Advance Fee Scams target consumers and businesses by posing as financial institutions and offering loans with forged documentation and private e-mails. Learn how to protect yourself.
Understanding the Advance Fee Scam
At First Federal Bank, your online safety is our priority. We understand that technology and innovation are making it easier than ever to manage your finances. Unfortunately, they can also enable criminals to create new ways to deceive and steal from you. Recently, we have detected scammers using First Federal Bank’s information to scam non-customers to commit fraud. There are several different types of consumer fraud, but one increasingly common example is the Advanced Fee Scam.
Here's how it works:
You receive a call from a company that you have never contacted, offering you a loan with attractive terms. The caller may represent themselves as calling from a major financial services company. To obtain the loan, they instruct you to complete a loan application by signing, providing your social security and/or driver’s license number and wire several hundred dollars to prepay for insurance on the loan.
They will ask you to complete an application and wire the insurance payment to an address they specify during the call. After the money is wired, usually using Western Union, the victim is notified that their application has been denied and their prepayment is non-refundable. The Advance Fee Scam often targets victims with poor credit who have recently had multiple loan applications declined, offering them a large loan at a low rate. Remember, if a loan offer comes out of the blue and seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The good news is that you can completely protect yourself against the Advance Fee Scam by knowing what to look for and taking simple precautions.
Remember that it is very uncommon for a lender to guarantee that you will receive a loan before you apply, or before they have checked out your credit status, especially if you have bad credit or no credit history at all.
Here is some additional guidance on how to protect yourself against the Advance Fee Scam.
- Don't pay money for the "promise" of a loan. Ignore any advertisement or hang up on any cold caller who "guarantees" a loan in exchange for a fee paid in advance.
- Beware of anyone who pressures you to "act immediately" by sending money or personal information.
- Never send money, whether by prepaid debit card, wire or money orders prior to receiving the actual proceeds of the loan. Most lenders won't ask you to send funds in advance, and you will have little to no protection through these methods.
- If you are not absolutely sure who you are dealing with, get the company's contact information directly from their website and call them to make sure you're dealing with the company you think you're dealing with. And if they have an online presence, check there too. In the past, some scam artists have pretended to be the Better Business Bureau or another legitimate organization; on or offline, you should always make sure you are dealing with a reputable party before you give out sensitive financial information.
How to Respond:
First Federal Bank will never ask you in advance to provide payment for any type of insurance, application fee or fee to obtain a loan. If you believe you may be a victim of an Advanced Fee Scam in connection with First Federal Bank, you should immediately take the following steps:
- Do NOT provide account information for a prepaid debit card to an unknown caller. First Federal Bank will never request this information from you.
- Call Customer Care immediately at (877) 367-8178. We can verify the identity of First Federal Bank employees.
- File a complaint regarding internet-related fraud with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Report the scam to your state's Attorney General. You can find your state's contact information here.