Kalamazoo, Mich. – Consumers Credit Union is taking steps to educate members so they can avoid fraud: situations where they may be solicited by con artists over the web or by phone. Members may be asked to be “secret shoppers” or make a deposit on behalf of an unknown entity, then asked to send back a portion of the funds. Asking questions before making an ‘online commitment’ can save both money and disappointment.
Consumers trains its staff to look for situations ripe for fraud and to ask relevant questions. But the best deterrent to avert loss is being able to determine what’s legitimate – and what’s a scam. Consumers urges members to ask questions before replying to an ad or making an online commitment for money.
- Does the reward (or payment) make sense for the task involved?
- Is the deposit out of the ordinary?
- Is the person sending the funds an unknown entity or even a stranger?
- Is the ad soliciting for a “secret shopper”?
- Do the funds originate from an offer on Craigslist?
- Is it asking that a portion of the money be returned via wire transfer, Western Union, or other methods?
- Does the offer sound too good to be true?
Consumers Credit Union will place holds on checks it is not familiar with, but this cannot avert a loss if the check simply comes back weeks later – after funds have already been withdrawn.
Adds Kit Snyder, President and CEO of Consumers, “Con artists are shrewd and the scams constantly change. While there is no one way to stop fraud it most often circles back to an unusual amount of money being offered for a seemingly easy or innocuous task.”
The best rule of thumb? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
At Consumers, there are heroes who have stopped this type of fraud, including senior teller, Cindy Powell. “She’s saved members large amounts of money with fraud detection, averting her second case of fraud in less than 30 days,” says Snyder.
The mission of Consumers is to enhance the social and economic well-being of its members, and to ensure the con artists of the world are not detracting from that well-being.