Deceptive advertising is becoming more and more common, and your best defense is staying informed. Most recently, you may be targeted via your mailbox and if you respond, the sender could take advantage and encourage you to provide them with personal and sensitive information. The next time you check your mail, make sure that you look carefully in order to protect you and your accounts from would-be fraudsters.
Look for the Fine Print
A return address may not be available and if you read closely, you may be able to see that the piece of mail is not affiliated with a legitimate financial institution.
Sensitive Information Should Never Be in Plain Sight
A dead giveaway is that financial institutions would never print sensitive information like ID or account numbers for the world to see on the front of a postcard.
Don’t Give Out Personal Information
If your immediate response is needed or the matter is time sensitive, the notification would not be in a postcard.
To be clear, your financial institution will NEVER ask for your social security number, passwords, or other sensitive information via postcard or over the phone unless you contact them.
Example of Deceptive Advertising on a Postcard:
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE NEEDED
Indicia: FIRST-CLASS MAIL PRESORTED US POSTAGE PAID DAYTONA BCH FL PERMIT NO. 447
Body of Postcard: You have recently closed on this mortgage with Financial Institution ABC. We need you to please call us about an important matter regarding this loan. This is time sensitive so please call us at 800-230-8750 (or another 800 or 855 number) as soon as possible. Mortgage ID#: XXXX-XXX-XXX
To: Your Name and Address
Disclosure: All information provided by H.W.C., 888-405-0963. Not affiliated with, sponsored by, and loan information not provided by Financial Institution ABC.
If you see a postcard or notice that seems suspicious, shred it right away.
This example includes a reference from a well-known financial institution, but it’s not really from them if you look at the fine print. Recipients are urged to contact a toll-free number in an urgent fashion (after doing some digging, these postcards have listed 855-901-9227, 800-230-8750, 888-405-0963, and 855-549-2122). The mortgage ID is fake, and if you look closely, the postcard is not affiliated by the financial institution that’s on the postcard.
When in doubt, contact your financial institution directly.
To learn more about additional tips and tricks to protect yourself and your information, visit our Fraud Center. We also offer financial workshops & webinars to help you spot fraud and prevent identity theft.