Scam of the day – July 22, 2012 – Serendipity

Serendipity is when a favorable result occurs as a result as a lucky accident.  Certainly having someone cash checks from your bank account with your forged signature is not a favorable result, however, being present at the bank to complain about the money being fraudulently deducted from your account at the same time that the scammer is there trying to cash one of the checks certainly would qualify as serendipity.    This is exactly what occurred this week in Oregon when Matthew Frombach tried to cash a fourth forged signature check.  A friend of the victim chased Frombach, subduing him until police arrived.

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This is a story with a message for us all.  Police believe that the checks themselves were not forgeries, but rather that the victim’s checks were stolen when he reordered them from his bank and had them delivered in the mail.  It is not unusual for an identity thief to steal the last few pages of a new check book with the expectation that the real account owner won’t notice until it is too late.  This is always a risk when you reorder checks unless you arrange to pick up the new checks at your bank.  It may seem like an inconvenience and it is, but a slight inconvenience is much better than becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud.

Scam of the day – March 16, 2012 – Cell phone bank scam

A growing scam is the stealing of victims’bank accounts by identity thieves.  According to the American Bankers Association, this type of scam has increased by 260% in the last two years.  One of the more common ways scammers steal your bank account is by getting you to give them the keys to the kingdom by calling you on your cell phone with an automated call or text message from the scammer posing as your bank, telling you that there has been a security breach and your account is in jeopardy.  The message asks you to provide personal information about the account.  Many victims have trusted the scammers because their caller ID shows that the message came from their bank.  However, the bank’s caller ID has merely been copied or spoofed by the scammers.  If you provide the requested information, your account can be emptied and your identity stolen causing you further financial harm.  Sometimes the message actually appears to come from a bank you do not even have an account with.

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You should be skeptical when your bank  appears to be contacting you and asks for personal information.  And, of course, you should never respond to a message from a bank that you do not have an account with asking for personal information.  Never respond to a text message or automated call purporting to be from your bank by doing anything other than contacting your bank at a telephone number that you know is correct to confirm the call.

What is Vishing?

Vishing is a scam that takes advantage of Voice over Internet Protocol technology that permits you to make telephone calls through your computer instead of through a regular phone line.  When you use your computer to make a telephone call, your voice is converted into a digital signal that is transmitted over the Internet and then is converted to a regular telephone signal when it reaches the regular telephone you are calling.

Vishing occurs when a recorded phone message is sent by computers using Voice over Internet Protocol technology.  Often the message appears to be from your bank or credit card company informing you that the security of your account has been compromised and that you must provide confirming personal information to keep your account active.

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You will never receive a prerecorded message concerning the security of your account.  If you have any questions about your account’s security, call your bank or credit card company directly at a telephone number you know to be accurate.