Did you know that every day thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, text messages and phone calls from scammers pretending to be their bank? A 2019 fraud report conducted by The Federal Trade Commission estimated that American consumers lost $1.48 billion to phishing scams in 2018. And these scams are on the rise as the use of online banking has increased, especially with more consumers making the switch to bank remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have partnered with the American Banking Association to promote a campaign called “Banks Never Ask That” to help raise awareness and educate our customers on how to identify and avoid these type of scams. Hackers and scammers are professional thieves, but everyone can do their part to build a defense against the fraudulent activities they use. Thankfully, there are various ways to protect yourself, your personal information and your money.
Questions Banks Would Never Ask
There are a series of questions that would make sense for your bank to ask you, but the threat of an intruder can be spotted by how you are contacted and the questions that are asked by the bank representative. Banks communicate with their customers in a few ways, however it’s not normal for them to send an email or text message that asks you for account information, to call them or to click on a link to avoid any account issues.
“What is your bank account number?”
“Click this link to make sure your account doesn’t get compromised!”
“Please call us at 1-800-222-2222 so we can update you about some suspicious activity on your account!”
Watch Out for the Red Flags
If you receive an email, text or phone call from your bank for any of the information below, it’s a definite red flag. It’s better to be safe than sorry so end the call, delete the text, and trash the email, because Banks Never Ask That! You may be asked to verify confidential information if you call your bank, but never the other way around. If you receive an incoming call from someone claiming to be your bank, hang up and call the number on the back of your card.
Tips to Help Avoid Falling for these Scams
Beware of Links. Banks will never send you a text or email that asks you to click a link. If you receive this type of message, don’t respond – just delete it and call your bank to confirm they didn’t send it.
Beware of Scare Tactics. Some scams pressure or even threaten you to respond, but don’t! Instead, call your bank to see if it’s a scam or not.
Protect your Confidential Information. Your bank will never ask for your account number, social security number, name, address or password in an email or text message. They will only ask you to provide this information to verify your identity when you call them directly.
Call the Number on your Card. If you receive an email, text or call and you have suspicions, play it safe by calling the number on the back of your card to speak to someone at your bank about the message you received.
Watch for Misspelled Words. It’s very common to find typos in a fraudulent text or email. If you find one in the message, you know it’s a scam!
What to do if You Fall for a Scam
Contact your bank, financial institutions, creditors and others. Speak with the fraud department and explain that your identity or personal data may have been compromised. Request to close or freeze any accounts that may have been targeted and immediately change your online login credentials, passwords and PINs. Contact ChexSystems at 888-478-6536 to place a security alert on the checking and savings accounts that have been impacted and report an identity theft incident to the Federal Trade Commission at: ftc.gov/idtheft or 877-438-4338.
Secure your email and other communication accounts. Many people use the same password for multiple accounts such as email and cell phone accounts. And even if you don’t, once one account is hacked it can be easy for a criminal to get into your other accounts. Immediately change any account passwords and, if you haven’t already done so, implement multi-factor authentication — a setting that prevents cybercriminals from accessing your accounts even if they know your password.
Check your credit reports and place a fraud alert on them. Get a free copy of your credit report from annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. Review your credit report to make sure unauthorized accounts have not been opened in your name and report any fraudulent accounts to the appropriate financial institutions. Place a fraud alert on your credit by contacting one of the three credit bureaus and that company will inform the other two.
- Experian: 888-397-3742 or experian.com
- TransUnion: 800-680-7289 or transunion.com
- Equifax: 888-766-0008 or equifax.com
File a report with your local law enforcement. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
Do you think you can outsmart online scammers? Take this quiz to see how you score and you will also be entered to win a prize, courtesy of the American Bankers Association.
To do our part as your trusted financial partner, we will frequently share content and resources to help you become an expert scam-spotter! Together we can reduce the financial impact these crimes have on consumers and the banking industry. Visit our Identity Theft Information Center, check out our Simply Speaking Blog for more articles on the topic of Privacy & Cybersecurity and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
If you believe your personal information has been compromised or you think you are a victim of identity theft, we’re here to help! Contact us at 866-224-1379.