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How to Avoid Bank Scams

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“Am I safe, or am I
being scammed?”

“Am I safe, or am I
being scammed?”

“Am I safe,
or am I
being
scammed?”

“Am I safe, or am I
being scammed?”

Know the red flags

The most common types of scams will target you through fake emails, text messages, voice calls, letters or even someone who shows up at your front door unexpectedly. No matter which technique the scammer uses, you may be:

  • Instructed to not trust Bank of America, or to respond to questions in untruthful ways
  • Pressured to send money
  • Threatened with law enforcement action
  • Told to purchase gift cards and provide codes as a form of payment
  • Asked to cash a check for a stranger or send money via wire transfer or Zelle®
  • Asked to deposit a check that overpays for something you’re selling, then send the difference elsewhere

If you provide your information or money to a scammer, there is often little we can do to help get your money back — which is why knowing about (and defending against) scams is so important

Know the scams

Scammers use different tactics to get victims to fall for their schemes. In some cases, they can be friendly, sympathetic and seem willing to help. In others, they use fear tactics to persuade a victim. Select the scam type from the following list to see a typical message from.

CHECK CASHING SCAM (typical message): “Excuse me, I left my wallet home, can you cash this check for me?”
Red flags include: You’re approached outside a bank branch and asked to cash a check for someone who claims they don’t have an account or left their ID home. The bad check will be held against your account when it doesn’t clear.

FAKE GOODS SCAM (typical message): “We can offer you those goods at a considerably lower price than retail.”
Red flags include: You’re asked to pay a very low price for typically expensive items (for example: $49 for a $300 pair of sneakers). Never transfer money (for example, by using Zelle®) to someone you don’t know.

FAKE RENTAL SCAM (typical message): “Hi, I see you received my rental deposit and wanted to follow up about the move in date.”
Red flags include: Your house is legitimately listed for sale online, but scammers have set up a fake website and listed your house as a rental. You receive inquiries from prospective renters about deposit checks they sent you (which they really sent to the scammer).

OVERPAYMENT SCAM (typical message): “Go ahead and deposit the check and wire the difference to the account number attached.”
Red flags include: You receive an overpayment for an item you’re selling, immediately followed by a request to deposit the check (which turns out to be a bad check) and then send the difference via a wire or gift card.

STUDENT AID SCAM (typical message): “Your student aid is at risk: Click this link to verify your information and validate your security.”
Red flags include: The link in the email isn’t familiar and the message has grammatical errors and doesn’t address the student by name.

TECH SUPPORT SCAM (typical message): “We've detected malware on your computer, let's go ahead and get this fixed for you.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from tech support claiming your computer has malware and requesting payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

EMAIL COMPROMISE SCAM (typical message): “There's been a change in the transfer details for completing your purchase. Please send the funds to the following account.”
Red flags include: You receive an unexpected request to redirect funds.

FAKE INVOICE SCAM (typical message): “Pay the amount on the enclosed invoice to keep your website up and running.”
Red flags include: The invoice is from an unknown company and appears to be for something critical (the scammer is hoping you’ll be too worried and busy and you’ll pay the invoice immediately).

OVERPAYMENT SCAM (typical message): “Go ahead and deposit the check and wire the difference to the account number attached.”
Red flags include: You receive an overpayment for an item you’re selling, immediately followed by a request to deposit the check (which turns out to be a bad check) and then send the difference via a wire or gift card.

PHISHING SCAM (typical message): “Dear employee: Click this link and provide your password. You’ll be prompted to change your password in our system.”
Red flags include: The email is not addressed directly to you, doesn’t carry the company’s usual logo and you’re not mentioned by name.

TECH SUPPORT SCAM (typical message): “We've detected malware on your computer, let's go ahead and get this fixed for you.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from tech support claiming your computer has malware and requesting payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

TELEMARKETING SCAM (typical message): “We’d like to offer you and your employees a business coaching opportunity. Wire us a onetime fee and we can set up a date and time.”
Red flags include: You receive a request to send money to a company you’ve never heard of.

