Banking Impostor Scams

Posted on 11/29/23 by David Kalinoski

One of the most nefarious scams today is bank impersonation. Money stolen through these schemes is rarely recoverable, so it’s particularly important to be aware of this scam and share what you know with others.

Most of these schemes start with a text from what appears to be your bank, alerting the target to a suspicious transaction, and asking to respond “yes” or “no” as to whether it’s legitimate. As soon as the target enters “no” the phone rings, and the caller claims to be with their bank’s fraud department and warns that the account has been compromised. The solution involves moving money out of the account and into a new one, or even into cryptocurrency. The criminal then makes off with the funds. When the victim contacts the bank, they are told that because they “authorized” the transactions to move the funds, the bank is not liable for the losses.

These scams can be especially effective because they mimic real fraud alerts used by banks. The clue that it is an impostor is the live call after the text: banks monitor for suspicious activity using algorithms and machine learning – not using humans who then call you in person to address the issue.

You aren’t able to trust text messages, or emails, or phone calls these days. Anytime your bank contacts you, do not engage. Rather, contact them through a channel you know to be legitimate to see if there is an issue.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call our dedicated helpline to speak to a fraud specialist at 1-877-908-3360.

This story is provided by AARP Pennsylvania. Visit the AARP Pennsylvania page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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