CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning consumers to be aware of a scam that uses a practice known as spoofing to target bank cardholders with notices of fraudulent activity.
Experts said spoofing is a fairly easy thing to do. Spoofed calls are calls that appear as a different phone number than the number actually making the call. Spoofed calls can appear to have a local area code, or even appear as a number from someone the person receiving the call knows, or even their own number.
A release from the Attorney General’s Office stated that in this recent scam, cardholders receive a text message that appears to be from their bank. Moments after opening the text, a call will come from a number identical to that of their financial institution asking about potential fraudulent activity.
The release then stated the caller, who claims to be a bank employee, will have the customer’s correct address and final four digits of his or her debit card. The caller then asks the person to dial their PIN, and if entered, the caller will gain complete access to the customer’s bank account.
“Many people own and use bank-issued credit/debit cards, and they rely on their bank to monitor fraudulent activity,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “That’s what makes this particular scam so frightening. The good news is there are simple steps people can take to protect themselves.”
Morrisey provided the following tips to prevent consumers from falling victim to this, and other spoofing scams:
- Call your bank and learn how they handle notice to customers about potential fraud.
- Ask if you may return the call number on the back of your card. If they say no, hang up.
- Ask the supposed bank employee questions such as, “When do you show me opening my account?” or “What was my balance at the beginning of the month?”
- Never give your PIN over the phone. Banks will never ask for that information.
- Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
- If you do inadvertently give scammers access to your account, call your bank immediately and cancel that card.
The Attorney General’s Office also warned consumers that if charges have been made or the customer’s account has been emptied by scammers, that they should notify their bank immediately. Banks typically will work with their customers to hold them blameless, according to the release. Morrisey stated that not all financial institutions work the same, however, so it is important for consumers to know their bank’s fraud policies.
Anyone who has a complaint about a spoofing scam can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808.