02-23-19: New Scam
Received a call this week allegedly from my bank, Bank of America, warning me of a serious problem with my checking account. Unlike similar scam phone calls, the voice on the phone spoke English flawlessly. He was articulate, had a deep baritone voice, and was undoubtedly an American. I suspected fraud at once just because I’m not the trusting type to begin with. The caller indicated that he needed to verify my personal information in order to fix my checking account problem. I thought I might play along a bit just to see how this worked. He asked me to verify my zip code and instead of providing my actual zip code I gave him a bogus zip code. He immediately indicated that the zip code was incorrect and at that point I terminated the call. I then went immediately to my PC and launched my online banking application to verify the status of my accounts. There were no messages from the bank about a problem and the balances displayed were exactly what I expected to see. For those who do not do online banking I recommend that you hang up on the caller and immediately call your bank to investigate the alleged problem. Use the customer service phone number that you will find on your bank statement. DO NOT call the number the scammer used that appears on your caller id.
We’ve come to expect these scams to most frequently be run by people with heavy foreign accents. And that will immediately trigger a red flag for most of us. This scam was quite different. It was very professional and very slick. So be aware and be vigilant; if you don’t recognize the caller ID name/number become suspicious at once. For those folks who do not monitor their financial accounts on line and depend instead on monthly statements via snail mail, please give serious consideration to using a PC to regularly verify all of your account balances. Doing a verification only once per month by reviewing printed statements has become just too risky. Be prepared, stay safe, and good luck.