Email hoax targets bank customers

By Laura Geller - bio | email

Posted by Janet Brice email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – Police are warning of a hoax that could cause financial ruin.  Scammers are using emails to try to make you think something's wrong with your bank account.  The Vantage Point Credit Union wants to warn of a fraud that's hit many of its customers and now Hopewell Police are investigating.

They want to know what you would do if you got an email from your bank saying they needed to update your information.  They hope you'll think twice before hitting the reply button.

Vantage Point Credit Union customer Brian Charity said he would call the bank and find out what's going on.

But Hopewell Police learned that's not the case with more than a dozen bank customers.

"We would hope that by now, in 2010, that people using computers would not respond to an email that's unsolicited by a company," said Sgt. Michael Walls.

Scammers, posing as banks, sent out emails asking for things like social security numbers and dates of birth.

"Once you access your personal information on the computer, someone is always out there looking for it to just scoop it right on up," said Charity.

We talked to the president of Vantage Point by phone Wednesday.  She didn't want to go on camera but wanted to make sure her customers know the credit union's systems were not breached.  From what they can tell, the customers' accounts that were impacted were hacked through Paypal activity.

One telltale sign this is a hoax is that these notices read "dear customer" instead of the person's actual name.  Police said banks will not contact you this way.  Hitting delete is the best course of action while detectives continue to search for the culprits.

"Watch yourself because we've got some good detectives that are going to come get you," warned Sgt. Walls.

Police advise customers check their bank accounts and look for any unusual activity, some of which could be listed from other states.  If you think you might be a victim of this crime, file a complaint with your financial institution and call Crime Solvers at 541-2202.

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