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#BanksNeverAskThat: How to Spot and Avoid Scammers

October 3, 2023


A text message claiming your bank account is frozen due to a suspicious transaction. An email saying you’ve been charged for an anti-virus software subscription you don’t remember purchasing. Phone calls that are purportedly from the IRS, alerting you that your social security number was compromised. These are all examples of scams. It can feel like we are inundated by scammers almost every day. Even if you don’t fall victim to one, it’s still a recurring annoyance in your life.


Unfortunately, people do fall victim to scams every day. The result is loss of money or a stolen identity that takes a while to resolve. The more you know about common scams, the easier it is to spot one and save yourself or a loved one from getting tricked. Keep reading to learn about bank and financial scams to be aware of.


Questions Banks Will Never Ask You

Banks Never Ask That is a helpful resource for learning about scams related to your bank account and other financial information. You can watch videos and play the “Scam City” game. It may be helpful to print this list of questions your bank would never ask–keep it on your fridge or by your desk. When you receive a scam message designed to create a sense of urgency, you can pause and remind yourself of the red flags.


Moody Bank and other legitimate financial institutions will never ask you:

  • For your debit card PIN or online banking password
  • For your bank account or debit/credit card numbers
  • For your complete Social Security number
  • To click on a link in an email or text message to log in to online banking
  • To transfer money to a new bank account
  • To participate in a test transaction online
  • To provide account information to confirm a suspicious transaction


Common Cybersecurity Tips

Of course, scammers don’t just impersonate banks when trying to part you from your hard-earned money. Follow these basic cybersecurity tips to protect yourself against all types of scams.

  • Regularly monitor your bank account and credit card statements. If you see any unauthorized charges, report them immediately.
  • Take advantage of your federally-authorized right to check your credit report for free. If you see any new credit accounts you didn’t open, report it right away.
  • Sign up for online and mobile banking to review your recent transactions.
  • Avoid logging into financial accounts or making online purchases while connected to an open (public) Wi-Fi network.
  • Create strong passwords and use a unique password for each account.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails you weren’t expecting.
  • Hover your cursor over a link to see the full URL before clicking.
  • Call the company or financial institution in question (instead of responding to whatever message you’ve been sent) to see if there is really a problem.



10 Popular Bank Scams to Be Aware Of

Now that you know what banks will never ask you, and you have some general tools for avoiding all kinds of scams, let’s look at the 10 most common bank scams circulating now.


1. Overpayment Scams

If you are selling something online, a scammer sends a fraudulent check, money order, or proof of payment for more than the purchase price, requesting a refund. The original payment type is fraudulent, resulting in the loss of both the money you refunded and the original product cost.


2. Phishing Scams

An email or text message appears to be from your bank and claims that someone has hacked your account. Clicking on the “reset password” link may expose your personal information to scammers or malware, potentially allowing your email to be hacked.


For example, fraudulent QR codes on parking meters in Austin and Houston caused drivers to share sensitive financial information with scammers.


3. Unsolicited Check Fraud

This occurs when you get a check in the mail that you did not request, such as a refund or rebate check. However, these checks usually include fine print with terms that commit you to a debt, subscription, or other expensive long-term obligation, not free money.



4. Fake Check-Cashing Scams

A fraudster may stand outside your bank and ask you to help them cash a check, claiming they forgot their ID or don't have an account. However, after depositing and handing over the money, the check is discovered to be a bad one and funds are taken from your account. Online check cashing scams are also becoming common on services like Venmo.


5. Automatic Debit (Automatic Withdrawal) Scams

When you enroll in free trials through fake telemarketer calls or unsecured websites, scammers gain access to your bank account number. This allows them to set up monthly debits without your knowledge or approval.


6. Employment Scams

Through fake job postings, scammers can steal your information once you verify your identity for the hiring process.



7. Charity Scams

Scammers may pretend to be a reputable charity and solicit donations or request personal information or banking details for access.


8. Online Lending Scams

Bank scammers create fake websites or “special offer” emails to commit loan fraud by requesting your sensitive information like bank details or Social Security numbers. They can open fake loans in your name, and you only realize the loan is fraudulent after making a payment.


9. Award and Lottery Scams

Emails that claim you won a lottery or sweepstakes prizes are exciting but be cautious if they demand sensitive information or money, as they may be fake.


10. Government Imposter Scams

Scammers may pretend to be from government agencies such as Medicare, the FBI, or the IRS, and threaten to have you arrested, deported, or fined for outstanding debts. They use fear and urgency to try and obtain money or personal information for financial fraud. It's important to remember government and banks never ask for personal information in emails or texts.



What To Do If You Fall for a Scam

Realized that message you thought was legitimate was actually from a scammer? Keep calm and:


  • Alert your bank
  • Alert your credit card company
  • Alert the U.S. Postal Service (if you mailed money to the scammer)
  • Freeze the debit or credit card that was compromised
  • Freeze your credit so that new accounts can’t be opened in your name
  • Change your debit PIN number and online banking password immediately


Here’s how to contact Moody Bank to report a lost or stolen card.


We are here to help keep your financial information secure!

Moody Bank wants to help you keep your bank accounts safe and secure. Learn more about our industry-accepted standards for securing information and test your ability to spot a phishing scam. If you have questions about your Moody Bank account, don’t hesitate to contact us.


#BanksNeverAskThat: How to Spot and Avoid Scammers | Blog