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Tips for Recognizing Financial Scammers: Carmen Barry

As the Deposit Operations, Electronic Operations, and Fraud Area Supervisor for Citizens Bank, I see a lot of fraud cases. Unfortunately, financial scams and fraud of all kinds are on the rise. In order to help our customers protect their finances, I strive to educate them about what fraud looks like and how to prevent it. Here are some of my best tips to help keep you and your finances safe.


Monitor your account daily with online banking

Most people are in the habit of checking their bank statement every month, but it’s far better to check in on your transactions more frequently to see if something isn’t right, and to tackle it right away. If you wait until you receive your statement to compare transactions listed with your checkbook, it can be more difficult to recoup those funds. With online banking (and our mobile app), you can quickly check your account whenever you wish.


Don’t give anyone access to your devices, ever

Impersonators will send fraudulent emails, links, or try a variety of other sneaky ways to get access to customer’s devices, which then gives them access to everything you’re doing on those devices. Once they have access, they install spyware, which can track your passwords, logins, and other personal information. Once that happens, it’s very hard to get rid of, and we have customers who sometimes end up needing to buy new devices because it’s expensive to get them wiped and fixed, especially on some of the newer phones.


Be wary of phone calls or emails asking for information

Citizens Bank will never call you and ask for account numbers or personal information, and no legitimate company or financial institution will do that either. Be on alert for messages like “We have important information regarding your account...” as those are often fraudsters. If they are a legitimate business where you hold an account, they wouldn’t need to call you to ask for that information.

The IRS will also never call you asking for personal information. They don’t have your phone number, because it’s not on your tax forms. If there is a problem, they will send you a notification through the mail. Just knowing that can help people avoid so much fraud.


Research the phone number

If someone calls claiming to be from a certain bank or company, do an internet search on that phone number and see if it is associated with that company. Once you find the real phone number, you can call them back and see if it’s a real issue, or if you were being scammed.


Let your bank know what’s up

If someone attempts to trick or defraud you, call us and let us know so we can be on the alert. This allows us to also help other customers avoid the same trap. If you want more information on how to avoid fraudulent activity feel free to reach out to me directly via phone, 317-831-9653, or email, cbarry@citizens-banking.com, I am happy to help!

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