Is That Really the Bank Calling? How to Spot a Scam.
You’re going about your day when your phone rings. When you answer, it’s someone from the bank with news no one wants to hear. There’s an issue with your account. Like anyone, you want to get it taken care of as quickly as possible. But then they start asking questions like, “What’s your Social Security number?” and you think to yourself, “Shouldn’t my bank already know that? Afterall, they called me.”
Your instincts are spot on. This caller is suspicious – they’re a scammer.
This is an example of what’s known as a bank impersonation scam. It’s when someone pretends to be a financial institution to gain access to your money and personal information. It’s not just calls, they also use texts, emails and even instant messaging platforms. According to the American Bankers Association, thousands of everyday people lose money to this kind of scam each year.
How can you protect yourself from bank impersonators?
First off, we encourage you to be skeptical whenever you’re contacted by someone claiming to be with the bank. It’s not always going to be a scam, but it is better to err on the side of caution.
Remember that scammers can spoof phone numbers and make their calls appear like they are coming from a different number, so trusting your caller ID offers no guarantees.
Familiarize yourself with information that only scammers are going to ask for. That way if someone contacts you requesting this information, it’s an immediate red flag. Here are a few examples:
- Your Social Security number
- Login information for your online or mobile banking account
- Your debit card information, including your expiration date, PIN or security code
- One-time login codes for online accounts
Your bank will never contact you asking for any of this information. We will also never request to log in to any of your online accounts or ask you to initiate any type of transaction, such as a Zelle transfer. Anyone who asks for these things, is a scammer.
If you receive a call or message of this nature, we encourage you to stop communication with the individual immediately – hang up and don’t respond. Do not give them any information.
Then call your bank to report this interaction. Your bank will be able to confirm if it was legitimate or not. We recommend using the direct phone number for your local branch or the customer service number provided on the bank’s website. Don’t use any callback numbers that the suspicious individual may have given you.
When you report this type of fraud to Pinnacle Bank, we take it very seriously. It’s important to contact us to ensure that we can secure your accounts.
We also encourage you to report these incidents to local law enforcement immediately.
After you do that, here are several other places you can make a report:
- Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
- FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov for frauds conducted over the internet.
- AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360
To learn more about bank impersonation scams and test your scam spotting skills, visit banksneveraskthat.com, provided by the American Bankers Association.