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Stay Safe from Imposter Scams: Practical Steps to Keep Your Information and Finances Secure

A Person Hides His Identity Under A Mask. Mysterious Man

Imposter scams are becoming increasingly common in the digital world. Imposter scams occur when someone pretends to be an entity you trust, such as a bank or government official, to trick you into giving away your money or personal information. This article will help you identify these scams and provide practical steps to keep your information and finances safe.

What Are Imposter Scams?

Imposter scams occur when a scammer poses as a trustworthy entity, such as a financial institution, government official, or well-known company, to deceive individuals into sending money or divulging personal information, such as bank information. These scams can manifest through various communication channels, including phone calls, emails, text messages, and social media platforms. A common tactic these scammers use is to disguise their identity through "spoofing" to make them appear legitimate. Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately mimics a legitimate individual, company or government entity’s phone number. This is done for the purpose of obtaining individuals personal information and/or money. We have recently seen credit unions, banks, and utility companies have their phone numbers spoofed.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), imposter scams were the most reported type of fraud in 2023. These scams resulted in a nationwide loss of nearly $2.7 billion. As imposter scams become more prevalent, knowing how to protect yourself from falling victim to them is crucial. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Validate unsolicited communications: Be cautious when receiving unexpected communications requesting personal or financial details. Confirm the authenticity by contacting the organization via trusted means.
  • Safeguard personal details: UNCLE Credit Union will never call, email, or text you asking for sensitive information. Do not disclose sensitive data like account details, passwords, or Social Security to unsolicited and unverified contacts.
  • Stay updated on scam trends: Educating yourself about fraudsters' evolving tactics is essential for recognizing and avoiding scams.
  • Report suspicious activities: If you are targeted by an imposter scam or notice fraudulent activity on your account, notify a UNCLE representative immediately by calling (925) 447-5000. Quick reporting can increase the chances of recovery, avert further losses, and help protect other members from falling victim. You can also report imposter scams directly to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Recognizing Warning Signs

  • Look out for odd payment requests using methods that are difficult to trace, such as wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, gift cards, or cash sent through postal services.
  • Be skeptical of unsolicited contact from individuals claiming affiliation with familiar organizations whose contact details seem suspicious or might be "spoofing" their identity.
  • Keep an eye out for any spelling or grammatical inaccuracies; for instance, "UNCLE" in "UNCLE Credit Union" will always be spelled in capital letters.
    Be wary of communications that claim urgent action is needed on your part or offer prizes, as these may be attempts to solicit your personal information or money.

If you find any suspicious activity on your UNCLE Credit Union accounts or suspect fraud, please report it immediately by calling UNCLE Credit Union at (925) 447-5001. To Learn more, visit our Fraud Center.

UNCLE Logo - Dark Grey
2100 Las Positas Court
Livermore, CA 94551
(925) 447-5001
Routing # 321173072

Your savings federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. Government Agency. We do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. NMLS ID 729232.
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