Helpful tips and resources that will help protect you and your accounts from identity theft, scams and other types of fraud.
If you suspect you're a victim of fraud or identity theft, call Oregonians at 503.239.5336 or 800.982.2974 so we can take preventative measures to protect your account.
Oregonians will never call, text, or email you and request any sensitive information, including your Social Security number, member or account numbers, debit or credit card numbers, PIN numbers, 3-digit security codes, or your Online Banking login information.
If you receive an email claiming to be from Oregonians that asks for your confidential information, looks suspicious, or you are not the intended recipient of this email, don't click on any links. Instead, forward to Oregonians phishing report email, then delete it.
Protect yourself with these quick tips:
- Create a unique username and password for Online Banking, and don't share it with anyone
- Setup MyAlerts to receive account, card or security alert notifications
- Monitor your accounts regularly to check for unauthorized activity
- Report your debit or credit card immediately if lost or stolen
- Make sure Oregonians has your up-to-date contact information
Oregonians uses Automated Fraud Alerts and will text or call you if our system detects suspicious activity on your account.
Six Signs It's a Scam
If you receive a unsolicited phone call, email, or other communication similar to one of these scenarios, it's likely a scam.
"Your account has been compromised. I can assist, but first I need your..."
"We just want to verify that the information we have is correct (often claiming to be your insurance company or bank)."
There's a lawsuit against you/warrant for your arrest for tax evasion."
"This is the Department of Social Security calling to inform you that your Social Security number has been suspended for suspicion of illegal activity."
- "You just need to pay shipping and handling (or some small fee) to receive your free prize."
- "I'm vacationing in (foreign country) and have run into some trouble, can you wire me money?" -Your "friend" or distant "relative"
Common Types of Fraud
Think of Phishing as fraudsters "fishing for your confidential information". They'll use emails, phone calls, text messages, and even social media to present clever ways to trick you into entering your confidential information. They often present an urgent situation: "Your account has been compromised", "Your warranty has expired", "Your Social Security number has been suspended"; or tell you you've won a prize, like a free vacation.
What's the catch? They'll need your confidential information and possibly a payment to remove suspension, extend a warranty, pay for shipping and handling, cover a fee, etc. Don't fall for the bait!
One of the most common forms of Phishing takes place in a fake email with malicious links and attachments. Fruadsters will use official logos and header images to falsely represent themselves as representatives of banks, well-known organizations, and government agencies. The link(s) within the email will take you to a fake website (and it may look very real!) to enter your confidential information, and the attachment likely contains malware that will collect information from your device.
Don't click email links. Instead, go to the organization's official website. Give them a phone call using the phone number listed on the official site, or login from this page to retrieve the information. Avoid downloading attachments from unsolicited emails.
Look for errors and misspellings. One of the most telling signs of a scam is when there are punctuation errors, misspellings, poorly-worded phrases, or an incorrect logo within the email.
Never provide your confidential information in an email, ever. And don't provide it within a website that appears after clicking a link within an email. Bookmark websites and login pages you make payments on for quick access, like utility bill sites.
Vishing and Spoofing
Fraudsters make millions of calls and send just as many emails every day claiming to represent a business or government agency. They use advanced techniques to spoof caller ID and email domains to increase their chances of you handing over your confidential information. Fraudsters spoof legitimate businesses and federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the IRS, an executive at the company you work for, or your bank.
Guard your sensitive information. Do not provide it to anyone over the phone unless you are positive the individual is reputable and they've explained satisfactorily why they need this information.
When in doubt, make a phone call. If you're unsure about the authenticity of a caller, give the organization or agency a call using the phone number listed on their official website (not the one they called you from or within an email).
Smishing, or "SMS phishing", is a way for fraudsters to lure you into downloading malicious documents or clicking malicious links sent in a text. Ever receive an unsolicited text from Chipotle or Ticket Master? There have been real instances of fake texts being sent with a Chipotle coupon for 20% off your next burrito and free tickets via Ticket Master to an upcoming show.
Don't engage with unsolicited text messages. If you didn't signup for text notifications or recently interact with the business, rely on this simple childhood life lesson: don't talk to strangers.
Many fraudsters perpetrate the elderly because they tend to have more money and are more vulnerable targets. You can protect yourself or your loved ones from financial abuse by becoming familiar some common scams that occur:
Grandparent scam. In this situation, the fraudster calls the elderly person and pretends to be their grandchild. The "grandchild" will then ask for money for some unexpected financial problem, like paying for rent, medical bills, car repairs, or a jail bond. Conversely, the scammer claim to be holding the grandchild hostage in order to legitimize requesting a very large sum. They'll convince the elderly person not to make any external contacts out of fear of hurting their grandchild.
