Between junk mail, fake accounts, and spam texts, scams are practically everywhere, circulating in both familiar and nonfamiliar forms, and waiting to catch you off guard to obtain your information. With ever-growing scam opportunities, it can be hard to know what to look out for. Scams with nationwide popularity can take a while to establish a presence in North Dakota or gain traction in our communities, leaving us vulnerable to smooth-running operations by the time these scam tactics arrive. To help you recognize the latest scams making their way to our area, below are five scams to have on your radar.
Online Pet Scam – While online shopping already generates lots of fraudulent activity, online pet scams, specifically, are on the rise. Using this method, scammers will advertise a pet for sale, often at a discounted price or accompanied by a touching story, to con you out of considerable funds or personal information. With the holiday season approaching, be cautious of all purchases you make online, whether it’s a new puppy, tickets, or gift items. Don’t purchase from a source you don’t trust.
Mortgage Postcard Scam – Gaining more popularity around North Dakota in recent months, these scam attempts will send a postcard to your house, claiming to be from your mortgage company, and urge you to call about a time sensitive loan issue shortly after closing your loan. The phone number on the postcard is false and is an attempt to get personal and financial information from you. If you receive mail similar to this and are unsure if its real, discard and call your financial institution directly.
Amazon Scams – These scams can take many forms, including calls, emails, and texts. In this situation, you’ll get a message alerting you that your Amazon account has been compromised, there is suspicious account activity, or you need to verify a recent purchase. If you receive an urgent message regarding your account, chances are it’s a scam.
Romance Scams – These scams are at an all-time high in North Dakota with the growing presence of online dating and social media. These scammers will target victims by forming a connection online, and, over time, prompting you to transfer money, share your bank account information, or provide untraceable funds, such as a gift cards or cryptocurrency. Because these scams feel so personal, many people don’t question their authenticity before following scammer’s instructions or offering personal information.
Help A Friend Scams – Similar to romance scams, scammers will reach out disguised as someone you know and trust via email, social media, phone call, or mobile payment service and ask for money, claiming it’s for an urgent circumstance. Impersonation scammers will use names and details you recognize, making it harder to identify any phishing activity. If someone you know contacts you with a strange request, always reach out to them directly to confirm.
In all these cases, there are common characteristics that will help you suspect fraudulent activity may be at play, including:
- Urgent requests requiring immediate action
- Suspicious links, attachments, or payment method
- Asking for personal information
As a reminder, Dakota West Credit Union will NEVER ask you for the following information via email, text, or phone call:
- Account Number
- Social Security Number
- Your Birthday
- Your Address
- Your username or password
If you receive a message and are unsure of its authenticity, call us anytime at (800) 411-7590. Visit our Fraud & Scam Information page to learn more about common scams and what to do if you think you’ve fallen victim.