Benchmark Federal Credit Union reports that even the savviest fall victim to scams


Image via Benchmark Federal Credit Union.

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If you think you could never be scammed, think again. Bad actors continue to evolve their methods to achieve their nefarious goals. Benchmark Federal Credit Union is seeing an alarming increase in scams targeting people of all ages and backgrounds, including savvy job seekers looking to work from home.

Over the past few weeks, Benchmark Federal Credit Union has alerted many members to potential scams before financial transactions are made on their accounts. In one notable case, a person thought they had accepted a work from home job with a reputable company. The Benchmark member received a check that appeared legitimate, intended to fund home office supplies. When they submitted the check for deposit, Benchmark FCU ​​staff had suspicions and alerted the member that the situation could be a potential scam. The member was advised to follow up with his new “employer” by contacting him at a valid number listed for that company. The company confirmed that it was a scam by a third party. The check was indeed fake, as was the job offer. The scammer hoped the money would be wired from his new “employee” before the bogus check bounced.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans were defrauded out of $68 million due to fake business and employment opportunities in the first quarter of 2022. This is a significant concern as more and more people are asked more people are returning to the office, and many are choosing to seek work-from-home alternatives. Crooks detect this vulnerability and take advantage of it.

Benchmark FCU’s staff is highly qualified to detect such scams. Be sure to ask your bank or federal credit union about their anti-scam services, and be sure to use these services when looking for work-from-home opportunities. Remember: no reputable financial institution will ever call, text or email you directly to verify information or make you click on a link to do so. This is a violation of strict privacy policies. Instead, financial institutions like Benchmark FCU ​​will leave you a recorded message asking you to call back at your convenience. Make sure the phone number on the message matches the one you’ve always used for your financial institution, then return the call.

If you or someone you know is pursuing a work-from-home job, the FBI advises you to look for the following warning signs during the hiring process:

  • Interviews are not conducted in person or via a secure video call, but rather on a teleconferencing app using an email address instead of a phone number
  • Potential employers contact victims via non-professional email domains and teleconferencing apps
  • Prospective employers require employees to purchase start-up equipment from the company or pay for background checks
  • Prospective employers ask for credit card information
  • Jobs appear on job boards, but not on the company website

If you see or lose money from an employment scam, you can report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If you’re concerned that you’ve become a victim of identity theft, you can report it and get a personalized recovery plan from the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov. And you can always turn to your trusted local financial institution for help.

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Daniel J. Machon Jr. is President and CEO of Benchmark Federal Credit Union. The only federal credit union to exclusively serve Chester County, Benchmark FCU ​​has served the community for over 80 years and is known for providing extraordinary service. To learn more about the products and services available from Benchmark FCU, visit our website at BenchmarkFCU.org. Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Chester County, Pennsylvania is eligible to join Benchmark Federal Credit Union.

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