Catfishing scam. Fraudsters will create online dating and social media profiles and prey on lonely seniors who have turned to these mediums to make romantic connections. After eventually professing their undying love, they will ask for money to help with random expenses.
Telemarketing fraud. Fraudsters will call and offer senior care, medical equipment, products or services that the victim will pay for and the scammer will never be provide.
Fraudulent or legal documents. Fraudsters hide their fraud behind legal authority, procuring a power of attorney or will, or another legal document giving them access to the senior's confidential information or property. They get seniors to sign these fake documents by lying to, threatening, or intimidating them.
Home repair scam. Scammers will scour neighborhoods with a high concentration of elderly residents, then appear on their doorstep offering to fix some problem they noticed - like a clogged drainpipe or hole in the roof. They'll demand payment upfront and often never deliver services. Alternatively, they may result to phone calls over physical visits, hoping the senior will fall for the bait and make a payment for an investigation or repair services they'll never provide.
Here are tips that can help prevent you from falling for fraud bait.
Keep your confidential information confidential.
Your account numbers, Social Security number, card numbers and card details are confidential. Do not ever offer this information within an email, and be careful not to offer it in a phone call unless the individual is reputable or you initiated the phone call. It doesn't matter if the caller ID says it's your bank or the IRS calling or emailing you, scammers can spoof phone number and email addresses. Always shred documents that contain your personal information, like billing statements, before throwing them away.
Don't abbreviate the year 2020.
This new year is giving fraudsters an easy way to forge documents. The abbreviated 1/10/20' can easily be changed to 1/10/2021, 1/10/2019, or even 1/10/2000. They may attempt to use this forgery to establish unpaid debt or attempt to cash a stolen check in the future. Play it safe and date all legal documents and checks with the full 4-digit year.
Be cautious when it comes to links and emails.
Do not open emails from unknown or unsolicited sources, and delete an email immediately if it looks to be suspicious. Don't click links directly within emails; instead, go directly to the business' website. Fraudsters are clever, and they've created landing pages that look like legitimate websites - but the actual URL will not represent the business' website. Pay close attention to punctuation errors and misspellings, these are often tell-tale signs of a spoofed email.
Safeguard your cards.
Monitor your card accounts frequently and report unauthorized charges immediately. Setup MyAlerts to get notified about large withdrawals to help you detect unauthorized transactions. Avoid swiping your card when making payments and opt to use your card chip. Card chips make it much more difficult for fraudsters to steal your card information.
Investigate ATMs before using them.
Fraudsters place card skimmers on ATMs and gas station card machines that capture and store your card details when entered or swiped through the device. Skimmers are usually placed over the existing ATM card reader. Before using an ATM, check to make sure the reader is not loose, over-sized, and that it does not move around when jiggled. Cover your hand as you type your PIN just in case the fraudster installed a camera nearby.
Secure your computer and other devices.
Control physical access to your computer and other devices to prevent unauthorized use of your online accounts. Always use passwords and lock devices when away. Make sure your devices are up to date with the most recent updates and recommended patches, including web browsers, applications, and office suites.
Not Sure if it's a Legitimate Check?
IF YOU ARE CASHING OR DEPOSITING A CHECK, and can answer YES to any of these questions, ask us for advice before continuing:
- Is the check from an item you sold on the Internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc.?
- Is the amount of the check more than the selling price of the item?
- Did you receive the check via an overnight delivery service?
- Is the check connected to communicating with someone via e-mail?
- Is the check drawn on a business or individual account with a name different than the person buying your item or product?
- Have you been informed you are a winner of a LOTTERY that you did not enter? (Common lottery scam names are Canadian Lottery, Australian Lottery, El Gordo and El Mundo)
- Have you been instructed to either WIRE, SEND OR SHIP money as soon as possible to a large U.S. City, or to another country such as Canada, England, Russia, The Netherlands or Nigeria?
- Have you been asked to PAY money to receive a deposit from another country, such as Canada, England, Russia, The Netherlands or Nigeria?
- Are you receiving PAY or COMMISSION for facilitating money transfers through your account?
- Did you respond to an e-mail requesting you to CONFIRM, UPDATE OR PROVIDE your account information?
Lost or Stolen Card
To report a lost or stolen card, call 503.239.5336 or 800.982.2974.
Identify Theft Resources
Credit Bureau Contact Details
Free Annual Credit Report
Credit bureaus must provide free copies of credit reports to victims of identity theft.
Resources for Reporting Elder Financial Abuse
Adult Protective Services www.ncea.aoa.gov
Oregon Consumer Fraud
- (503) 229-5576 (Portland metro)
- (877) 877-9392 (toll free, elsewhere in Oregon)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (monitored 24/7)