Scammers & Financial Institutes

Alright lets tackle the scam we mentioned in our last post. Another simple scam at its core, but the execution makes it easy to trick victims.

This scam happens in 3 separate phones calls. The phone calls won’t appear to be connected but in fact are from the exact same scammer. The reason for this is because the 3 phone calls will happen months apart. So the first phone call will be the scammer claiming to be a representative of a bank. For example they will tell you they work at Bank of America (keep in mind this can be any well known bank). They will then explain they are calling and were wondering if you would be willing to take a short 4 question survey with them. If you agree they will ask the following questions…

1. Who am I speaking with?
2. Which Bank do you prefer to use?
3. What is your age group ( and provide examples such at 20-40, 41-60, 61-70, 71-90)
4. Would you consider using a different Bank?

If you happen to answer the Bank they claim to be calling from, they will immediately thank you for using their Bank and ask if there is anything the Bank can do better. The trick here is that the individual isn’t a representative of Bank of America. Further more they are asking questions in order to learn information about which financial institute you do business with. So after you tell them your name is John Patrick. That you Bank with Chase, that you are between ages 60-70 and you would not consider switching to Bank of America. The scammer will add this information to a database with your Name and Phone Number.

Now the Age Group may be the more important piece of information here. These scammers are typically looking for individuals over the age of 75. The reason for this is because they have found that elderly individuals are more likely to fall victim to this scam. If you are not over the age of 75, that doesn’t mean you are protected against this. It just means you have a lesser chance of being a target. You should still be aware of this scam, so if it does happen to you, you can avoid it, as well as help your parents and grand parents avoid it.

After 2-5 months have passed, they will make a 2nd phone call to you. During this call they will use the information you provided to them against you. This time they will tell you they are calling from Chase Bank. They had a security breach and they are calling all customers in order to verify their account. At this point they will ask you to verify your email and full address. Once you provided this information they will add it to their database and end the call by saying your account is secure and that they thank you for continuing to use Chase Bank.

After 1-3 months have passed, they will make the final and 3rd phone call. In this phone call they will ask to speak to John Patrick; remember you gave them your name in the first phone call 3-7months prior. They will go on to explain that they are calling you because your account has been compromised and has been locked. In order to unlock the account they will have to go through a verification process with you. They will then ask if you still live at the same address and read off the address you gave them in the 2nd phone call 1-3 months prior. At this point they will ask you if you are in possession of your Debit Card. If you respond yes, they will then ask you to verify your debit card with them. At which point they will ask for the 16 digit number and CCV number. After verifying your Debit Card they will tell you that your account is unlocked and you can continue to use it. They will then go on to explain that if you notice any strange charges going forward you should immediately contact them and then provide you a direct phone number and explain that your account has been assigned to them.

Within 3-5 days of the 3rd phone call your debit card will be charged between 500-1500 dollars. The charge appears to be a random number determined by the scammer, and it may be based on additional information they have or you have provided. The genius in this scam is that once the charge has happened and you have noticed it you will be calling the scammer back in order to fix the problem. What they will do at this point is delay delay and delay some more. The more time that passes before you contact your actual Bank the more likely they will be able to keep the money.

Something to keep in mind about this scam is that its so successful because the scammer builds trust and rapport with the victim. It is this trust and rapport that causes the victim to drop their guard and effectively hand over the information without giving it a second thought. Remember, just because someone claims to be calling from your Bank doesn’t mean they are really with the bank. The best thing to do if you receive any phone call in which the individual claims to be from XYZ Bank is to immediately hang up with them and call your Banks direct phone number and speak with someone. You should also refrain from providing any information about your bank or financial institutes, ESPECIALLY TO ANYONE CALLING ABOUT A SURVEY. Those seemingly harmless questions are powerful tools to trick you into providing valuable information to the scammer. Lastly, not even Caller ID can protect you from this scam, as these scammers have found ways to make caller ID show real Bank phone numbers and names.

As always, stay safe and If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.😀