January 25, 2023

Staying Ahead of Wisconsin Scammers and Fraudsters

Scammers and fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to target individuals, and Wisconsin residents are no exception. From phishing scams to identity theft, these criminals use a variety of tactics to steal personal information and money from unsuspecting victims. As a leading financial institution in Wisconsin, Fortifi Bank is committed to educating and protecting our clients from these malicious activities. In this article, we will discuss the latest scam trend in Wisconsin and provide tips on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Wisconsin Fraud Trend: Imposter Scams

Imposter scams were a fraud trend that we saw in Wisconsin last year. In this type of fraud, scammers impersonate government officials, utility companies, bank employees, or other trusted organizations to trick people into giving them money or personal information. These scams can take many forms, including phone calls, emails, or text messages, and they often involve threats or urgency to convince victims to act quickly.

One of the most prevalent channels for this type of scams we’ve seen is via text messaging. You may have noticed an increase in text messages asking you to “confirm your mailing address” or “confirm your credit card number to continue processing your order.” Both are clues that they are attempts to steal personal information. Always verify the source of any inquiry before giving out any information or clicking any links.

Recent Imposter Scam Examples:

Here are a few examples of imposter scam attempts we’ve seen in Northeast Wisconsin over the past few months.

  1. The “grandparent scam,” in which scammers pose as a grandchild in distress and ask for money to be wired to them has become more rampant during the COVID-19 pandemic, as scammers use the uncertainty and fear surrounding the virus to exploit vulnerable individuals.
  2. Another popular imposter scam is the “IRS scam,” in which scammers impersonate IRS officials and demand payment for unpaid taxes. The IRS has warned that these scams have become more sophisticated and convincing, with scammers using fake caller ID information and threatening arrest or legal action if payment is not made.
  3. The Geek Squad/Norton Antivirus scam has been targeting Wisconsin residents, disguising itself as a legitimate computer repair service through pop-ups. The scam aims to obtain personal information by offering to repair computers. However, it is important to remember that this is not actually the Geek Squad and to be cautious when interacting with any unsolicited digital communication.

Tips to Protect Yourself:

  1. Never give out personal information over the phone or online, unless you initiated the contact and are certain of the identity of the person or organization. It’s always best to stop the interaction and contact back the institution or business from the number that you normally use. For example, if you receive a call from Fortifi, hang up and call our normal client care service number (855.876.1500).
  2. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or text messages, especially those that ask for personal information or money. Don’t give in to pressure to act quickly, and never make a payment or provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
  3. Never wire money to someone you don’t know, or to someone who claims to be a grandchild in distress. If someone claiming to be a grandchild or other family member contacts you asking for money, try to verify their identity by calling a phone number you know to be legitimate or by contacting other family members.
  4. Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments, as these can lead to malware or phishing attempts. Before clicking on a link, hover your cursor over it to see the underlying URL. If it looks suspicious, don’t click on it.
  5. Keep your computer and software up to date with the latest security patches and updates. This will help protect your devices from vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.
  6. Use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts, and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This will make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your accounts, even if they obtain your password.
  7. Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any suspicious activity. If you notice any charges or transactions that you didn’t authorize, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
  8. Report any suspicious activity to the authorities or financial institution if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or fraud. This can help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam and may also aid in the investigation of the scammer.

Scammers and fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to target Wisconsin residents. By being aware of the latest scam trends and taking proactive steps to protect yourself, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to these malicious activities. At Fortifi Bank, we are committed to educating and protecting our customers, and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns by calling 855.876.1500.

It’s important to remember that scammers and fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, and new scams are emerging all the time. By staying informed and taking steps to protect yourself, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to these malicious activities.

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