Help us protect you: Can you spot a scam?


October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a national campaign designed to help increase the public’s awareness of cybercrimes. Scams are becoming more common, and fraudsters are getting better and better at coming up with new ways to steal your hard-earned money. Thankfully, there are tips to assist you in stopping scammers in their tracks.

Help Us Protect You

Many common scams aim to target you through fake emails, text messages, or phone calls. No matter the method a bad actor uses, here are six questions to consider when avoiding scammers:

  1. Are they asking for unusual methods of payment?
    If the individual tells you that you need to send cash in the mail, an urgent wire transfer, or pay in gift cards or bitcoin immediately, stop and think. Remember that legitimate retailers, government agencies, and utilities will never pressure you to pay by gift card or cryptocurrency or to send your money to someone else to keep it safe.
    The fraudster may even use software to make it appear that they are calling from your bank or local law enforcement agency. Hang up and call the bank or law enforcement agency directly to confirm the request before making any payments or providing any information.
  2. Did someone request your personal information?
    Never share your personal information, like your card number or bank details, over text message, social media, email, or phone. If the situation seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you provided information and you’re not sure that you should have, contact your bank right away.
  3. Are you being pressured to act immediately?
    Scammers may try to rush your payment or reply. Be cautious if you are pressured to act immediately with an alarming phone call, email, or text message that stirs your emotions. These imposters may pose as an employee of an organization you are familiar with and say there’s a problem that needs immediate attention. Do not act unless you have called the bank or law enforcement agency back at a publicly available phone number and verified that the request is legitimate.
  4. Are you being asked to log into your online banking?
    If a business or government agency tells you that you need to log in to your online banking to prove payment and receive a refund, do not continue. Remember, a business does not need to see your online banking for proof of payment. If this occurs, hang up, power off your device, and immediately contact your local branch.
  5. Have you received an email stating that you were charged with something you did not buy?
    Scammers use these emails or pop-ups to get access to your banking information. Always contact your bank or credit card company directly to verify the charge. Remember, a business does not need to see your online banking information to verify a charge.
  6. Have you received an email or pop-up stating you have a virus on your computer?
    Remember, these are likely scams. Anti-virus companies do not email you if your computer has been infected. Do not provide your personal or banking information or log in to online banking.

Get Scam Smart: Four Signs to Watch

You may also avoid scams by recognizing these four signs:

  1. A caller tells you there is a problem with your computer account or a family member.
  2. They tell you to act urgently, saying that you have to send money to avoid loss or legal action.
  3. They ask for immediate payment in cryptocurrency, wire transfer, or gift cards.
  4. They ask you not to tell your bank about the call or to lie about the purpose of the funds.

Remember, Opportunity Bank of Montana staff will never initiate a request for sensitive information from you by email, including your:

  • Social Security Number
  • Username and passwords
  • Account information
  • Full card details or PIN

If you recognize any of the signs above and gave out information or sent money, call your local branch right away.

Additional Resources:

For more information on how you can protect yourself against scams, please visit the following sites:

• Visit the American Banker’s Association’s “BanksNeverAskThat” page to learn more about how to stay safe from scams.
• State of Montana: Security Freeze and ID Theft
• Federal Trade Commission
• FTC:

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