Consumer Alert: Your bank’s phone number may have been spoofed

Phone scammers targeting people with false bank calls

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Phone scammers seem to get smarter every day, causing consumers at the very least a headache if not some of their hard-earned money.

A new banking scam seen affecting people all over the country almost fooled an LMPD detective.

Almost.

Det. Lisa Livers credits her special skills for saving her from a scam that’s kicked things up a few notches. She now wants to warn others.

Livers said her cell phone rang around dinnertime recently from an 1-800 number. When she picked up, the caller said she was from her actual bank and they were on a recorded line.

“She goes through my name, my address, you know, my phone number, she has everything,” Livers said. “It was so real.”

The caller told her she wanted to verify about $2,000 worth of Amazon purchases that seemed fraudulent.

They agreed to immediately cancel her card. The caller gave Livers the last four numbers of her actual card.

At that point Livers thought the call was legitimate. But then the caller asked Livers to read the full card number and the security code.

That’s when Livers started seeing red flags. She declined to read off the full numbers on the card.

“When they ask for you to read your number, they should already have that,” she said. The caller also asked about her husband’s information.

Once they hung up, Livers decided to check out that 1-800 number they called from. It matched the customer service number on the back of her card.

When Livers called the number, she reached the real bank who told her the call had been a scam to obtain her card information.

Turns out, the bank’s phone number had been spoofed, or masked by scammers. It’s something that’s happened to numerous institutions and people all over the country.

“Even though you think it’s a legit phone call, don’t give your information over the phone because everybody’s doing it,” Livers warned.

The Bank Policy Institute told WAVE 3 News scammers are now using sophisticated techniques, and that the spoofing is not specific to any one individual bank.

“As a general matter, it is important to remember that banks will never proactively call or email customers to request private account information or access codes,” the agency stated. "Customers should never provide information, including any codes sent to your phone, to your banking application or to your email.

“When receiving a call or email from someone claiming to be associated with their bank, customers should hang up and call their bank using the phone number found on their card or statement to confirm any issues or activity related to their account.”

The FCC is fighting to stop scammers and spoofing reaching consumers’ phones.

AT&T and T-Mobile are taking steps to help you avoid scammers. When a legitimate person calls, users will see “call verified” on their screen. That means the authenticity of the caller has been verified at a network level.

This is part of the stir-shaken standard, which most phone companies are adopting to help users avoid spam phone calls. It uses digital certificates to ensure the number of a call is secure.

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