Phishing PSA

by Artie Kaye

In a more sophisticated angle of attack, some phishers are spoofing legitimate phone numbers for financial institutions to defraud people. In one instance, a text was sent to a victim regarding a suspicious money transfer. When the victim responded to the text, they were told someone from the bank would be calling them. The call appeared to have come from one of the bank’s official numbers. The caller ID in question was falsified, and the victim lost a considerable amount of money from this incident.

The method for which money is transferred to scammers will vary from scam to scam. In the example mentioned above, money was taken via wire transfers from the bank. In many instances, money can be converted to cryptocurrency, which ultimately ends up in the scammers pocket.

Any of us can be the target of this type of financial fraud. It is easy to find ourselves panicking in stressful situations like this. It is a normal and reasonable response. That panic is used against us by scammers as they know that our focus is to fix the problem as fast as possible to avoid any damages.

The FBI and FTC have advice regarding these types of scams:

  • Remember that companies generally don’t contact you to ask for your username or password.
  • Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email or text message. Look up the company’s phone number on your own (don’t use the one a potential scammer is providing), and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.
  • Carefully examine the email address, URL, and spelling used in any correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust.
  • Be careful with what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it, and never disable it.
  • Be careful with what information you share online or on social media. By openly sharing things like pet names, schools you attended, family members, and your birthday, you can give a scammer all the information they need to guess your password or answer your security questions.
  • Only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency. No legitimate business is going to demand you send cryptocurrency in advance – not to buy something, and not to protect your money. That’s always a scam.
  • Only scammers will guarantee profits or big returns. Don’t trust people who promise you can quickly and easily make money in the crypto markets.
  • Never mix online dating and investment advice. If you meet someone on a dating site or app, and they want to show you how to invest in crypto, or asks you to send them crypto, that’s a scam.

The banking institution involved in this incident (Chase) has given the following advice:

  • Protect your personal account information, ATM pins, passwords and one-time passcodes. If someone contacts you and asks for this information, especially if it’s someone claiming to be from your bank, do not share it with them.
  • If you want to be sure you’re talking to a legitimate representative of the company that contacted you, call the number on their official website.
  • If you want to be sure you’re talking to a legitimate representative of your bank, call the number on the back of your debit or credit card or visit a branch.
  • Scammers can “spoof” phone numbers. The caller ID can say the call or text is from Chase even though it’s not. Even if your caller ID says a call or text is from Chase, it could be a scam. When in doubt hang up and call us directly.
  • Never click on suspicious links in a text or email or grant anyone remote access to your phone or computer.
  • Do not respond to phone, text or internet requests for money or access to your computer or bank accounts. Banks will never call, text or email asking for you to send money to yourself or anyone else to prevent fraud.
  • Don’t let anyone pressure or threaten you into giving them personal information or money. Hang up or don’t respond.
  • If anyone says you must act right now, stop and ask yourself, “Is this how a legitimate company would act?” If something seems “off,” it probably is.
  • If you see unauthorized charges on your account or believe you’ve experienced fraud, report it to your bank.
Third-Party references:

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