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I’m applying for an online loan and they need my online banking username and password. Should I share it?

You should never share your online banking credentials with anyone. A legitimate business will never ask you to provide this information.

Beware of this online loan scam: A person applies for a loan online and then gets a response by text or phone saying they qualify for a loan—sometimes for as much as $5,000—but for the loan to be “funded quickly,” they “must provide their online banking username and password.”

Scammers are very good at justifying why this is needed and pressuring the applicant to do it “quickly before the loan falls through.” Soon after providing their username and password, the person sees a deposit made to his or her account and is then asked to make a “good faith payment” to show ability to pay back the loan. The person is asked to send money through a third party, such as Western Union, MoneyGram, or Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart. Sometimes, scammers will ask for payment in gift cards (iTunes, GooglePlay, or prepaid cards), saying, “There’s no need to mail the physical card—a photo of the receipt and the back of the gift card with the code revealed will work just fine.” With that information, scammers can move the value onto a new card, which the purchaser is unable to access.

Later, their financial institution calls saying the deposited check was returned as fraudulent. By depositing the funds via mobile deposit (knowing it takes several days to be returned), scammers take further advantage by asking for more wire transfers or gift cards. By the time the fraud is revealed, the victim’s account can be negative by thousands of dollars.

This fraud can happen to anyone, regardless of the amount of money in their account. If you have given someone access to your online banking account, call 1 (800) 479-7928 to speak with a Member Service Representative so we can help protect your information.