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Consumer Fraud Alert

03/21/16

The Independent Bankers of Colorado (IBC) is alerting consumers to a wave of phishing scams through text messages.  Consumers need to be aware of ways to protect themselves and their personal financial information against identity theft and cybersecurity-related crimes.

Banks in Colorado are receiving numerous reports from customers receiving text messages claiming to be their bank and telling the customer fraud has been detected in their bank account and they need to update their profile. 

  • It is a fraudulent text. Banks never release customer phone numbers or email addresses.
  • Do not tap on the link or call the number.  
  • If a consumer has clicked on the link and given any account information, the consumer should immediately contact their bank. 
  • Consumers should not forward the text or any links that might be in it to their bank. 
  • Contact your bank directly by using the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card, or stop in your bank to speak with someone in person. 
  • Remember, your bank will never contact or text you asking for personal or banking information.

The IBC warns consumers to never respond to text messages, emails or phone calls from companies alleging to be your bank, government officials or business representatives that request your banking ID, account numbers, user name or password. Never provide your secure financial information over the phone or Internet if you are unsure of who is asking for it. Similarly, never click on links sent to you from unknown sources via text message because they are likely malware.  

We live in a mobile society, relying on smartphones, tablets and computers to gather news, make purchases, interact with friends and family, and connect with financial institutions. Increasingly, cybercriminals compromise the networks that support these devices. This often results in identity theft, which can also yield financial losses and safety for consumers.   “Criminals are on the hunt to capture confidential consumer financial information and personal data. The banking industry wants consumers to have as much information, education and resources as possible so they can protect themselves against such attacks,” advises Barbara Walker, executive director of the IBC. 

Banks in Colorado and across the nation work aggressively to protect their customers’ financial, personal and sensitive information on a daily basis.  Bankers have been informing their customers about multiple layers of security protection, monitoring customer accounts for fraudulent activity, reissuing credit and debit cards as appropriate and educating consumers on how to avoid fraud, identity theft and becoming a victim of a cybercrime.

The IBC provides consumers additional valuable tips when it comes to taking proactive security measures:

  • Monitor all of your financial accounts and report any suspicious activity, such as false or multiple charges, to your community bank immediately.
  • Be sure to use unique passwords for all financial online accounts. Never share or duplicate usage of your password, account number, PIN or answers to security questions.
  • Do not save credit or debit card, banking account or routing numbers, or other financial information, on your computer, phone or tablet.
  • Use caution when sharing personal information about yourself on social media channels and the Internet. Identity thieves and cyber criminals can use information to gain access into your life. Never post account numbers, credit card statements or bank details.
  • Be vigilant about using a password on mobile devices. Be sure to set your devices to automatically lock after a selected period of time to ensure no one can access your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
  • Be aware of the location of your mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) at all times. Only log on financial websites when you have a secure, safe and trusted Internet connection.
  • Shred ATM receipts, credit card offers or statements, checks and other similar documents when you no longer need them.
  • Consider getting an IP PIN. An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that helps prevent the misuse of Social Security numbers on fraudulent federal income tax forms, per the IRS.
  • Do not provide your secure financial information over the phone or Internet if you are unsure of who is asking for it. Contact your bank directly by using the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card, or stop in your bank to speak with someone in person. Remember, your bank will never contact or text you asking for personal or banking information.

Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on immediate steps consumers should take to repair identity theft. If any consumer believes they have had their identity stolen or are victim of fraudulent charges on a credit or debit card, reach out to your bank immediately.