UTILITY COMPANY SCAM (typical message): “Your service is about to be interrupted. Please send gift cards or wire money to this account to keep your service running.”
Red flags include: You’re asked to urgently wire funds or pay a utility bill with gift cards.

CHARITY SCAM (typical message): “Hi, the reason for my call is to see if you would consider donating to help preserve our local park.”
Red flags include: You receive a request to donate to a charity that you've never heard of and for which you can’t find an official website.

DEBT RELIEF SCAM (typical message): “I can help you reduce or eliminate your debt.”
Red flags include: You receive a request for payment in order to establish a service relationship to pay, settle or get rid of debt.

EMAIL COMPROMISE SCAM (typical message): “There's been a change in the transfer details for completing your purchase. Please send the funds to the following account.”
Red flags include: You receive an unexpected request to redirect funds.

GRANDPARENT SCAM (typical message): “Grandma, I'm in trouble! I need your help — I need some money really fast!”
Red flags include: You receive a call or text message from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one asking for money to help with an emergency, plus instructions on where to send the funds.

IMPOSTOR SCAM (typical message): “I'm with the IRS and a lawsuit is being filed against you for non-payment of back taxes.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from a government agency asking you for a payment and/or to verify your personal information.

INVESTMENT SCAM (typical message): “Glad I got you! A while back you requested information about one of our programs. Are you ready to invest?”
Red flags include: You receive a request to invest in a business opportunity with promises of high returns and/or getting rich quick.

LOTTERY/SWEEPSTAKES SCAM (typical message): “Your email address was randomly picked to receive a major prize in our drawing. To receive your prize, simply follow these instructions.”
Red flags include: You receive a request to prepay fees or taxes in order to receive a large prize you supposedly won.

ROMANCE SCAM (typical message): “I'd love to come to see you, but I don't have the money to travel right now. Can you help me out?”
Red flags include: You receive a request for financial support from a new partner in an exclusively online relationship.

TECH SUPPORT SCAM (typical message): “We've detected malware on your computer, let's go ahead and get this fixed for you.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from tech support claiming your computer has malware and requesting payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

Scams that typically target students

CHECK CASHING SCAM (typical message): “Excuse me, I left my wallet home, can you cash this check for me?”
Red flags include: You’re approached outside a bank branch and asked to cash a check for someone who claims they don’t have an account or left their ID home. The bad check will be held against your account when it doesn’t clear.

FAKE GOODS SCAM (typical message): “We can offer you those goods at a considerably lower price than retail.”
Red flags include: You’re asked to pay a very low price for typically expensive items (for example: $49 for a $300 pair of sneakers). Never transfer money (for example, by using Zelle®) to someone you don’t know.

FAKE RENTAL SCAM (typical message): “Hi, I see you received my rental deposit and wanted to follow up about the move in date.”
Red flags include: Your house is legitimately listed for sale online, but scammers have set up a fake website and listed your house as a rental. You receive inquiries from prospective renters about deposit checks they sent you (which they really sent to the scammer).

OVERPAYMENT SCAM (typical message): “Go ahead and deposit the check and wire the difference to the account number attached.”
Red flags include: You receive an overpayment for an item you’re selling, immediately followed by a request to deposit the check (which turns out to be a bad check) and then send the difference via a wire or gift card.

STUDENT AID SCAM (typical message): “Your student aid is at risk: Click this link to verify your information and validate your security.”
Red flags include: The link in the email isn’t familiar and the message has grammatical errors and doesn’t address the student by name.

TECH SUPPORT SCAM (typical message): “We've detected malware on your computer, let's go ahead and get this fixed for you.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from tech support claiming your computer has malware and requesting payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

Scams that typically target small business owners

EMAIL COMPROMISE SCAM (typical message): “There's been a change in the transfer details for completing your purchase. Please send the funds to the following account.”
Red flags include: You receive an unexpected request to redirect funds.

FAKE INVOICE SCAM (typical message): “Pay the amount on the enclosed invoice to keep your website up and running.”
Red flags include: The invoice is from an unknown company and appears to be for something critical (the scammer is hoping you’ll be too worried and busy and you’ll pay the invoice immediately).

