Scam calls to Immigrants
May 19, 2017
When you tell us about a scam, it helps us investigate scammers. But it also helps us warn other people about the scam – so they can avoid it. Our partners at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told us about a new twist on a common phone scam: scammers are calling immigrants in the US – but this time, the scammers are pretending to be from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In standard scammer procedure, they fake the caller ID, so it looks like they’re legit. But they’re not. They threaten people – telling them they’re under investigation, or there’s a legal case against them. They throw around terms like “affidavit” and “allegations.” And, of course, they ask you to pay up. Scammers often tell you to pay by money transfer or prepaid or gift card.
But here’s the real story. IRCC – the Canadian agency that facilitates the arrival of immigrants to Canada, and has programs to help newcomers settle in Canada – doesn’t collect money or payments by phone, by money transfer, or by prepaid or gift cards. They don’t ask people to confirm basic personal info they already gave on an immigration application (for example, date of birth or passport number). They don’t threaten to arrest or deport people. USCIS doesn’t do any of those things, either. And the IRCC isn't calling people in the U.S.
If you get a call – or an email – like this and you’re worried, here are some steps to take:
- Have you gone through – or are going through – US immigration? Call USCIS’s National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283. Ask if you need to do anything about your case or your immigration status. Or you can make an InfoPass appointment to talk with someone.
- Are you in Canada’s immigration process? Check out their Help Centre for signs of a scam. And, before you ever send money, learn how you can pay fees, depending on what you’re applying for and where you’re coming from.
No matter what, if you get a call or email asking for your money or personal information – stop. Don’t wire money. Don’t get a prepaid or gift card and share the numbers. Instead, hang up and tell the FTC.
New Medicare Cards are on the way!
May 18, 2017
Changes are coming to your Medicare card. By April 2019, your card will be replaced with one that no longer shows your Social Security number. Instead, your card will have a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that will be used for billing and for checking your eligibility and claim status. And it will all happen automatically – you won’t have to pay anyone or give anyone information, no matter what someone might tell you.
Having your Social Security number removed from your Medicare card helps fight medical identity theft and protect your medical and financial information. But even with these changes, scammers will still look for ways to take what doesn’t belong to them. Here are some ways to avoid Medicare scams:
- Is someone calling, claiming to be from Medicare, and asking for your Social Security number or bank information? Hang up. That’s a scam. First, Medicare won’t call you. Second, Medicare will never ask for your Social Security number or bank information.
- Is someone asking you to pay for your new card? That’s a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.
- Is someone threatening to cancel your benefits if you don’t give up information or money? Also a scam. New Medicare cards will be mailed out to you automatically. There won’t be any changes to your benefits.
For more on the new changes to your Medicare card, visit Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And report scams to the FTC.
Fake emails could Cost you Thousands
May 16, 2017
Think you got an email from a business you know? Scammers sometimes use emails that look legit to trick you into sending money to them.
The email might say it’s from a real estate professional you’re working with, telling you there’s a last-minute change and you should now wire your closing costs to a different account. Or it could seem to be an email – with an invoice – from your utility company, telling you to wire payment. Whatever the story, if you wire that money, it goes to the scammer – and you may never see your money again.
These scammers might get your information by hacking into a business. Once they know about you, they send an email that seems to come from the business, telling you where to send money. So, how can you spot these scams?
- Never wire money to anyone who emails – or calls – and asks you to. Instead, check it out.
- Contact the company through a number or email address you know is real. Don’t use phone numbers or links in the email.
- Don’t open email attachments, even from someone you know, unless you’re expecting it. Opening attachments can put malware on your computer.
If you’ve already sent in money to a scammer, act quickly.
- If you wired money through your bank, ask them right away for a wire recall. If you used a money transfer company, like Western Union or MoneyGram, call their complaint lines immediately.
- Report your experience to the FTC and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Give as much information as you can, including all requested banking information. The sooner you get this report in to ic3, the more likely they can help you.
- If your bank asks for a police report, give them a copy of your report to ic3.gov.
Also, learn more about protecting yourself from phishing.
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REMEMBER: A PrimeSource Credit Union Employee will not call you and ask you to provide sensitive account verification information (we already have this information). If you have any doubt, DO NOT RESPOND and please call us directly for assistance at (509) 838-6157.