In April of 2020, I created a procedure to help GBFCU employees report fraud incidents with our members. As of December 31st, 2021, 228 claims and cases have been closed.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began, I am glad that we started this initiative and finally created a department that can manage the tasks associated with managing fraud and preventing losses for both members and the credit union. There were plenty of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic and there were equally as many scammers promising financial help. As people began looking to social media for a way to stay busy during quarantine and stay connected with friends and family they could no longer visit, scammers took advantage of social media outlets too – looking for people who they could call their next victim.
About 85% of the reported cases internally have had to do with members falling for some social engineering scam – with romancing scams and job offer scams being the top two. I ask myself; why is it so easy for them to fall for it? Did they not see the red flags? But hindsight is always 20/20. I realize now that scammers use manipulating and convincing tactics such as threats, creating a sense of urgency, and by sweet talk and wooing their next victim.
It is so important for all of us to think twice and trust our guts when communicating with people we don’t know. As human beings, we’re brought up to empathize, be kind, and be helpful. These are all great traits but seeing more fraud than ever, we must remain aware and stay diligent as well. It is so important to take a pause and evaluate our decisions before making a move. We live in a world where it’s getting harder to determine what is real or what is not, and if we do that, we might just prevent a scammer from scamming us if we take a moment to evaluate what might really be happening.
Thanks to Jay, our Fraud Manager for sharing the insight and for keeping our members safe and alert! Be sure to follow us on social media for more tips to keep you – and your information – safe!