Fraud is not Immune to a Virus

scam alertCovid-19 has affected our world and changed the definition of what “normal” is. People around our area, as well as across the country have started to feel the financial effects of this virus.  Gulf Coast Educators is prepared to handle this difficult time and will continue to assist our members in the ongoing weeks.

With businesses all around making difficult decisions to send workers home, or close all together; we understand the financial stress this puts on everyone.  As a lot of things are changing and adjusting around us, the one thing that is immune to this virus and will continue is fraud. Unfortunately, the credit union deals with fraud every day, and this will continue as well. Currently, one of the most frequent types of fraud we encounter is the “Work from Home Scam.” Fraudsters will use apps such as LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, as well as direct emails and pose as job recruiters wanting you to be personal assistants or shoppers, the best part is that you can do this from your own home. They will send you a check, usually meant for “purchasing supplies” and some extra for yourself. They will ask you to deposit into your account, then wire money back or send some form of gift cards. By the time you do this and send the funds back, your check has been returned and now your account is negative.

With everyone either on “self-quarantine “or not having a job during these times, there is a chance that we will see an increase in this type of fraud. Gulf Coast Educators has an excellent fraud prevention team that is dedicated to not only preventing fraud, but helping our members when their accounts have fallen victim to it as well.  We are constantly training our staff on how to recognize a fraudulent check or scam. Here are some things that can help you identify them as well:

  • The check the scammers will send you will be from out of state and generally overnighted to you at your home.
  • The amount of the check will always be under $5,000 (because they also know the check hold rules for financial institutions) and we have seen them over time be in the range from $2,000 to mid $4,000 range.
  • Like I mentioned above, they will ask you to send funds back somehow, and they will want to have this turnaround be quick as possible.
  • Correspondence will be used in all types of methods, including email and texting.
  • When members have shown us their conversations with scammers in past, we have noticed several grammatical errors that they use.
  • Our front-line staff have been trained to ask questions to you to fight fraud. Scammers are starting to realize this and will instruct you “not to talk to or answer any  questions from credit union employees” when depositing the funds.

These tips are just some of the ways that you can also fight and spot fraud before it happens. Unfortunately, we now live in a society where scammers will try and take advantage of people during extreme hard times and situations. With all the precautions and measures the Coronavirus has made everyone take, fraudsters will use these times of hardship and financial uncertainty to lead you to believe they are trying to help.  In reality, all they will end up doing is causing more stress and burden.

Gulf Coast Educators is always here to help and assist you, with any questions you may have. If you have questions about if a check is real or if you are uncertain if your situation is one that is fraudulent, give us a call or chat with us online and we will make sure and answer your questions. Gulf Coast Educators will remain open through our Contact Center, Website, ITM’s and Drive Thru.



Post author: Adam Smith, Branch Manager – League City

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.