Avoid account takeover scams with these fraud tips

Just say no when someone tries to convince you to give them access to your financial accounts

Scammers are constantly figuring out new ways to succeed in their fraudulent activities. One of their favorite scams is trying to convince you that it’s imperative for you to allow them to take over your financial accounts to fix some imaginary problem they made up to scare you. But after reading these tips, you’ll have no problem avoiding any account takeover scam that comes your way.


Let’s start with the basics of what an account takeover scam is so you know what to look for when the scammers come calling. Account takeover fraud is a type of identity theft that occurs when scammers gain access to your online accounts and use them to initiate transfers to withdraw money, make purchases, or extract information they can sell or use to access your other accounts. Scammers frequently target your online accounts which have a login and password, including social media accounts (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram), email accounts, online shopping apps, or – most commonly – your online banking accounts.


Scammers use many tools and tactics to take over your accounts, but one of their favorite schemes is using social engineering exploits. Social engineering exploits include phishing attempts using deceptive texts, phone calls, or emails. These attempt to trick you into disclosing login credentials, sometimes without you even realizing it’s happening. They may also try to trick you into downloading malicious software, which allows them to gain access without ever needing your credentials.


Follow these steps to protect yourself from account takeover scams:

  • Create unique, strong passwords for every account – Avoid using common words or phrases. Hackers will be more successful with their attacks if you tend to use the same logins and passwords on multiple sites. Ideally, you should have a unique, secure password for every online account. Using a secure password manager to generate and store your passwords across devices is a helpful tool to stay safe.
  • Use multi-factor authentication when possible – Setting up your accounts to send a one-time passcode by email or text can help thwart account takeover attempts and other fraudulent activities. But if you get an MFA code when you’re not attempting to log into your account, make sure you contact the credit union immediately. Adding biometric safety features like face recognition or fingerprint scanning can also be effective.
  • Install anti-virus software on all your devices – Make sure it is up to date and correctly installed so it can be a front-line defense for you.
  • Keep your devices up to date with the latest patches and updates – They may seem unnecessary to many, but the updates your devices run are imperative to keeping your online presence safe.
  • Never click on links or call a phone number in response to an unexpected text, email or message – Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text you asking for your personal information. Even if you get an email or text message from a company you do business with, it’s still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy or look up their phone number. Don’t call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.
  • Use common sense – Never give out your personal information, login information, or any other important information to anyone, ever. Keep a close eye on all your accounts at all times, too, so if the worst does happen, you can catch it right away.


So, what happens if the worst happens? First, don’t worry – we’ve got your back. Just follow these steps:

  • Report the fraud – Call our Member Support Center at 920-993-9000 to report it.
  • Check your accounts – Assess whether your other accounts have been affected, especially those that use the same password.
  • Change your passwords – Update your security information for the affected account and any others that share passwords with it. This would be a good time to do a complete password reset on all your accounts.
  • Have your devices checked for malicious software – The scammers may have downloaded software that gives them access to everything on your device without your knowledge. You will want to take your devices in to have them checked and cleared.
  • Consider your credit – You may want to freeze your credit or add a fraud alert to your credit reports and activate credit monitoring.

Like we said a second ago, we’ve got your back. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our friendly Fox team or stop by one of our many Fox locations throughout northeastern Wisconsin — including branches in the Fox Valley, Oshkosh, the greater Green Bay area, and the Manitowoc/Two Rivers lakeshore area.