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Fraud Prevention

Take a stand and fight back against scams

See threats coming and avoid them.

Technology makes everyone's life easier. Unfortunately, it also gives people with bad intentions more opportunities to try to steal your money and harm your credit. Here at Advantage One Credit Union, our biggest priority is your financial wellness. But it's also so important for you to protect yourself from scams and to recognize the red flags. 

How to Recognize and Protect Yourself From Scams

Five Ways to Spot a Scammer

  1. They ask for detailed information before agreeing to process an application.
  2. They insist on a specific method of payment.
  3. They send a check for an inflated amount to a seller or “employee,” and then ask the victim to mail them the extra money. Of course, the original check will not clear.
  4. You can’t find any information about the company the caller allegedly represents.
  5. You’re pressured to act now.

Who are the targets?

Here are some of the most common targets of scams:

  • The unemployed. If you’re job-hunting, don’t respond to emails offering you a “dream position” you never applied to have.
  • The aging. Older people often spend lots of time online. They can also be less aware of the dangers lurking there.
  • Children. Children will more readily share information with strangers, which can then be used to steal their identity.

What do scams look like?

These are some of the most common scams:

  • Cyberhacking. Hackers gain remote access to your computer-and personal information.
  • Email Scams/Phishing. Scammers bait you into sharing personal information, which they use to hack your accounts or steal your identity.
  • Mystery shopper. A bogus company will “hire” you to purchase an item in a store and then report back on the experience. Before you get started, though, you’ll have to pay a hefty fee, which you’ll never see again.
  • Job offers. Scammers “hire” you for a position and then scam you by sending you an inflated check, as detailed above.
  • Sweetheart scams. A scammer pretending to be an online lover will con you into sending them money and gifts or sharing personal information.
  • Fraudulent investments. Scammers reach out to victims with information about lucrative investments that don’t exist. 
  • Phone Scams. Automated phone calls/text messages can appear to be coming from a trusted organization/business and claim your card/account has been deactivated. 
  • ATM Scams. Criminals can use special electronic devices on ATMs to record your PIN, scan your card number and steal your card.
  • Credential Stuffing. Scammers take stolen account information (passwords, usernames, email addresses, etc) and "stuff" them into a web application in large volumes to try to gain unauthorized access to user accounts.
  • Card Cracking. Criminals will ask for your account information, and will deposit fake checks. They'll immediately withdraw the money, and give some cash to you. Selling your debit card and PIN is a crime, and the cardholder will be responsible for any wrongdoing.

10 ways to protect yourself from scams

  1. Never share personal information online.
  2. Don’t open unsolicited emails. If you do, don’t click on any links in them.
  3. Never send money by insecure methods to an unknown party.
  4. Protect your devices by using the most current operating systems, choosing two-factor authentication and using strong, unique passwords for every account.
  5. Choose the strongest privacy settings for your social media accounts.
  6. Keep yourself in the know about the latest scams.
  7. Educate your kids about basic computer safety and privacy.
  8. If you have elderly parents, talk to them about common scams and teach them to protect themselves.
  9. If a government agency or a company calls and asks you to share personal information, tell them you’ll contact them on your own.
  10. Never accept a job or pay for a purchase or service without researching the company involved.
Need help? 
If you receive a questionable email, phone call, or mailing that appears to be from Advantage One, please do not hesitate to contact us at 734-676-7000 or at help@myaocu.com

  • Use a separate password for each website; never use the same password for multiple sites.
  • Minimally, use a 6- to 8-character password that contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Short phrases are even more secure.
  • Change your passwords about every three months.
  • Make sure your computer is running anti-virus software.
  • Set up multi-step logins when possible.

  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. 
  • Don't use the links in an email to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic. Instead, call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing the web address in your browser.
  • Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information. You should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone.
  • Always ensure that you're using a secure web site when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your web browser. Check the beginning of the web address in your browser's address bar, It should be "https://" rather than just "http://".
  • Consider installing a web browser tool bar to help protect you from known phishing fraud websites. Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches are applied.
  • Regularly check your online accounts and statements. Don't wait for as long as a month before you check each account. If you spot anything suspicious, contact your financial institution(s) and card issuers.
  • Always report "phishing" or “spoofed” e-mails to the following groups: Anti-Phishing Working Group and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • When reporting spoofed messages, always include the entire original email with its original header information intact; and notify the Internet Fraud Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint on their website.


  • Never give your account information or any confidential information out over the phone. Advantage One will never call or text to verify your personal information, we already have it! 
  • Do not click a link or call a number in a text message from an unknown sender or if it seems too urgent; it is likely a scam to compromise your information. For example: "ABC CU Alert: Your CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at [phone number] or [link] to REACTIVATE your card."  
  • If you are ever concerned or suspicious about a communication from Advantage One Credit Union, please reach out to us directly at 734-676-7000. We're happy to help!

  • Thoroughly research any prospective employer.
  • Be extremely wary of any employer that demands that you conceal or hide your new job.
  • Avoid any offer that requires use of your personal account or requires opening up an account on behalf of an employer.
  • Avoid offers that require you to wire or otherwise transfer money through your account to other accounts or individuals.

  • Be sure to limit who can see your information and posts. Be sure to go to your Privacy Settings to set some restrictions. 
  • If you get a strange message from a friend about an urgent need for money, or an out of the blue business opportunity, call them on the phone. Their social account most likely got hacked. A big red flag will be if they ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency. 
  • If a person on social media tries to rush a friendship or a romance, take notice and slow down. Never send money to someone you haven't met in person.
  • Before you buy something, be sure to verify the company is legit. Search online for the company name plus "scam" or "complaint".

Sign Your Debit Card:  While most debit card transactions no longer require a signature, it’s still a good idea to sign the back of your card as soon as you receive it. In fact, unsigned cards are technically invalid.

Protect Your PIN Number:
  • Memorize Your PIN: Avoid writing down your Personal Identification Number (PIN) in your wallet or on your debit card. If you need to keep a physical copy, store it securely in a locked place.
  • Choose a Secure PIN: When selecting your own PIN, avoid using easily guessable combinations like your birthday or house number.
Keep Your Debit Card Safe and Secure:
  • Refrain from letting others use your debit card.
  • Never leave your card unattended.
  • Notify us immediately if your card has been lost or stolen to prevent unauthorized transactions. Or turn your card off with Card Controls.
Limit Online Shopping to Trusted Merchants:
  • Stick with retailers you know and trust.
  • Look for security symbols (like a locked padlock) in the browser URL to confirm a trusted site.
  • Consider using a credit card for online purchases instead of your debit card.
Watch Out for Phishing Scams:
Be cautious of suspicious emails or messages asking for your card information. Verify the legitimacy of requests before sharing any details.

Monitor Your Checking Account Statements Regularly:
Review your credit union statements frequently for any unauthorized transactions. Report suspected fraudulent activity promptly.

Consider Using a Digital Wallet:
Digital wallets add an extra layer of security by tokenizing your card information. They allow contactless payments without exposing your actual card details. 

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