Bank Fraud Alert

by Samuel Witherspoon

Bank fraud isn't new, but seniors are particularly vulnerable to a relatively new form of bank fraud that comes directly to them via their email account and asks them to update their banking information online.  Almost inevitably, there is a threat that not "updating" this information will mean a suspension of the reader's bank accounts.  It is also often stated that this procedure is being done to protect you and to make sure that you are not a victim of fraud.

Bottom line... EVERY attempt to do this is a lie, a fraud, and the person that sent this to you is trying to steal from you.  These bank frauds can look very real with some very sophisticated programming that even a few experienced Internet users would be fooled by, including using a URL that really looks like one that belongs to their bank.

Click here for bank fraud

What's at stake?  At the very least, it's your money, your savings, perhaps your stock portfolio, and often, it's your very identity in the world you live in.  It's just that simple and that severe.  

If you click on the link, it takes you to a page that looks very much like your bank's website, basically because the conman stole the logo and the look and feel of the bank site.  It asks you for your name, bank account numbers, password or PIN number, it can ask for your address, social security number, or any other amount of information that sounds like it would be reasonable for you to give your bank.

What happens with this information is that it does NOT go to your bank.  It goes into the computer  crooks who will use it to clean out your bank accounts, sell your stock and steal the money, obtain credit cards in your name, and pretty much ruin you financially.

In case you are thinking that you are protected by this kind of fraud by your bank or the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), you will be in for a real heartbreaker.  The FDIC protects your money if a bank robber steals your money or a bank shuts their doors.  It does not protect you from thieves who use your information to steal from you.

Protect yourself from fraud

Bank systems are pretty safe, in and of themselves.  Where bank fraud happens almost exclusively is when people voluntarily give up their personal information to someone else or online.  

Your bank will NEVER ask you to go online and update or confirm your information.  It will not happen.  Neither will you get a phone call telling you that they need to update your information or that they are sending you an email for you to do it.  If you get such an email, it is fraud; there are no exceptions.  Do not click on the link as doing this alone can tell the sender who you are.  

Instead, call your local bank and tell them what you have received and follow their instructions.  But do not call any number than may be on the email.  That too can be fake.  Instead, look up the telephone number in the telephone book.

If you have filled out the requested information, waste no time in contacting your bank.  If the bank is closed, do not wait until morning.  Your money will probably be gone by then.  Instead, look in the phone book and see if there are any numbers that someone will answer.  Many banks have merchant numbers that will be answered all night long.  Also check the back of your credit card to find the toll-free number and report this to them.  This is especially true if the credit card you have is issued by your bank.  

If you notify your bank in time, they can disable your accounts until you can come in and clear up the problem, switch your money over to different accounts with different passwords, and at least partially eliminate the problem.

You should also notify all 3 major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  They can notate your information that you have had an attempt to steal your identity and this information would then be transmitted to anyone looking up your credit history for approving credit in your name.


 

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