed debit card information. Most debit card security features only ask customers to confirm or deny transactions. If there’s a problem with your debit card, please contact your bank directly to fix the issue.