Every day, thousands of innocent people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. Add to that this time of expanded use of online banking and the busy holiday shopping season, and the problem is only growing worse. Unfortunately, the holiday season is the one of the best seasons of the year for scammers and fraudsters to steal from innocent people.
The Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019 — and the ongoing pandemic has only increased the threat. Imagine where we will be in 2021.
Don't be naive and put your guard down this holiday season. It’s time to put scammers in their place.
Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. At Minnwest Bank, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. That’s why we’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.
We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks—especially during the holidays. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.
These top 3 phishing scams are full of red flags:
- Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam.
- Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click on a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from you bank, but it’s a scam.
- Phone Call: Banks would never call you to verify your account number. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly.
What to do if you suspect an email or text you receive is a phishing attempt:
- Take a deep breath. In most cases, it’s perfectly safe to open a scam email or text. Modern mail apps, like Gmail, detect and block any code or malware from running when you open an email. The key is not to click links, or download any attachments.
- Do not download any attachments in the message. Attachments may contain malware such as viruses, worms or spyware.
- Do not click links that appear in the message. Links in phishing messages direct you to fraudulent websites.
- Do not reply to the sender. Ignore any requests from the sender and do not call any phone numbers provided in the message.
- Report it. Help fight scammers by reporting them. Forward suspected phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726). Then, report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
What to do if you receive a scam call:
- Hang up or end the call. Be aware that area codes can be misleading. If your Caller ID displays a local area code, this does not guarantee that the caller is local.
- Do not respond to the caller’s requests. Financial institutions and legitimate companies will never call you to request your personal information. Never give personal information to the incoming caller.
- If you feel you’ve been the victim of a scam, did provide personal or financial information, contact your bank immediately at their publicly listed customer service number. Often, this is found on the back of your bank card. Be sure to include any relevant details, such as whether the suspicious caller attempted to impersonate your bank and whether any personal or financial information was provided to the suspicious caller.
Protect yourself and don’t unwrap a scam this holiday season. Scammers will do everything they can to try and trick shoppers, and it’s important to stay aware so you aren’t a victim of their ways. For tips and tools on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit https://www.banksneveraskthat.com/