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Warning Signs of Financial Fraud

With Kimberly Harmon, Vice President of Retail

As the Vice President of Retail for Citizens Bank, I'm often pulled in to help with fraud cases, and I'm sad to say that banking fraud is on the rise. Scammers are getting more sophisticated and more persistent. Since the best defense against fraud is education, here are some things to look out for to ensure you protect your hard-earned money from fraud. 

Watch Out for Catfishing

Catfishing is when someone presents themselves online as someone else to trick people into befriending them and giving them money. They may take months to establish a friendship or an online dating relationship. Then they’ll make innocent requests, like asking for help covering a medical bill, or telling you they're having a hard time making some other type of payment. They’ll ask if they can pay you and have you make a payment on their behalf, but their payment to you will be fraudulent and you'll be out the money. 

I have spent time helping our customers with fraud cases, knowing that they don’t want to believe it’s real. The scammers have played to their emotions, or they pretend to be in romantic relationships. Whatever it is that person needs, the scammer will figure it out. The fraudsters are so good at earning trust, but in the end things never end up well. 

Know the Red Flags

There are usually some consistent warning signs when someone is being defrauded. Here are a few things I tell my customers to look for:

  • If you are doing a job or doing someone a favor for a lot of money and it sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam. 
  • We're seeing a lot of scams that involve emotional decisions, like a request for help with medical bills, a family member in trouble or buying a puppy. Be careful not to let your heart get in the way. 
  • Watch for elements of transferring money, such as someone asking you to pay for something, and then they'll compensate you or transfer your reimbursement. 
  • Be very cautious if someone warns you not to tell your friends or your banker about any financial arrangement they are requesting, That's a huge signal that they're up to something fraudulent. 
  • Do not give your banking information to anyone, this includes your online banking credentials.

If you think you could be dealing with fraudulent activity, please reach out to me, I’m happy to help. You can reach me via email at kharmon@citizens-banking.com or by my direct line at (317) 584-5939. Either way, I’m here to help keep you safe and free from fraud. 

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