John Smith received a call on his cell phone that appeared to come from his bank. The person identified herself as Cindy from the Fraud Department at his bank and told John there had been a fraud attempt on John’s checking account.
Cindy (actually a scammer) asked John if he made a purchase at Walmart for $608.25. John said that he did not make that purchase. Cindy asked John to verify his online banking username and John gave it to her.
Cindy told John that she was going to send a one-time verification PIN to his cell phone so she could verify his identity.
Cindy used John’s online banking username to log in to his online banking system and clicked on “Forgot Username or Password” to generate a text message from the bank’s real phone number with verification code. When John received the text message with the verification number, he read it back to Cindy over the phone, which allowed the scammer to access his account. Once Cindy could access John’s account through online banking, she could see and read back his actual bank transactions, making it appear like she was from his bank.
At this point, Cindy could set up payments and take money out of John’s account.
Sally receives a text message from an unknown number that says
BANK OF TENNESSEE ALERT.
DID YOU MAKE A RECENT PURCHASE OF $352.86?
REPLY “Y” FOR YES AND “N” FOR NO
Sally, concerned about potential fraud on her account, immediately replied “N” to the text message thinking she was responding to her bank. In reality, she was responding to a scammer, not her bank.
Once the scammer received a text message response from Sally, they called her pretending to be with her bank. Chad, the scammer, asked her to verify her address, birthday and debit card number. Once he had that information, Chad told Sally that he was deactivating her current debit card and ordering her a new one. He asked Sally to tell him her debit card PIN so he could assign the same number to her new one.
At this point, Chad has all the information he needs to make purchases and cash advances on Sally’s debit card.