Patil Apothian Kasparian
Vice President, Caltech Employee
federal credit union
There is no way to sugarcoat this. Scammers and scammers use every opportunity to exploit you financially.
We are all potential targets when it comes to accessing email, browsing the web, and answering phone calls.
In the eyes of fraudsters, older consumers are financially considered victims of financial fraud because they have considerable liquidity savings. This means assets that can be quickly and easily converted into cash, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and brokerage accounts. Equally important, seniors tend to have little to no credit card debt, so they have better credit scores and creditworthiness.
Fraudsters use your credit to qualify and apply for high-limit credit cards and loans. Scammers can run out of loan and card limits within days, if not hours. Victims of fraud often don’t realize it until a debt collection agency calls and demands payment of the money they owe.
said Rich Harris, president and CEO of Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union, a $2 billion financial institution that serves only Caltech and the JPL community. “Fighting and deterring financial fraud is at the forefront of what we do every day to protect our members. It pains me to see my hard-earned money lost to scammers.”
You may be targeted by someone you know, such as a caregiver or extended family. It can also be targeted by organized fraudsters with access to data breach lists and other cybercriminal resources. Or falling prey to sophisticated scams such as government scams that look like his website, fake emails, texts, social media posts, and other tricks to get your money and personal information. You can also
common types of fraud
• Representatives: Impersonate government agencies, technical personnel, or charitable organizations.
• Fast-Moving Extortion: Often called ‘grandparent scams’, scammers pose as lawyers or bail bondsmen ready to help young families in dire need.
• Health Scams: Remedies, Supplements, or Treatments Advertised as First Aid
• Natural disasters: Help apply for post-disaster grants and free services.
• Delivery: texts, calls and emails regarding missed deliveries
- Scammers demand payment in a way that makes it impossible to get your money back.
• Gift Cards: You will be asked to put money into a gift card and read out the card number.
• Checks: They will send you a check asking you to deposit all or part of the money and send it back.
• Money Transfer: Request payment via Zelle, PayPal, Western Union, or instant money transfer via cryptocurrency.
- Scammers threaten, pressure, intimidate, and rush you to act quickly. Legitimate companies and government agencies do not threaten legal action if exorbitant fines are not paid immediately.
- Scammers call you on a blocked number and ask you to verify your personal information on file. Do not verify or correct any information provided about you or anyone you know.
how to protect yourself
• Never share your login credentials with anyone.
• Don’t trust friendly voices or nice messages on social media. Scammers can disguise themselves by changing their caller ID to display a local phone number or a number that looks like yours.
• Think twice before clicking. Do not click on links sent by text, email, or social media posts.
• Protect your home Internet and wireless network with strong passwords. Rename the network and don’t use your name or address so people don’t know that the network belongs to your home.
• If you answer a call and hear a few seconds of silence, a click, or a voice recording that says “Press 1 to speak to a live person,” hang up immediately.
• Use strong, unique passwords. Reusing a password puts all accounts using that password at risk.
• Establish multiple authentication protocols for financial accounts and email.
• Check your statements and accounts carefully. Not just financial institutions and credit cards, but medical statements as well. Look for and report suspicious activity on your monthly statement, benefit statement, or Medicare summary notice.
• When in doubt, take your time. Please consult a reliable source. Research the contact company or organization.
Also, always remember to protect your identity. It’s a serious problem that wreaks havoc on your finances, credit history, and reputation, and takes time, money, and patience to resolve.
For more information, please contact Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union at (800) 592-3328 or visit cefcu.org.