Do you think your bank is calling you? It could be a scam

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Your bank should have no reason to call you unless a critical problem needs to be fixed. Many might be reluctant to take the call, and for good reason. Scammers sneak in different methods of communication, and you can never be sure that the call is legitimate.

Widespread spoofing of banking communications is back in the spotlight as the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) warns against fraudulent calls.

Read on to see how criminals trick your caller ID and try to steal your money.

Here is the backstory

When your cell phone rings and at first glance it appears to be your bank, it could mean something is wrong. But as the conversation progresses, the caller starts asking for personal details or claims to need to verify your data.

This should be the first sign that you might be a victim of fraud if you provide the details. According to the USAA, the incidences of fraudulent bank calls are increasing and you need to be aware of how the criminals operate.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) supports the USAA’s assessment that malicious actions have cost US citizens billions in losses. For example, criminals defrauded more than $2.3 billion last year through identity theft scams, which increased by $1.2 billion in 2020.

Speaking to KSAT in San Antonio, Texas, USAA Stacey Nash details how criminals use relatively simple but effective techniques. The most common method is to spoof the caller ID number.

This is when criminals use software to alter the text that appears on your phone’s caller ID feature. In theory, scammers can change caller ID to reflect legitimate numbers from banks, government agencies, or insurance companies.

What can you do about it

The most effective way to stay safe is not blindly trusting caller ID. In most of these scams, the numbers are fake and the criminals will start asking for personal information or online banking passwords. If you hand over the data, your money is practically exhausted.

Here are some suggestions from the FTC to stay protected:

  • Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller or a recording asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, you should hang up. Crooks often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not answer any questions, especially those to which you can answer “Yes” or “No”.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or of suspicion.
  • If you receive a request from someone claiming to represent a business or government agency, hang up and call the phone number listed on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the business or government website. government agency to verify the authenticity of the application. . You will usually receive a written statement in the mail before you receive a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is requesting payment.
  • Be careful if you are pressured for information immediately.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools and check which apps you can download to your mobile device. The FCC allows telephone companies to block robocalls by default based on reasonable analytics. More information on blocking robocalls is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.

Remember to check your voicemail regularly to make sure you don’t miss any important messages. If you find spam in your voicemail inbox, delete it as soon as possible.

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