Common Bank Scams

Bank scams can be devastating and even the savviest computer user can be tripped up by cyberthieves. If you are not careful, you could lose your entire savings.


Take the time to learn about common scam tactics so you can protect yourself and your money. Remember, never share personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth with anyone you don’t know or trust.

One of the amazing membership benefits that come with having online banking through Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union is we rely on industry-best protocols to keep your accounts safe. For example, we require two-factor authentication when you log into your account. And if you try to sign in from a new device, we require you to answer a security question. Make sure to check out our resources on how to protect your online security and bank accounts.

Handing money over to someone else

Top Four Common Banking Scams:

The following scams and tips on how to avoid them are listed on website.

Overpayment scams

A scammer sends you a counterfeit check and requests that you deposit it into your bank account. They then ask you to wire a portion of the money back. Since the check they sent you was fake, you’ll not only have to pay your bank back for the amount of the check, but you’ll also lose the money you wired.

Unsolicited check fraud
A scammer sends you a check that you are not expecting. If cashed, you may unknowingly be authorizing a large purchase or signing up for a loan that you didn’t initiate.

Automatic withdrawals

A company requests access to your bank account to qualify for a free trial or to collect a prize. They then begin automatically withdrawing your money from the account.


You receive an email, text, or phone call asking you to verify your bank account or debit card number.

Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union Tupper Lake Branch road sign

Recently Reported Scams & Phishing Attempts

If you were recently the victim of an attempted scam, please let us know. We will keep this list updated as new reports are received.

November 2023 - Watch Out for Holiday Scams 
It’s almost December, which means many charities and non-profit organizations are ramping up their year-end fundraising drives. For many organizations, the gifts they bring in during the holiday season go a long way toward enabling the good work they do all year long.

But not every appeal is legitimate: Every year, Americans lose millions of dollars to charity scams, giving money to fraudulent organizations. Before you write a check or donate online, use this new IRS tool to verify the tax-exempt status of the group you want to support. You can even learn if the organization has had its tax-exempt status revoked.

(Take careful note of the organization’s name: Some scammers will adopt monikers close to legitimate operations, in hope of confusing their targets.) 
Try the IRS Tool Here

February 2023 - Recently, some of our members have received a text message claiming to be from Adirondack Regional FCU. Please know that this is a scam. We will never text our members about their accounts, nor request personal information from you. If you are at all worried of your account being impacted, please do not hesitate to call us.

December 2022 - Recently some members have reported Caller ID Spoofing, where scammers are using local area numbers. These calls may look like they are local, and may prompt you to hit a button on your phone in order to "stop receiving the calls", DO NOT DO THIS. You should hang up the phone right away, and feel free to report the incident to us. The call may come from an automated machine, or an actual person, but never give out any personal information or answer any questions, especially if they are "yes" or "no" format.

January 2022 – Recent reports of a phone scam using a local number asking you to verify a purchase made with coinbase. An additional phone scam has also been reported where members receive a text message asking them about an attempted Zelle money transfer. Do not engage in either and remember to never give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Never hesitate to give us a call if you are unsure if the request is real or not.

March 2021 – Three of our members reported they received emails seeking to verify their password. Fortunately, they knew these requests were shady. If you receive a similar email, simply delete it. And if you can’t tell whether it’s for real, just ask—we’ll let you know.

December 2020 – Over the past several months, we have seen more bank scams asking members to share their mobile banking login information in order to facilitate the deposit of checks into their accounts. As part of this scheme, credit union members are asked to send money to the person depositing the check or convert the money to a gift card. But the checks these scammers deposit are fraudulent and do not clear. Remember: NEVER share your online or mobile banking account information with anyone requesting it to deposit funds into your account. If this happens to you, contact us immediately to ensure you do not become a victim of a bank scam.

Employee holding up an Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union branded Visa credit card

Online Shopping Best Practices

We’re in the midst of the holiday shopping season, and ordering things online. This year, consumers are expected to drop nearly $210 billion on online purchases, according to Adobe.

But don’t use your debit card online.

Your debit card is tied to your checking account. And while they’re terrific tools to ensure you don’t spend more than you have available, when you use them online, you run the risk of thieves getting access to your data. And, as a result, your checking account.

The best alternative? Use a credit card. Federal regulations cap your liability to just $50 if your credit card information is stolen. You could be on the hook for far more if you use a debit card. (If you don’t have a credit card, ask us about our Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union Visa Rewards Credit Card

credit union staff helping a member with a report about a scam attempt

Think You Were Targeted By a Scammer?

It is important to report any suspicious banking activity or unusual requests to us. This allows us to notify our other credit union members and can help keep everyone’s bank accounts safe.

If you have any questions, please contact any staff member, who will be happy to provide more guidance.

Tips to Avoid a Banking Scam:

  • Be suspicious if you are asked to wire money from a check you received back to the company that sent it.
  • Be wary of lotteries, free trials, or other solicitations that ask for your bank account number.
  • Always confirm the authenticity of a cashier’s check with the bank that it is associated with before depositing it into your account.
  • Verify a check or the check issuer by referencing the contact information on a bank’s website.
  • Don’t trust checks or money orders simply based on appearance. Scammers can make them look legitimate and official.
  • Don’t deposit checks or money orders from people or companies you don’t have a relationship with.
  • Don’t wire money to people or companies you don’t know well.
  • Never give your bank account number to someone who calls you, even for verification purposes.
  • Don’t click on links in an email to verify your bank account.
  • Don’t accept a check that includes an overpayment.

Remember: Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union will never call you for your password, or ask you to send it over email. (Nor will any legitimate business, for that matter).

Not a Member of Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union Yet?

If you are a resident of Northern NY, you may be eligible to join over 7,000 other members who take advantage of the amazing credit union benefits that we offer at Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union. From free access to over 30,000 ATMs across the country to some of the highest returns on savings accounts in the region, find out why the North Country have trusted their banking needs with us since 1947.