Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to get your personal and/or financial information. One common way they do this is through “spoofing” and posing as PSECU in the hopes of gaining access to your account or cash.
What is Spoofing?
Spoofing is when someone creates an email address, sender name, phone number, or website that is a duplicate of or very similar to a trusted source. Fraudsters will then use these items to trick you into believing that you’re interacting with that trusted source. Their goal? To get you to disclose personal or financial information, send money, or download malicious software.
Here’s one example of how a spoofing scam can play out. You receive a phone call that looks like it’s coming from PSECU’s main phone number. You answer, and the person on the other end identifies themself as a PSECU employee. They then begin to ask you for sensitive information like your account number or PIN, sometimes under the guise of verifying your identity for security purposes. Because it looks like the person is calling from PSECU, you provide them with this information. After the call ends, this person (who is not actually a PSECU employee) uses that information to access your account, make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals, etc. You notice this fraudulent activity and contact PSECU directly, only to learn that the call you received was not from a true PSECU employee and you’ve been scammed out of your hard-earned cash.
While financial institutions like PSECU may reimburse you for fraudulent charges that occur from someone accessing your account, credit card, or debit card without your knowledge, they may not cover charges made or financial losses you experience as a result of willingly giving your account credentials out to another individual.
How Can I Detect Spoofing?
Spoofing can take many forms. In addition to the example above, you may receive a text message, email, or other communication that looks and sounds legitimate, but is actually from a scammer.
So, how can you detect spoofing and protect yourself and your finances? There are a few common red flags when it comes to spoofing scams:
- The communication is threatening or contains a sense of urgency. For example, the person you’re speaking to says you’ll be arrested or taken to court if you don’t send money today.
- You’re asked to provide sensitive information in a call that you don’t initiate, i.e., someone says they’re calling from PSECU and then asks you for your account PIN.
- You’re asked to send money in an atypical way, i.e., wire transfer, or gift cards.
- You’re asked to set up an account and send funds using a money transfer app like CashApp or Venmo.
- The email address, phone number, or website is just slightly off. Perhaps an old logo is being used or the domain of the email address is not what is typically used (i.e., an email from PSECU that comes from a common email platform (i.e., gmail, yahoo) instead of psecu.com.
How Do I Know if PSECU is Really Contacting Me?
If you’re a PSECU member, there are times we’ll reach out via phone call, text message, or email. So, how can you tell the difference between a legitimate contact and a spoofing scam? Follow the tips below.
- Never give out your PSECU account number or PIN, full credit card number, or digital banking login credentials to someone claiming to be a PSECU employee in a call you did not initiate. While you may need this information to verify your account information when you contact us, we will not ask you for this information in a phone call, text message, or email we send to you.
- If you receive communication claiming to be from PSECU and you have concerns about the legitimacy, don’t engage with the phone call, text message, or email. Contact us directly at the number(s) listed on our website. We’ll verify whether the communication was truly from us and help ensure your account is secured if it wasn’t. Please note that we’ll never ask you to log into your PSECU account using a link sent via text message.
- Do not send funds to parties claiming to be PSECU via gift card or a money transfer service. We will not ask you to pay your PSECU loans in this way.
Does a Spoofing Scam Mean My PSECU Account was Compromised?
No, just because you’re targeted by a spoofing scam doesn’t mean your account isn’t secure. Scammers will target anyone and everyone they can to get access to sensitive information and funds. Oftentimes, they’ll impersonate PSECU and send communications to a large group of people whose contact information they’ve gotten their hands on, whether they’re PSECU members or not. The fraudsters’ hope is that at least some of the people they target are PSECU members and will be tricked into supplying their information or sending money.
If you have concerns about the security of your account, please contact us directly at the number(s) listed on our website.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Finances?
Unfortunately, fraudsters are always hard at work trying to steal sensitive information or cash. While scams are constantly evolving, there are often red flags similar to those listed above. In addition to knowing what to look for, there are steps you can take to proactively protect your account, like signing up for account alerts, regularly monitoring your account, and reporting suspicious activity immediately.
To learn more about common scams and how to protect yourself, visit the security section of our blog.
The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.