How to Protect Yourself Against Fraud and Identity Theft


Keeping our members’ information safe is a top priority at MFCU. November 15th marked the start of National Fraud Awareness Week and we want to share with you some different scams the fraudsters commonly use and tips on how to protect yourself and your information.

10 Ways to Avoid Fraud

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Don’t believe your 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.
  4. 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 probably take the money and disappear.
  5. 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 or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
  6. 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 — or just tell a friend.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back
    By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
  10. Sign up for free scam alerts


What to do if you become a victim

Even when we have our guards up, scammers can be very convincing. Here’s what to do if you paid someone you think is a scammer or gave them your personal information.

If You Paid a Scammer

  • Did you find an authorized transaction on your MFCU account? Contact us. Let us know that it was a fraudulent charge. Request a transaction reversal so we can investigate and try to get your money back.
  • Did you pay with a gift card? Contact the company that issued the gift card. Tell them it was used in a scam and ask if they can refund your money. Keep the gift card itself, and the gift card receipt.
  • Did you send a wire transfer through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram? Contact the wire transfer company. Tell them it was a fraudulent transfer. Ask them to reverse the wire transfer and see if they can help get your money back.

MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947)

Western Union at 1-800-325-6000

  • Did you send a wire transfer through your MFCU account? Contact us to report the fraudulent transfer.
  • Did you send money through a money transfer app? Report the fraudulent transaction to the company behind the money transfer app and ask if they can reverse the payment. If you linked the app to your MFCU credit card or debit card, report the fraud to us as well.

Note: Reporting fraud doesn’t always guarantee that you will get your money back. Companies and financial institutions have their own policy for investigating fraud and criteria for returning payments. To learn more, we recommend you reach out to the company or institution directly. If you have suffered a financial loss, it may be in your best interest to contact local law enforcement and file a police report as well.

If You Gave a Scammer Your Personal Information

  • Did you give a scammer your Social Security number? Go to to see what steps you should take, including how to monitor your credit.
  • Did you give a scammer your username and password? Create a new, strong password. If you use the same password anywhere else, change it there, too.

If a Scammer Has Access to Your Computer or Phone

  • Does a scammer have remote access to your computer? Update your computer’s security software, run a scan, and delete anything it identifies as a problem. Then use the steps listed above to protect your personal information.
  • Did a scammer take control of your cell phone number and account? Contact your service provider to take back control of your phone number. Once you do, change your account password.

Regularly monitor all of your financial accounts for unauthorized charges or changes. If you see any, report them to the company or institution. Then, go to to see what steps you should take.

When you report a scam, the information can be used to build cases against scammers, spot trends, educate the public, and share data about what is happening in your community. If you were scammed, please report it!


Information for this article was found on the FTC’s website. You can visit to learn more or to report fraud/identity theft.

« Return to "MFCU Blog"
No comments have been posted yet.
Post Comment

(Only last initial will display on comment)

(Not displayed on Comment)

Security Code:
What's this?
Go to main navigation