Beware of Rental Car Scams
As we begin to repair our lives from the Pandemic, you may be thinking of doing a little travelling — and so is everyone else! With rental car availability at an all-time low, prices are sky high. So, if you suddenly find an available car at a cheap price, you might be dealing with scammers looking to cash in on the rental car shortage. Scammers are posing as rental car companies, setting up their own websites, and advertising fake customer service phone numbers, all to convince travelers they’re legit. Then, they’re asking people to pre-pay for the rental — with a gift card or prepaid debit card. To avoid rental car scammers driving off with your money:
Research the rental car company by searching for the name of the company and words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review” to check if other people have had a bad experience.
Verify deals with the company directly. If you need customer support, look for contact info on the company’s official website. Don’t use a search engine result. Scammers can pay to place sponsored ads in search results, so they show up at the top or in the sponsored ad section.
Pay with a credit card if possible, and never pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card. You can dispute credit card charges, but gift cards and prepaid debit cards can disappear like cash. Once you give the number and PIN to a scammer, the money is gone.
Before you rush to book that miraculously available rental car, take a beat and read up about things you should consider when renting a car. If you spot a rental car scam, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
How to Recognize Signs of Identity Theft and Fraud
The first big step in protecting yourself from identity theft is awarenessand that means being able to define and recognize it when its happening.
At PAFCU we want to ensure our Members possess the knowledge to recognize these warning signs early on to protect yourself and your assets.
- You No Longer Get Your Household Bills in the Mail
An absence of bills in the mail could mean your personal data has been compromised, and the identity thief has changed your billing address.
- You Are Turned Down for a Loan or Credit
If you're rejected for credit, but have a history of good credit health, you might have been targeted by an identity thief. If you're approved for a loan or credit, but at higher interest rates, that's also a sign you may have been victimized by identity theft.
- You Are Being Billed for Purchases You Didn't Buy
Invoices for purchases you don't recognize, or if you're being billed for overdue payments for credit accounts you don't own, that's a sign you've been victimized by I.D. fraud.
- Your Financial Accounts Have Transactions That Appear Fraudulent
If your bank, credit card or other financial account show unauthorized transactions, those accounts may have been breached.
- Your Tax Return Is Rejected
If you filed your tax returns and received a rejection notice from the Internal Revenue Service, that could indicate a return has been fraudulently filed in your name.
- Test Charges Appear on Your Credit Card Statement
It's common practice for identity thieves to "test" that a stolen card is still active by making low-cost purchases of under $5.00. If the credit card is approved, the fraudster knows that the path is clear for larger transactions.
How to protect yourself against Identity Fraud
The first big step in protecting yourself from identity theft is awarenessand that means being able to define and recognize it when its happening. If an individual's credit information falls into the wrong hands that person could be susceptible to losing valuable assets. Therefore it is imperative that everyone especially those with important assets to protect; such as homes, cars, bank accounts, etc., should freeze their accounts which can be done easily and at no cost.
Did you know that you can put a freeze on your account for FREE? To do so contact the major financial companies listed below and follow the instructions.
Equifax: www.freeze.equifax.com (or call 1-800-525-6285)
Experian: www.experian.com (or call 1-888-397-3742)
Transunion: Call 1-800-916-8800
At the conclusion of each transaction you will receive either a PIN or Password. They should be stored in a very safe place such as a safe deposit box. Only retrieve them when transacting a purchase (such as buying a car, applying for a loan, etc) that requires to unfreeze the account and be sure to freeze the account after your business has been transacted. To learn more visit Experian here.
Con artists may try to get your Medicare Number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone.
Protect yourself from Medicare fraud. Guard your Medicare card like its a credit card. Remember:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare Number or other personal information unless youve given them permission in advance.
- Medicare will never call you to sell you anything.
- You may get calls from people promising you things if you give them a Medicare Number. Dont do it.
- Medicare will never visit you at your home.
- Medicare can't enroll you over the phone unless you called first.
Check regularly for Medicare billing fraud. Review your Medicare claims and Medicare Summary Notices for any services billed to your Medicare Number you dont recognize.
Report anything suspicious to Medicare. If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE.