Common Scams and Scam Red Flags

Scam text messages and alerts

Common Scams and Scam Red Flags

Scams are fraudulent schemes designed to deceive individuals and steal their money, personal information, or both. These schemes can take various forms, including phishing, romance scams, tech support scams, and more. Scammers often exploit people's trust and urgency, posing as legitimate businesses - such as banks, government agencies, or well-known companies. It is crucial to stay vigilant and informed about common scam tactics to protect oneself from falling victim. Recognizing the signs of a scam can help you act quickly to safeguard your financial and personal information.

Types of Scams:

Phishing:  Using fake emails that look like they came from a legitimate source - such as your credit union. The message typically includes a notice of unusual activity on your account along with a sense of urgency to get in contact with them by clicking a link, calling a phone number, or sending a text reply on your mobile phone. This is an attempt to entice you to share your sensitive information, which can lead down a devastating path to identity and financial theft.

Smishing: This is exactly like phishing. It is an attempt to solicit your personal information - only the channel is via text message.

Vishing: You may receive a follow-up call if you interact with a fraudulent text message. This is a combination attack by a phone call rather than email or text message. If you receive a phone call asking to provide confidential information about your accounts, we recommend hanging up immediately and contacting your financial institution. When in doubt, always contact Community West directly for any questions regarding your accounts or loans.

Romance Scams: Did you know fraudsters often pose as someone special on a dating website or app? Soon, they want to email, call, or message you to get you off the platform. They will tug at your heartstrings, saying it's true love, but they live far away - for work or because they're in the military. Then they start asking for money. It could be for a plane ticket to visit you, emergency surgery, or something else urgent.

Tech Support Scams: Scammers impersonate well-known tech companies, promising to fix non-existent issues or renew fraudulent software or security applications. These fraudsters will often request remote access to your device. Once access is given, they can install malware that lets them hack into your computer. Tech companies do not call individuals to report problems. If you receive a call out of the blue or due to clicking on a link from a pop-up message, do not act immediately. Bring the device to a local electronic store to be serviced, or run virus detection software on the impacted device to identify any issues.

Elder Scams:  Scammers are tricking seniors into sending their "grandchildren" money or paying for fake services.

Job Scams: Do not pay for work. No real job will ask you to pay to begin a new job!

For a more comprehensive list of common scams, review our scam awareness page.


Red Flags of Scams:

While there are numerous indicators that you may be falling victim to a scam, some of the most common red flags are:

  • Using an email that looks similar to the correct version - for example: our email domain is, not,, or
  • Be cautious of clicking links and opening attachments, don't click unless you are confident if the sender or are expecting the attachment.
  • Be suspicious of "urgent" or "immediate" responses needed.
  • Check email salutations - many legitimate businesses will use a branded email signature.
  • Watch out for emails or texts that appear to be a reply to a message that you never sent.
  • Be wary of offers that appear too good to be true, require fast action, or instill a sense of fear.
  • Know that the IRS or Social Security Administration will never contact you by phone, email, text, or social media.

When in doubt, hang up or do not respond. Think you may have been a victim of a scam? Contact us for additional assistance.