Your Bank > Education and Advice > CNB University

10 Ways You Can Avoid Becoming the Victim of Fraud

Each February, the Federal Trade Commission publishes its annual reporting related to trending schemes and fraud scenarios impacting consumers. This is an excellent time of year to refresh your awareness and consider best practices for consumer security. Review the below techniques and suggestions to stay protected!

  1. Beware of social engineering attempts. According to the FTC, imposter scams were the second most reported scam type during 2023, with reported losses of $2.7 billion. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, such as a government official, relative, charity, or a vendor you do business with. CNB is also aware of fraudsters attempting to pose as bank employees, contacting individuals in efforts to solicit personal information or obtain unauthorized account access. Don’t send money, provide personal information, or share secure access codes in response to an unexpected request — be it a text message, a phone call, or an email.
  2. Conduct due diligence with online searches. Type a company, product, or phone number into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” If something sounds questionable, trust your instincts!
  3. Don’t rely on caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to spoof legitimate phone numbers, so the name and number you see aren’t always reliable. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, do not engage! If you think the caller might be legitimate, place a call back to a number that you know is authentic.
  4. Don’t pay up-front for a promise. Someone might ask you to make an up-front payment for credit / debit relief, loan origination, investment opportunities, or even employment offers. Typically, a large payoff or incentive is promised later, but the scammer disappears immediately upon receiving the up-front fee.
  5. Choose payment methods carefully. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wire transfers are riskier because it’s nearly impossible to retrieve funds back once payment has transmitted. This is also true for reloadable prepaid cards and gift cards (such as iTunes or Google Play).
  6. Talk to someone. Talk to someone you can trust before deciding that you aren’t sure of. Fraudsters inject a sense of urgency and want you to react in real time. They might threaten you or try to intimidate you. Slow down, conduct your own research, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
  7. Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, do not engage, and hang up. These calls are illegal, and often the products are completely phony. Don’t press 0 to speak to a person or ask to be taken off the call list, as this will likely just lead to additional calls.
  8. Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and carefully review the cancellation policy. Always review your monthly activity statements for items you do not recognize.
  9. Beware of ‘overpayment’ scams. These schemes typically involve depositing a check and wiring some of the funds back to the originator of the check. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a counterfeit check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a doctored, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
  10. Sign up for consumer scam alerts from the FTC at Receive the latest tips and advice about trending schemes sent right to your inbox.