Credit Card/Bank Account Scams

Credit card and bank account scams are becoming more and more common. Take steps to recover and protect your financial information.

Step 1:Recognize

Red Flags of a Credit Card Scam or Bank Account Scam

If you are contacted by someone asking for information about your credit card or bank account, there are some red flags to look for that may indicate that it’s a scam, such as:

  • You receive an unsolicited email, text message or phone call from someone claiming to be from your bank or credit card company. If you’re not expecting a call or message from your bank, don’t give out any information.
  • The caller or emailer is asking for personal information such as your Social Security number, account number or PIN. Banks and credit card companies already have this information on file, so there’s no need for them to ask you for it.
  • You’re being pressured to act immediately. Scammers will often try to create a sense of urgency in order to get you to act before you have a chance to think things through.
  • The caller or emailer threatens you with negative consequences if you don’t comply. They may threaten to close your account or report you to the credit bureaus if you don’t give them what they want.
  • The communication is poorly written or has grammatical errors. Be wary of any emails or messages that are full of typos or don’t make sense.

Step 2:Immediate Actions

If you think you are the victim of a credit card or bank account scam, it is important to take action right away to protect yourself and your finances. Here are some steps to take if you think you have been scammed:

  • Keep all documentation related to the scam, including any emails, messages or receipts. This will be helpful if you need to file a police report or take legal action against the scammer.
  • Contact your bank or credit card company right away using information you find on their legitimate website. They will be able to help you take action on any compromised accounts.
  • If you provided personal information, like your Social Security number, you may be at risk for identity theft. Contact your bank or credit card company to make them aware. Then, contact the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will make it harder for the scammer to open new accounts in your name.

Step 3:Report

Reporting any type of cybercrime, including credit card and bank account scams, is imperative to help others avoid being scammed. As a society, the more people that report online scams and fraud, the more national reporting data that is collected, and the better chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease cybercrime.

Step 4:Recover

Learn the Three Golden Rules to Spot a Scam

Scammers often utilize tactics to encourage you to act quickly and will use false information to persuade you to send money or personally identifiable information (PII). When faced with a questionable situation online, always follow the three golden rules to spot a scam:

Slow it down — Scammers often create a sense of urgency, trying to rush you into giving them your financial information before you have time to think about it. Take your time to avoid being rushed into a bad situation.

Spot check — Double check that the person is actually from your bank or credit card company. Search for their legitimate website on the internet and use the contact information found on their website to contact them.

Stop! Don’t send — If a scammer asks for your financial or personal information, ask yourself if this is information that your bank or credit card company has already been provided.

Take 5 Steps for Better Online Security

Along with making sure you follow the three golden rules to spot a scam, it’s important to strengthen your online security to help avoid all types of online scams. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  1. Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, there’s still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your account’s security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  2. Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, financial details, photos or videos, etc) and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  3. Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
  4. Create Strong Passphrases: A strong passphrase is a string of unrelated words separated by hyphen, space, period, capitalized first letter or number. Use passphrases that are longer than 15 characters and include multiple words that do not have any obvious connection between them. The key to passphrases is randomness. Don’t repeat your passphrases between accounts and consider using a password manager to help you remember.
  5. Learn the Elements of a Phishing Attempt: Familiarize yourself with the elements of a phishing email. Phishing emails tend to include a sense of urgency and multiple grammar and spelling errors. If they are asking you to reveal personal information, be suspicious. If you get a strange email, try contacting the company another way to confirm they sent that email. If the email is suspicious, mark it as spam.

TestimonialHear from Other Victims

Without Fightcybercrime.org, I don't know if I would have been able to react as quickly to protect my personal information.
Mary - Indianapolis, IN

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