How Phone Scammers Try to Access Your Digital Banking

posted on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Fraud

online banking scam

Have you received a call from someone pretending to be your financial institution in an attempt to gather your personal information? You aren't alone!

Unfortunately, these calls are actually from scammers who are phishing for your information in order to get access to your online banking accounts.

Many scammers can fake the caller ID information or the number from a text message to make it appear like it’s coming from your financial institution -- even if the number is saved in your contacts, an incoming call isn’t necessarily from the bank or credit union that it says on the phone.

Scam Step 1: Pretend to be your financial institution

Scammers may know which bank or credit union you’re using. They’ll fake the number they’re calling from to make it look like they’re from your financial institution. Or they’ll send what looks like a text from your bank or credit union to confirm whether you made a recent purchase.

They’ll say they’re alerting you of a recent purchase and ask whether you made that purchase. This is something many financial institutions do, which is why scammers know most people will take it seriously.

Stop the Scammer:

Don’t automatically assume that your bank or credit union is actually calling you, even if their name comes up on the Caller ID or you have their number saved in your phone.

If you pick up the phone, tell them you can’t talk right now; you might try getting their name and number to call them back. Hang up and call your financial institution directly to confirm whether there is a problem with your account.

Scam Step 2: Trick you into giving up information

Scammers may ask you for your member number or digital banking User ID.

Once they have your User ID, they can click on the “Reset password” or “Forgot password” link that will trigger you to get a text message, email, or phone call with a verification code in it. They might ask you to read the code to confirm your identity. Then, they’ll use the code to change your password and access your online banking account.

Stop the Scammer:

Scammers take advantage of the fact that you’re already on the phone with them to make it seem like the code is part of how they’re verifying your identity. In reality, they’re triggering a process that will allow them to reset your password and gain access to your online banking account.

NEVER read back the verification code or share this code with anyone.

Scam Step 3: Get access to your account

Once they have the verification code, they’ll change your password and get into your account. They might read through a few of your recent transactions to make it seem like you’re really talking to your bank or credit union.

They may also ask for additional information, like your card PINs. 

Stop the scammer:

Don’t ever share your card PIN with anyone. A financial institution will NEVER ask you for your PIN and does not need it to block your card.

What Next?

If you receive one of these calls or texts, don't give them any information. Call your financial institution directly to confirm whether there’s an issue with your account.

The frightening reality is that sophisticated scams like these are becoming more common.

Because you’re giving your credentials to scammers, you could be held liable and your financial institution might not be able to get your money back.

If you are scammed into giving up a verification code or your PINs, call your bank or credit union immediately so they can lock your account and investigate.

IMPORTANT: Credit Union Members: If you are a C1st member and you have received one of these fraudulent messages and DID give out your personal information, please contact us immediately at (866) 360-5370.  

Non-Members: If you are not a C1st member, received one of these messages, and gave out your personal information, you should contact your Financial Institution immediately.