Financial Tips

Swindler Stories from our Fraud Files, Vol. 4

Swindler Stories, Volume 4 brings you more member stories shared by Stanford FCU’s Risk Management Team. The names were changed to protect the victims, but the stories and lost money are real.

E-check evasion
Edward was hired as a contractor by a large landscaping company who promised to pay him by check once his work was complete. When the time came to get paid, they said they would send an “e-check” to Edward’s email. Since Edward was used to depositing his paper checks digitally, he thought nothing of it.

When the e-check arrived, there was only a picture of the front of the check. Edward took a photo and uploaded it to Online Banking, only to have his financial institution call and tell him the check was a fake! He tried reaching out to the landscaping company, but they ghosted him.

Watch out!
Stanford FCU does not accept e-checks. To deposit a check digitally, we need pictures of the front and back of a physical check.

Code confusion
Ji-yoon got a call from a number that appeared to be her financial institution. The person on the other end told her that her account had been compromised and that they needed a secure access code to confirm her identity. Ji-yoon hadn’t initiated the call, but the person on the phone made the situation sound like an emergency. When she got a text with the secure access code, she assumed this was part of the procedure for securing her account. Once she gave the code, she gave the scammers exactly what they needed to pay themselves with her money.

Watch out!
Scammers who hack into Online Banking and try to add their own external account will need a secure access code to make their request go through. This is never something Stanford FCU will ask you for over the phone. The only code we will ask for is a one time passcode to confirm your identity, but this is only when you initiate the call!

Stop and think: did I call Stanford FCU? Or is this request out of the blue? If you didn’t initiate the conversation or explicitly request a callback, don’t give out a code! Consider saving Stanford FCU’s number in your contacts: 888.723.7328. That way, you’ll have it handy if you need it.

Password protocols
Quentin and his partner Fernando shared their finances. They both used Online Banking, but they had a single sign in that they shared between the two of them. They didn’t know this made their account less secure. When some mysterious transfers that neither of them recognized appeared on their statements, it was clear someone had hacked their accounts.

Watch out!
Even if it’s with someone you trust, like a partner or spouse, you should never share your Online Banking credentials with anyone. It increases the security risk. The person with whom you share the login may have a compromised computer, or they may store the password in a way that’s not secure. Make sure everyone with access to the account has their own Login ID and password.