November 21, 2022
Phone scams are no joke. Scammers target millions of Americans every year. Many people fall victim to scams for a variety of reasons. Common scams play upon a consumer’s fears. One of the most infamous phone scams, the IRS scam, has stolen over millions of dollars from Americans over the years. In 2022, the IRS published an updated list of their yearly "Dirty Dozen” scams, warning people to be vigilant year-round.
Any caller that demands the release of personal information, including birthdate, Social Security number, credit card number, CVV number, or bank account number, is a scam. A government agency will never call people over the phone nor send emails. Likewise, no legitimate entity demands payment via wire transfer, gift card, or Bitcoin transaction.
At MidCountry Bank we see a wide variety of phone scams, and thanks to our customers we can help spread the word about these scams. Here is the most recent phone scam that our customers have encountered:
Fraudsters use phishing scams via email, text or websites, but there are also phishing calls that try to convince you that there's an issue with your debit card. These scammers will make you think that your debit card has been restricted and they need information to order you a new card. They will ask for the last 4 digits of the card and the 3-digit cvv on the back of the card. Within minutes of the information being given, transactions start appearing on the card that was thought to be reordered. MidCountry Bank will NEVER call you and ask for this information. If you do get a call where a person is saying that they are from MidCountry Bank, ask them for their information, and say that you'll call back. Once you've hung up, you can call MidCountry Bank (not redialing the number that just called) and ask to speak to a representative about the phone call and your card.
Phishing, SMiShing, and Vhishing scams are done with the intent to obtain information that will help perpetrate fraud. Be wary of unsolicited contact from financial institutions. A financial institution will never contact you by email, text message, or phone for personal information or account information like passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information.
- Phishing: undesired email messages (also known as "spam"). If an email appears to be from a financial institution and it requests account information, do not click on any of the links provided. Contact the financial institution using the information provided upon account opening to determine if any action is needed. Similarly, if you receive an email from an apparent legitimate source (such as the IRS, Better Business Bureau, Federal courts, UPS, etc.) contact the sender directly through other means to verify the authenticity.
- SMiShing: the mobile phone/text version of Phishing. Via text messaging, a fraudster contacts individuals with the goal of deceiving the individuals to share private information or to spread malware or other threats to mobile device users. If you have the slightest doubt about the authenticity of a message, contact the financial institution directly and do not use links or phone numbers provided in the message.
- Vhishing: the voice counterpart to phishing. A message that asks the user to make a telephone call, and the call triggers a voice response system that asks for the user's credit card number, account numbers or other information.
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