Things to do right now to stop fraud:
- Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity or a company you do business with. Don't send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request - whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email. Putnam County State Bank will never call, text or email asking for your online banking credentials or pin number to your debit card.
- Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like "review", "complaint" or "scam". Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like "IRS call". You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
- Don't believe you caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren't always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine. You can reach Putnam County State Bank in Unionville at (660) 947-2477 or in Milan at (660) 265-4034.
- Don't pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job. They might even say you've won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will take the money and disappear.
- Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don't. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it's nearly impossible to get your money back. That's also true for reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla. Government offices and honest companies won't require you to use these payments methods.
- Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert , call a friend or call Putnam County State Bank and talk to Barb or Sara in Unionville or Sheena in Milan.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal and often the products are bogus. Don't press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy, And always review your monthly statements for charges you don't recognize.
- Don't deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a face check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you're responsible for repaying the bank.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.
- If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.
For more information follow Putnam County State Bank's monthly Scam Alerts published in the Unionville Republican and the Milan Standard. Scam Alerts can also be found in our Library