What would you do if you received an email threatening to close all of your bank accounts because you had failed to make one payment? Would you dismiss it as spam, click on a link in the email to make a payment, or call your bank to clear things up? Your response could make the difference between losing and saving hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Consumer fraud has increased dramatically over the last few years. According to AP News, consumer losses due to fraud totaled $8.8 billion in 2022, a 30% increase from 2021. This increase is caused, in part, by investment scams.
University employees were recently targeted by a retirement scam in which a “retirement planning” calendar invite appeared on several employees’ NC State Google Calendar. Under the impression the meeting was set up as a university retirement benefit, employees attended the meetings, where they were pressured to provide bank account information and sign up for life insurance with hefty automatic withdrawals.
To avoid scams like this one, use the following guidelines to recognize scams and protect both your personal and university funds:
- Verify messages
A wide variety of scammers send fraudulent text messages or make robocalls impersonating legitimate companies. If you receive a message like this, use a verified phone number for the company to follow up independently.
- Do your research
Whenever you get a message soliciting payment information, it pays to do your research. If you encounter get-rich-quick messaging or advertised investments that promise large returns, it’s worth your time and money to research the company or individual in question before handing over payment information.
- Don’t share your personal information on social media
Quizzes and games linked through social media can trick you into sharing personal information, which can be used to hack your account and spread malware.
- Look out for inconsistencies and errors
If you get an unusual text or email, don’t click on any links. Instead, scrutinize the sender’s address for inconsistencies and errors. If the message seems suspicious, follow up directly using known contact information or by visiting official websites.
- Keep common red flags in mind
- Only scammers ask for payment in gift cards.
- Urgent messaging, such as threats of account closure or legal action, is crafted to cause panic and make you more responsive to scams.
For help with potential scams and malware, contact the NC State Help Desk via the NC State IT Service Portal or call 919.515.HELP (4357).