New ABA Campaign Helps Prevent Phishing Scams

Oct 02, 2020

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Launching on Oct. 1 to coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the American Bankers Association (ABA) has created a unique campaign called Banks Never Ask That. The campaign helps bank customers to spot phishing scams by reminding them that “banks never ask” for things like clicking on a link to give their password, verifying a PIN, or having them call because their card has been deactivated.

ABA has asked banks across the country, like NASB, to participate by posting campaign information on social media and in-branch using printed material.  Customers are also invited to “improve their Scam Score” by taking ABA’s #BanksNeverAskThat Quiz, featuring weekly cash prizes and a $1,000 Grand Prize.

Phishing, named for criminals who send out millions of “hooks” to unsuspecting victims who take their “bait,” is a type of online scam using fraudulent emails, phone calls, and texts that appear to come from a legitimate bank. These fake communications trick you into giving confidential information (like passwords, PINs, or account numbers) by clicking on a link or by phone to someone posing as a bank employee. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost over $1.9 billion to fraud in 2019, an increase of 28 percent from 2018. Phishing is one of the most common forms of fraud.

ABA suggests that if you ever receive a scam email or text, you should:

  • Take a deep breath. In most cases, it’s perfectly safe to open a scam email or text. Modern mail apps, like Gmail, detect and block any code or malware from running when you open an email. The key is not to click suspicious links or download any attachments. 
  • Do not download any attachments in the message. Attachments may contain malware such as viruses, worms, or spyware.
  • Do not click suspicious links that appear in the message. Links in phishing messages direct you to fraudulent websites.
  • Do not reply to the sender. Ignore any requests from the sender and do not call any phone numbers provided in the message. 
  • Report it. Help fight scammers by reporting them. Forward suspected phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726). Then, report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

And If you receive a phone call that seems to be a phishing attempt:

  • Hang up or end the call. Be aware that area codes can be misleading. If your Caller ID displays a local area code, this does not guarantee that the caller is local.
  • Do not respond to the caller’s requests. Financial institutions and legitimate companies will never call you to request your personal information. Never give personal information to the incoming caller.
  • If you feel you’ve been the victim of a scam, did provide personal or financial information, contact your bank immediately at their publicly listed customer service number. Often, this is found on the back of your bank card. Be sure to include any relevant details, such as whether the suspicious caller attempted to impersonate your bank and whether any personal or financial information was provided to the suspicious caller.

If you think you may be a victim of a phishing scam:

  1. Contact your bank, financial institutions, and creditors
    • Speak with the fraud department and explain that someone has stolen your identity.
    • Request to close or freeze any accounts that may have been tampered with or fraudulently established.
    • Make sure to change your online login credentials, passwords and PINs.
  1. Secure your email and other communication accounts
    • Many people reuse passwords and your email or cell phone account may be compromised as well.
    • Immediately change your accounts’ passwords and implement multi-factor authentication — a setting that prevents cybercriminals from accessing your accounts, even if they know your password — if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Check your credit reports and place a fraud alert on them
    • Get a free copy of your credit report from annualcreditreport.com or call 877.322.8228.
    • Review your credit report to make sure unauthorized accounts have not been opened in your name.
    • Report any fraudulent accounts to the appropriate financial institutions.
    • Place a fraud alert on your credit by contacting one of the three credit bureaus. That company must tell the other two.
      – Experian: 888.397.3742 or experian.com
      – TransUnion: 800.680.7289 or transunion.com
      – Equifax: 888.766.0008 or equifax.com
  3. Contact ChexSystems at 888.478.6536 to place a security alert on the compromised checking and savings accounts when a deposit account has been impacted.
  4. Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report an ID theft incident: visit ftc.gov/idtheft or call 877.438.4338.
  5. File a report with your local law enforcement
    • Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.

NASB is proud to team up with ABA to help ensure banking customers do not become victims of phishing fraud. Please click here for more ways that you can protect yourself.