We all do our best to be on guard for phishing emails designed to make us part with our money. But it’s just as important to watch out for phishing phone calls, too.
A local bank sent a mass email warning customers of a scam in which fraudsters call pretending to be from a “large e-commerce retailer” and then try to trick the person into giving them access to their online banking account.
In the latest fraud, the supposed retailer tells the person that it erroneously charged them and needs the bank information in order to reverse the charge. Who wouldn’t want a company to fix a mistake that would otherwise cost them money?!
But just as you should never click on a link in an email to sign-in to an account, you should not give personal information out over the phone – as the bank advised, “If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the phone call, hang up and call the company directly to verify before going any further.”
Here’s a copy of the email:
(Redacted) Bank has been made aware of a fraud scam in the community. The fraudsters conduct phishing phone calls to get consumers to provide personal information so the fraudster can gain access to their computers. In a recent example, the caller said they were from a large e-commerce retailer and that the customer’s account was erroneously charged. The fraudster proceeded to tell the customer that they needed access to their online banking account to reverse the charge.
If you have been contacted by someone pretending to be from a popular online retailer, please don’t give any personal information over the phone. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the phone call, hang up and call the company directly to verify before going any further.
In the event you’ve already given your information to a suspicious person posing as someone, please contact us immediately and ask to have your online banking account frozen and your account numbers changed. You should also scrub your computer for viruses and make sure to change your passwords to be safe and contact your local police department.
One of the benefits of being a (redacted) Bank customer is a team of online banking experts that can help walk you through the necessary steps to secure your accounts again. If you’re a (redacted) Bank customer who suspects fraud of this or any nature on your account, please contact our online banking team at (redacted).
The LA Times published a column today describing a similar scam, even more devious – the scammers texted the victim before calling them and knew the last four digits of their social security number. The lesson is to be leery of texts and phone calls, not just emails. Tell your friends and family members too! And don’t give anyone access to your online bank account.