• Protect Yourself From Fraud & Scams

    Every year millions of people fall victim to fraud.

At Highland Bank, our goal is to bring awareness to the potential threats and provide tools and resources to help safe guard your assets.

Protect Yourself        Protect Your Business

Common Scams

Money Mule Scam

An individual who receives and transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of or at the direct of someone else. A money mule may be aware or unaware that they are assisting with criminal activity.

  • Romance Scams – A romantic interest takes advantage of and pressures or otherwise attempts to obtain funds or financial information from their “partner”. Romance scams can occur online or in person. Be wary of romantic interests who say they are in a sudden dire financial situation and ask for a loan or gift.
  • Work from Home Scams – An “employer” promises prospective employees that they can make money working from home. Once “hired” the employee is asked to open a bank account or provide their financial information to receive funds and then transfer all or a portion to another party. The employee may be told they are allowed to keep a portion of the funds.
  • Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams – A scammer may tell you or send a letter claiming that you’ve won the lottery but need to pay a fee to receive the prize. In some cases, thieves ask for cash, although they might also request gift cards to specific retailers or bank account information.

Telephone/Internet Scams

The use of fraudulent phone calls or emails to trick people into giving out money or personal information.

  • Debt Collection Scams – A scammer pretends to be from a law firm or federal government agency, such as the IRS, and claims to be collecting a debt. They may threaten to arrest or file a lawsuit if the debt is not paid.
  • Phishing or Tech Support Scams – A scammer sends an email, text message, or pop-up that appears to be legitimate aimed at tricking consumers into providing sensitive information.
  • Grandparent Scams – A scammer impersonates a grandchild or other close relative and pretends to be in a crisis situation, asking for immediate financial assistance. “Grandchildren” will often tell their grandparent not to tell anyone else of their crisis.

Business Scams

Businesses of all types and sizes can be vulnerable to fraud and scams and can severely affect your revenue and even reputation.

  • Business Identity Theft – This type of scam typically occurs when someone poses as a decision maker at your company, making purchases or taking on debt that you’ll eventually have to foot the bill for.
  • Imposter Scams – Someone pretending to be from a government agency, a vendor or another trusted entity, and proceeds to request sensitive information about your business or payment for a fake invoice.
  • Email & Cyber Threats – An email, an attachment, or an unexpected password reset request for one of your company’s accounts, could be a phishing or cyberattack. Opening or clicking the hyperlinks/attachments that you are not familiar with can expose your computer or even your entire network to malware. If critical data at your company becomes compromised, you could receive messages from scammers shortly after demanding payment.

Other Common Scams

Other scams can be conducted by fraudsters impersonating bankers, general contractors, or charities, they will ask for the money up front and will never complete their “services”. In some cases, family members will abuse their power.

  • Investment Scams – A scammer might want you to invest money in fake stocks, bonds, notes, commodities, currency, or even real estate or they may give you fake information about a real investment.
  • Homeowner Scams – A scammer uses high pressure tactics to sell unnecessary home improvements or repairs that are overpriced and either provide incomplete work or no work at all.
  • Veteran Scams – Some scammers may take advantage of your generosity and ask for a donation to a fundraiser or charity that isn’t legitimate.
  • Power of Attorney Exploitation – An appointed power of attorney abuses their power for their own financial gain.

Red Flags & Tips

Red Flags

Here are some red flags to watch out for that may help you identify a fraudster.

  • You are asked to receive funds via wire transfer, check deposit, ACH, gift cards, or any other funds transfer system and forward either all or some of the funds to one or more individuals.
  • You are asked to submit payment via wire transfer, ACH, gift cards, or other funds transfer systems such as PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, etc.
  • A friend or romantic interest pressures you to send them funds via wire transfer, check, ACH, gift cards, or cash.
  • Someone uses fear tactics to threaten you and get you to send them funds or provide your information.
  • You are pressured or rushed to purchase investment products including cryptocurrency investment opportunities.
  • Someone tells you to keep your transaction secret and to not contact bank or law enforcement.


These tips can help you if you feel you are encountering a fraudster.

  • Do not be pressured or intimidated into sending funds, making an investment, or making any immediate decisions. If you are unsure if something is real or not, consult with someone you trust or contact Highland Bank.
  • Do not sign any documents that you don’t completely understand without first consulting an attorney, family member, or trustworthy friend.
  • Do not provide personal information over the phone unless you’ve initiated the call and know who you are speaking to.
  • Be wary of uncommon or alternative payment methods such as gift cards, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, etc.
  • Verify licensing information for all individuals who claim to be a professional service provider (accountants, financial advisors, contractors, etc.)
  • Always report something that makes you uncomfortable, worried, or cautious even if you are told not to.

Additional Resources

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Department of Commerce (MN)


Social Security Administration (SSA)

  • ssa.gov
  • 1-800-772-1213
  • Deaf or hearing impaired: 1-800-325-0778