FBI agents in Springfield recently let local media outlets in on a scam we’ve been seeing more and more frequently at Multipli. We have had multiple members believe that they are in a romantic relationship with someone they know only through the internet. Scammers offer very compelling stories and prey on our weaknesses. Those of us who have been doing our best to socially distance and avoid crowds are longing for any kind of human connection. The stories that these scammers offer and the relationships that they begin building prey on all of these desires.

Some of our members have been told that their money will be used for really good things, like building schools for underprivileged children or helping innocent people get out of legal issues. Scammers are experts at playing on our desire to do good things and help people out right now. So, before you send anyone money, make sure you know who you’re sending it to and how it will be used. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has these three tips for avoiding fraud: 

  1. Lock your devices just like you lock your front door. Use a passcode or fingerprint to lock your phone or tablet. If you have a computer, use a strong password that’s at least 12 characters long.
  2. Know the red flags of online scams. If someone contacts you and asks you to pay by wire transfer or gift card, don’t do it. It’s a scam.
  3. Share with care. Limit how much personal information you share online. Set your social media profiles to private. If someone asks to connect with you on social media, only accept their request if you know them.
More than anything, if you’re ever in a situation on the internet that starts to feel fishy, don’t be embarrassed to reach out for help! Talk to someone you trust and let them know about your relationship. When our hearts start going faster than our brains, there’s never any shame in getting a second opinion!

As your credit union, not only are we legally obligated to ask some questions when you attempt to wire a large amount of money, we’re also doing everything we can to look out for you. Like we always say, you worked hard for your money and we want you to keep more of it, and that includes doing everything we can to protect you from scammers. If you have had someone contact you and you’re just not sure if it is too good to be true, give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk it through with you. It’s all part of the credit union difference!

For more information from the CFPB, click here.