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How to Avoid Scams

A new bank imposter scam is circulating. What to look for if you're targeted.

A new bank imposter scam is circulating. What to look for if you're targeted.

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Beware of a new way scammers are targeting you

Scammers are posing as your bank. They claim there is fraud on your account and try to convince you the only way to protect your money is for you to move it.

How it works:

  1. Initial Contact: Scammers reach out, pretending to be your bank, and inform you of fraudulent activity on your account. This contact may come from text or email, followed by a phone call from 'the fraud department.'
  2. Deceptive Instructions: Next, they instruct you to move your money. You may be asked to 'send money to yourself' using any payment application, including adding your money to your digital wallet. Once you add money to your digital wallet, the scammer will provide you a card number, attempting to convince you it is your 'new card'. From there, you're told to transfer your money to the 'new card'.
  3. Money Sent to Scammer: Once you transfer the funds, you realize you've sent money to the scammer, your money is gone and unlikely to be recovered.
Protect yourself & your money

Remember, Bank of America will never ask you to pay anyone, including yourself. Don't make a payment as a result of an unexpected text or call. Never ignore scam warnings, even if you are told to do so.

Visit the Security Center for more ways to stay protected.

Knowledge is a powerful defense. Check out these trending scams

Check out layer more examples of scams and tips to help you be more secure

Know the red flags that signal a scam

Scammers are constantly reinventing new ways to perpetrate old ploys. However, their tactics remain similar by targeting you through fake emails, text messages, voice calls, letters or even in person. No matter which technique the scammer uses, being aware of these red flags should make you pause:

  • Contacted unexpectedly by phone, email, text, direct message or pop-up with a request for personal information or money. Never click a link or download an attachment from someone you don't know. Bank of America will never text, email or call you asking for personal or account information.
  • Pressured to act immediately with an alarming phone call, email or text that plays with your emotions. Scammers may pose as an employee from a familiar organization, such as Bank of America and say there's a problem that needs immediate attention. Do not act unless you have verified the person who has contacted you and the story or request is legitimate.
  • Asked to pay in an unusual way, like gift cards, bitcoin, prepaid debit cards or digital currency, including Zelle® to resolve fraud. Bank of America will never ask you to transfer money to anyone, including yourself and will never ask you to transfer money because we detected fraud on your account.
  • Asked to provide personal or account information, such as an account verification code, bank account number or PIN. When in doubt, don't give it out. Bank of America will never text, email or call you asking for an account authorization code.
  • Offered a free product or 'get rich quick' opportunity that seems too good to be true? If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never cash a check for someone you don't know.

If you authorize a transfer or send money to a scammer, there's often little we can do to help get your money back.

Read our tip sheet on talking to friends and family about fraud, scams and cyber security.

Trending scam examples:

Multi-step scams

Scammers are now combining multiple scam types by taking a phased approach to try to gain your trust and make scams even more convincing.

  • Step 1: Tech support scam - The impersonator claims to be from a legitimate tech support company and claims your computer has been hacked. They'll ask you to call a number and download software allowing them remote access to your computer to resolve the "issue". Then they'll ask you to log into Online Banking and look for fraudulent charges.

  • Step 2: Bank imposter - Next, you'll receive a call from an imposter claiming to be from your bank, saying fraud is happening on your account. They'll tell you to electronically move money to a "safe account", such as one with the Federal Reserve or another U.S. government agency.

  • Step 3: Government imposter - Then, you'll receive a third call from another imposter claiming to be a government official who is confirming the transaction. They may even send you an email or letter to make the scam look more legitimate.
Tip: Don't download software or provide remote access to anyone you don't know. Bank of America will never call you to request that you move money to protect yourself from fraud.


Scammers may pose as businesses or people you know — like your bank, utility company, phone provider or even a friend or relative. They'll spoof legitimate phone numbers to call or text and tell you to send funds to yourself or others using online or mobile banking. They may even tell you to ignore or bypass scam warnings and alerts. If you share information, they may access your banking information and enroll in new products or services in your name.

Tip: Stop and verify. While Bank of America may send you a text to validate unusual activity, we will never contact you to request you share a code over the phone or send us or anyone else money, including through Zelle®. Read about social engineering.

