December 6, 2023 • 7 mins
If you or someone you know may be a victim of fraud, we’re here to help. On this page, you can find next steps for 11 of the most common scam and fraud situations.
If you’re not sure which situation applies or have other questions, call 800.358.8228 or visit your local branch. We’re here to listen, advise and help you take the steps necessary to help make this situation a little bit easier.
Select the situation below that applies to you or a loved one, and we’ll share the specific steps to take, including how Patelco can help.
Identity theft is when someone gets your personal information and then uses it to open accounts or make other financial transactions using your identity. Learn more about what is identity theft.
When a fraud alert is in effect, anyone who receives a credit application in your name should call you to verify your identity and confirm that you’re the one who really applied. (These will last for one year.)
Once you’ve finished your FTC Identity Theft Report, print a copy and go to your local police station. You should take:
Tell the police you need to file a report, and then ask for a copy of the report – it may help you to close accounts opened in your name and remove bogus charges from your accounts.
Job scams tend to be requests:
Job scams tend to be requests:
Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors. It occurs when someone misuses or takes money belonging to an elder for their own personal benefit. If you or someone you know is a victim of elder financial abuse, follow these steps.
Here are some common financial signs of elder abuse that everyone should be aware of:
Lottery or prize scams usually begin with an unexpected email, phone call, internet posting or mailing that tells you that you have won something, usually a large sum of money – but the scammers want something in exchange, such as fees or your financial information.
If you think you may be a victim of a lottery or prize scam, contact Patelco at 800.358.8228 so we can help you deal with any consequences to your account – especially if you provided the fraudsters with your account information.
Tech support scams may start with a phone call, email or online advertisement telling you that there’s something wrong with your computer, that it has a virus, or that it needs to be upgraded. The FTC has a great guide to spotting tech support scams.
If you think you’ve been a victim of tech support fraud, follow these steps:
Romance scams occur on online dating sites, in online game forums, on social media like Facebook and Instagram, and in other apps and websites. The scammer will convince another person that the two of them are in a romantic relationship – often with romantic gestures, flirtatious messages and flattering compliments. Then the scammer will ask for money and, typically, will refuse to meet in person or keep coming up with excuses.
As your partner on your financial journey, Patelco is here to help – not to judge. So if you think you’re a victim of a romance scam, come visit one of our local branches so we can talk about your concerns and figure out how to keep you and your accounts safe. You can also call us at 800.358.8228 – we’re here to talk.
Debit and credit cards are a favorite target for fraudsters because card transactions are so common. While some schemes involve computer hacking, many fraudsters are now reaching out to people directly and asking for card information. This could happen via a text or phone call that appears to come from your bank or credit union, or a “friend” reaching out via social media. Sometimes, the person asking will promise you something in return for giving your card information.
If you’ve given your card information out to someone else, call us immediately at 800.358.8228 so we can help protect your account from damage.
Patelco will never contact you and ask you for your online banking password – not by phone, not by email, not in person and not by text. There is no reason for anyone to have your online banking credentials – and if someone asks it is a scam.
If you’ve given out your online banking password, call us immediately at 800.358.8228 so we can help you reset your credentials and protect your accounts.
Calls claiming to be from the IRS, your local police or Social Security are increasingly common – and the fraudsters often claim you’ll be punished or arrested if you don’t cooperate. Don’t fall for it – neither the IRS nor your local law enforcement nor the Social Security Administration will call to resolve problems with your taxes or Social Security account.
Hang up and call Patelco instead at 800.358.8228. We’ll help you figure out your next steps, especially if you’ve provided information or money to the fraudsters.
If someone asks you to cash a check or money order in exchange for something, such as a portion of the money, you’re probably dealing with a scam. The check or money order will often turn out to be fake and will bounce.
In another variation of this scam, fraudsters pay for an item being sold via classified ad – but for more than the item’s price. Then the fraudsters will ask you to give back the difference in cash. Sometimes fraudsters also approach people outside bank and credit union branches asking them to cash a check – typically, these fraudsters will claim they don’t have an account and need the cash for some emergency.
If you’ve agreed to cash a check or money order for someone else – especially in exchange for something – it’s very likely fraudulent. Visit one of our local branches or call us at 800.358.8228
immediately so we can address the situation.
If you see a charge you don’t recognize or had an issue with a purchase, you can submit a credit, debit, ATM, or HSA card dispute or claim within 60 days of the date it appears on your statement.
Many times, disputed charges are legitimate purchases that you may not recognize or remember, so before you file a claim we recommend reviewing your recent receipts or online shopping emails.
The easiest and fastest way to submit a fraud claim or dispute is in Patelco Online™ (or our Mobile App). After you log in on your desktop, hover over Accounts in the main menu, tap or click on Accounts (the third one), then choose the account with the fraudulent charge. Select the dispute option next to the relevant transaction. In our Mobile App, select the specific transaction and then look for the dispute link. We encourage you to file online or via the Mobile App, but if you encounter any difficulties you can also call us at 800.358.8228, visit a local branch or write to Patelco Credit Union, Card Services Department, PO Box 2227, Merced, CA 95344-0227.