How to Recognize and Avoid Phone Bank Scams

Thursday, January 30, 2020

avoid phone fraud

Scam artists today are more tech-savvy than ever before – from impersonating a bank representative to even using a fake caller ID number to appear as if a bank is calling your phone. With this in mind, it’s important to be vigilant at all times. And, if you’re a parent of a child who has a cell phone, make sure they’re aware of how to stay safe, too. Here are a few helpful tips on recognizing and avoiding phone scams.

Common Bank Calling Scams

The most common phone call scams include:

  1. Bank Scams

    Beware of telemarketers. Some telemarketing phone scams include someone pretending to be a charity asking for donations, offering free trials, or selling fake products. Each of these types of phone scams involves asking for your personal or credit card information.

  2. Telemarketing Scams

    Beware of telemarketers. Some telemarketing phone scams include someone pretending to be a charity asking for donations, offering free trials, or selling fake products. Each of these types of phone scams involves asking for your personal or credit card information.

  3. Sweepstakes Scams

    A sweepstake or lottery scam involves calling with exciting news: that you’ve won a prize! To receive the prize, however, the winner will need to send a small amount of money or give out detailed personal information. A sweepstakes scam collects your money, and then never sending the prize.

Know the Signs of a Fake Phone Call

While knowing the most common phone scams used by scam artists is important, the tactics used can change at any moment. In order to help protect yourself from a phone scam, you should recognize the signs of a fake phone call.

  • Commonly changing information about who they are or changing the subject, first telling you one thing and then changing the facts. This can distract you from catching on to the scam.
  • Saying they are a representative of your bank and asking for personal information. Scammers can spoof Caller ID to make it appear as if you are getting a call from the bank.
  • Using a sense of urgency or fear to get you to act fast.
  • Acting helpful to gain your trust so they can exploit that trust.
  • Asking for details about your personal information.

 

What Information Should You Never Provide?

To protect yourself from scam phone calls, remember to never provide confidential information over the phone. ASB will never ask contact you to ask for your personal or account information. Unless you initiate a call to a reputable number, never give out the following information:

  • Personal details like your full Social Security Number or answers to personal security questions.
  • Financial information including credit card numbers or bank account information.
  • Passwords or login information for online sites like your bank website, retirement accounts, or email.


Always be aware when an unknown number calls your phone. Caller ID can be spoofed to appear as if a legitimate number is calling. This can also happen via text. Even if the caller says they’re an authority figure or your relative, double-check the information first. If something doesn’t seem or feel right, it probably isn’t. If someone requests for you to provide this information, it is best practice for you to hang up the call and call back the company to confirm the legitimacy of the call/inquiry.

 

Senior Citizens: A Common Target

Scam artists tend to target senior citizens, who are more vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Often referred to as “the crime of the 21st century,” many scams involving phone calls make it seem like a loved one is on the other end of the line and in need of financial support. The reasons scammers may choose to target a senior include:

  • Seniors may be less savvy when it comes to technology, including smart phones.
  • The relatively trusting nature of many seniors encourages them to pick up the phone and answer questions honestly.
  • Perceived to have more monetary savings, especially retirees in Hawaii.
  • Seniors looking for a purpose in retirement and in their elder years, may be more willing to help a younger person in need.


You can help yourself and seniors in your life avoid these scams by knowing the warning signs of scam artists.