WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many of us have seen how scammers try to impersonate the government or a business to convince unsuspecting people to hand over their money.
Now, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a growing trend of con artists pretending to be from your bank, while using multiple layers of contact to try and make it seem legitimate.
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The BBB said the scammer will send a text message that looks like a fraud alert from your bank.
If you reply that you don’t approve the supposed transaction, the scammer now knows they have an active phone number for you.
The scammer may then try to call you from a spoofed phone number that shows your bank name on your caller ID.
The fraudster will pretend to be a bank representative and claim you need to send money to your own account through Zelle or another digital pay app to fix the bogus problem.
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If the person sends the money, that victim has now handed the money over to a scammer.
We asked the BBB about what people need to know to protect themselves.
“Understanding your bank policies,” said Josh Planos, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for the BBB. “Know that your bank is never going to ask you to send money to yourself.”
People have reported losing as much as $3,500, according to the BBB scam tracker.
“The minute you fork over information to your bank account, it’s very difficult to ever see that money again,” said Planos.
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Washington D.C. resident Jim Green said he never engages with the mystery person on the other end behind a suspicious text message or phone call.
“I immediately delete,” said Green. “I wouldn’t trust anybody coming to me, telling me that I have a problem.”
His advice is echoed by the BBB, which is urging people to report the incident if you have been contacted by one of these scammers.
You can report it anonymously on the BBB scam tracker.
“It’s really important to share your story,” said Planos. “The only person you are protecting when you stay silent is the perpetrator. It allows scammers to continue to weaponize any sort of agenda they may have.”
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