Beware of Emails and Phone Calls From Local Banks
According to the Better Business Bureau, consumers have made complaints after being contacted via email or phone call from entities purporting to be a local bank. The imposter uses the name of a well known bank and notifies the consumer that their account has been suspended. The consumer is told that they need to contact the bank’s security division and is asked to press “1”, in the case of a cell phone, or provided an email link.
This phishing scam is an attempt to gain personal information such as a social security number, bank account number or even passwords.
There are also fraudulent text messages instructing consumers to input their bank card number, expiration date and password. In some cases, recipients of these text messages complied with the request, and money was immediately withdrawn from their accounts.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help protect your financial information:
- Understand that financial institutions and other companies will not contact their customers through text messaging, email messages or automated phone messages to address a problem with your bank account – specifically to protect you from this type of scheme.
- If your bank calls you to discuss a concern with your account, they will not need to ask you to provide your full bank account number or pin.
- If you receive an unsolicited message or call from someone indicating they are your financial institution, contact your bank or credit union at a number you have confirmed is valid in order to verify the legitimacy of the message being sent.
- Stay on guard and be sure to protect all of your financial information. A fraudster can take one piece of information from you and with a little bit of investigation may be able to develop enough to steal your identity.
- If you discover you have provided your bank account information to an imposter, contact your bank immediately. If you have already had money taken from your account, you will need to file a police report and place a fraud alert with the 3 major Credit Reporting Agencies:
Cell phones and the internet are still relatively new technologies. Scammers are taking advantage of the fact that many consumers are unaware of how easy it is for a scammer to appear to be something they’re not.
In today’s fast moving technology, and especially in the digital world, the bad guys can create a message or entire digital entity that precisely mirrors an authentic business. And they can do it almost completely anonymously.
Common sense is still your best protection. If it feels wrong, it very well may be so investigate further.