Fraud Prevention Series: How to Know it's a Scam

March 7, 2023

As technology advances, so does the sophistication of the scams that everyday individuals are encountering. Today, there are many scams, from fake websites, text messages from a fake phone number, to the classic letter in the mail letting you know the car warranty you never had is expiring. Here are some tools and tips on spotting and avoiding scams.

In 2022, U.S. consumers reported losing $8.8 billion to fraud schemes, the most common way being through scammers posing as someone else or as an organization – according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As scam losses increased from $6.2 billion reported lost in 2021, it's important to remain vigilant and know what to look for in your day-to-day lives.


Know What to Look For

Knowing where scams are coming from can help you recognize the signs of fraudulent activity. The most frequent categories of scam attempts are:

  1. Imposters
  2. Online Shopping
  3. Prizes, Sweepstakes, Lotteries
  4. Investments
  5. Business and Job Opportunities

Each of these scams varies from one to the next, but all have the same goal of acquiring personal information and or money. Figuring out if a website, text message, or piece of mail can be trusted will help prevent your information from ending up in the wrong hands.

Consider the Source

Technology has allowed individuals to fake phone numbers and quickly create websites to exploit people. Take the time to double-check who you're receiving a call or text message from or if the website you're visiting looks real. With these scam tactics, you'll want to look over who is asking for your personal information.

For example, if you receive a call from someone claiming to work at your financial institution asking to verify personal account information, hang up and call your institution directly. Making the call yourself will help ensure you are speaking to the right person.

Know When It's Too Good to Be True

Sometimes a sale or prize seems too good to be true because it usually is. Great deals through a web ad or an email letting you know you've won a contest can be awesome, but you should check that they are real before you click on anything or give out your information.

If you didn't enter a contest recently or the deal seems like a steal, it may be a scammer trying to gather your information. Hovering over hyperlinks to see a URL or searching for deals can help you determine if they are legitimate 

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. For more tips to recognize fraud, visit

Tags: Fraud Prevention Series, Tips and Tricks