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Bank issues warning to never share verification codes

The Federal Trade Commission says scams are getting more complex, and highlights one scam that tries to get consumers to share verification codes.
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Posted at 9:52 PM, Mar 13, 2024

The Federal Trade Commission says criminals are using new scams to try to lure consumers into sharing verification codes or moving their money, and the agency is joining banks in warning people to be extra careful as scam techniques get more complex. 

Gregg Stephens, a fraud prevention manager at Digital Federal Credit Union, says impersonation scams involve a perpetrator posing as an employee of the potential victim's bank. Stephens says scammers can call using a fake number to make it appear that they are calling from the bank, and making it look like a "legitimate interaction." 

Scammers might ask for a verification code, or an OTP (one time password) code — in which case they have likely obtained bank login information from the dark web or other means, and just need you to give them the code from your phone to finalize their fraudulent login attempt. 

Many banks are warning that they will never call a customer asking for a one time password, and advise customers to hang up and call their bank immediately to report the call.

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Thieves are also using fake websites that mimic legitimate bank sites in order to phish for credit card or banking information.

"Skimming" is when illegal devices are usedto copy credit card information. The skimming devices can be put over legitimate devices, causing customers to inadvertently insert their card in and not realize data is being taken from the card. 

Phishing attempts can also come in the form of links that are texted or emailed. Experts warn consumers to be extra vigilant when it comes to avoiding clicking on links that are not 100% trusted. Look for "https" on websites and research online to compare and learn if links are legitimate.

Always choose different and more complex usernames and passwords for online banking. 

The Federal Trade Commissions says that no caller, especially someone from your bank, is going to call you and ask for a verification code. The FTC says to stop and check out each interaction by calling your bank or investment adviser or broker to verify that it is them trying to make contact. And consumers should always report fraudulent or suspicious activity. 

FTC data shared by John Marshall Bank found that 1 in 5 people have lost money to impostor scams.