Here at Merck Sharp & Dohme FCU, our biggest priority is your financial wellness, and that includes keeping you and your money safe. To help you achieve it, we’ve put together this guide to recognize the signs of fraud and protect yourself from scams.

While the details surrounding the way, a scam plays out can vary greatly, most follow a similar theme. They try to get victims to share personal information or to pay for a service or product that doesn’t exist.

They demand detailed information before agreeing to process an application. A favorite ploy among scammers is asking for sensitive, non-public information like your date of birth, Social Security number, and login information for online accounts. They will typically do this before processing any application for an alleged product, service, or job.

They insist on a specific method of payment. If an online seller or service provider will only accept payment through a wire transfer or a prepaid debit card, you’re likely looking at a scam.

MSDFCU will never call asking for your account number, PIN, debit or credit card number (including the 3-digit code on the back), or any other personally identifying information. If anyone contacts you purporting to be from a financial institution or another agency and asks for personal information, money, or gift cards, please be cautious. Please note: MSDFCU may send texts and emails to the phone number or email address on record to verify identification before accessing your accounts.

You can stay on top of your money 24/7 by monitoring accounts by setting up Alerts. Alerts will notify you of account transactions such as deposits and withdrawals, as well as security information such as changes to your email address or phone number. You can choose to receive Alerts via email, text, or real-time push notification. To get the most out of Alerts, go to online banking and make sure your email and mobile phone numbers are current. Next, review available options and set up your Alerts to suit your needs. You can also set up Alerts in the MSDFCU mobile app on the “Accounts” menu under “Manage Live Updates.” If you have any questions or want to add a new email address to your account, contact Member Services at (215) 996-3700.

Keep yourself safe by following these rules:

  1. Never share personal information online.
  2. Don’t open unsolicited emails. If you already have, don’t click on any embedded links.
  3. Never send money by insecure means to an unknown party.
  4. Protect your devices by using the most up-to-date operating systems, choosing two-factor authentication, and using strong, unique passwords for every account.
  5. Choose the strongest privacy settings for your social media accounts.
  6. Keep yourself in the know about the latest scams and learn how to protect yourself.
  7. Educate your kids about basic computer safety and privacy.
  8. If you have elderly parents who spend time online, talk to them about common scams and teach them to protect themselves.
  9. Don’t take the identity of callers at face value, even if your Caller ID verifies their story. If a government agency, utility company, or financial institution reaches out to you and asks you to share personal information, tell them you’ll contact them on your own and then end the call.
  10. Never accept a job or agree to pay for a purchase or service without thoroughly researching the company involved.

Above all, remember the golden rule of scams: If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.