Avoid Calls From These Area Codes

Woman looking at phone with a frustrated expression on her faceRobocalls are the worst. Those phone calls can do a lot more than just disrupt dinner. Using sophisticated spoofing methods and dogged persistence, they can swindle unsuspecting targets out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, using nothing but a phone. Here’s what you need to know about phone scams and how to avoid them.

Traffic pumping: According to federal law, rural carriers are allowed to charge wireless and long-distance carriers higher fees for calls to local subscribers. To earn a quick buck, rural carriers partner up with chat lines, “free” conference call service providers and other numbers that are based overseas. Their goal is to artificially inflate call volume in the home area codes of rural carriers so they can bill the wireless and long distance companies tons of money and give the chat lines a kickback, too. The bad news for private consumers is that their service provider will pass the higher costs on to them. The consumer often believes these calls are free – until the bill arrives.

Area code alert: The 712 area code and the 218 area code are infamous for traffic pumping.

The one-ring scam: In this ruse, scammers use robocalling technology to call wireless numbers and hang up after one ring. The scammers are hoping the target will be curious and careless enough to return the call. If they do, they’ll likely be calling a number in the Caribbean, which can cost them up to $30 a minute. A prevalent one-ring scam that originates in Japan brings that cost up to $50 a minute! Whenever you receive a call from an unfamiliar number, it’s best to let it go to voicemail instead of picking up.

Area code alert: The FTC warns consumers about returning one-ring calls from these area codes:

268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849, 876

When an unfamiliar number comes up on your phone screen, you’re better off waiting for a voicemail to determine if you have a legitimate caller before calling back. You can also Google the phone number to see if anyone has posted warnings about it being used for a scam. Stay safe!

Questions? Want more information on Freedom? Contact a Freedom Federal Credit Union representative at freedomfcu.org or 1-800-440-4120.

About Freedom Federal Credit Union
Freedom Federal Credit Union is proud to be your financial partner. Freedom serves and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, volunteers, or has family in Harford or Baltimore County, MD. As a credit union, we are committed to putting you first, not shareholders, and helping you achieve your financial goals.
Learn more at freedomfcu.org or call 410-612-2135 to see how we can help.

Your Turn: How do you deal with robocallers? Tell us about it on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram @FreedomFedCU.

4 Scams to Watch Out for this Black Friday

Black Friday ScamsBlack Friday has traditionally been the day that ignites the holiday shopping season, sending masses of crowds through retailers across the nation. Unfortunately, it’s also a day that spawns a season of shopping scams.

Here are four scams to watch out for on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season:

  1. The Amazon Prime service fraud scam

In this ruse, a scammer posing as an Amazon representative, will call to notify a target about an alleged problem with their Prime account. The victim is prompted to download a tool onto their computer or mobile device so the caller can gain remote access for “helping them resolve the problem” at hand. They’ll then be instructed to log onto their banking account so the caller can be compensated for their time. Unfortunately, this will give the scammer free reign over the victim’s accounts.

  1. Phishing emails

In these scams, the victim receives an email allegedly sent by Amazon or another large retailer, asking them to verify or update their account. Or, it might be to supposedly confirm an order. By using the link dropped into the email, the user will give their personal information directly to the scammer.

  1. Delivery issues

Delivery scams generally take the form of a message appearing to be from UPS or another delivery service, informing the victim of a “delivery issue” with an order. They’ll be asked to confirm or update their info using a provided link. Doing so gives the scammer access to their financial information and opens the door to identity theft and more.

  1. Non-delivery scam

This scam involves a purchased gift that never arrives. Unfortunately, the seller disappears after payment, leaving the victim with no way of notifying them about the no-show or for requesting a refund.

Avoid Black Friday scams

  • Never grant a stranger access to your device and/or accounts.
  • Don’t open links sent in emails from unverified contacts.
  • Never share sensitive information with an unknown contact.
  • Keep the privacy and spam settings on your devices at their strongest settings.
  • If you have an issue with an ordered item, contact the retailer directly through their site.
  • When shopping on a new site, look for a physical address, a customer service number and copy that’s free of spelling errors.

Stay safe!

If you receive something suspicious via text, email, or mail, related to your financial accounts please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are unsure.  

Your Turn: Have you encountered a scam like this before? Tell us about it on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram @FreedomFedCU.

 

Mortgage Payment Scams

Scam AlertThe Mortgage Payment Scam has been around a long time. Mortgages are recorded in the local county courthouse and are therefore public information.  It is just as easy for a criminal to get a hold of this information as anyone else, so be mindful of any solicitations you get in the mail regarding your property.

How does it work?

A member may receive a letter from a company other than their known mortgage company indicating that they purchased their Freedom mortgage and future payments are to be make to them, not us.  This is the entire SCAM.  Freedom does not sell the servicing of our mortgages to anyone.  If you receive such a letter, please disregard and report it back to us.

How can I protect myself from this type of scam?

Do:

  • Be wary of any solicitations demanding immediate payment or warning that you are late on a payment that is not from your known mortgage provider.
  • Call your mortgage provider to confirm that there have been no changes to your loan servicing agreement.
  • Report the letter to your credit union.
  • Use the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s online portal to file a mortgage-related complaint
  • Report any suspected scams to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Don’t let those crooks walk free!

 Don’t:

  • Make a payment to anyone who is not your known mortgage lender without verified proof from your original lender.
  • Share any personal information with an unverified contact. If it’s personal info, make sure to keep it that way!
  • Click on links or download files from an unfamiliar email address.

Stay safe!

Freedom keeps all loans, including mortgages, in house for the duration of the loan term.  Your loans will not be sold to any other management company.  If you receive something suspicious via text, email, or mail, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are unsure.  

Your Turn: Have you encountered a scam like this before? Tell us about it on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram @FreedomFedCU.