Scam Alerts

At Pioneer, your security is our priority. We go to great lengths to make sure that you are protected and well informed.
 
Please know that Pioneer will never request your confidential information via phone, email, or social media. Contact us to verify any activity where your personal information is being requested, or if you feel that your account may be at risk.

Explore the latest alerts and warnings below. The more you know how to prevent it, the better you will be able to protect your accounts and avoid costly damages that can come with criminal activity.

Recent Scam Alerts & Warnings:


If you live locally, there’s a decent chance you might have your TV, internet, or home phone through Spectrum. Recently, scammers have been impersonating Spectrum representatives and targeting local customers over the phone. Typically, they will mention an unpaid bill or a similar excuse in an attempt to have you share personal information. They may also make it seem urgent by threatening immediate termination of service if the “bill” goes unpaid. Know the red flags and steps you can take when you are targeted by a Spectrum scam.

Know the Warning Signs:

  • They Ask for Information They Should Already Have: Scammers may ask for information they should already have if they are a real representative from Spectrum. An actual agent would already know how much you pay monthly and not need to ask. If unsure, you can ask for them to verify your account number, which an actual Spectrum representative would have.
  • They Offer a Discount to Lower Your Bill: If you are locked in at a price, Spectrum won’t contact you out of the blue to lower your monthly bill. Scammers will sometimes provide an enticing offer to increase the likelihood that you go along with the scam.
  • They Request Payment Immediately: The end goal of all these scams is to get access to your personal information, specifically financial information. Scammers will often insist you provide your credit or debit card number, and this should be an indicator that something is wrong.
  • They Threaten Immediate Termination: In addition to encouraging their victim with an enticing offer, some scammers will make a threat. If a Spectrum representative is calling you and threatening to shut off your service immediately unless you pay, it is likely a scam.

What To Do:

  • Never Share Any Payment or Financial Information: The scammer posing as a Spectrum representative will stress that you immediately share your financial information. Never let them intimidate you into sending money or sharing any sensitive personal information over the phone.
  • Hang Up the Phone: Scammers can easily spoof phone numbers and caller ID, so it can’t be trusted. Hang up immediately if you receive one of these calls. You can always call your local Spectrum office to have them verify it was a legitimate call.
  • Contact Your Local Spectrum Provider: If you believe you were targeted by a Spectrum scam, you should notify your local Spectrum office, so they know their customers are being targeted.
  • Notify Your Financial Institution: If you did share financial information or send money to the scammer, you should notify your financial institution immediately. This will help ensure your information remains secure, and they can look out for any suspicious transactions on your account.
  • Report The Fraud: Even if you weren’t scammed, reporting these scams can protect others in the future. File a complaint with the FTC to help prevent these scams from happening.

Business communication scams put pressure on employees of organizations, and are believable because they know where you work, and the name of an executive. They use this information to pressure you into purchasing gift cards or enabling wire transfers. Typically, there is also a sense of urgency to have it done quickly, sometimes with terrible potential consequences for the business. These are all tactics to keep you from thinking too carefully about what is going on. There are a few ways to tell that this is a scam, and steps you can take to avoid falling victim.

How to Tell If It’s a Scam:

  • You Receive an Unusual Request: These scams usually begin with someone claiming to be an executive reaching out to you over text or email. They will sometimes give an excuse for why they may be reaching out from a new number or email (such as it being a personal account).
  • There Is a Strict Sense of Urgency and Intimidation: As mentioned before, there will be a sense of urgency to receive the payment before close of business or end of day. Sometimes there is also a threat of business falling through or similar consequences if this payment doesn’t occur.
  • They Aren’t Available to Talk: In most cases the scam would fall apart under further scrutiny, so the scammer will give an excuse for the executive being unavailable. For example, they will be stuck in a meeting unable to communicate, or out of cell phone range to receive a call.
  • They Request Untraceable Payments: The biggest indicator of the scam is when they request payment. Scammers will always request forms of payment that are untraceable. Untraceable forms of payment can include wire transfers, gift cards or reloadable cards, all of which should trigger red flags that this is a scam.

What to Do If You Are Targeted by a Business Email/Text Scam

  • If you believe the request may be legitimate, use a previously established means of communication to reach out to the executive, or someone in your organization to verify the claim. Ensuring you are speaking to a real person is often the best way to determine if it is scam. Multiple employees may also be targeted, so getting the word out could help others.
  • Report the scam to the FTC.
  • If you have transferred funds, immediately notify your financial institution.

Even if you’re typically good at spotting scams, receiving a call from a supposed FBI agent can cause the normal alarms to not go off. Recently, FBI phone scams have become more commonplace. The scammer will call and pose as an FBI agent dealing with a judgment against you looking to make an arrest or collect payment. The goal of the scam is to intimidate you into sharing information or sending money.

Remember, the FBI will never make any collection calls. If they ask for payment in gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency, they are a scammer.

What to Do:

  • Never Send Any Payment or Information: While the phone call may seem scary, it’s just a scam. Never let them intimidate you into sending money or sharing any sensitive personal information.
  • Hang Up the Phone: Scammers can easily spoof phone numbers and caller ID, so it can’t be trusted. Hang up immediately if you receive one of these calls.
  • Notify Your Financial Institution: If you did share financial information or money with the scammer, notify your financial institution immediately. This will help them ensure your information remains secure, and retrieve any money sent if possible.
  • Report The Fraud: Even if you weren’t scammed, reporting these scams can protect others in the future. File a complaint with the FTC to help prevent these scams from happening.
  • Contact Your Local FBI Office: If you believe the call is real, contact your local FBI field office to have them investigate the validity of the call or payment claim.


