When making digital payments or money transfers, social engineering tactics used by scammers continue to evolve. They will stop at nothing to try and trick you into giving them your personal information. The most common types of scams will target you through fake emails, text messages and phone calls. A current one happening today has scammers impersonating a consumer's financial institution then conning the user into sending money to themselves using their mobile number under the guise that it will replace funds stolen from their account. However, the payment goes, instead, to the scammers.
Here’s How the Scam Works:
- Scammers send text alerts to users – appearing to come from their financial institution – asking the users if they attempted a large dollar payment or transfer.
- Scammers immediately call the users, spoofing the financial institution’s phone number and claim to be from the FI’s fraud department.
- Scammers tell the user the payment went through, but the funds can be recovered.
- Scammers tell the user in order to recover the stolen funds they must send the money back to themselves via the users’ mobile phone number, but before doing so, the fraudsters instruct the user to disable their mobile phone number associated with their bank account.
- When the scammer links the user’s mobile phone number to the scammer’s bank account, a 2-factor authentication passcode is generated and sent to validate the mobile phone number. The text message containing the passcode is actually sent to the user’s mobile phone; however, the scammer cons the user into providing the passcode over the phone.
- The scammer enters the passcode to activate the U.S. mobile number on their account.
- Users are instructed to send themselves the funds.
- The money transfers actually go to the scammers.
How can you avoid falling victim to this type of scam? There are a few easy things you should always remember:
- Know that the Credit Union will never call you to ask you to perform a transaction, including a transfer.
- You will never receive a call from the Credit Union asking you to disable your U.S. mobile number from your account.
- The Credit Union will never call you to ask you to disclose a password or passcode.
- When using any digital payments platform, always confirm the U.S. mobile number or email address of the recipient before sending money to ensure the right person receives the funds.