Phishing scam targets bank customers

By Aaron Gilchrist - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Customers in our area are again getting text messages about problems with their bank accounts. It's a recurring scam that tries to use your bank to rip you off. A viewer emailed us about a text message using the name of "New Generations Federal Credit Union."

New Generations FCU is aware of the phishing scam and has posted a message warning customers on its website. It says the messages are asking for account numbers, pins and card numbers. The credit union tells its customers it will never contact them and ask for this information.

"We wish we didn't see as much of it as we do see," said Bob Watts.

Bob Watts runs First Capital Bank and is a former president of the Virginia Association of Community Banks. He says the industry knows these messages pop up via text and email all too often. Methods legitimate banks just don't use.

"It looks like it's coming from the bank looking to confirm information. It is in fact not coming from the bank," Watts said.

Your bank and credit card companies already have that information and would never reach out to you to confirm it. If a financial institution needs to talk to you, most often you'll get a letter instructing you to contact them by phone or face to face.

"There are also laws, privacy laws, that prevent a bank from trading and exchanging information without us knowing that we're talking with our client as well," he said.

But in an age when everyone is connected electronically and doing business on the go some real banks do let you to initiate text relationships, but you set the parameters and are expecting the message. Beyond that, bankers say always keep your information to yourself.

"When you put that information out there, it could get into the hands of the wrong person and then subsequently be sold or traded or given to even more people," said Watts.

If you do get one of these messages, don't click on any links or call any phone numbers in the message. You should report the contact to the bank or credit card company, but use the phone number you already had for the bank.

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