There’s been a recent increase in lottery and sweepstakes scams. These scams lure unsuspecting victims in with the excitement of winning a large cash prize sum. These scams often seem too good to be true- because they are.  Knowing the most common version and telltale signs of this scam can keep you from falling victim.

Typically, you will receive a letter informing you of your lottery winnings and a check to deposit. The enclosed letter will recommend you use these funds to cover the fees to collect your winnings. The goal of the scam is for you to deposit the check and wire the funds. By the time the bank realizes the cashed check is counterfeit, your money will already be gone.

Helpful Tips to Spot a Scam:

  • You Haven’t Entered a Lottery/Sweepstakes: Lottery and sweepstakes require entry, so if you are contacted out of the blue regarding winnings, you should be suspicious.
  • You Need to Pay to Claim Your Prize: For a real lottery or sweepstakes, you should not have to pay fees or taxes in advance of receiving your winnings.
  • You Can Increase Your Odds by Paying: Real sweepstakes do not allow for you to increase your odds of winning with additional payments.
  • You Have to Disclose Financial Information: In addition to pursuing wired funds, these scams will often attempt to capture Social Security and financial account information.
  • Spelling Errors & Inconsistencies: While scams are becoming more convincing, bad grammar and spelling mistakes are telltale signs of a scam.

 What to Do If You Fall Victim to a Lottery Scam

The Internal Revenue System is warning taxpayers of a significant increase in an IRS-related texting scam aimed at stealing personal and financial information. So far in 2022, the IRS has identified and reported thousands of fraudulent domains tied to multiple MMS/SMS/text scams (known as smishing) targeting taxpayers. In recent months, and especially in the last few weeks, IRS-themed smishing has increased exponentially. Smishing campaigns target mobile phone users, and the scam messages often look like they're coming from the IRS, offering lures like fake COVID relief, tax credits or help setting up an IRS online account.
 
In the latest activity, the scam texts often ask taxpayers to click a link where phishing websites will try to collect their information or potentially send malicious code onto their phones. The IRS does not send emails or text messages asking for personal or financial information or account numbers. These messages should all be red flags for taxpayers.
 
Recipients of these IRS-related scams can report them to phishing@irs.gov. Their reporting allows the IRS to report these scams to the appropriate service providers for action, protecting other taxpayers who might receive a variant of the same scam. Smishing involving other agencies and/or brands should not be reported to phishing@irs.gov.

The Federal Trade Commission has posted a Consumer Alert regarding utility payments. The Alert notes that only scammers demand utility payments in cryptocurrency.

The scam goes like this: The consumer gets a call or text from someone pretending to be their utility company. The caller or text says the consumer owes money (which is a lie). The scammers then send the consumer a text—sometimes including their utility company's logo—with a QR code and tell the consumer to scan it at a Bitcoin ATM to make a payment or their service will be disconnected.

No utility company will text about a shut-off, and no utility company will demand payment in cryptocurrency. Those are scams. Before it shuts off service, all real utility companies will notify their customer in writing and offer a repayment plan.

There has been a significant increase in mail theft around the Greater Capital Region.  Criminals have been targeting residential mailboxes, as well as U.S. Postal mailboxes stealing mail to obtain checks, credit cards, and debit cards, among other items. 

Ways to Prevent Mail Theft:

  • Deposit outgoing mail in slots inside post offices or hand it to mail carriers.
  • Remove mail from boxes every day, as soon as possible.
  • Do not place outgoing mail in your mail overnight or for any length of unattended time.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify the U.S. Postal Service and any company with which you do business.
  • Request a vacation hold even if you will be gone for just a few days. This can be done at a post office or online at holdmail.usps.com/holdmail.
  • Do not send cash in the mail.

What To Do If You Are a Victim of Mail Theft:

  • Report mail theft immediately to police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 800-275-8777 (not your local post office).
  • Immediately notify your financial institution if you think any checks may have been stolen.

We have been made aware of a significant increase in larcenies from vehicles around the Greater Capital Region. Criminals have been targeting country clubs and golf courses posing as members, breaking into locked and unlocked vehicles, stealing driver’s licenses, checks, credit cards, debit cards and cash, among other items. Moreover, fitness centers, parks, and other public places have also been targeted.   

Ways to Prevent a Vehicle Break-In:

  • Remain vigilant and do not leave valuables in your vehicles, even if you hide them, criminals will find them.
  • Keep your vehicles locked. This applies to parking lots as well as driveways.   
  • When parked, leave all windows-including sunroof-closed.
  • Park your vehicle in an area that’s highly visible to the public. 
  • Park in an area that has good lighting. 
  • Report any suspicious activity immediately to the police, this includes suspicious person(s) and vehicle(s). 
  • Try to obtain a good physical description of the person and vehicle description. 

What to do if you are a victim of a Vehicle Break-In:

  • Report the break-in to the police as soon as you become aware of it. 
  • Have a detailed list of anything missing. 
  • Immediately notify your financial institution if your driver’s license, checkbook, credit, and/or debit card or any other form of identification that may have been stolen. 
Scammers are pretending to be from an organization you are familiar with and are able to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID, making it so that the name and phone number you see pop up seem legitimate.
 
Ways to Prevent Caller ID Spoofing:
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
  • Do not give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you did not expect. Legitimate organizations will not call, email or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security Number, bank account, or credit card numbers.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools that you can use. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default. More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls. 
What to do if you are a victim of Caller ID Spoofing:

What To Do if You Were Scammed

Follow these steps from the Federal Trade Commission if you were a victim of a scam.

Learn More