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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Outsmart Loan Payment Scammers

As more consumers become aware of the dangers of phishing (scammers stealing personal data), some criminals choose another scheme: loan payment scams. For loan payment scams to work, these criminals trick their victims into entrusting them with loan payments. 

First, the scammer impresses upon victims that he or she is a well-connected insider of a bank (or another lending organization) who wants to help people get their loans processed quickly and conveniently.  Once they earn the victim’s trust, they find excuses to take payments from the victim, while assuring him or her that the money will be used for “processing” the loans. Of course, the payments go to the scammer—not to the bank or lender!

You can outsmart loan scammers with these steps:

Always pay for your loan-related payments and other transactions through proper bank channels. These channels include over the counter at your bank branch or through automatic debit arrangement. Do this for your car loans, home loans, and business loans. 

Maximize auto debit payments. Ask your bank about this; it is the more secure and convenient option. For example, BDO has an Automatic Debit Arrangement (ADA) that transfers monthly amortizations from the assigned BDO Savings or Checking accounts.

Verify with your bank or other lender. When someone offers to help with your loan payment or to help “fast-track” your loan application, don’t say yes right away. Even if the person is a friend or a relative, don’t be pressured into saying yes.  Be more wary if the person is a stranger.

Instead, call up or go to your bank branch or the lending company.  Verify if the person is authorized to help customers with loan payments and applications.  Then ask if the loan payment or loan application process is legitimate and authorized by the bank/lender. If you successfully verify all of that, then you can go ahead and say yes. 

Be extra wary when someone asks you to transfer money to a personal account; especially if it is for processing a loan application or before releasing the loan proceeds. 

Don’t forget about phishing scams

Phishing is done mainly through deception: the scammer sends a text message, an email, a private message, or a link that will prompt the targeted person to share personal information.  

Once the scammer gets the victim’s personal information, it now becomes very easy to steal a person’s money through online hacking. 

You can outsmart scammers and protect your data by knowing how they try to trick you into sharing your data. Here are the warning signs:

  1. The caller or message sender asks for your username and password of your online banking account.  It might also ask for your One-Time PIN or OTP. Your bank will never ask for that information. 

  2. The caller or message sender provides you with email or text links that lead to websites that ask for your personal information, including your online banking account credentials. Your bank will never send you those types of links.  At most, your bank will only send links to share information such as card promotions.  

  3. The caller or message sender asks you to verify your account through a phone call, text message, direct messaging, or email. Be suspicious if you are asked to verify your account by sharing your personal information: your name, birthday, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Such information may be used to access your account. Your bank will never ask for your personal data.

  4. The caller or message sender asks for the following information through a phone call, direct message, email, or text message: your credit card number; your card expiry date; your card CVV (or Card Verification Value, which can be found at the back of your
    card); your OTP to verify online shopping transactions. Your bank will never ask for that. 

Scammers are always out to get victims; remember these tips to keep yourself and your money protected from their schemes.

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