When it comes to online banking, there is nothing better than having your account at your fingertips. From transferring funds and paying bills to keeping track of your savings, having a digital wallet makes it easy to handle your finances whenever, wherever. But, as the world of online banking continues to grow, so does the opportunity for cybercriminals to scam their way into your bank account.
Known as phishing, scammers use text messages, phone calls, or emails to snake their way into unlocking personal information from people across the country. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reports that American consumers lost $1.9 billion to phishing schemes and other fraud tactics in 2019.
As society continues to shift online due to the pandemic, 2020 could easily become a record-setting year for phishing scams—but only if you are not prepared to spot them. At Landmark National Bank, we think it is about time to put bank scammers in their place once and for all.
Because October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), we have teamed up with the American Bankers Association (ABA) for Banks Never Ask That!—a nationwide effort to fight phishing one scam at a time. After reading this guide, you will gain a better understanding of just what a phishing scam is, as well as how to identify bank account scams if you experience them.
What is a phishing scam?
A phishing scam is an online scam where cybercriminals create fake emails, phone calls, or text messages to appear as if they were sent from a legitimate bank. Phishing communication is designed to trick you into entering confidential information—such as account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, PINs, or your birthday—into a fake website by clicking on a link in an email or text. Additionally, phishing scams can happen over the phone, as some cybercriminals will verbally imitate your bank or set up automated messaging systems to trick you.
Spotting Bank Account Scams Online
Online bank account scams are easy to spot when you remind yourself of these four words: Banks Never Ask That. While it may sound simple, knowing questions that legitimate banks will never ask you is key to understanding when something sounds or feels suspicious. For example, these three common phishing scam examples are full of “Banks Never Ask That” red flags:
- Text Message – If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank, it is a scam. No matter if this message asks you to sign in or offer up your PIN number, always remember: a legitimate bank will never ask for your personal information via text.
- Email – Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it is a scheme to collect your confidential information. Just like text messages, a legitimate bank would not ask for your information randomly via email.
- Phone Call – Would your bank ever call you to verify your account or PIN number? No! Banks never ask that. If you are ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call your bank directly at a number you trust.
Still unsure if you’re experiencing a bank account scam? Be aware of things like scare tactics and misspelled words, as both are indicators of a phishing scheme.
Stop Bank Account Scams In Their Tracks Today
While many common phishing scams seem easy to identify, cybercriminals are getting better and better at mimicking real banks. If you are ever concerned that a criminal is attempting to steal your confidential information online, delete the message or hang up the phone and give your bank a call right away.
As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues throughout October, there’s no better time to brush up on your bank account scam-spotting skills with the 5-minute Banks Never Ask That! Quiz. After you receive your score, make sure to share the quiz with your friends, family, and coworkers, too. The more people know about phishing scams, the less likely criminals are to access private information.
At Landmark National Bank, we are committed to protecting your account and confidential information—which is why we are here to provide you with the cybersecurity information you need to avoid bank account scams. For more information on phishing scams, or if you are suspicious of a phishing attempt on your Landmark National Bank account, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.