OVERPAYMENT SCAM (typical message): “Go ahead and deposit the check and wire the difference to the account number attached.”
Red flags include: You receive an overpayment for an item you’re selling, immediately followed by a request to deposit the check (which turns out to be a bad check) and then send the difference via a wire or gift card.

PHISHING SCAM (typical message): “Dear employee: Click this link and provide your password. You’ll be prompted to change your password in our system.”
Red flags include: The email is not addressed directly to you, doesn’t carry the company’s usual logo and you’re not mentioned by name.

TECH SUPPORT SCAM (typical message): “We've detected malware on your computer, let's go ahead and get this fixed for you.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from tech support claiming your computer has malware and requesting payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

TELEMARKETING SCAM (typical message): “We’d like to offer you and your employees a business coaching opportunity. Wire us a onetime fee and we can set up a date and time.”
Red flags include: You receive a request to send money to a company you’ve never heard of.

UTILITY COMPANY SCAM (typical message): “Your service is about to be interrupted. Please send gift cards or wire money to this account to keep your service running.”
Red flags include: You’re asked to urgently wire funds or pay a utility bill with gift cards.

Scams that typically target parents, working adults or retired adults

CHARITY SCAM (typical message): “Hi, the reason for my call is to see if you would consider donating to help preserve our local park.”
Red flags include: You receive a request to donate to a charity that you've never heard of and for which you can’t find an official website.

DEBT RELIEF SCAM (typical message): “I can help you reduce or eliminate your debt.”
Red flags include: You receive a request for payment in order to establish a service relationship to pay, settle or get rid of debt.

EMAIL COMPROMISE SCAM (typical message): “There's been a change in the transfer details for completing your purchase. Please send the funds to the following account.”
Red flags include: You receive an unexpected request to redirect funds.

GRANDPARENT SCAM (typical message): “Grandma, I'm in trouble! I need your help — I need some money really fast!”
Red flags include: You receive a call or text message from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one asking for money to help with an emergency, plus instructions on where to send the funds.

IMPOSTOR SCAM (typical message): “I'm with the IRS and a lawsuit is being filed against you for non-payment of back taxes.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from a government agency asking you for a payment and/or to verify your personal information.

INVESTMENT SCAM (typical message): “Glad I got you! A while back you requested information about one of our programs. Are you ready to invest?”
Red flags include: You receive a request to invest in a business opportunity with promises of high returns and/or getting rich quick.

LOTTERY/SWEEPSTAKES SCAM (typical message): “Your email address was randomly picked to receive a major prize in our drawing. To receive your prize, simply follow these instructions.”
Red flags include: You receive a request to prepay fees or taxes in order to receive a large prize you supposedly won.

ROMANCE SCAM (typical message): “I'd love to come to see you, but I don't have the money to travel right now. Can you help me out?”
Red flags include: You receive a request for financial support from a new partner in an exclusively online relationship.

TECH SUPPORT SCAM (typical message): “We've detected malware on your computer, let's go ahead and get this fixed for you.”
Red flags include: You receive a request from tech support claiming your computer has malware and requesting payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

Know the best ways to avoid being scammed

  • Don’t respond: If you’re not 100% certain of the source of the call, email or text, then hang up the phone, don’t click on the link in the email and don’t reply to the text message.
  • Don’t trust caller ID or answer phone calls from unknown numbers: If you recognize the caller ID but the call seems suspicious, hang up the phone. Phone numbers can be easily spoofed to appear to be from a legitimate caller.
  • Don’t give out your information: Never provide any personally identifiable information unless you’re absolutely certain the person and reason are legitimate. Remember: Bank of America will never ask you to send us personal information such as an account number, Social Security number or Tax ID over text, email or online.
  • Research and validate: If the individual or organization seems suspicious, make sure the request being made is legitimate by calling the organization through an official number from their website or consulting with a trusted family member or friend.

If you feel you may have been a victim of a scam, contact us immediately.

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