Financial fraud’s effect on your members extends much further than their pocketbooks.
Nearly two-thirds of financial fraud victims admitted to serious issues with stress, anxiety, sleep, and depression, according to findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
“Fraud’s effects linger and cause distress well after the scam is over,” says Gerri Walsh, FINRA Foundation president.
Beyond the psychological and emotional costs, nearly half of fraud victims reported incurring indirect financial costs associated with the fraud, such as late fees, legal fees, and bounced checks, the report indicates. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they incurred more than $1,000 in indirect costs as a result of the fraud, and 9% declared bankruptcy.
Because of the personal relationships you’ve developed with members, you can play a key role in helping them address this trauma—and avoid falling victim to these scams in the first place.
Alert members to the resources your credit union, state league, CUNA, NCUA, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offer. Many credit unions offer classes, brochures, or Web pages that list common fraud practices, and offer phone hotlines and email channels where victims can ask for assistance.
Notify members about new forms of fraud they might not be aware of or completely understand, such as phony tax refunds using their personal information, scammers contacting them through Facebook, or malicious Craigslist posts.
Inform members that scammers often will impersonate representatives of government agencies, service providers, and even your credit union. Explain the ways your credit union does and doesn’t contact members. Tell members to verify the identity of someone seeking personal or confidential information.
Remind members of these four rules of thumb, courtesy of Members 1st Credit Union in Mechanicsburg, Pa.:
This article first appeared in Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, the monthly sales and service newsletter for branch staff and their managers. Subscribe now to the print edition or PDF version.