The Latest in Fraud: Protect Yourselves & Your Loved Ones

posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Fraud

scam alert

Each year, consumers lose substantial sums of money to scammers and identity thieves. These individuals employ a variety of communication methods to obtain sensitive information or coerce individuals into relinquishing their funds. At C1st, our objective is to empower our members in combatting fraudulent activities by providing comprehensive education and furnishing them with important information. Although fraud schemes are not new, perpetrators persistently refine their strategies, heightening the risk associated with such scams.

First off, know that we will NEVER contact you via phone, email, or text to request personal information such as account numbers, passwords, debit or credit card numbers, expiration dates, or (PIN) personal identification numbers. One of the easiest ways to watch for suspicious account behavior is by setting up account alerts in digital banking. To set up account alerts, sign in to digital banking, then click on Settings, then click on Alerts.

Here are some of the most recent scams we’ve come across:

The Account Suspended Scam:

If you receive a text message or email stating that your account has been suspended, or your account is being closed or reviewed due to unusual activity - do not click any links within it. These types of texts and emails usually come from companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook/Meta, PayPal, financial companies, etc... and YES - they are a scam.  The fake email is being sent by scammers attempting to trick their potential victims into handing over their personal information.  Please delete it immediately and do NOT click on any links. If you have any doubts about any message or call you receive regarding your Community 1st Credit Union account, please call us at 866.360.5370.

The Grandparent Scam:

Scammers call elderly members, pretending to be a family member in a crisis, and ask for financial assistance. With the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, fraudsters can now mimic voices to convince the victim that a loved one is in distress. Common situations being manipulated are that the grandchild is in the hospital, in legal trouble, or stuck in a foreign country. To protect the family member in trouble, the grandparent will be pressured to pay money. The caller will ask for bail money or gift cards to get the victim’s loved one out of the situation. Sometimes, scammers even show up at your door or send rideshare drivers to collect money. Fraudsters are trained experts in putting their victims in distress. Resist the urge to act immediately, even if the story is very dramatic or you’re scared for your loved one’s safety. Act with your head, not your emotions.

The Gift Card Scam:

This scam starts with a call, text, email, or social media message. Scammers say almost anything to get you to buy gift cards (like Google Play, Apple, or Amazon cards) and hand over the card number/PIN codes. Here are some common examples:

  • Scammers say it’s urgent. They will say to pay them right away or something terrible will happen. They don’t want you to have time to think about what they’re saying or talk to someone you trust. Slow down. Don’t pay. It’s a scam!
  • Scammers tell you which gift card to buy (and where). They might say to put money on an eBay, Google Play, Target, or Apple gift card. They might send you to a specific store — often Walmart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. Sometimes they’ll tell you to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers won’t get suspicious. The scammer also might stay on the phone with you while you go to the store and load money onto the card. If this happens to you, hang up. It’s a scam!
  • Scammers ask you for the gift card number and PIN. The card number and PIN on the back of the card let the scammer get the money you loaded onto the card — even if you still have the card itself. Slow down. Don’t give them those numbers or send them a photo of the card. It’s a scam!

The Tech Support Scam:

Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. It could be an email, a warning screen on your computer, or even a phone call telling you there is an issue with your computer. The fake tech representative may ask you to give them access to your computer and then they pretend to run a diagnostic test. They will say the problem or virus can be removed for a fee, hoping you will pay to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Often these scammers will ask you to pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card, or cash reload card, or using cryptocurrency or a money transfer app because they know those types of payments can be hard to reverse.

How To Report the Scam:

If you have fallen victim to a scam, please contact us at 866.360.5370 or stop by your local branch to speak with a C1st Representative. You can also report it to the FTC at

These instances are just a glimpse into the numerous ways fraudsters attempt to deceive
consumers daily. We are here to assist you. Reach out to us today to discover how we
can aid you in safeguarding yourself from fraud.