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Beware of Fraud Scams

Zelle and Venmo are instant peer-to-peer payment system that can be infiltrated by scammers. To avoid such scams, beware of urgent payment requests. Scammers can pose as a friend or family member requesting money now because of an emergency. 

Imagine getting a phone call from a strange number, but the young voice on the other end of the line is in distress and says, “Grandpa it’s me, I’m calling from jail, I got a DUI and I’m hurt. I need bail money right now so I can go to the hospital!” As a grandparent, you may say, “Joe is that you?” and the imposter on the other end of the line says, “Yes its me.” As you start to ask questions, another person begins speaking on the phone claiming to be your grandson’s attorney, “This is Joe’s attorney, we need $3000 in bail or else he will not be able to get out of here and to the hospital anytime soon!” As a grandparent, you would want to act fast to help your family and would be worried about their safety and follow the instructions from the attorney to send the money immediately through a simple payment system such as Zelle. After getting into contact with your grandson’s mom, you find out that he was not in any accident or jail at all, and your money is gone. Always check with that person or other people to confirm there is a situation.

Tips to Remember: Scammers frequently use the sense-of-urgency as a scare tactic. Use Zelle to only pay friends, family and people you trust. Confirm the exact information with your family or friend before paying. Proceed with caution if directed to make a payment to a phone number or email address you do not recognize. Zelle will notify you when you pay someone who is not in your contacts. Be cautious if a service provider requests payments through Zelle or any platform that is not your usual method of payment.

Imposter Scams. Scammers can and have impersonated government organizations. They can pose as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration or Medicare. Scammers claim they are from these government organizations and need to confirm personal and identifiable information through phone calls, emails or texts. Scammers can threaten jail if payment is not made urgently on unpaid taxes.

Tips to Remember: Government organizations such as the IRS, social security administration and Medicare will never ask for information or payment through random texts, emails or phone calls. Always respond using contact information on these government organizations website if these organizations are “attempting” to get in touch with you.

Emotional “Relationship” Scams. Emotional scams or romance scams occur when scammers create fake profiles on dating sites or social media platforms and contact you to form a friendship or romantic relationship. They build trust with you through this personal relationship so that sending them money to help them would feel normal. Scammers will use a story such as a medical emergency or that they want to see you in person but need money to travel to get you to send them money.

Tips to Remember: Never send money or give your personal information to someone you have never met in person.

Remember to always….

Safeguard your information. Make sure your passwords are not easily identifiable by not incorporating your personal or shared information into your passwords. Change your passwords frequently and update all your devices and apps to ensure that you have the latest security protection.

Think before you click. Beware of unsolicited emails and text messages. If you do receive a suspicious email or text message, do not click on any provided links or open any attachments to protect information such as account numbers, passwords and user IDs. First National Bank LI will never ask you for your personal information or log in credentials in an email or text messages.

Communicate with us. As your banking partner, we are here to help you. Feel free to speak to a representative at your nearest branch or call 516-671-4900. Remember, your identity is one of the most valuable things you own.

For more Fraud and Cybersecurity tips visit our Cybersecurity Center.