Watch Out for These 5 Common Phishing Scams

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, we’re joining the American Bankers Association to educate consumers on how to avoid phishing scams.

Malcolm Hong Oct 5, 2020

Each day, thousands of people fall for fraudulent texts, calls and emails from scammers pretending to be their bank.

One of the most popular social engineering tactics scammers use to steal your personal information is phishing. They may even pretend to be a trustworthy organization in order to obtain sensitive information, such as login information or credit card details.

According to the American Bankers Association, phishing attempts have increased by as much as 500% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.   

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the ABA has launched the Banks Never Ask That campaign to help consumers understand the types of information their banks will never ask them for and help them more easily recognize scams.

To help safeguard your personal information from fraudsters, it’s important to be aware of the most common phishing techniques. Here are 5 things fraudsters might ask — but banks never would. 

Item 1 That Banks Never Ask For: Provide personal or banking information by email, text or phone

Scammers often impersonate your bank and request you to verify your identity by providing personal information. However, banks will not request your personal information such as: 

  • Your account number
  • Your CVV number
  • Your PIN number
  • Your full debit or credit card number
  • Your full Social Security number
  • Your online banking passwords

Item 2 That Banks Never Ask For: Enter your online banking details at a linked website

Scammers often create fake bank websites with the goal of convincing bank customers to login and reveal their personal account information. They pose as your bank and request you to login to avoid negative consequences such as having your access limited or your account closed.

If the communication seems suspicious, don’t click on any links. Visit your bank’s website with a bookmark or type in the address manually.

Item 3 That Banks Never Ask For: Click a link, call them or confirm your identity through a text message

While some banks might text you to confirm transactions, they will not ask you to confirm personal details or send passwords through text.  

If you receive a suspicious text message, don’t click on any links or call any numbers provided in the text. Instead, contact your bank’s known customer support line to confirm the text is legitimate.

Item 4 That Banks Never Ask For: Authorize transfer of funds to a new account

Scammers sometimes pose as your bank and warn that your account is being threatened by a “corrupt employee” or “cyber criminals.” They’ll instruct you to complete an online transfer of funds into a new account that really belongs to the scammers.

Scammers love to create a false sense of urgency or use fear to trick their victims, so it’s important to slow down and avoid hasty decisions. Do not use the contact information provided in a suspicious email — call your bank’s customer support line instead.

Item 5 That Banks Never Ask For: Download a new version of your banking app with a provided link

To compromise your personal information, scammers impersonate your bank and send a link to download a new version of your banking app. When you click on the link, you download a fake banking app that harvests your login information.

Remember that if your bank creates a new app, it will be available through official app stores that vet programs for malware.

Don’t be an easy target for scammers

Because phishing attempts have skyrocketed in the COVID-19 environment, it’s important to remain vigilant. If anyone attempts to phish you, report it to your financial institution so they can help others avoid becoming victims.

If you provided any personal identifying information to a scammer, report it to your bank and reset your login information immediately.

It’s also wise to submit an identity theft alert to one of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. An alert will be automatically be shared with all bureaus.

Banks are on the front lines when it comes to thwarting scammers, so if you have any questions about phishing attempts or financial scams, contact your local Zions Bank branch

Malcolm Hong is Public Relations Officer for Zions Bank in Idaho.

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