Scam callers are impersonating banks claiming your credit card is blocked

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:

Fraudsters will do anything to get your money and financial information. Now an old scheme is making its rounds with con artists hoping you’ll fall for it and give them what they want. It comes in the form of a call.

The voicemail claims – “This is your Bank of America debit card fraud prevention center with an important message. We need to verify some recent activity on your Bank of America debit card. You made a purchase of $120.40…which was declined. For your account’s protection, we have temporarily blocked your card for further verification. Please call us back on our toll-free number–“

A WINK News employee got the exact same voicemail twice. Once claiming to be from Bank of America and another claiming to be from Wells Fargo. AARP Fraud Watch Network Director of Victim Support Amy Nofziger said it’s all a ploy to get your information and it’s been around for a while.

“Oftentimes that might not even be the bank that you bank at,” Nofziger added. “But you might think, ‘Oh, well, I should probably call them because maybe someone has opened up a bank account in my name at this place.”

The toll-free number listed in the voicemail goes right to a call center which claims to be a fraud prevention center. Nofzinger said you should never call that number.

“It’s going to go to their other criminal buddies, and they’re going to pretend to be the legitimate bank, and they’re going to hook you into their scam,” Nofziger added. “You’re going to think you’re talking to the real bank, but it’s not.”

If you have any worries, she advises that you go directly to the source.

“Stop. Take a deep breath and think, ‘what do I need to do in this situation? I need to check it out,” Nofziger recommended. “Go directly to the website, contact us, or turn your bank card over, get the number there or find a bill or a statement from that bank and call that number directly.”

If you’ve already fallen into their trap, Nofziger suggests getting help immediately.

“Maybe you need to set up a fraud alert on your credit report. Maybe you need to change your bank account number. Whatever it is, do it quickly and report it and get the help and the resources that you need to get back on track,” Nofziger recommended.

If you lost money in the process, you probably won’t get it back.

“Unfortunately, if money is taken in these situations it’s nearly impossible to get it back,” Nofziger said. “But that’s why reporting it immediately is crucial for any chances of recovery.”

If the person on the other end ever asks for remote access to your device or asks to be paid through a gift card, cryptocurrency or peer-to-peer app, hang up. Those are all red flags.

WINK News reached out to both banks mentioned in the voicemails, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, to find out what they do to protect their customers from potential fraud like this. Bank of America did not respond to a request for comment. Wells Fargo said it has various resources, practices and strategies in place but they do not share that information about specific fraud prevention systems to protect their effectiveness.

Protect yourself from fraud

Advice from Wells Fargo:

  • Many scams start with a simple call, email, or message impersonating a person or company you know to trick you into giving them your money, account information or verification codes.
  • Scammers can spoof their caller ID number and use bits of your personal information to convince you to reveal your verification code and steal your money.
  • Know that your bank will never ask you to send money to anyone, including yourself, to “reverse a transfer,” “receive a refund,” or anything similar.
  • If you are uncomfortable with a request received by phone call or text that you didn’t initiate, don’t respond and hang up immediately. Contact the company using legitimate sources such as a phone number on their website or the number on the back of your debit card.

How to report ID theft

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