Scams are becoming highly sophisticated and harder to identify, making it more important than ever to be on guard so you don’t mistakenly send your money to criminals who are using text messages involving fake bank fraud alerts.
Criminals send phony text alerts, deceptively, from your bank, asking if you’ve approved a recent transaction, such as a large payment or money transfer. The message prompts you to reply “yes” or “no” to approve or deny the transaction.
“When it comes to email and text messages, you never truly know who you’re dealing with on the other end,” says Ethan Gregg, IT officer at Security Bank. “Even if it looks like a message came from an email address or a phone number you recognize, always proceed with caution in how you react and respond.”
When you reply, you get a phone call or text message claiming the transfer already went through. In order to reverse the transaction, you will need to transfer the money back into your account using a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app that allows you send and receive money from friends and family. Zelle®, Cash App, Venmo are a few examples of P2P payment apps.
“If you receive a message claiming your account has been hacked or compromised, contact that company directly using a verified phone number or even drive to one of their locations,” Gregg adds. “Always know who you’re dealing with before you let them help you. You may find that they only want to help themselves to the money in your account.”
If you send money, the funds you think you are sending to your own account are actually transferred into the scammer’s account. Once you click “Send”, the money is lost and difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve. It is also important to understand your bank is NOT liable for, and is unable to stop, instant money transfers you initiate through P2P payment apps.
Think Before You Reply to a Text
Criminals use sophisticated tricks and technology to make their scams appear to be from legitimate sources, such as your financial institution. They play on your emotions, creating a sense of fear urgency to get you to act before you think.
Security Bank will never ask you to initiate a P2P transaction, nor will we call or text you asking for your account number, PIN, social security number or other private financial information. If you receive a message or call asking for this kind of information, HANG UP IMMDEDIATELY and call us directly at 918.664.6100.
- DO NOT share personal or financial information with unidentified individuals. Scammers spoof phone numbers and emails, making them appear to be from your bank. If you did not initiate the call, do not engage in a conversation, not matter how convincing, with a person asking for private information, such as social security number, personal identification numbers and account numbers.
- DO NOT call your financial institution using contact information listed in texts or emails. Always call your financial institution using verified contact information from an official website or telephone directory.
- DO NOT respond to messages from your bank unless you are absolutely certain of its validity. Fraudsters want you to act quickly and often use aggressive language and scare tactics to turn your focus away from rational thought, hoping you’ll act before you spot the red flags. Slow down and take steps to ensure the validity of messages before you respond. Better yet, call your bank directly to confirm the truth or scam.
If you suspect fraud, call us immediately at 918.664.6100. If you mistakenly provided personal information to an individual, report the fraud to us quickly, so we can take steps to block your accounts and avoid further damage.