Don't Get Fooled by Phone Scams

a woman uses online banking to check her credit builder visa card after receiving a scam phone call.

In today's digital age, hardworking individuals just like us fall victim to deceptive phishing scams, resulting in the loss of hard-earned money. But you don't have to be one of them! By understanding what your bank would never ask and arming yourself with cybersecurity knowledge, you can better safeguard your finances.

October isn't just for falling leaves and pumpkin spice lattes; it's also Cybersecurity Month! Therefore, now is the perfect time to focus on securing your financial well-being. In this blog, we'll provide you with practical insights on how to protect yourself from deceptive phone call scams. Let's dive in and get straight to the point, equipping you with the knowledge you need to stay safe.

Never Share Sensitive Information:

Scammers often pretend to be friendly bank representatives and may try to gain your trust. They might ask for your bank password, PIN, or a one-time login code, claiming it's for security purposes or account verification. But here’s the scoop: legitimate banks will never request this sensitive information over the phone. They have strict security measures in place to protect your information.

Don't Trust Caller ID:

Scammers have a large bag of tech tricks up their sleeves, including something called "spoofing." They can use technology to display a false caller ID, making it appear as if they are calling from your bank. Don’t fall for this trick. Be skeptical of any incoming call, even if your phone's screen shows your bank's name or number.

Hang Up, and Verify:

If you receive a call from someone posing as your bank, do yourself a favor and hang up the phone. It is the safest course of action. Then, do some investigating. Find the customer service number on your bank's official website or on the back of your bank card. Call the number to verify you’re speaking with a legitimate bank representative and discuss your concerns. (To contact Academy Bank’s Client Care, call 877-712-2265; Monday – Friday, from 8:00 AM – 7:00, PM Central Time).

Never Forward Your Phone or Email:

Scammers may try to sweet talk you into forwarding your calls or emails to another number/address. They will often claim it's for “technical reasons” or “account security.” Do not fall for it! By forwarding your communications, you are ultimately giving scammers access to your sensitive information and accounts. You wouldn’t hand over your car keys to a criminal, so don’t make the same mistake with your communications. Be cautious when someone asks you to make changes to your communication settings.

Watch Out for False Urgency:

Scammers frequently create a false sense of urgency. They'll whip up a storm, claiming your account is at risk or that they've spotted suspicious activity. The goal? To make you panic and act without thinking. But remember, actual banks will never pressure you this way. Take your time to assess the situation, and don’t forget to verify the caller's identity before taking any action.

By being aware of these tactics and following these guidelines, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to phone scams. Remember, your bank's primary concern is your financial security, and they will not jeopardize that by requesting sensitive information over the phone. Always err on the side of caution when dealing with unexpected calls.

Here’s what to do if you fall for a phone scam:

  1. Check IdentityTheft.gov: If you've spilled the beans and shared information like your Social Security Number or bank account details, visit identitytheft.gov for guidance on recommended steps, including monitoring your credit.
  2. Change Your Passwords: If you've revealed any usernames or passwords, change them ASAP to protect your accounts.
  3. Contact Your Bank: Reach out to your bank to report the scam and let them know what happened. They can guide you through necessary steps to secure your accounts.
  4. File a Police Report: If you lost money in the scam, consider filing a police report to document the incident.
  5. Report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or through their website. This helps authorities track and combat future activities.

Stay smart and remember that your bank will not—we repeat, will not—ask for sensitive information over the phone.

Unwanted phone calls can be a major nuisance, not to mention an invasion of your privacy. What's even more concerning is that phone scams can lead to financial losses, ranging from a few dollars to your entire life savings. To shield yourself from such threats, it's essential to stay informed about how to protect yourself and understand how to respond if you ever find yourself targeted by a phone call scam.

Does your bank keep your identity safe?

Academy Bank prioritizes your financial security. In fact, accounts like Select Rewards Checking have safeguards in place to help combat phishing scams, including:

  • Identity theft reimbursement coverage*
  • Comprehensive identity theft resolution services
  • Credit file monitoring
  • Credit report and score
  • Identity monitoring
  • Dark web monitoring

Learn more smart practices for cybersecurity practices in the Education section of our website (under “Banking Safely and Securely”).

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INSURANCE DISCLOSURE: Insurance products are NOT insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency; NOT a deposit of or guaranteed by the bank or any bank affiliate. Coverage is provided through the company named in the Guide to Benefit or on the certificate of insurance.