Important Message about common characteristics of cyber scams

Is It a Scam? Learn 5 Common Tactics Criminals Use

Cyber criminals can wreak havoc on your financial life, and the tactics they use are growing more sophisticated. We wanted to share some of the most common tricks criminals use so you can be on the lookout.

Last year, nearly 2.8 million consumers filed a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—the highest number since 2001. About 25% of those reports led to a financial loss, with victims typically losing $500. Because crimes like password phishing emails and fake text messages on the rise, it's important to be aware of ploys criminals often use.

Creating a sense of urgency: Scammers often promise easy wealth or fleeting opportunity, using an urgent deadline to manipulate a victim to act quickly. In emails, text messages, or on the phone, they impose pressure to get a victim to take action immediately.

Using threatening or aggressive language: With a goal of instilling fear, criminals often use messages that are hostile or aggressive. They may send intimidating emails or text messages that threaten actions such as "Your 401k plan will be frozen" or "Your passport will be seized."

Making unsolicited contact: Bad actors take advantage of the fact that most of us are constantly on our phones. A common scam is to call and ask for personal information--or send a text with a link to a fake login page. If the victim clicks the link and enters their login credentials, scammers can access the victim's personal information and financial accounts, sell the information to other criminals or install malware onto the victim's machine.

Impersonating a company or person you trust: Attackers often pose as people or organizations you've either interacted with or that sound official. According to the FTC, there's been a spike in people receiving fake text messages that look like they're from well-known companies like USPS, Costco and The Home Depot. Learn more about imposter scams targeting BECU members with fake fraud alert text messages.

Using breaking news stories: Criminals use natural disasters, data breaches and international events like the Ukraine-Russia crisis to urge payments or donations to illegitimate individuals or organizations. During the Covid-19 pandemic, fraud has skyrocketed with impersonators running a range of cons—from peddling fake hand sanitizer and masks to using stolen data to file for unemployment benefits in victims' names.

How To Report a Scam to BECU

If you're concerned about a suspicious communication you've received or acted upon, please contact us at 800-233-2328. You can also send us a secure message using Messenger in Online Banking or the mobile app, or visit any BECU location. To find a location near you, visit our Locations page.

How To Contact BECU's Fraud Department

Email our security team at to report this type of activity. We monitor these email notifications only during business hours. Please do not send confidential information via email. You can also call 800-233-2328 and follow the prompts to speak with someone in our fraud department.

Additional Ways To Report a Scam