Unfortunately, criminals are becoming increasingly common to target HOA boards and homeowners with various scams. As an HOA professional, you must stay vigilant to keep your association safe.
Here are some of the most common scam tactics used against HOA members and methods to protect yourself from them:
Common Types of Scams Targeting HOAs
The types of scams targeting HOAs are vast and varied, from phishing attempts to fake vendors. Here is a list of some of the more common scams that target HOAs:
With this scam, criminals typically send emails or other digital communication to HOA members pretending to be someone else. They may use a spoofed email address, which appears to come from the HOA or an affiliated entity.
These phishing emails usually contain a malicious link or attachment that can install malware on the user’s computer, allowing the scammer access to their personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. HOA members must be aware of these threats to protect themselves and their community.
Fake vendors will often contact HOAs with services they claim to need to be provided immediately for the association to remain compliant with laws or regulations. Typically, scammers will ask for payment upfront to provide this service.
Unsolicited telephone calls
With this scam, scammers call unsuspecting members acting as official representatives from either the HOA itself or a company associated with the association. The caller then tries to persuade the member to provide personal information such as bank account numbers, passwords, and/or credit card details in exchange for goods or services that they didn’t order in the first place.
Identity theft can occur when hackers access confidential information related to an individual’s accounts within an association, such as banking details, addresses, and Social Security numbers.
How to Avoid Scams
Safeguarding your information and resources is the best way to avoid being targeted by scammers. Here is how you can do just that:
Protect your finances and personal information
Never provide personal or financial information in response to an email or a website link. If you receive an email from an unknown sender asking for sensitive information, it is best to delete it immediately without opening any links or attachments. Additionally, be sure not to click on unfamiliar email links, which could lead to malicious websites.
Verify any requests before you act
Verify any information requests by double-checking with other HOA board members before providing any personal information or payment details.
Research your HOA service providers
Research any potential vendor before agreeing to use their services. Check online reviews, ask for referrals from other HOAs who have used them in the past, and get multiple price quotes from different companies before deciding which vendor you want to use. Additionally, ensure that all vendor contracts contain clear language about what services will be provided, how long the services will last, and what payment terms are included in the contract.
Review the details before signing up
Always ask if there are hidden fees associated with signing up for their product or service and if there is a cancellation policy included in the contract before agreeing to anything over the phone. Additionally, never give out your credit card information unless you are sure the company you are dealing with is legitimate and trustworthy.
Keep your confidential data safe
Properly secure all confidential data, including passwords, account numbers, and social security numbers, when storing them online or on paper documents. Ensure that all passwords used online are complex and unique so they cannot easily be guessed by hackers attempting access into accounts illegally.
Additionally, consider using two-factor authentication for added security measures when accessing sensitive accounts online such as banking or email accounts containing confidential data about members within your HOA organization.
As an HOA member, you are not immune to fraud or scams. For that reason, you must be aware of the types of scams that target HOAs and their members so that you can protect yourself and your community.
By understanding the different types of scams out there, you can help ensure that your HOA remains safe from malicious actors.
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