Fraud Prevention Series: Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

January 10, 2023

A new year means new and improved ways for fraudsters and cybercriminals to try to steal your financial and other personal information. Online fraud is still big, so here are some ways you can try to beat these scammers and protect your vital personal information.



How to Identify Common Types of Online Scams

You may have heard the terms by now: phishing, smishing, and vishing. They are all common types of online scams involving the false emails, text messages, or copycat websites. Fraudsters use these scams to steal personal identities or obtain personal financial information including credit card and bank account numbers, debit card PINs, and account passwords. Some of these scammers also call claiming to be from a reputable company as they try to obtain sensitive information.


Sometimes, scammers fraudulently acquire credit or debit card numbers to set up fake accounts, charging up purchases and damaging their victims’ credit ratings.


Then, there are data breaches. These occur when sensitive data, such as personal or financial information, is unintentionally posted, leaked, or hacked from a secure location.


How to Protect Yourself From Fraud

Being proactive is the best defense against fraud. Monitor your accounts regularly to catch and report any suspicious activity to your financial institution. To keep your accounts secure, and use strong passwords such as passphrases — long strings of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters — to make it more difficult for scammers to access your financial information.


Never provide your personal information to anyone you don’t know or on any website you’re unfamiliar with when you’re browsing or shopping online. Avoid giving out such information when responding to an email, pop-up window, or website you've linked to from an email or web page.


If your debit card, credit card, or checks are lost or stolen, contact your financial institution or card issuer right away. Your institution can lock debit and credit cards to prevent them from being used, reissue new cards, and help you monitor your accounts for any fraudulent activity. It also can stop a payment so the check is not paid if a fraudster tries to deposit or cash the check.


Reminder: MSU Federal Credit Union will never call you asking for personal or sensitive information. Please notify us if you receive a suspicious call, email, or text message from someone claiming to be from MSUFCU. To learn more about signs of fraud, visit

Tags: Fraud Prevention Series, Security, Tips and Tricks