Online Sales

Whether you're thinking about purchasing event tickets, adopting an animal or just browsing the web, be cautious if you see an online promotion that sounds too good to be true - it probably is.

Tip: Slow down and use caution if pressured to act quickly - scammers want you to act without thinking about the consequences. Research the seller and products independently, check reviews for possible scam notices, and compare prices with other websites. Make sure they have a refund policy, information on privacy terms and conditions, and ways you can contact them.

Social Media

Cyber criminals are actively using social media platforms and design posts or craft messaging that lures you into sharing personal information or scam you out of money.

Tip: Be mindful about sharing personal information and what you see on social media. If something seems too good to be true, its most likely a scam. Read about social media scams.

Issues with package delivery

You receive an email or text indicating there's an issue with your package or a failed delivery attempt. You'll be asked to click a link to pay a small fee or provide personal information.

Tip: Do not open unfamiliar links for payment or personal information, this may be a phishing attempt. Read more about phishing.

Donating money to a cause

Use caution if asked to donate money in person, or to a cause, using your phone. You'll be told to log into your banking app but then told to hand over your phone for the "representative" to input the charity's information and complete the transaction for you - but the scammer is sometimes actually sending money to themselves.

Tip: Don't hand over your device to anyone to complete a transaction and never ignore bank warning messages.


Be wary if you are contacted by "investment managers" or receive an unsolicited request (via social media, pop-up, text, email or phone call) that presents a "great investment opportunity." Offers that promise guaranteed returns, or the chance to get rich quick or double your money are likely a scam.

Tip: Always validate requests for money, research investment managers/offers and use caution if asked to provide personal or financial information, especially if asked to send money through digital currency/crypto currency or instant money transfers.

Tech support

If you get an unsolicited request to remotely access your computer or mobile device, it's probably a scam - and you could lose money. Scammers often pose as employees of familiar companies and ask you to provide remote access or download an app. They may call, use pop-up screens or email to convince you that your device has a virus or that you're owed money.

Tip: No matter what reason you're given, never grant device access or download any app, without confirming their identity by calling a verified phone number (not one they provide to you). Read more about tech scams.

Compromise scams

Scammers may try to target you through a fake business, social media or email account. The cyber criminal may use a hacked or fake account that looks legitimate to trick you into sending funds.

Tip: Never trust unknown individuals. Verify everything. Give all requests for funds a second look. If an email looks strange, look up the sender and email or call them (don't use the number they provide). Invest in antivirus software that can flag suspicious emails and websites. Learn more.

Natural Disaster scams

Following a disaster, unlicensed contractors will canvas the impacted areas promising to get clean up or repairs done quickly. They may ask for payment up front and not show up to do the work, or have you sign a contract that redirects insurance payouts to them and not you.

Tip: Do your research; get multiple quotes for comparison, and make sure the contractors are licensed. Use caution if you're pressured to pay up front for the job or sign over the insurance claim. Ask for proof of ID and remember, if you're asked for financial information, it could be a scam.

Scammers may pose as businesses or people you know — like your bank, utility company, phone provider or even a friend or relative. They may ask you to send funds to yourself or others using online or mobile banking. They may spoof legitimate phone numbers to call or text you to make the request more convincing.

While Bank of America may send you a text to validate unusual activity, we will never contact you to request that you send money using Zelle® to anyone, including yourself or to share a code to resolve fraud. The “representative” or scammer will offer to help stop the alleged fraud by asking you to send money to yourself with Zelle® and ask for a one time code you just received from a bank. If you give them that code, they will use it to enroll their bank account with Zelle® using your email or phone number.

How to help protect yourself:

  • Be cautious if being pressured to respond immediately - this is what scammers want you to do.
  • Be wary of unfamiliar calls, computer messages, texts or emails requesting money or personal information - it's not always who it says it is.
  • Verify you are sending to a trusted recipient by calling a trusted or verified phone number from a recent bill, receipt or by visiting an official website.
  • Don't share codes based on a call you receive.

To learn more: watch this educational video layer from Zelle®

Parents and Caregivers

Check out the resources below that can help protect you and the loved ones from Fraud and Scams

Additional Resources