What is Fraud?

Fraud is a term that has become part of our everyday vocabulary. As our lifestyles progress towards a more digital future, the more at risk our personal, private information is to criminals. Scammers and hackers will try anything to steal and use your personal information to impersonate you, compromise your accounts, or other malicious purposes. Some prominent types of fraud are:

  • identity theft
  • online fraud such as phishing and pharming
  • offline fraud including credit card, phone solicitations, print fraud, check scams, and mail fraud 

You can help protect your personal information and accounts by using caution when providing confidential information.  Below, we help you learn the different kinds of attacks that scammers may use to try to steal your personal information. 

  • Identity Theft

    Identity theft is fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority. Identity theft is the unlawful act of capturing, transferring, and/or using one or more pieces of another person's personal identifying information (including, but not limited to, name, address, driver's license, date of birth, Social Security number, account information, account login credentials, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number, or family identifiers) and using or attempting to use that information to establish or take over a credit, deposit, or other financial account in that person's name.

    Identity theft falls into one of two categories:

    True name fraud - Establishing (or attempting to establish) an account(s) using another person's identity.
    Account takeover - Establishing (or attempting to establish) control of an existing account(s) without authority of the account holder. Account takeover does not include solely the posting of unauthorized transactions against an existing account, such as forged-maker signature, counterfeit, and credit card misuse.

  • Online Fraud

    Phishing - Phishers use fraudulent emails or pop-up web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information.

    Pharming - Pharming occurs when you type in a web address and are redirected to a fraudulent website without your knowledge or consent. The website will try to look similar to the legitimate site in hopes of capturing your confidential information.

    Vishing - Vishing occurs when an email is sent asking you to call a fake phone number. The number is set up to sound like a legitimate financial institution's phone system, prompting you to type in your 16 digit credit card number and expiration date to verify your information. Once you do that, however, you have just given the scammers all they need to have access to your account.

  • Credit Card Fraud and Check Scams

    Credit Card Fraud - Occurs when someone takes your card and uses it without your consent. It can also happen when a scammer uses a scanner to steal information off of a credit card sitting safely in your wallet. 

    Check Scams - Scammers will overpay for an item purchased and ask the difference to be wired back. Most times the check was counterfeit or forged for a higher amount.


  • Mail and Print Fraud

    Mail Fraud - Mail fraud occurs when scammers illegally intercept your mail or when you receive unrealistic offers.

    Print Fraud - Scammers will use local and community newspapers to publish fake advertisements with special rates and offers. If clients call, they are asked for their personal information and for an advance payment before the transaction can be completed.

  • Phone Solicitations

    Be wary of telephone scammers. If you receive a call from someone asking for personal and account information, call the company back using a phone number you know is legitimate.

    Scammers use fraudulent contact information such as mailing addresses, phone, and fax numbers and claim to be "third-party consultants." When unsuspecting consumers contact the scammers, the callers are asked to provide their personal and account information. Scammers then tell applicants that their loans have been approved but that they first need to make an advance payment or deposit before the loans can be advanced by wire transfer.