As inflation continues to force consumers to find ways to save money, PlainsCapital Bank is warning people of the constant influx of fraudsters trying to steal people’s money through online banking schemes.
According to Senior Vice President Denise Owens, who also manages PlainsCapital Bank’s fraud department, there are two types of scams to watch out for.
The banking company calls the first scheme a refund scam.
“In most cases, the customer will receive a text or email and once they respond, they will receive a phone call from the scammer,” Owens said. “[The scammer] inform that they are dealing with a reputable company, let’s just say Amazon, and that Amazon has refunded the customer for a number of circumstances.
The scammer will say that they refunded the customer for a product that cannot be shipped or that they were overcharged, but they will say that the refund they sent is incorrect.
This is when a scammer will request remote access to the client’s computer.
“If the customer doesn’t have the software that gives the fraudster access to their computer, they’ll talk to them by downloading it,” Owens said.
Once the fraudster gains access to the computer, they will ask the victim to log into their online banking account in order to verify the overpayment.
At this point, the fraudster will have full access to the customer’s online bank account and will move money between accounts to make it look like they overpaid the customer during the refund in order to trick them.
The scammer will then ask the customer to transfer the difference, sometimes in the form of gift cards, and if the customer initiates the transfer, it is extremely difficult to recover these funds.
“Our advice is always this: you should never give anyone access to your computer,” Owens said. “And if you need, for any reason, for a repair, you should never log into your online bank until someone else has granted you access.”
The second scheme is known as a fraud alert scam, which is similar to the first, the only differences are that the fraudster will claim fraud on the customer’s account, request access, then set up a fake page in order to protect the customer’s eyes as they secretly transfer money using Zelle, a payment mobile phone app that enables peer-to-peer money transfers.
Again, once the money is transferred through Zelle, it is difficult to recover the funds.
Fortunately for customers, banks like PlainsCapital have methods and procedures in place to combat fraud.
“We investigate suspected fraud, assisting the customer with any type of recovery where possible,” Owens said. “We work with law enforcement, file cases with them or detective services if necessary.
“We also monitor fraud tools to look for suspicious activity and try to identify them before the activity occurs to protect our customers.”
Owens also said that if banks are able to identify a party committing fraud, they take every possible step to pursue legal action.
She added that banks see victims of all ages falling victim to online banking scams every year, and while she was unable to provide an exact number, she says the number of victims due to fraud continues to increase every year.
“The most important thing you can do if someone contacts you like this is to hang up, contact the company directly with a number you have, not a number given to you by the scammer. , to check on the situation,” Owens said.