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How to Outsmart One-Time Passcode Scams
Jun 21, 2024

How to Outsmart One-Time Passcode Scams


At Mission Fed, we’re dedicated to keeping your personal information safe, no matter how you interact with us — whether it’s online, over the phone, or in person. We understand that fraudsters are always looking for new ways to access your information, which is why securing your data is our top priority.

Rest assured, we’re constantly monitoring our online banking platform and mobile app for potential threats to ensure your accounts are secure. But there are things you can do to help our security measures work even better. That’s why we’re here to shed light on one of the key tools in our security arsenal: One-Time Passcodes, or OTPs for short.

What Are One-Time Passcodes?

Simply put, OTPs are unique, temporary codes used to authenticate your identity when accessing online accounts. They are part of multi-factor authentication and add an extra layer of protection beyond your regular password.

When you attempt to log in to your account, whether it’s online banking or accessing other secure platforms, you may be prompted to enter a one-time passcode. This code is typically sent to your registered mobile device or email address. Once received, you enter the code within a specified time frame to complete the login process. The temporary nature of OTPs means that even if your password is compromised, would-be scammers won’t be able to access your account without also knowing the corresponding OTP.

Understanding OTP Scams

Unfortunately, fraudsters are always devising new ways to exploit security measures, and OTPs are no exception. Here’s how they may attempt to trick you:

  1. Scammers may pretend to be someone you can trust, such as your credit union or a government agency. They will often claim there’s an issue with your account or your identity has been stolen and offer to help.
  2. They may contact you via email, text, or even a phone call, requesting that you share your OTP to resolve the supposed issue quickly.
  3. By tricking you into sharing your OTP, they gain unauthorized access to your account. Once they’re in, they can transfer money out of your account and/or steal your personal information.

How to Protect Yourself from OTP Scams

Stay vigilant and follow these tips to protect yourself from falling victim to OTP scams:

  1. Never Share OTPs: Treat OTPs as personal, confidential information. Never share them with anyone, not even family or credit union employees. Mission Fed and other legitimate organizations will never reach out to you to request this information.
  2. Recognize Phishing Attempts: If you get an odd request to share your OTP (especially one you did not initiate), it’s probably a phishing scam. Remember, we’ll never ask for your OTP over email or text.
  3. Double-Check the Sender’s Information: If you receive a message or call about your account, it’s a good practice to make sure the sender is who they claim to be. Give us a ring at the number you trust (such as the one found on our website or on the back of your credit or debit card), not the one provided to you.
  4. Monitor Your Accounts: Set up balance and transaction alerts, regularly check your account statements, and review transaction history for any unauthorized activity. If you notice anything suspicious, give us a call at 800.500.6328. Mission Fed members also have free access to Mastercard ID Theft Protection to help monitor personal information and alert you if your information is ever listed on the dark web.
  5. Report Suspicious Activity: If you receive an OTP without requesting it, it could be a sign of attempted fraud. Report it to us immediately.

We’re Here to Help

One-time passcodes play a vital role in safeguarding your online accounts against unauthorized access. By understanding how OTPs work and staying vigilant against scams, you can help ensure the security of your finances and personal information. Remember, Mission Fed is here to support you and OTPs are just one of the ways we’re doing that. Stay safe, stay secure, and remember — we’re here for you, every step of the way.


The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article by Mission Federal Credit Union is for the information and convenience of its readers and does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union. Mobile and data rates apply when using mobile banking.

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